Over the past year, the cost-of-living crisis has provided a salutary reminder to businesses that their continued existence is dependent on the people who pay for their goods and services. And if people can’t afford those services any more, then only those that adapt will survive.

As a columnist, I often write about the impact of things that go wrong. But it’s clear to me that many businesses are going out of their way to do the right thing – and in the process are keeping hold of their customers.

It’s really encouraging to see businesses listening and evolving to meet the needs of people who have experienced significant life changes since the pandemic. We need to recognise and celebrate these achievements. Investing time and effort up front, providing excellent, accessible customer service, supporting those in need, none of these things are cheap. But they do ultimately make good business sense.

Because now more than ever, people are waking up to the fact that brand loyalty hasn’t been giving them very much in return. Significant challenges are on the horizon too as a whole raft of legislation, tightening regulations and new rules covering everything from sales to service will turn the spotlight on how businesses are behaving.

Businesses that have the foresight to recognise this know that by getting in front of these challenges, they can help set the agenda in their sectors. They can be a pioneering example of a business that ‘got it right’ without being forced in to making changes. And above all else, they can retain their customers through the simple medium of listening and adapting to their needs.

It’s likely that the coming year will prove to be even more challenging for people around the UK as money becomes increasingly tight and bills rise. Businesses will be measured by their actions in the months ahead. That’s why supporting people through this period is not only the right thing to do – it makes sound financial sense.

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