COVID-19 has considerably transformed the economy and the systems in place. What if this crisis helped you reinvent yourself?
Businesses have been seeing major changes for a few months now and they can expect to see more in the coming weeks. Your competitors and business partners will adapt; some will disappear. Your employees will have to get used to new processes and you’ll have to find ways to keep them engaged. Technology will continue to play an ever-important role.
Your clients’ needs and their consumer behaviours will assuredly change in the wake of this crisis. In this context, will your current business model still work for you? Here are a few things to think about.
The context has changed, so have your clients
Let’s face the facts: this crisis will change your clients and their consumer habits will evolve. They will even perhaps turn to some of your competitors for a more crisis-adapted offer. Even their needs and expectations won’t be the same.
Clients who would have previously shopped for a bargain will now value the local aspect of the product or service, or even safety, hygiene or availability above all else. You may have gained new customers during this period who have a very different profile from your regular customers, but whom you will want to continue to serve post-COVID.
Know your clientele
Get to know your clients by talking to them, surveying them and assessing their consumer habits. Don’t rely on your historical data—they no longer reflect the current situation and the new era we’re entering.
Whether through a survey or a short questionnaire when you receive an order or individual calls, you can gather information on your clients’:
- Current and new needs in the wake of the crisis;
- Concerns about your offer post-COVID-19;
- Expectations regarding how you do business and communicate with them post-COVID-19;
- New consumer habits for products and services like yours.
Take a look at their shopping carts and orders to see what has changed and which products and services are in high demand and which ones are not.
These analyses will help you retarget your offers and build a new client segment from your existing clientele (some may have switched from B2B to B2C mode). That way, you can adapt your communication and distribution channels, potentially leading into the digital transformation of the client journey.
Evaluating the client journey and its digital transformation
Until today, customer relationships under various business models relied first and foremost on face-to-face interactions. People were at the heart of product sales and service delivery. The COVID-19 crisis, business closures, teleworking and the rise of online shopping have drastically reshaped those dynamics.
What will come out of this situation is that consumers will adopt new purchasing behaviours and resort more and more to digital channels to buy their goods and services. The crisis will speed up the digital transformation of businesses. Human interaction will prevail but it will no longer play as big a role.
You must therefore redefine the client journey by identifying your points of client contact, including at the information gathering, delivery and after-sale service stages. You can then find out how the digital transformation can optimize their experience and create value before, during and after their purchase.
Ask yourself these questions to better understand your client journey and how the digital experience fits in:
- How do your clients want to be reached?
- How have their consumer habits evolved?
- How do they currently contact you, be it physically or virtually? (Your best strategy is a multichannel strategy.)
- Based on their needs, how can you diversify your points of contact?
Consider all of the steps involved in service delivery, research and after-sales:
- Before the purchase (website, social networks, referrers, Google Ads, etc.);
- During the purchase (transactional website, email, online chat, etc.);
- After the purchase (follow-up, website survey, etc.).
While the digital transformation can contribute to diversifying your revenues and improving operational efficiency, it should not be at the expense of the client experience.
Digitalization strategies are not just transaction-focused; they also allow you to drive client commitment and foster relationships and partnerships.
What about your operations?
Delve a little deeper to find out how you can adapt your activities to your clients’ needs. It might make sense to modify your offer and processes, integrate new technological tools, review your supply chain management, develop new partnerships and monetize your products and services.
Social distancing will continue for a while longer—it will disrupt how you do business and it will create new client habits. Consider the potential impacts.
Here are some important questions that will help you further your analysis and steer your business model in the right direction:
Product or service offer
- Should you develop new services or products using your current assets to meet client needs?
- Should you adapt your current offer?
- Should you trim your current offer and focus on more promising products or services in the medium and long terms?
- Should you review your supply chain to improve its efficiency in the current context?
- Are there any options that were previously irrelevant but would now be worth considering?
Suppliers and partners
- Should you opt for new partners and suppliers to promote or deliver your offer while meeting new client needs?
Resources and workforce
- Do you have the resources (material, human, technological) to support the changes to your operations?
- Should you monetize your offer differently?
- Can you issue your invoices and accept payments differently?
As you review your business model, those are the factors to consider. It will help you redefine your business so that, ultimately, you’ll be better equipped to overcome future challenges resulting from changes to the social and economic environments.
Our strategic experts are here to support you during the relaunch of your activities and throughout the process of adapting to this new reality.