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Agile SMEs focus on customer service during pandemic

A Cumbrian business leader has praised local companies for leading the way in diversifying to survive the Coronavirus pandemic.

Cumbria has been hit particularly hard by the Government’s lockdown thanks to its high-profile tourist destinations, many of which are closed for the foreseeable future.

But Jamie Allison, partner and head of regional law firm Napthens’ Cumbrian team in Kendal, has highlighted the work of local SMEs which have successfully diversified in a short space of time.

Jamie revealed that such moves will help maintain revenue coming into a business, and could remain successful income streams once the lockdown has been lifted.

Bowness Bay Brewing based in Kendal, is also seeing success through a change to focus on bottle sales and offering free delivery to customers within five miles of its offices.

Jamie said: “Clearly this is not possible for many businesses, which have literally had to shut their doors and go home.

“However, there are businesses out there that, under the right circumstances, have been agile enough to switch focus and continue to operate. Indeed, there are plenty in the county and beyond that have done so well at this that they are advertising for delivery drivers as they struggle to keep up with demand for home delivery.

“These businesses are to be praised and many are offering vital services for people who may be isolated or not have other ways to obtain food and groceries, for instance.

“It’s important to be thinking about ‘after the pandemic’ – some of these businesses are adding strings to their bows and perhaps can continue to offer these services once things get back to normal.

“It’s all about great customer service, and giving the customer what they want during this difficult time – hopefully then they will remember you two or three months down the line.”

However, Jamie warned that this approach was not for every business, and just because a business can diversify, doesn’t mean they should.

He added: “Many pubs and restaurants are looking at offering a takeaway service or home delivery, and for some this could be a way to keep operating.

“But many may have strict licensing regulations in place that will still apply, and many will weigh up the potential health risk to staff and customers and decide they cannot operate safely.”

For more information of Napthens’ coronavirus support, visit the website.