European Union

Five ways that Brexit will impact UK brands' customer-centricity

27th Jun 2016

Having had a weekend to digest the decision, the world is slowly waking up to the reality of the UK leaving the European Union.

In the short-term, political turmoil and uncertainty is likely to reign supreme, and many business leaders are expected to make strategic decisions about their company’s future despite the rapidly changing environment.  

Historically, this type of turbulence has led to many businesses adopting a more conservative approach to investment and innovation until certainty returns.  

However, Forrester analyst and group director, Laura Koetzle believes this approach is a dangerous one, given the sheer level of unpredictability associated with the Brexit vote.   

“While times of high-market volatility can tempt firms to panic and cut spending on customer-focused initiatives, now is the time to drive innovation in order to win, serve, and retain customers,” she explains.  

“As decisions over the next several years are determined by legislators and driven by compliance, UK companies will be challenged to operate as customer-obsessed firms.”

Forrester’s stance is that the leave vote will have five major implications for global businesses, long-term:

  1. Concerns about immigration laws will crush the UK’s talent pool as digital and customer-facing talent will migrate out of the UK.
  2. Product and delivery innovation will slow as companies need to spend more time and effort to work with innovative companies across borders.
  3. Uncertainty over privacy regulations and less access to data will impede firms’ quest for insight.
  4. London's financial services power and fintech cluster will shift to the continent.
  5. Global manufacturing and automotive firms will also move innovation out of the UK.

However, Koetzle also delivers a rallying cry to those considering changing their short-term approach to technology investment:   

“While it's easy to feel paralysed with so much uncertainty looming overhead, CIOs should not let Brexit derail their business technology (BT) agenda. If you do, you risk shrinking your revenue base and losing ground to international competition.

“Instead, firms should focus on using technologies like automation and cloud to fully fund the BT agenda, retaining top talent and seeking new non-UK talent, and immediately working with data protection and privacy teams to maintain customer privacy and reassure customers their information is safe.”

EU nations are in the process of implementing new regulations on data privacy (GDPR). However, despite last week’s Brexit vote, UK businesses will still be required to adhere to the new regulations.   

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