The COVID-19 outbreak is continuing to disrupt business activity, as some states (e.g. New York) are adopting tougher restrictions in hard-hit areas. Research by Deloitte indicates that businesses wishing to recover from the crisis must hit three crucial marks: they must respond to the situation, recover, and thrive. The first stage, that of response (during lockdown and immediately after), says Deloitte, has already been dealt with by many businesses. Many more are now in the recovery phase: they are learning how to adapt to required change and how to emerge stronger. What key steps do recovering and, eventually, thriving, involve?
Zones In Lockdown
As mentioned above, areas in some states are still in strict lockdown mode. Businesses that are open to customers should take immediate responsive steps, which include improving ventilation, attending to customers in specific parts of the store, and using screen protectors for staff if possible (as is the case in a store or gasoline station, for instance). Companies that have had infected staff or that have to attend to many customers will also need to rely on cleaning services specializing in C19. Cleaning will have to comprise two steps: cleaning areas with soap and water, and disinfection using specific products that are able to annihilate viruses.
Adapting To Changing Needs
In order to stay afloat and grow, you need to be very much in tune to the way that the crisis has changed customer expectations and demands. The huge surge in online shopping during lockdown, for instance, has had both short and long-term effects. Many shoppers who had never considered online grocery shopping, for instance, have come to appreciate the convenience and speed of the experience. If you sell products and have an online service, then ensuring your clients’ online experience is top-notch is key if you are to keep them loyal to you in the post-COVID era. The range of steps you can take extend to offering more delivery times, adding to your list of online items, and even (if necessary) shutting your brick and mortar store and going exclusively online.
Preparing For Potentially Tough Times Ahead
You should look carefully at your accounts to budget for potentially tough times ahead. As the future of COVID-19 vaccines and the possibility of future ‘waves’ is still unknown, the amount of cash you have set aside ‘for a rainy day’ should guide key strategies. These include the potential search for new suppliers, the reorganization of roles, goals or procedures in your office, and even the possibility of potentially closing your offices and reopening when the market is brighter.
Making Key Changes
In the era of the new normal, the customer experience will become more relaxed, but you may still need to make key changes to the workplace until the problem is completely non-existent. Your physical workplace, for instance, may continue to need the use of special filters (such as HEPA filters), you may still need to have strict protocols in place regarding staff illness, and in time, the demand may shift back from virtual to physical, so the space you are in will need to accommodate customer and product demand. You might also decide that some short-term changes work better in the long-term. These may include the new functioning of your team, new roles created, and a greater emphasis on digital service (pre- and post-sales via chatbots and other smart tech).
It is a challenging time for many businesses across the globe, but those that are surviving understand changing needs, and are watching their cashflow carefully, making key changes as necessary. These range from role and procedural changes to those made to the physical and virtual workplaces. If your business manages to stand the test of time, then many lessons learned can be used to enable it to thrive when the health threat is over. What is evident is that digital tools will play a greater role than many businesses could have imagined – in everything from customer communications to product delivery.