As companies re-evaluate their work-from-home strategies, it’s important not to lose sight of who else is changing their business habits. Customers are currently in a state of evolution, shopping online far more than ever before while simultaneously adapting to the many changes around them. Even if you feel like you have a stable plan for the next five years, are you sure your customers can see the path to follow your growth?
The current work-from-home, virtual office reality is a template for future startups, who’ll be more nimble and easy to adapt with a global talent pool. Building this infrastructure for your customers, however, is a greater challenge. Here’s how to adapt for a long-term strategy no matter what the next five years may bring.
Focus On What You Know.
The best way to deal with uncertainty is to admit what you don’t know. If your company has an all-in strategy on a single tool, channel, or workflow, chances are you’ll find yourself having trouble pivoting when problems arise. Your past experience can inform where you should aim to grow in the future.
Take the most recent example of digital disruption: TikTok, the fastest-growing social media channel, faces an uncertain future, as countries like India have banned it with the United States primed to follow suit. Meanwhile, CEOs of the biggest tech firms – Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google – are being scrutinized for a variety of practices that could change the way they operate now and in the near future.
As of now, the upshot of all this remains unknown. The digital channels companies increasingly implement may not be as stable as they once seemed. At the same time, tried-and-true methods you used from day one – hitting the pavement, making the calls, and getting your company’s name mentioned in the right rooms – are more important than ever.
None of this means you should abandon an omnichannel approach to your customer communication. Embracing emerging and upcoming technologies, be they tangible or digital, is a great way to find new value within your company – if you have the leeway to do so. For companies facing down a dual pandemic and global recession, a focus on what you know best works well.
Times of social distance mean the more time-timested your method of reaching out, the more likely you’ll get a response. Customers know this too: Many don’t even bother trying email or chat before heading straight to phone-based customer support. When you’re there to answer them, quick and professionally, you set yourself up for better business communications for the long-term.
Stability Through Tumult.
The next five years will bring myriad changes for your business, your customers, and the state of the world. The products and services you offer today could be entirely different in just a few years time, or you may end up serving a completely new client base. Whatever happens, a strong foundation ensures your customers know your company can be relied on at its core.
Start by finding out where you can get in touch with your customers most directly. This means no confusion about who they need to contact, and how, to get direct answers to any question. If you’re doing business exclusively through one online channel you’re in trouble. Moving toward the channels that everyone has access to – like your company phone number, where they can connect with your team directly, or an easy-to-remember email that always responds – creates the stability startups need right now.
It’s always a good idea to be investing in the latest tech and seeing how you can improve both internal and external communications. The winds of technological change are swift, yet the foundation of how we communicate stays the same. When face-to-face isn’t an option, simply hearing someone’s voice can put all of your customers’ concerns at ease.
Eric Schurke is VP of Operations at VoiceNation. Eric has been a part of VoiceNation for nearly a decade helping establish the company as a telecom trailblazer by developing innovative solutions for businesses and global challenges.