From small companies to large corporations, no one has been spared the wrath of the coronavirus pandemic. This crisis shut down entire industries and forced companies to adapt and evolve. Amid it all, silver linings do emerge, and it’s often due to innovation and a relentless desire to thrive. Instead of shutting down or giving up or simply taking a break, thousands of companies choose instead to make significant transformations to stay alive and stay relevant.
“The only way to survive and thrive in this type of environment is to look for new and valuable options to offer your customer,” says Evans Baiya, innovation strategist and author of “The Innovator’s Advantage.”
Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific has talked to several businesses who implemented changes due to coronavirus and are now keeping them.
Some companies have cut down or deprioritized non-essential aspects of their business. With many non-essential processes being paused, many companies have rearranged budgets to cover the loss of customers and hyper-focused on tactics that they know will still generate revenue. Some small businesses that were forced to shortened hours found rearranging schedules increased productivity, and their bottom line hasn’t suffered. Others are looking into possibly keeping staff remote to save on costs, as their teams thrived working remotely.
Daniel Arita, vice president of American Carpet One and Flooring, says turning to technology allows their customers to make choices virtually.
“Our salespeople started virtual consultation via Zoom with customers where they could see and measure the project,” says Arita. “A room visualizer tool shows the space and includes the finish selections. The tool allows customers to make a decision based on more than a sample of the material.”
For those who looked for new and creative ways to communicate with their customers, they are finding new email marketing tools that have paid off and will now be part of their overall strategy. Because consistent, clear communication often rests at the core of business survival during the pandemic and as doors start to open again, companies look beyond email to keep vendors, customers and prospects in the loop.
BBB Northwest + Pacific utilizes landing pages on its website to tailor relevant information to broad and specific audiences. From a “Building Trust in Trying Times” general resource page to pages built for business operators in specific industries (think general contracting, accounting, healthcare and more), our organization can keep information timely and specific to a vast array of readers. Others have found new social media strategies have proved to be successful in speaking to their customers.
Beyond marketing messaging and channels, many business leaders focus on improving customer experience to retain clients. To boost customer experience and adapt to the current landscape, those we spoke to use tactics such as bringing company offerings online, whether selling products or providing services remotely.
“We are encouraging customers to order online for pick-up, come in less frequently and place larger orders, only hold up their ID for check-in instead of pass it over, and bring exact change in order to minimize the amount of time spent in line at stores,” says Amy Bohannahan, marketing manager for Oregon-based marijuana dispensary Nectar Markets. “All of our budtenders are using hand sanitizer between each transaction and washing their hands as often as possible.”
One of the more innovative ways businesses show their survival chops in this current economy is stepping totally out of their box and creating a new product or service to offer – such as businesses who take a close look at new needs this virus has created and build a new product that helps with safety and health concerns.
“A business’s success is directly related to the environment,” says Baiya. “If things change and the business does not, the business will suffer; companies have to change as the environment around them changes.”
For more information and tips on running a business through COVID-19, visit https://bbb-businesses.org/covid-19/.