Businesses have little cash on hand. Most business are continuing to cut costs and retain whatever cash they can for survival. Most industries have exercised layoffs or furloughs to cut labor related costs. Buying decisions are under extra scrutiny. Business travel, new hires, and new software purchases are the top categories of budget reductions. What are you doing to entice your customers to pay for your products and services right now? Can you extend payment terms instead of losing the sale? Have you considered including extra features, more training, customer support or extended warranties? What would draw your customers to want to make a payment right now?
Employees are anxious yet eager. Their own health and safety are paramount as they are eager to either get back to work or resume some normalcy in their work. Unemployment has spiked forcing many to pursue gig economy or other industry positions. The vast majority have retooled to operate fulling remotely and online. We can anticipate that labor rates are falling as we experience an unprecedented unemployment level. How will you ensure the safety of your teams and begin to ramp up sales simultaneously? What is your plan for staffing up as you scale while keeping costs to a minimum?
Consumer confidence is low except for staple products and services. Considering the uncertainty of the national economy and employment levels, consumers confidence has tanked. Purchases are focused primarily on staple products. A few consumers are opportunistic bargain hunters looking for deals. If you are a consumer-focused company, how are you adapting your products, services and support to increase consumer confidence? What will make your services more attractive to savvy consumers in a post crisis time?
Consumer habits have shifted to online-only channels. For the past few years, consumer purchasing research and analysis has been conducted via online channels and contributed to a growing buying on-line trend. The recent environment has forced consumers to completely extend other consumption habits to online channels: research, purchases, and delivery arrangements on-line. Entertainment habits have shifted almost entirely to online sources. Consumers are well beyond using self-service tools to change their passwords and have evolved with sophisticated skills and expectations for ease of use of icons. What are your best options and most cost-effective means to interact with your customers as their habits and expectations have morphed into a sophisticated online universe?
Now is the time to prepare your company with a post-crisis strategy and plan. Step one is understanding how your market and customer behaviors have changed and how those changes could impact your business. I want you to survive this crisis and be ready to emerge strongly. In part two of this series, I will offer suggestions on piloting reinvention within your company with a play-to-win attitude to fuel your success. You will want to step up thoughtfully with an emergence or reinvention strategy even with an unclear road ahead. Minimize your costs, act confidently, view the trends in realistic terms and play to win.