Lockdowns, economic uncertainty, and an entirely changed business landscape are only a few realities imposed by Covid-19. With several approved vaccines, we see a light at the end of the tunnel and are cautiously optimistic. The impact of Covid-19 has been long-lasting for many, with hybrid work from anywhere strategies looking like they are here to stay, businesses now need to ensure their new ways of working are secure, compliant and resilient to future impacts.
As the world continues to deal with the pandemic, companies must return to strategy with a distinct ambition in mind: Business Resilience. Resilience and quick adaption in a fast-changing world is a prerequisite for business survival – in the ‘new normal’ and the next.
In many enterprises, resiliency has been deprioritized and overrun by a pursuit of short-term gains. Not surprisingly. Pre-Covid, the value of organizational resilience was never truly appreciated and understood. Now, in a new light, it has proven to be the very key to driving value, fight off ambiguity, create and sustain competitive advantage.
The pandemic exposed just how fragile operating models, supply chains, and businesses in general are. Challenges were especially excessive for those relying on traditional operations, sales, and support channels. As a result, digital adoption has accelerated. This is explained in this recent article on remote interactions in sales.
With companies becoming more dependent on technologies and digital insights to drive business, digital transformation has become the very backbone to resilience. With irreversible changes to how we work and customer behaviour, companies must adjust for a new reality and prepare for a tomorrow, defined by digital fluency.
Those who reset and deliberately invest in resilience through a digital approach, will not only be able to weather the next crisis, but become future-ready. This high-level roadmap outlines a digital path to business resilience.
Empower your workforce with the right tools and technology
When the pandemic hit, companies weren’t prepared. Overnight, employees had to work from home, often while lacking the right technology and knowledge to do so. In turn, customers, who also had their lives disrupted, needed urgent support that couldn’t be delivered.
Workforce resilience is enforced by moving teams and technology closer together. Companies can leverage cobots (bots that work alongside humans, also known as Intelligent Digital Assistants) and other assistive tools to support employees with customer interactions by offering real-time feedback, coaching, and suggestions. Simple automation and online-self-service can augment a reduced team and significantly help your workforce manage peak demand. For instance, intelligent tools will enable front-line employees to rapidly diagnose complicated problems and provide a simple, often one-click solution in response.
In the long run, leaders must revise their corporate processes and structures to solidify new ways of working, safeguard employees and create a trusted work-environment in a digital landscape prone to risk. They must seek alternative and secure approaches to onboarding, managing, and maintaining the mental well–being of remote workers.
Reduce organizational costs, not talent
While a pure lift-and-shift model may stop the immediate bleeding in a crisis, leaders must respond with a plan to reduce costs and optimize efficiency to weather this storm — and what follows. To this day, no one knows how long the virus will continue to disrupt our lives or what the other side of the pandemic will look like. Reducing both business costs and budget spends can safeguard the financial health in these challenging and uncertain times.
For many businesses, an almost reflexive reaction to the crisis was, unfortunately, to reduce headcounts. While this approach may be a natural response to diminish direct costs, it may not be beneficial, especially in the long run.
When effectively utilized, dedicated employees can be a company’s strongest financial asset, rather than a liability. Instead of eliminating talent and teams vital to success, businesses can drive significant cost savings with alternative solutions, like effective self-service and automation.
A customer inquiry typically costs somewhere between $6-12 per live interaction, while a self-service interaction can cost as little as 25 cents. Along with decreasing average handling time (AHT) and accelerating the time to competence with a shorter but more sharply targeted onboarding, these initiatives can drive millions of dollars in annual savings.
Finally, assessing existing business processes and ways of working can shed light on how teams can best be optimized for performance in the new normal. A detailed process assessment can uncover major bottlenecks, help leaders streamline and harmonize organizational structures in a dispersed workforce and accurately target high-impact areas fit for automation. These efforts, when implemented correctly, can significantly drive down costs. Learn more about advanced process mining, discovery and mapping in our extensive guide.
Drive growth by connecting CX and EX
Resilient experiences have become a matter of urgency to gain a sustainable competitive advantage. The quality of your customer experience (CX) depends, in a large way, on your operating model.
Pre-covid, a webshop may have been the supporting asset to a physical one, now, the webshop must, without a doubt, take center stage. How your operation is layered, will directly influence the customer experience you deliver.
Businesses must be able to reach their customers through digital channels, streamline online self-service and drive end-to-end experiences that are not only seamless through digital touchpoints, but linked to and backed up with the physical experience that follows (i.e. delivery).
Your employees drive your customer experience. Ensuring your currently dispersed workforce feels connected and empowered, is essential to fuel engagement, and in turn growth. Those who lead with resilience have already merged front, middle, and back-office into an intelligent OneOffice that makes it easier to connect and continuously improve experiences.
Growth is harnessed by giving customers what they need. Leveraging advanced analytics will help leaders identify gaps in their current experience, effectively eliminate friction, understand and forecast customers’ demand and new behaviour – and act on it.
Those who reset and build resilience can not only ride through the next crises but become future-ready. With almost every industry becoming more dependent on technology to run operations and drive customer value, the path to resilience is, in almost every sense, digital. Yet, as the new normal unfolds, businesses must pay extra attention to safeguard employees, secure financial health and optimize experiences for a new reality.