Matt Salvage, Head of Client Management at Acquis, ruminates on some 80's classics and the importance of being proactive, thinking long term and actively maintaining good relationships with clients when times are tough.

“I have a confession to make. When I was younger and first heard the lyrics of the song, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” I mistakenly thought the singer was advising me that when times get hard, it would be sensible to make a quick exit. I’ve found myself humming this song more than once recently, and it’s dawned on me that if the past few months have taught me anything, it’s the true meaning of this lyric: when a situation becomes difficult, the strong work harder to meet the challenge.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the leasing industry: new business volumes have plummeted across the board and businesses have faced unforeseeable challenges. With offices shut, restaurants closed and life as we know it paused across Europe, we’ve seen many of our clients having to deal with adjustments to lease contracts on a massive scale and come to the support of their SME business customers.

At first, the prospect of working from home during lockdown suggested life might be a little quieter: no daily commute to the office, no travelling up and down the country to events and meetings. But, as head of the Client Management team at Acquis, we’ve never been busier; it quickly became apparent that our clients needed our support now more than ever, and thankfully, we adopted a few principles early in the pandemic that have helped us work closely with our clients to navigate a period of deep uncertainty:

Don’t wait to be asked, be proactive:
We’ve found that being proactive about how we can support clients has had really positive outcomes. Each of our clients’ businesses is different and requires a personal solution. The team has been working extremely hard with clients to understand the situation their business customers find themselves in, through no fault of their own, and ensure together we are making things easier for them.

It’s helped that we work with strong, receptive and understanding insurers willing to offer our clients help in mitigating issues.

There really has never been a more important time for fostering good working relationships with clients, who have a number of different important priorities to deal with at the moment.

Find the solution which is right for the client:
It’s important not to burden our clients with support which requires additional resource at this already busy time, however, not all circumstances require the same solution. We have been looking at various ways in which we can help make the current situation easier. It helps having a bespoke inhouse IT platform designed to be flexible and which we can control to meet the demands of immediate change.

Take a long-term view:
This has always been our guiding principle, but it’s helped us to make quick decisions about how we can support. When we implement an insurance programme with a client, we’re likely to be working together for some time. We always approach relationships with understanding and integrity, ensuring we keep the client needs at the heart of everything we do.

And that reminds me of another tune that’s recently popped into my head. It’s probably not fashionable to quote Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus, but: ‘We all stand together’. I think too much home schooling has started to influence my song choices…”