Coronavirus, seems like, has become a major part of our life and being ‘quarantined’, a way to live it. All our lives we have been taught about and have practiced the productive values of human touch. The shift in our lifestyles and our businesses caused due to Covid 19 has become a major hiccup who’s after affects are here to stay with u for a long period of time.
There is no running away from the fact that the current outbreak and chaos is having a growing impact on the global economy. But it is also the time to test our survival skills and be ready to bounce back.
More specifically talking of our local (Indian) context, most of respiratory diseases flourish in the cold season and taper off as the weather warms up. That should cause number of cases to slow in the northern hemisphere, while continuing at relatively very lower levels in tropical regions.
Given these realities of life, business houses, big or small, have two choices in front of them –
1) Wait and hope and pray for everything to go back to normal;
2) Brace themselves to adapt to the current situation and pro-actively plan and execute the strategy to become leaders of tomorrow
So, what can we do to work and recover our businesses over these times with minimal damage, while keeping an eye on what the industries will work like after coronavirus?
Here are some of my thoughts on that –
1. Be with your Team
Events like these have the ability to test and have a negative impact on the strongest of us. Your teams are bound to experience stress, anxiety, a sense of isolation and loss of control over their lives. Ensure their safety, be emotionally with them, and extend a helping hand wherever and to whatever extent possible.
Be transparent about what your business is going through and make your employees aware of your plans to recover from the problem being faced right now. It is important for them to have a clarity of thought. Employees will need to adopt new ways of working, which they will, but they won’t be able to do so unless they have clear & consistent information and overall direction. E-mails, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram were all originally conceived as platforms to make it easier for people to stay connected across divides, so use them for their intended purpose! Use these mediums not just for sharing the updates and information, but as engaging conversation tools.
2. Strengthen Partnerships… and Explore new ones
Your clients, vendors, channel & trade partners are all going through the same as what you are. Stay connected, be empathetic, go beyond the usual.
Current situation might be an opportunity to make some long-term investments in your business even if you are witnessing a short-term slowdown. This is the time to re-evaluate your operations, platforms and processes and do some long-term strategic planning and work towards fostering and strengthening those partnerships.
If you have a few big prospects in the pipeline, now is a good time to put more energy into lead management and nurturing of those possible long-term opportunities. Keep checking in with your leads, reassure them if needed, and let them know that you are planning for contingencies and you’re ready to help, with no commercial expectations.
3. Explore amid adversity
While the current crisis has definitely hampered the brick-and-mortar businesses, at the same time it is boosting almost anything that can be done online or with minimal human contact — online deliveries of essential goods, online learning, streaming video and so much more. So, you need to make a shift in your sales strategy and embrace the digital space. Ensure that the customer support of your particular business is reachable and available all the time. Social media cannels are a good place to start with. Online sales are on a boost even in these times, people are engaging through the digital space more than ever. Use this time to build and boost your e-commerce sales and online marketing capabilities. Business will get back on track, very soon, but more of is said to happen online.
4. Engage with your audience
Stay close to your customers. Companies that navigate disruptions better often succeed because they invest in their regular customer base and act according to their behaviors. Adopting customer retention techniques are of high importance right now. The demand will never disappear completely, it might just shift from one platform to another, eg, offline to online.
Customers can empathize with brands facing a crisis, as long as you communicate with them properly. At this age and time, people look for more than what a brand offers, they want to relate to the brand and know more about how sensitive the brand is towards any current situations going on. Share articles and blogs on how the people can use their time during this lockdown and give them insight into the steps you’re taking to help the community. This is the time when your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter engagement will actually come to your rescue and help you stay continuously engaged with your consumer. Don’t sell, just re-purpose it.
How organizations deal with the crisis now may shape consumer views for the future. Brands using their market position and ability to create an impact during the current situation will leave an impression, but a word of caution – don’t be seen as self-serving, look at being helpful.
There are a few more important things that I feel need to be taken care of in the current circumstances to ensure that organizations are ready to work hard and get back in the market, and do it at quick pace, but more about that in Part 2 of my Blog.
Till then stay safe and keep re-inventing!