Intelligent CXO Issue 6 - Page 26

of the announcement , through to confirmation of the leaving date , confident , clear communication with our customers was critical to navigating Brexit . This strategy is of equal , if not greater , importance for businesses as we move forward .
Strong resource ensures confidence
In order to communicate confidently to our customers that the Brexit transition would be a smooth one and reassure them that we had the resource in place to cover any obstacles that came our way , we had to first put plans in place to ensure we could deliver on this promise . One of the biggest costs of Brexit to businesses , including ours , has been time . At the beginning , our senior leadership team dedicated significant time and energy to working out what the next steps should be . To make sure that our customers felt confident in us , we did this well in advance and , although there was uncertainty , we knew we had the resource in place to manage and overcome the inevitable hurdles .
By planning our resource effectively , from the very beginning , we were able to confidently reassure our customers we would minimise the impact of Brexit on their businesses . Additional staff can be costly , but ensuring you have the capacity in place for big operational and administrative challenges is essential , whether you are navigating Brexit , COVID-19 or any other unpredictable challenge . Deciding whether to hire a new team member or increase an existing employee ’ s hours or risk losing business through lack of resource is an easy decision to make .
Transparency , always
In October 2020 , it became clear that everything would change on January 1 , 2021 . And so , it was imperative that we were proactive and transparent with our customers and managed their expectations . Anticipating that there would be issues with supply immediately after the leaving date , we contacted all of our customers in October advising them that , if they wanted stock by January or February , they should order it well before Christmas and , ideally , have it delivered before Christmas too . Our business approach has always been customer-centric and , although dictating ordering times may not seem as though we were ‘ putting the customer first ’, this realistic approach , and clear communication , ensured that there were limited delays on orders . Our customers received their stock in plenty of time and the expectations for on-time delivery were managed and our relationships with customers remain strong .
Anticipate questions , give answers before they are asked
When dealing with challenges like Brexit , we believe that proactively keeping in touch with customers , before they contact you , is essential in maintaining good business relationships . We took the onus off our customers during a stressful time and , in November 2020 , we wrote to them again with a list of what they would need to do when importing stock from the UK into the EU . We even went one step further and provided them with links to the websites they needed to visit in order to action post-Brexit business requirements .
Although this resulted in a lot of additional work up-front , it meant that when changes took place , our customers were prepared . Many customers , particularly the larger organisations we supply , were , of course , already on top of things and had robust processes in place , but our communication was appreciated , particularly our proactive and transparent advice , which confirmed our knowledge and position in the industry . Our communication has been appreciated by customers and is another way of building trust and giving customers confidence that we can handle even the most unpredictable hurdles . Wim Decraemere , Managing Partner Limaru NV , our EU distributor , said : “ Thanks to Citrefine ’ s anticipatory attitude and thorough focus on the preparedness and resilience of its business activity , it was able to guarantee a smooth transition to the post-Brexit era for all its customers . For Limaru as European distribution partner of Citrefine , it is reassuring that Citrefine rely on a strong strategic plan and it boasts confidence that no problem will be too big on our way to further success .”
Managing difficult conversations
Another lesson Brexit has provided for many businesses is in how to manage when
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