React fast, and focus on people — how the tech and telecoms industries can step up to the plate during the coronavirus pandemic
As organizations around the world shift how they operate in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the tech industry is playing its part with innovations on everything from product, to pricing, and operations to support their customers. At Qualtrics, we’re playing our part to help you react quickly to support your people and your customers in these difficult times.
Few things have accelerated digital transformation quite like the current situation with COVID-19 — and for most, it’s been entirely unexpected and unprecedented in the impact it’s having.
Businesses have had to react quickly to shift everything online, whether it’s enabling their entire workforce to work remotely or moving in-person activities like events and conferences to new, virtual settings.
For the tech industry, it poses three major challenges:
Your people — even an industry more advanced than most in enabling remote work has had to react quickly to a ‘new normal’ where almost everybody is remote.
Your customers — as every business, school and public sector organization shifts their entire operations online, tech companies are responding to help enable them and ensure they meet customers’ needs as they continue to change day by day.
Your supply chain — across the board, supply chains are having to adapt under the weight of staff shortages, restrictions on travel, and a major shift in how people buy products as they look to digital channels while stores are closed.
Supporting your people during COVID-19
Most tech companies are already set up for at least some - and in some cases even the majority - of their employees to work remotely.
But the lockdowns in place as many countries scramble to flatten the curve and contain the spread of COVID-19 have made fully remote workforces the new normal.
On an individual level there are plenty of challenges, not least the immediate safety impact and the sharp, sudden change to their daily lives.
So it’s important now, more than ever, to listen to your people, to make sure they’re okay, supported, and have the resources they need to continue to serve customers in these difficult times.
It’s why we’ve made our Remote Work Pulse tool free to any organization to use during the COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s all part of a series of new, free solutions we’re opening up to organizations around the world to help.
Supporting your customers through difficult times
Day by day the needs of customers, just like employees, are changing whether it’s their own shift to a remote workforce, or challenges in their supply chains, or shifting to new business models to support their own customers in the environment they now find themselves in.
We’ve seen the tech and telecoms industries react with lightning speed, embracing new business models and ways of operating to make sure their customers remain at the heart of what they do.
There are plenty of examples too, like AT&T suspending data caps and borrowing spectrum from Dish to help customers work remotely, or Apple and Google setting rivalry aside to work on a joint solution to put coronavirus tracing capabilities into smartphones.
It’s forcing companies to review everything from their product, to their pricing in order to support the changing needs of their customers.
Like supermarkets, who have seen unprecedented demand for online delivery put services under strain, or cafes and restaurants scrambling to join food delivery platforms in order to continue to offer a service to their customers.
Technology companies have a huge role to play in supporting these organizations in enabling new capabilities, or ramping up support for existing services which are increasingly under pressure.
Take for example the spike in eCommerce. Even some of the biggest ecommerce companies aren’t set up to react as quickly as they’d like, potentially resulting in poor digital experiences. So they’re looking to tech and telecoms providers to help whether it’s increasing capacity on the network or introducing new functionality like online queuing systems, or new ways of interacting with customers digitally.
Every customer will have different needs as they look to pivot quickly and innovate in order to maintain their own businesses, and in order to support them, it’s vital you’re able to keep track of what they need.
That’s why we’ve opened up our Customer Confidence Pulse for free during the crisis, to help you keep on top of customer needs and respond accordingly to support them in tough times.
Managing your supply chain during COVID-19
The other major challenge for everyone right now is the supply chain. Staff shortages as a result of illness, quarantine, and self-isolation as well as new social distancing measures in warehouses and fulfillment centers has put supply chains under strain.
Where once these finely tuned systems could react quickly, with next day delivery, last-minute order updates, and a just-in-time model that helps everyone provide better services to their customers, for many that’s just not possible right now.
It’s left many facing long wait times and stock shortages as the knock-on effect is felt globally.
And while many of those challenges can’t be ‘cured’ — after all, things like illness and social distancing are here for the medium term at least — they can certainly be planned for.
It starts with being able to spot issues on the horizon. Has a supplier lost half its workforce for the next 14 days due to self-isolation? Is there an issue getting a key material needed to produce your product?
Knowing these issues ahead of time can help you plan and adjust for problems coming down the line.
As part of our efforts to help in the crisis, we’ve opened up our Supply Continuity Pulse for free, to help you get ahead of problems in the supply chain.
From identifying risks in the supply chain, to helping you build your continuity plans, it gives you updates from your suppliers in real time, so you’re not left wrong-footed.
Unprecedented times require unprecedented agility
We’ve seen some high profile examples of tech companies reacting quickly to support their customers and prospects over the past few weeks.
From changing pricing and offering free solutions, to rapidly innovating on product and operations, tech companies need to react with a speed and urgency that’s unprecedented.
But what connects all those examples is not how they’ve done it, but why.
They’ve put experiences at the heart of their responses and taken a human-centered approach to designing and reimagining the experiences they deliver by:
- Anticipating what their audience expects
- Launching successful products
- Continuing to serve customer needs in a hyper-dynamic environment
Those organizations able to support customers best are those which are able to keep a pulse on their employee, customer, and supplier needs, and do it more frequently than ever as they shift hour by hour and day by day.
Here at Qualtrics, we’re supporting tech and telecoms companies to keep by making our own tools free to use during the pandemic.
It includes our Remote Work Pulse, Customer Confidence Pulse, Supply Continuity Pulse and many more solutions designed specifically to help in the COVID-19 crisis .
They’re open to everyone, and they’re free to use. It’s our way of doing what we can to help, and I hope it helps your business react in these challenging times.
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