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Now that the worst of the pandemic is in the rearview mirror, a new question is hanging in the air. How can companies begin to rebuild? What areas of business did you neglect or change over the course of the past year? How do you know that your company is not just surviving the present but building toward a successful future?
2020 was a year for the ages. The coronavirus pandemic left businesses from every industry scrambling to adapt. A year later, most companies that are still in existence have done just that.
Here are four areas of business that could use an overhaul after the disruptions of the past year.
1. Customer Service
Customer service is a business area that took a huge hit in 2020. Homebound setups replaced call centers. In-person staff meetings had to take a back seat to virtual meeting software. And yet, throughout the chaos, countless customer service teams managed to come through. They fielded phone calls, answered emails, and responded to onsite chats.
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Now that so many customer service teams have successfully adapted to a remote-first customer service format, how can they take things to the next level? Where can your business improve its current customer service activities?
Do you need to do something simple, like create a cloud-based customer service handbook? Universal documents like these can help reps maintain consistency in your brand’s voice, tone, and offered solutions.
If you’re looking for something more advanced, consider implementing a better IVR option. Interactive voice response tools are often frustrating for customers to work with. Is yours delivering results? Can you shift to a cutting-edge visual IVR solution that gives your company an edge over the competition?
Whatever the specifics, it’s important to review your customer service situation. After all, if you don’t keep your clientele happy, your company won’t have a future. It’s as simple as that.
2. Marketing and E-Commerce
The marketing landscape shifted a lot in the past year. However, even with those changes, it didn’t shift much from its trajectory. Marketing was heading online far before the pandemic gave it a push in that direction. Chances are your enterprise has taken advantage of some of the benefits of online marketing in the past twelve months or even earlier.
However, online marketing isn’t an area of business that’s known for its paucity of options. Quite the opposite. Marketing can be an overwhelming process with countless options and solutions. So if you’re already using online marketing, consider overhauling your current strategy. Now that you’re established online, how can you improve? Are you tracking your results? Do you have a social media presence? Are you utilizing search engine marketing (SEM)?
The same goes for e-commerce websites. Long before quarantines and shelter-in-place orders forced businesses onto the cloud, companies were creating their own websites. Your business probably had a site, too. If not, it most certainly does now.
With e-commerce here to stay, how can you improve your existing site? Are you using an efficient e-commerce website builder that stays updated and cyber secure? Do you have a safe way to process payments from customers online?
You may have built up your online marketing and e-commerce presence in a quantitative manner over the course of the last year. The question now is how you can refine the quality of those efforts going forward.
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3. Your Offerings
Many businesses changed their company’s offerings in response to the pandemic. Sometimes this consisted of tailoring existing services to fit the new normal. A good example of this can be seen in the food industry. Countless restaurants set up websites, took orders online, and then created curbside pickup spots for customers to get their food.
At other times, companies made more serious pivots into other areas of expertise. The car manufacturer GM, for instance, was given a nearly 5-billion-dollar contract to manufacture 30,000 ventilators to help with the ongoing crisis.
While most small businesses didn’t make such drastic changes, the point still stands. There’s a good chance that you adjusted the way that you present your company’s offerings (including, at times, the products and services themselves) to the public.
If that’s the case, this is an area of your business that needs your attention. It’s essential that you review the current state of your products and services. Are they still meeting a consumer need? Are you delivering them in a manner that is appropriate for the current times? How can you adjust your research and development to ensure that your business offerings continue to meet customer needs in the future?
4. Your Brand
Finally, there’s your brand. Times of crisis aren’t the best occasions to consider how your brand looks. Crises tend to push businesses to focus on basic survival. In 2020 things like maintaining payroll and setting up a remote workspace were areas businesses tended to rank above branding.
Now that business has begun to resume a sense of normalcy, what is the state of your brand? This is a separate consideration from your marketing. Your marketing efforts should focus on finding prospective customers, cultivating relationships, and closing sales.
Your brand, on the other hand, refers to the persona your company exudes at all times. This includes everything from marketing and sales to your website, your customer-facing employee behavior, and even your products themselves. What is the state of your brand right now? How can you begin to build your brand once again? A few suggestions for ways to do so include:
- Reviewing your logo, website, mobile app, and any other branding elements to ensure that they’re still consistent.
- Creating a brand handbook for your employees to define the voice, tone, and vision of your brand.
- Brainstorming ways to make your brand more personal and relatable.
- Using your online marketing to spread brand awareness through social media, influencers, and other marketing channels.
- Asking for feedback from customers to help increase the effectiveness of your branding efforts.
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With the “survival” part of the pandemic fading into memory, it’s time to start thinking about the future. What areas of your business operations need a once over?
Critically Examine the Areas in Your Business
Every area of business should be reviewed at times. However, your customer service, marketing, offerings, and brand should all be high on your review to-do list. So make a plan, schedule in time, and start figuring out how you can get your business back on the path to success.