The pandemic is challenging commonly accepted standards for how we do business.

  • Corporations who previously swore remote work was impossible… have now magically made it work in a matter of months (and many are seeing productivity gains).
  • Customers are visiting physical spaces less and less (and focusing on delivery & pickup)… yes customers still expect to have great experiences.
  • No one can travel… so customers are investing in local experiences (which don’t involve crowds), like hiking, biking, driving, etc.
  • Video conferencing is now a must… forcing everyone to be effective in front of a camera.
  • Customers are researching purchases online (more than ever before), and are hungry to ask questions (online chat vs. in person).

What does this mean? It’s simple: Businesses who are thriving are evolving with technology.

Operating a successful business has always been about having great processes and systems to ensure the excellent delivery of your product or service. The major challenge in 2020 is that any business which is not embracing technology to assist with customer acquisition, communication, and fulfillment are, with few exceptions, going to encounter some serious difficulties.

Concerned about remote work and meetings? Get over it.

At Solid, remote work has always been encouraged. My view is simple: get your work done, be a part of the success of the company, and do that where ever you want.

Business owners and managers trusting their teams is always a sensitive area. People are all over the spectrum in their beliefs. It is also very industry dependent. A mature and highly educated workforce is going to react to remote work differently than one that is not.

All this means is that leaders have to work even harder to determine the right solution for remote work or remote meetings within their business. The faster you adapt, the better off you’ll be.

How effective is your online content? Does it feel/sound the same as if you were talking to a customer face to face?

If I had $100 for every client who struggled with the cost of creating effective website and online content for all of their products and services… I would be a rich man.

When a customer is learning about your products or services (anywhere) online, it is absolutely vital that you maximize that customer’s experience. You can’t just have a bland list of what they get or what is included, you have to SELL, and one of the most effective ways to sell is to delight your customers.

So ask yourself… What are some of the key reasons your customers love to engage with your business?

Then make sure that your website, social, and any online content reflects that.

  • Are you funny and entertaining? Make sure your content is.
  • Are you tactile, educating and demonstrating in your offering? Use a lot of video.
  • Do your customers ask a lot of questions? Listen to those questions and add them to your product/service pages.

Self-plug: At Solid, we’re expert communicators. Let’s have a content planning session and talk about it. Visit our site and contact us.

Are you using business chat or bots? Become an early adopter and avoid getting left in the dust.

An example of an online chat tool and it's value proposition

Customers still have questions, and just because they can’t talk to you face to face doesn’t mean that they have lowered their expectations about the answers they get (or the speed with which they get them).

Sales or support chat can be added to any website, but once it is set up that is only 10% of the battle. Businesses need to treat chat as if it was a primary revenue generator, literally the same as a customer ‘walking in’ ready to do business.

Great tools are also not the cheapest tools, so a) invest, b) experiment, and c) if you’re unsure about how to set it up correctly – I recommend talking to a specialist (like us).

Chatbots are an automated form of chat, where a customer can have a conversation with your company without actually speaking with a physical person. The key is how you set it up.

(Modern chatbots are very different from those frustrating self-service phone systems that big companies use. You can give your bot a ‘soul’ by being very deliberate about how you set it up and what you write for it.)

At its best, a chatbot will save your company time and make you money, by fielding repetitive questions and putting customers in touch with an ‘actual person’ should they need to. At its worst, a chatbot is a continuous loop of increasing frustration that drives customers away if it wasn’t set up correctly.

The key to succeeding at chatbots is to put a great deal of thought into how you set them up, AND the language that you use. We’ve set up chatbots for hotels, restaurants, retail businesses, online coaching, and more. Like a sharp knife, you have to use it correctly.

Complacency is the enemy of adapting

The challenges facing businesses, leadership, and teams are greater than ever. While not advocating that you leap without looking… I do strongly recommend that you use this time to challenge your own perceptions as a leader, control your fears, learn, adapt, and grow.

If you’re struggling with that, there are many excellent consultants, coaches, and companies who can help you navigate these new waters. (Just make sure you choose wisely, and look beyond just a great sales pitch.)