When COVID-19 emerged and became a global pandemic, no one had a playbook – let alone the final one – on how to respond to the unprecedented challenges and adjust your business continuity.
When home stay and social distancing orders went into effect and business trips, conferences, and gatherings of all sizes were canceled, we were quickly reminded of the importance of personal personal connection to doing business.
We had no choice but to use all available digital resources to do business internally as well as with customers and partners. For many, this marked a major transition to fully online sales and service, as was the case with Legacy Toys, based in Minnesota, which was founded and developed based on a hands-on, in-store customer experience.
However, owner Brad Ruoho told Fortune that “he needed to quickly reorganize his business and speed up plans (which were already in motion before the pandemic) to start an online store immediately. Ruoho said, “We grew so fast, sending literally nothing to ship several hundred packages a day.”
Adjust and develop your company during a pandemic
The traditional office culture of commuting to a physical office building and meeting up with colleagues or traveling thousands of miles to meet customers was such an ingrained way of doing business that many companies hesitated or simply refused to do a job Offer from home or virtual option. Why? Because that’s how we’ve always done things and nothing has forced us to change. Enter: COVID-19.
The world was simultaneously discovering the need for both human and digital aspects to work together to enable life and business to change, adapt and reinvent the normal. It’s nothing that digitally mature companies didn’t already know. But such a scope and diverse application required continuous innovation and adaptation to each unique context and circumstance, whether business, educational, social or personal.
While personal office life is sure to remain important in many ways, thousands of companies have found that they can actually work with a largely distant workforce. Because they had to.
All of a sudden, the world had to find ways to manage stay-at-home orders while they work, train, socialize, and even entertain from home. Fortunately, digital tools have evolved to enable these many customizations across sectors, industries, and companies.
Now is the time to realize that the digital age has fully begun. Finding ways to start, continue and accelerate your company’s digital transformation is now a clear necessity as you step into the post-pandemic world. Ready or Not.
This world is still evolving and changing and is sure to bring many unforeseen challenges. But we can be sure that we have learned a handful of lessons since early 2020. These lessons are less of best practices and more of guiding principles for reinventing the digital solutions business to create a better world for all people.
Use real-time customer insights
Even before the pandemic, customers were changing moment by moment, and companies were using smart digital tools to extract real-time insights from customer data to keep pace with consumer trends. Data analytics helped companies identify changes in their customers’ behavior and better understand what they need, want, and how they feel. This enabled data-driven actions to respond effectively in real time.
According to Deloitte, “COVID-19 painfully shows that digitally native organizations that are“ insight driven ”by default are much more resilient …”
Companies with a higher degree of digital maturity are able to react to customer needs in an agile manner. And the mood during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it was changing even faster and more drastically than before.
For example, many companies have found innovative ways to respond to customer needs by providing services and resources in addition to other programs offered to help students and faculty continue to be creative and productive.
Enable agile communication through the pandemic
This is where your data-driven customer insights can be implemented in real time if you adjust your messages and communication accordingly. Because information, and thus the mood of customers and employees, changes so quickly and so often, it is important to make your communication agile based on real-time data.
Many organizations have set up regular newsletters, updates, and digital channels to share their corporate communications with employees and customers, giving them space to ask questions and find out how colleagues and colleagues in companies and industries react and adapt.
According to a McKinsey report, “Executives can tend to turn to governments and the media for clear and simple safety instructions. Not. Employers often underestimate how much their employees depend on them as trustworthy sources. “
It was important for Walmart to create centralized spaces for communication and engagement with employees as their employees used OneWalmart, the company’s intranet site, to keep up with rapidly changing policies and access to resources. When you help your employees feel engaged and informed, they’ll also become more confident, engaged, and productive at work.
Maintain the human connection as an essential aspect of your digital transformation
This is what makes agile communication so important as communication is essential for human connection. The accompaniment and support of the employees in the transition to the home office, which also included the schooling of children from home, was an important focus during the pandemic in order to ensure mental and physical health. Part of this effort is to check out your people, keep communication going to keep them updated and to interact with each other and with the company culture. This took the form of zoom happy hours, quiz nights and other virtual social events.
Ways to maintain that sense of connectedness and engagement alongside integrating digital transformation include continually onboarding welcome traditions, checking in emails, and taking measures to combat burnout and make meaningful connections.
Ultimately, clear and authentic communication, the provision of spaces for engagement between customer and employee communities, and showing care and concern for your employees and customers as people will develop and strengthen your corporate culture and brand value during the pandemic and beyond.
As we’ve heard before, digital and human transformations complement each other, two essential aspects of the same process. Machine computing power and algorithmic intelligence extend and expand human capabilities, and unique human traits such as empathy, strategic thinking, and context awareness make effective use of the insights of machine learning. The human connection remains essential.
Embrace the digital revolution
Stacy Martinet, Adobe’s VP of Marketing Strategy and Communications, said, “We’re not going back. The digital revolution is here. This is the beginning of every next chapter, and what people are learning now will serve them well in this next era. “
The old normal is not coming back. And that’s good. Use the challenges and opportunities for growth and further development for you and your customers. Work, school, business, entertainment, travel and everyday life need to change and we have the opportunity to shape our newly invented world.
For a more in-depth look at reinventing the normal, read the Adobe Business Continuity Playbook for lessons on how to adapt and evolve your business during a pandemic.