Rakesh Parbhoo, CEO at Westcon-Comstor, Sub-Saharan Africa explains how businesses can remain flexible during the pandemic.
The current pandemic has had a massive negative impact on the world’s economy. The World Bank has forecast a 5.2% contraction in global GDP this year. Meanwhile in South Africa, statistics released on September 8 show the country’s GDP declining by 51% in the second quarter, its fourth consecutive contraction. To this end, it has become critically important for businesses across industry sectors to embrace a digital experience to remain competitive.
Giving impetus to this transition is the expectation that most countries will be plunged into a recession this year. In fact, the contraction of global per capita income is the worst it has been since 1870. Perhaps more telling is that if the Coronavirus persists and any disruptions to economic activity are prolonged, the recession could deepen significantly. In this new operating environment, companies and customers alike must be willing to do things differently than they did at the start of 2020. Being able to effectively deliver on customer service must therefore transform on all levels using an enabling digital platform.
Research shows that companies are having difficulties in coming to terms with managing customer demand and contact centre engagements. The former centres on the unpredictability of demand for products and services while the latter deals with empowering agents and sales representatives to work more efficiently from remote locations. While part of this entails using more agile digital solutions, an important aspect is managing the human component. Irrespective of industry sector, companies must ensure their employees have access to this technology and are comfortable using it.
Nobody knows for certain what the ‘right’ path to take is in this new normal. However, the needs of customers are more acute now more than ever as organisations need to differentiate themselves not only from a Value Add perspective but also on how they engage with critical stakeholders. In times of crisis, a customer’s interaction with a company can trigger an immediate and lingering effect on their sense of trust and loyalty. This means having real time insights into customer preferences are fundamental to being able to adapt faster and deliver more rapid innovation.
Turning to digital
According to McKinsey, companies should consider four actions that can address immediate customer needs and prepare for the future. These are: focusing on care and concern; meeting customers where they are; reimagining the post-COVID-19 world and building more agile capabilities.
Tying these elements together is a reliance on digital models, practices and capabilities that manage all this in an online environment. Being responsive to customers using more immediate solutions such as those provided in a cloud-centric platform help business move faster and deliver quality offerings.
While it might sound like a cliché, the truth is that every business and customer is in this unique situation together. How effectively a company leverages the potential of digital in this regard will go great strides in giving customers a sense of comfort despite the volatility of the world around them.Click below to share this article