The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on businesses around the world. Some were able to endure the changes that it brought while others were forced to close their doors. Many others had to quickly adapt to ensure that they could still deliver the service that customers and clients expected while remaining both safe and profitable.
Businesses who expect the changes from COVID-19 to be temporary may also be in for a rude awakening. Many of the alterations to industries are thought to be semi-permanent. It could be a long time before things return completely to normal for businesses around the world.
Let’s look at some of the changes that COVID-19 has brought to the business environment, what it means and what steps companies should be taking right now.
First, it’s fair to say that most businesses are now operating using a remote or hybrid model. Ultimately, this means that a lot more people are now working from home. This includes both business owners as well as team members. If you are going to run your business from home, then it’s important to ensure that your company is set up correctly.
You need to guarantee that your company team members have the right tech and equipment to operate effectively. Requirements here are going to depend on the type of business that you are running and the industry that you are a part of.
For instance, you could be offering call handling solutions. If that’s the case, then you may need to ensure that each employee working as part of your team has VoIP equipment available to use.
Of course, it’s not just about the tech. You will also need to guarantee that you can monitor your team and ensure that they remain productive throughout the workday. This could be quite difficult to guarantee but there are software options available to businesses. This will allow you to track the progress of team members on a remote basis and ensure that no one is falling too far behind in your company. Ultimately, it will guarantee that you reach the goals that you set for your team on a daily or weekly basis.
Interactions With Customers And Clients
COVID-19 has also changed how businesses are interacting with clients and customers regularly. In the past face to face meetings were the norm for a lot of companies. However, this is no longer required or expected. Instead, businesses are more likely to connect with clients and users through other means. For instance, Zoom saw a tremendous boost in commercial usage through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. You might assume that things have reverted back to normal. However, with many teams continuing to operate from home, there is still a requirement for people to use video call solutions.
It is important to make sure that a video call does provide the same benefits and outcomes as a face-to-face meeting. Part of this will be recognizing the importance of nonverbal communication. If you read article information about advice for virtual pharmaceutical sale teams, then you will find that this is viewed as a significant piece of the puzzle to winning over a potential client and securing a sale. This is something that should be kept in mind when you are training new members of your team.
For businesses that require face-to-face interactions with clients and customers such as restaurants, safety still remains the main focus and requirement that businesses must be aware of. If safety levels aren’t there, it’s going to be a struggle to get customers to come out at all and this will lead to a loss in profitability.
When businesses were able to open their doors, the requirements for safety were largely based around social distancing and sanitization. Essentially, businesses were forced to provide evidence that they would put safety before profits. Some businesses needed to sacrifice a lot of revenue to ensure that customers were happy and felt comfortable enough to go places. This included theme parks that needed to reduce their capacity to roughly 25% of the typical number. Some businesses have continued to make back profits by increasing prices, much to the chagrin of customers.
As well as safety, businesses are now facing other challenges. They are now being required to show evidence that it is worth the risk for the customer. Cinemas are perhaps at the front of this battle. Many customers now seem to recognize that they can get the same or even a greater experience by watching movies at home. Currently, the box office of cinemas is a fraction of what it was before the pandemic. It’s unclear if this situation will improve and what it will take for businesses to reclaim the customers they have clearly lost in this industry.
A Focus On Sustainable Growth
Before the pandemic, 44% of companies were focused on new customer acquisition. Now, it’s clear to businesses that this is not a sustainable working model. Particularly once you realize that the cost of gaining new customers is five times that of keeping existing ones in the fold.
It’s more important than ever that businesses do maintain a solid ROI. This isn’t possible when focusing on reaching new customers. But it can be if business owners work to keep existing customers buying. So, right now, the main focus for businesses is going to be on re-marketing and providing long-term value to their clients.
This can be accomplished in a variety of ways from exclusive deals to other forms of value such as locked content. If the content is useful or entertaining then it can be more than enough to ensure that customers want to continue to support a business and buy from them rather than a competing brand.
The Importance Of Brand Values
Finally, it became abundantly clear which brands were taking steps to support people and help employees as well as customers during the pandemic. In contrast, people also noticed the businesses that only seemed to care about continuing to make as much money as possible including Virgin.
Customers were quick to support companies that embraced a ‘we’re all in this together rather than just saying the words without any meaning behind them. It’s unclear whether brands that did not provide the right support were abandoned by customers in any way. But there is evidence to show that local businesses did receive more support than usual because customers felt a personal connection to these companies.
This focus on brand values is likely to continue long after the pandemic ends. Customers will continue to support businesses that they believe are doing their part. The difference will be this won’t just be confined to support regarding the pandemic.
Instead, businesses that support other causes and take action to help with issues such as climate change are also likely to see a huge boost in levels of customer support too.
We hope this helps you understand some of the key ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the game for businesses in a wide range of different sectors and industries. If you take the right steps here, then you can guarantee that your company does remain ahead of the curve and in the right position to compete.
Remember, it might seem as though the concerns of COVID are behind us. However, this is not entirely true. Indeed, experts have already suggested that the impact of COVID-19 could be felt by businesses long after the majority of the population is widely vaccinated.