Although the Coronavirus has brought change and uncertainty on how businesses function, it has pushed them to find creative ways sustain their activities and maintaining long relations with existing and new customers.
Speaking to Sowetan, ICT SMME chamber chairperson, Muzi Makhaye, expressed the positive side of the pandemic saying, “I concur 100% with the view that says the coronavirus has put us all firmly on the digital economy springboard… Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, meetings will, henceforth, be virtual and travel budgets will be directed to online video conferencing facilities, licensing, and training. Planet earth will be a better place for us all if we can travel less than we have become accustomed to in the last few decades. Certainly, business will never be the same, post Covid-19. This is true for big and small business”,
Restaurants that were dependent on walk-ins have now moved to digital platforms to engage with customers and delivering orders, Television game shows are now linking with audiences and contestants online. Selling of cars has moved online encouraging customers to watch videos designed to describe the cars performance in detail. Psychology and therapy sessions have moved to virtual consultations, as well as school classes and workout sessions. Healthcare is moving to telemedicine, retailers are now contactless and insurers have now created apps that allow self-services.
Finding alternatives to run businesses has increased employee productivity and the running of the business. The new way of working has given employees more time to focus on tasks and has eliminated the stress of commuting, traffic, loadshedding and water issues. Organisations are also finding that colleagues are more available for meetings scheduled due to more organised calendars. The effectiveness of the employees has resulted to people logging off on time due to using their time effectively.
“72% of the CEOs saw benefit from remote working in terms of widening their talent pool. And why wouldn’t it? Many of us have considered a new job prospect in part based on where the job is located, commuting time in South Africa’s increasingly (until recently, at least) congested cities more-and-more an issue”, shares Loos.
The COVID-19 crisis provides a glimpse into a future where digital will become a central way of interaction, forcing both organsiations and individuals to adapt to the new way of living. This is now where digital is becoming the primary and in some instances the sole customer engagement model, a platform with automated processes and becoming the primary driver of productivity.