As the coronavirus (Covid-19) global lockdown is expected to impact us into the future, all the contingency plans we use in the business right now are likely to stay for a while too. Social distancing, quarantine policies, work-from-home, email/phone communication, video conferencing, Live Chat, cybersecurity and social media activities have become the norm of the digital day. However, did you ever imagine that these norms could become the ‘new normal’ in the post coronavirus world?
Read the full article to learn how you can prepare your online business for post coronavirus recovery and the future.
The year is 2035.
You walk into a pen store. There are pictures of different varieties of pens displayed. But you see no salesperson. There is a computer in one corner with a pop-up message that says, “Type what you need.”
Apprehensively, you walk towards it to type, “I want a pen.”
The system (probably AI induced bot) would ask few pre-programmed qualifying questions like, “Are you looking a pen for function or fashion?”
If you type, “function,” it is programmed to say, “What do you use a pen to do throughout any given day?” If you type, “fashion,” it is programmed to say, “What do you want people to think of you?”
You reply to every question patiently.
Finally, after analyzing your answers, it displays the details of the pen suiting your needs.
It asks, “Buy now? Or “Cancel?”
Remember, it was not handled by a salesperson. You were not given a trial. You were not asked anything personal to persuade you. You weren’t given any emotional assurance. You are simply getting the message. “If you want this pen type in your contact and credit card details, it will be delivered to your address in the next 3 days.”
What would you do?
Would you still go ahead and enter the details to make a purchase?
Would you turn back as the entire system feels so unreal and lifeless?
It is predicted that most businesses are going to rely heavily on digital technologies and capacities for sales post coronavirus recovery as people would be still feeling the psychological impact and yearning for the human touch. They will not reach out to your bricks and mortar stores quickly.
Your websites would continue to become the actual sales outlets more than ever.
Then, are you going to provide a robotic experience (like in the above-mentioned story) or an emotional, human experience to your customers?
You can find new customers despite the current conditions.
Yes. There is bad news every day. The number of people infected increases every day. The situation is hard to digest let alone adjust to. Scientists, doctors, governments and businesses are working hard to bring the situation under control.
Until then, we are ordered to stay at home, maintain social distance, sanitize often, and live a quarantined life. For the first time, we are practicing the reverse of the following proverb: United we live. Divided we fall. (Divided we live. United we die).
This new reality has created a lot of thinking and debate.
Where did we go wrong?
Why weren’t we careful enough?
How and when this is going to end?
Most importantly, how can we do business and sustain revenue?
The only way to prevent the virus from spreading is social distancing and so the contingency plans we follow now are going to stay until the virus is under control.
And it is not impossible. We survived through other deadly diseases like plague, bird flu, SARs, ebola, etc., even man-made chaos like wars, famine and recession.
But the question that pops in every business owner/CMO/salesperson’s mind is: How do I find new customers in this new environment?
Even if you approach a prospect, they might state they are not going to make an investment or a purchase until the situation gets better. An objection difficult to counter.
But people will buy – if not now, gradually in the future.
And we bet on that because the practices are now are becoming the ‘new normal’ and this ‘new normal’ is becoming a constant. Two of the new practices are agility and change – how paradoxical that they become our new constants.
How should you prepare your Online business?
We all feel productive work gets affected because of this lockdown and whine about the canceled meetings and plunging sales numbers.
But let’s look at the flip side of it too.
- You get to spend a lot less on travel.
- Your office space and maintenance bills are reduced.
- Every employee feels safe at home and gets better emotional support from their families.
- The higher cost of face-to-face interactions goes way down, and relatively lower cost of electronic interactions goes up.
- Most retail will go online.
As far as sales are concerned, you might ask: where will my leads come from?
We agree that your prospects and customers are likely to slow down and cancel some immediate purchasing decisions.
Here are a few methods you can use to get back in the business:
#1. To start with, protect margin and optimize ROI on go-to-market costs. It’s the one percenters that have the big impact on your bottom line.
#2. Do not slash prices indiscriminately. Price management in a time like this becomes critical. Consider investments in your most strategic customers and campaigns. Cost savings made from rent reductions amy be shared between pricing and marketing.
#3. Shift sales capacity quickly, for example from business development to renewals and cross-selling.
#4. Boost your customer experience. Invest in human-to-human interactions on your websites like video conferencing, CaaS (Conversation as a Service), etc. Share knowledge, opinions and new ideas. Attempt a friendly and professional conversation with your website visitors. Let your customers feel your physical presence. Engage with them early in their buying process.
#5. Match sales capacity to new market opportunities.
#6. Shift to lower cost coverage and channels wherever possible.
#7. Choose lead generation solutions that justify every role and every dollar spent.
#8. Retrain your salespeople to spot the opportunities to address customers’ priorities and ensure trust all the time.
#9. Note: Not every product or service is 100% suited to self-service delivery. Companies will confront waves of customer questions, orders, and even cancellations. Re-evaluate every communication with empathy and simplicity.
#10. Most companies can have a hybrid infrastructure, relying on a mix of on-premise, and cloud or internet-based platforms.
#11. Risk management needs to be re-evaluated. More attention should be directed to insurance, multiple sources of income and customers, and integration of online and offline business.
#12. Last but not the least, the global recession will incentivize cybercrime. COVID-19 fears are being exploited for social engineering and phishing attacks. This is not the time to rely fully on automation or bots.
Gartner recommends that CIOs and CMOs focus on three short-term actions to provide support to customers and employees and ensure continuity of operations.
- Source digital collaboration tools with security controls and network support.
- Engage customers and partners through digital channels and maintain sales activities.
- Establish a single source of truth for employees.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in few social consequences and shifts in our business model that could not be foreseen. Rather than risk spreading the virus, we’ll shop online, FaceTime, Live Chat with the clients instead of visiting, pay electronically rather than handle cash. Though it sounds like a lonely, antiseptic way of living, perhaps it will also make us appreciate the value of human interaction in business.
The best way to take care of revenues now is to focus on its ultimate source – customers. Do what is needed to build trust and loyalty with your customers now, and that loyalty will survive beyond this crisis. Understand what they need and demonstrate you care for them constantly (actions speak louder than a few words in an email).
It’s a scary time in the world right now. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and many of us are adjusting to a new reality.
Now, more than ever, it’s time to stick together and help each other through this.
We want to do anything we can to support you through this time.
CaaS (Conversation as a Service) provides a human-to-human solution with your website visitors via live chat software. The Online Sales Executives (OSEs) of CaaS nurture your website visitors to your website’s objective like booking demos, signing up for free trials, obtaining sales qualified leads, etc. CaaS is not only easier to build but 100% human, personal and goal-oriented. It attempts to provide an emotional persuasion to your website visitors that is most needed right now.
We’re with you! We’re in this together. Together, we’re going to make it through this unprecedented period of uncertainty.
If you like to learn more about CaaS, visit our website Chat Metrics and sign-up for a free trial.
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