Product Director of Gomocha
Adapting to today’s current landscape and marketplace has been no easy task to say the least. We understand the challenges that all businesses have come to face. In this blog post, I will discuss how the recent shifts in which we have all come to experience in some way or another, can instead be brought to light as a point of awareness forward. Addtionally, the steps we all can take to deliver flexibility and the adoption of new forms of communication through simple technological tools that have already and will remain accessible to us in the foreseeable future.
Make no mistake about it, Jeff Besos’s fortune is growing in no small part because of my wife’s shopping habits. In fact, I won’t be surprised if we don’t get a personalized Christmas card this year thanking us for single-handedly keeping Amazon in business. In putting all playfulness aside, Amazon’s ability to not only survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also continue to grow and be deemed an ‘essential’ business is impressive to say the least. Amazon has been able to deliver us our PPE’s (Personal Protective Equipment) when we were required to social distance, it was able to deliver us games and books when we were required to stay-at-home, and it was able to deliver back-to-school supplies that our children still need even if they aren’t going into classrooms. In fact, we know that the list of items that they can’t deliver is much shorter than the list that it can deliver. But it wasn’t the impressive list of items being delivered to my doorstep on a weekly basis, if not close to a daily basis, that amazed me and caught my attention. It was the change in the way that Amazon was delivering those items and informing my family that those items had been delivered.
Consider the technological changes in other service driven business models
While there are still some deliveries, via Amazon or other providers, that still require a signature and physical acceptance of the package, I have seen more and more instances where that is not the case. For instance, Amazon does not require my wife to sign a tablet to acknowledge receipt of a package, thereby absolving themselves of liability from late or lost packages. Instead, Amazon takes a picture of the package sitting on our doorstep with a day and time stamp that shows when the package was delivered. That picture is then sent to me via my method of choice (email, text, etc.). Not only were they able to provide me proof that the package had arrived, but they were able to keep me and their delivery person safe by minimizing our contact and social distance. It was this last portion that really got me thinking of the need for more and more businesses needing to ‘pivot’ and adapt the way they operate in today’s world of COVID-19. It is a sad fact that not every business is going to be able to survive this pandemic. But most likely, the businesses that are able to survive will be able to do so by finding a new way to adjust their business to safely operate in today’s world.
Take restaurants as another example. Restaurants are some of the hardest hit businesses during this pandemic crisis. By nature, a restaurant wants to get as many people into its doors and sitting as close as possible to maximize its profits. That is just not feasible in today’s world. So for a restaurant to survive, they need to adapt and pivot the way they operate. Many restaurants are doing just that by moving their indoor seating to outdoor seating. I have seen many restaurants setting up makeshift patios in their parking lots where they can spread out customers more, while still being able to give them an enjoyable dining experience. But outdoor seating is only one way that restaurants can, and should, be pivoting. In an effort to minimize contact, I have seen more restaurants turning to contactless payment methods. By allowing customers to pay from their phone via a mobile application or website, they reduce bills and money and credit cards from being passed back and forth between the customer and their employees. Not only will this help slow the spread of COVID-19, but it also gives the added benefit of a faster transaction for the customer and a flexibility for the customer to add comments, split a bill, email a receipt, and more.
Minimize contact with your customers when allowable
It is this idea of changing your business to meet today’s demands that I see many other industries, besides delivery and restaurants, can not only benefit from but must do in order to grow and survive. Businesses must find ways to minimize contact with customers when allowable:
- Going paperless is needed now more than ever and should be implemented whenever possible
- Offering customers QR codes to retrieve information such as quotes, invoices, price lists, and more should be the new norm.
- E-signatures and confirmations should be the standard and no longer just an option provided by larger businesses.
These tools and options should, and can, be adopted by all types and sizes of business. Doing business and providing at least part of your services through some sort of an app or website no longer needs to be for the large businesses that can afford expensive platforms or businesses trying to stay on the cutting edge of technology. These types of tools are more affordable than ever and are becoming mainstream tools that a business should be using not just to stay competitive, but to also stay healthy and relevant.
If there is one change that all businesses have learned, it’s that growth and adaptation has transformed the consumer space and has raised the bar for customer-service as we know it. As a company (in any type of industry), if you can offer to give your customers what they want, when they want it and in a manner that is fast, flexible and safe then you have showed them much more in their eyes. In other words, these experiences have opened us up to a world and service model that is about constantly pivoting your business to deliver your service on the customers terms and think of innovative ways that give them what they need, when they need it most.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our world dramatically. Some of the changes will stay with us for a short time, and some of the changes will be permanent. Embracing the changes, especially the long-lasting ones, is essential to a healthy world and healthy business.
Need Advice and Guidance?
For more than 25 years, we’ve provided advice and guidance to field service organizations in the U.S., Europe and the rest of the world. While we’re experts at designing and helping field service businesses adapt to changes in the industry, we also find it extremely important to maintain a careful eye through a partnership approach that helps your business evolve. We would like to hear more from you and about your business. Request a demo, call 240-403-6001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story and tell us how we can best help and support you.