By now, we are all familiar with the terms "social distancing" and "work from home". These are among the widely used terms during this pandemic, as is the word "sanitizer". This period of social distancing has also opened up the field of digital marketing, enabling a business to run fully by using the tools of technology.
It is fair to say by now that the post-pandemic world not be the same as the pre-pandemic one. We are now engaged in a battle of survival – be it businesses, lives, jobs or anything else. As the pandemic continues, businesses are trying hard to survive and some are on the edge of extinction.
The world is locked inside and this is the best time for human resource departments to decide how to keep offices going by selecting who needs to to be brought to office physically and who can be allowed to work from home. People like CFA, CA, data analysts, etc can be allowed to work from home while those like customer service managers can come to office for face-to-face interactions with customers.
The probability of changes in supply chain, business models and business policies are very high. As face-to-face interaction is a strict no-no, which is why the usage of digital intelligence comes into play. Supply chains might be centralised and hence will be operated by one or two users to oversee the movement of products and services.
Business tracks might change as some will allow discounts and some will change their ways, while others will just slightly deviate from their path. Start-ups which are more in the spotlight are the ones who use technology and fin-tech efficiently.
Some start-ups might be more in a turmoil than bigger companies as the latter are cushioned against any risk. If you are an entrepreneur, the condition of the whole economy is not in your hands, but the way you control the building blocks of your business plays a role.
On the flipside, start-ups are more flexible in nature and hence can adjust to new situations with the relatively smaller number of employees they have. If, by chance, a big business is on the edge of failing, it is a very tough for them to turn back on their policies.
The advantage of start-ups is that they are more fluid in nature and thus are constantly innovating and improving. Because of that, their survival will be easy with change.
For example, Pathao has linked with Shwapno and is providing services through Pathao Tong. This idea of collaboration has also kept a lot of businesses going. Businesses will have to cut unnecessary expenses and will have to focus on securing maximum returns.
This is a very crucial time for customer retention as it has proved to be one of the best ways to keep businesses going. According to Forbes, the acquisition cost of getting a new customer can be five times more than retaining the current one. Hence, this might be an unnecessary cost for businesses right now.
One of the three big consultancy firms in the world, Bain & Company, found in a research that if customer retention is increased by 5 percent, profit can increase from 25-95 percent. Customers are now less willing to try out new services and are looking to rely on the old ones they had better experiences with. So, the best practice is to keep the existing ones on the priority list.
A survey shows that a 30 percent discount has magical effects in making customers buy that product, which Chaldal.com has implemented now. Moreover, if a start-up received money from investors before the pandemic, they might use that in creating on-demand stuff, such as apps for efficient streaming, retail trading, corona testing, supplying emergency products, etc.
The emerging idea of drive through café can also be one of the ways to keep coffee shops going, like Starbucks is doing, to fit in the puzzle of new normal.
Similarly, rental cars can work as ambulances during emergency hours to at least keep their business going.
This is the time to generate new business ideas, be innovative and unique, grab the attention and emotions of customers, and most importantly, keep oneself safe.
The new normal will bring up the theory of zero-sum game where a few business will be reborn and a few will be pushed to the edge of extinction.
Kashfia Kamal Metheela is a recent graduate from the Department of Finance, Independent University Bangladesh, and a certified supply chain analyst. She can be reached at [email protected].
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.