By Henk Olivier, MD of Ozone Information Technology Distribution
It’s impossible to get away from the pandemic. It’s in every boardroom and conversation, and it hangs around in every video conference and meeting.
While most organisations, and individuals, are very much suffering from pandemic fatigue, it doesn’t change the fact that the channel has to revisit its strategies and approaches in order to thrive.
This is not a short run to the end of one part of a problem, it’s a marathon that needs proper planning and a business fitness that many companies don’t yet have.
Fortunately, it’s not too late. Building the resilience that your business needs is an ongoing process. The closest analogy perhaps being similar to the old adage of fixing the plane while it flies but instead, as the pandemic fundamentally changes almost every business framework, it’s building the Boeing while it’s in the air. This resilience is critical and it’s possible for any business. Looking back at the 2008 financial crisis, it was those companies that could cut costs, reshape investment and refocus solutions that managed to walk out with their foundations intact.
The IT and technology industry is one that has not been as severely impacted by many parts of the lockdown as other sectors, but it is being indirectly affected by other factors. If your business sits in in the IT infrastructure support, services, development, communication sector, then you will likely find that some of your customers will still need you.
So make this a time to deliver exceptional customer service so they stick with you throughout. As client retention is critical, be price sensitive and listen to your client’s needs. If you can try and determine when their business may be on a downward trend, then you can either adapt your services to help bolster their business, or prepare for a loss of income further down the line.
Create an action plan that will allow for you to explore new business avenues so you can get potential new business for your company.
Structure this systematically and don’t let it slide when things are busy – change is sudden and unexpected so you want to be prepared for any closures or income drops. This can be further enhanced by streamlining your own business process and delivery to clients so that you can improve your service and solution set.
Client communication is also essential. Keep your clients in the loop, communicate with them around any issues or potential concerns, provide them with alternative ways of contacting you.
Don’t make it difficult for them to get in touch or get support and guidance, make every part of your business process as accessible as possible.
Create a communication channel for the business that both the clients and your employees can use.
Don’t make it complicated and tedious and require endless passwords or downloads. Use a system that’s accessible and that has a low barrier to entry.
Microsoft Teams is free for anyone to download and use and it comes with pretty much every bell and whistle your company needs to keep connected.
It’s also a really good idea to have the security conversation with your customers. Are they secure? Have they plugged all the vulnerabilities in their business as they’ve moved to remote working?
Often, the move from physical premises to remote office working can open up holes in security that are only discovered when it’s too late.
Solutions such as Kerio Control Firewall or GFI LanGuard for patch management are cost-effective and quickly integrated into most business systems. They provide a solid layer of security for companies that are struggling to find their foothold in the remote world.
It’s not an easy time right now, for anyone. This global feeling is likely to hang heavy over companies across the world for months. It can seem daunting, but if you keep the channels of communication open and consistently look for ways in which to support your clients, you can emerge as a resilient business.
This article was published in partnership with Ozone IT.