SMEs tell of Coronavirus lockdown challenges on latest ITS (UK) webinar
Two SME members of ITS (UK) have used the Society’s latest Coronavirus webinar to explain the difficulties they are having coping with the current lockdown across the UK.
Peter Eccleson, owner of Smart Video and Sensing told the panel discussion hosted by ITS (UK) Communications Manager Paul Hutton that he’s had to furlough all his staff, “All the work that we had in the pipeline, which is primarily around installation work, has been put on hold. And from a sales perspective, we were constantly visiting local authorities and government bodies, we can’t do that either. So that’s meant that basically the business has ground to a halt.”
Discussing how the furlough support from the Government – which will cover 80 per cent of salaries up to £2,500 per month, will be useful when the money comes through, Eccleson explained that other support is not turning out to be anywhere near as useful, “The banks are saying you’re eligible for the business interruption loan scheme, as long as you can prove to us that your business is viable in four months’ time when you’ve had no revenue. Well, that’s the reason we’re looking for the loan! It’s like a catch 22 scenario.”
New members JCT have missed out on some face-to-face training courses, but Director John Nightingale told the webinar that they have switched to offering online courses. “The bookings are not massive at the moment, but I think people are still trying to find their feet working from home,” he explained. “We can offer in house online courses… where effectively companies send their staff home equipped with laptops and headsets. We’re posting out training materials to individuals’ houses, and they’re joining courses.”
The panel also lament the fact that the industry cannot carry out maintenance and other work at this time. They say that it would both be a great use of taxpayer’s money when there is so little productivity around, and also that it would mean minimal disruption while transport levels are so low.
Meanwhile Krishna Desai, Global Marketing Manager at Cubic Transportation Systems, gave the webinar some hints on how to stay in touch with clients at the moment, “I think the way to stay relevant no matter what the size of your business is, use your voice through social media. Let your customers know that you’re thinking of them. Lead with empathy, lead with understanding and compassion and don’t go too aggressively in terms of pitching. Nobody’s looking for a sales pitch at the minute, nobody wants to be sold to.”
You can watch the whole 30 minute webinar here: