Looking ahead, and with the target of net zero by 2030 in mind, customer experience and innovation are going to be key themes for the business sector - as they will be across the wider business landscape. Here Gavin Franks, business services director at the AA, discusses his thoughts on how this will impact businesses and the opportunities ahead.

Customer experience and innovation are two areas where we've seen some of the most significant examples of opportunity reshaping the landscape. When the pandemic hit, many businesses adapted quickly to survive and we saw them thrive. These adaptations came about from the changes in society, which ultimately impacted consumer expectations.

Central to this changing landscape is the acceleration of online retailing. The Ofcom report ‘Online Nation 2021' revealed how the pandemic has sped up the digital shift. Over the past couple of years, UK adults spent an average of three hours and 47 minutes online every day, with online shopping sales rising 48% to £113bn. While understandably our reliance on online shopping went up while we couldn't leave home, it ultimately shifted consumer expectations and when lockdown lifted, many changes in attitudes and behaviour are here to stay.

We're seeing a change in consumer demand for more convenience, control and the availability of goods and services at times and locations that suit. For fleets, drivers are expecting the same. We know businesses are feeling this, as our research report ‘New Horizons', revealed that there's a clear trend for personalisation of experiences and flexibility, such as home delivery and one point of contact. We found that 85% expect a service which is tailored to their organisation's own needs and 83% expect a service that matches the agility and flexibility than an individual consumer would expect.

With less than a decade for businesses to prepare for the government's date for net zero emissions, we're also working to help make the transition as easy as possible for organisations and their drivers. The driver experience is central to this, and we're proud of our innovative charge post customer support service. Today we work with seven providers, supporting more than 7,000 charge posts. This means drivers can be confident they will get support at a charge post if they have any technical difficulties and get back on their journey as quickly as possible.

It's only through better understanding of evolving customer expectations that we'll continue to meet high customer and driver satisfaction levels and innovation is critical to this. With hopefully a more settled period ahead, 2022 is going to offer further opportunities for businesses and fleets to adapt, evolve and enhance their operations for the future and the AA is no exception. With customers at our heart, we're at the forefront of support for the transition to a greener, brighter future.

For more information visit the AA