No Match Found
Your first obvious response to the COVID crisis has been to focus on the safety and wellbeing of your people. Now is a good time to renew your perspective on the future and to take measures that help mitigate the negative impact on commercial results. And that help identify opportunities and leverage them to your and your clients benefit. Please let us shed some light on focus areas to consider if you are interested in a strong and surprising return in the new normal.
You must balance your efforts to contain the short term ramifications of the crisis and ensuring you are well positioned to remain successful in the new normal. Keeping your people safe, de-risking, optimising and safeguarding supply chains and ensuring finance is running a tight ship and liquidity is maintained at sufficient levels. The idea is to re-think strategy in such a way that you can outwit, outperform and outbehave your competition. Answering questions like how to play, where to play and how to win. Resulting in a clear strategic intent and a stronger, more resilient team that is able to absorb the impact of covid and quickly adapt to new opportunities as they come up. Of course there is no one-size-fits all solution. More considerations to stay ahead can be found here.
Customer strategy is about maintaining meaningful relationships with your customers. This is largely driven by the following capabilities:
All relationships revolve around emotions. This applies equally to the relationship between people and brands. Can people relate to your brand? Does it stand out? Does it reflect why you are here and what your intent is? Have you made sure this is reflected in all your interactions with customers? Is there enough ‘human’ touch? A few good practices to keep in mind:
Responding and adapting to make the most of new circumstances is a key capability that requires continuous attention and development. How do your sales, marketing, pricing and service reinforce each other to contribute to your strategic intent? Do you know where yu can improve to make more impact possible? Can you adapt quickly and decisively?
Have you sufficiently optimised your sales processes? How long is your lead-to-cash cycle? Hours, days, weeks, longer? Are you leveraging the potential that e-commerce platforms offer to optimise the way you are deploying systems, processes and people. Reducing throughput time and automating processes, resulting in rapid and error free operations, with face to face interactions brought to the lowest possible minimum and in doing so driving customer satisfaction up. And providing detailed data to make fact based decisions about further improvements. The same platforms enable you to involve business partners deeper into the processes and to automate adjacent functions, such as partner relationship management and contract management.
Protecting your company against pressure on price and margins is crucial, certainly in times of economic uncertainty. The capability to deploy dynamic pricing strategies is essential. It enables your company to leverage volatile market conditions and clients changing willingness to pay.
Are you prepared and ready to engage and interact with customers in new ways that inspire and if possible amaze? Previous marketing tactics need rethinking, the same goes for customer journey’s. Covid-19 requires a new way of targeting, putting the clients emotions and desired experience central in everything you do. Take the following to heart:
Companies must ensure customers can reach them. Customer contact systems, centers and processes must be able to deal with working-from-home, while still delivering the ever important customer experience in line with your brand’s promise, at every touchpoint. Consider deploying chatbots or other automated solutions to help direct and deal with the contact flow and that provide essential data about customer behavior.
Your people are at least as important as your customers. They bring your brand to life and make it happen. Work-from-home was a must and may well be here to stay. Have you thought about how to offer your people an employee experience worthy of your brand in the post covid (physically more distant) normal, that is inspiring, connecting and enables your people to provide a remarkable and satisfying customer experience at all times? Do your people understand your brand message and your strategic intent? Do processes and systems enable them to act in a way that results in a differentiating and remarkable customer experience that results in on-sales and a positive buzz? How have you considered involving key staff in rethinking, reshaping and realising the changes that are necessary? Training as you fight, becoming better as you go. Helping each other learn, innovate and improve to make delivering a consistent customer experience easier?
Digitization is an essential enabler in delivering your brand’s promise and keeping in touch with your customers. Now more than ever, as customers are more and more inclined to deal with suppliers in a digital way. This changes your customers their perception of value. Loyalty becomes more fluent. An inspiring experience elsewhere can draw them away easily. It is key that you develop the capability to keep raising the bar in making digital interaction with your customers easy as 1-2-3, while making sure your brand’s identity and promise and above all human heart can be experienced at all times and touch points in a consistent way.
How well are your sales, marketing and service teams aware of what digital can provide? Digitization and automation have a fundamental impact on the way sales, marketing and service operate. The way of working and the skills and experience that are required will be very different. Can your people see the opportunities and their role in taking advantage? How well are teams equipped and experienced to work together across functional silo’s and cultures? Have you assessed your current digital capability and what would have to happen to develop and keep improving it? Do you have a digital transformation plan or roadmap? Do you think it is challenging and ambitious enough? Are you seeing results? Are your customers feeling the change, without losing sight of your brand’s and the human touch? The following factors should be assessed and addressed: