As we approach a year since the first lockdown order in March last year I’ve been thinking about how businesses and their staff had to adapt – virtually overnight.
At Northridge Finance, as with so many other organisations, doing face-to-face business wasn’t possible.
But I am proud that we were able to adapt so quickly. We made a significant investment in technology and software design, based on the needs of colleagues, retailers and consumers. It meant that we were able to support customers through payment breaks and we also ensured that customers were looked after quickly.
Our intermediaries appreciated our fast response and were confident that customer care continued to take priority despite the restrictions brought about by lockdown and the pandemic.
Retail partners now enjoy enhanced services to support sales. Every stage of the purchasing process can be carried out remotely without the need for showroom visits or personal contact.
There’s no doubt we’ve learned a lot over the past year about working smarter and being agile. By adapting quickly to possibly permanent changes in how people work, and helping dealerships benefit from improved convenience and functionality, we have an excellent springboard for the future.
Processes which allow buyers to view and select vehicles, new or used, secure financing and complete the sale all remotely have become fundamental. I’m pleased to say that Northridge moved quickly, adapting its seamless proposition.
Some things have surprised us – for example usage of our distance signing facility has dramatically increased 10 fold year on year. I think because Northridge now works within a truly omni-channel sales process, we offer maximum flexibility which clearly customers appreciate.
Whether a customer chooses to complete entirely online or in combination with dealership visits, options reduce trips to the showroom and streamline the purchasing and approval process.
Innovation is also helping Northridge Finance maintain its renowned service standards, while considering the wellbeing of colleagues working from home.
It was important to me that we not only maintained standards of service for our customers but also looked after our team through this difficult time.
We have managed to redeploy both our internal and external teams to where we needed them most. This required huge flex and upskilling across all roles through carefully considered business continuity plans and we’re now delighted to be able to offer all of our services from within the office and remotely.
A crisis can be a time for learning and growth, and Northridge aims to emerge a more responsive, resilient company.
I believe our Covid response exemplifies our ethos of being there for people, no matter what, and shaping solutions around them. These innovations set the stage for stronger customer connections in the future.