Business has changed. In the wake of COVID-19, companies – likely including your own – are re-thinking priorities, plans and processes. Suddenly entire workforces are remote, budgets are slashed and hiring plans are frozen.
People sometimes refer to life-changing events as “before” and “after” moments when nothing was the same “after” the life event as it was “before” that life event. The global pandemic of 2020 is certainly a collective before-and-after event. So how do we adapt in its aftermath – particularly when B2Bs can’t see past today and tomorrow?
Despite all the ongoing uncertainty, businesses must move forward. It’s not business as usual but business must still be done under unusual circumstances.
During the height of COVID-19 outbreaks, companies need to react to immediate challenges and threats. At that point, it’s important not to lose sight of doing the right thing. Businesses must remain true to their vision, be empathetic to stakeholders, make quick decisions and adjust those decisions, if necessary, frequently and transparently on the basis of new information in order to adapt quickly.
Throughout our online analysis, one truth became clear: focus on the customer by understanding who they are and what they need. Many have started with this time-tested approach, then a few common obstacles get in the way of putting customers first.
Even before the business impacts of COVID-19, organizations in Lebanon were suffering and struggling to prioritize customer service and experience. In fact, the top-two digital experience tactics B2B leaders say need the most improvement in their organization are (1) understanding who their customers are and (2) personalizing the digital experience to each customer. Managing the content is the third-biggest improvement B2Bs say they need to make.
Budget and investments are as clear as mud following a difficult Q1 2020 for businesses around the world (as of March 2020, 85 percent of businesses still expected their digital experience budget to increase next year), companies agree on where digital experience spend should go. The top-two investment priorities serve the customer better in this digital-first economy. At the height of COVID-19 uncertainty, personalization technology and an ecommerce platform were the top-two B2B investment priorities in 2020. Budget withstanding, we foresee an acceleration of these projects in order for companies to survive.
What many organizations are finding out the hard way is that they are ill-equipped to move to a digital-first world. They must be able to get their products or services into the hands of their customers, digitally. Most businesses declared that selling directly to customers online is the most significant opportunity for their business in the next year.
With the crippling effects of coronavirus on the economy, organizations demand unprecedented agility to pivot on a moment’s notice. Customer-centric, digital-first approaches are the answer. By doing the next-best thing for their customers today, companies will be able to serve them tomorrow. Let’s act quickly.
Coronavirus will not end globalization, but it will change it. Companies will have to adapt to succeed. That’s what viruses force us to do, including economically.
Managing Director at MEWS – Middle East Web Solutions