Is it time to reconnect with your customers?
We know you probably spend a lot of time connecting with them already, but we’re not talking about routine sales calls or service reviews. Covid has brought a tidal wave of change to UK businesses, and your customers need support. Be positive, be proactive, and help anxious IT managers and CEOs prepare for a future beyond the pandemic.
Of course, as a supplier of networking and communications technology, you already know that consultancy is part of the job. You’re always on hand to help customers navigate change with the best digital solutions for their circumstances.
And that role has never been more important than it is now. Even though we’re in a national lockdown, the vaccination rollout means there is light at the end of the tunnel and SMEs are starting to look beyond their emergency response to Covid and towards a post-pandemic world. They know it will be very different from the one they left behind in March 2020, and they’ll need your help to prepare for it.
They certainly have plenty of pain points that you can help address. Business leaders are reading reports about the revolution in home working and wondering how to make it work for them. They know that it brings a wealth of benefits, but they worry about having the right technology to power the change.
There’s good reason for their anxiety. Hastily improvised solutions that were fine during lockdown might not be good enough when an emergency response turns into something more permanent. For effective remote working, employees need professional telephony, easy ways to collaborate with each other, and access to all the tools and services they use in the office.
And businesses need the bandwidth to cope. Digital transition was happening anyway, but Covid has supplied the rocket fuel. Many businesses moved more services to the cloud during lockdown. At the very least, data-hungry services like HD video have become staples of SME life.
The costs of change
Then, of course, there’s security. This was a huge headache before Covid, with nearly a third (32%) of businesses reporting cyber security breaches or attacks in 2019, according to government figures. Then the pandemic started and everything got riskier, with an army of remote workers connecting to vital systems and data from outside the company firewall, some of them from their own devices. The upshot? There were more cybersecurity breaches in the first six months of 2020 than there were in the whole of 2019.
All of this is in the minds of your customers right now, and many have another issue too. While they might accept the need to upgrade their security services or remote working tools, they also worry about the cost. Some businesses are weathering the Covid storm well but others are struggling to survive. All of them are concerned about what the next few months might bring.
You can help
So what’s your part in all this? In some cases it might only be one of reassurance. If you can assure a customer that they have the speed and capacity to meet their remote working ambitions, you’ll give them one less thing to worry about. They’ll be glad you took the time.
Or it might be one of education. Could you provide training on, for example, the best way to keep critical data secure while allowing productive collaboration between dispersed teams? Maybe suggest a video conference for employees on basic security protocols for remote working. If you need our help with that, just let us know.
Alternatively, it might be a case of explaining to customers that they can equip their businesses for the post-pandemic world in a way that saves money in the long term and opens up opportunities for more efficient and effective operations.
For example, adding bandwidth doesn’t just meet a current challenge, it also lets organisations scale and experiment with the latest cloud-based tools and applications without worrying about capacity. When new technologies come online, high-performance connectivity puts businesses in a position to make them pay.
On top of that, cloud-based unified communications (UC) allow staff to communicate and collaborate as effectively away from the office as they can in it, while managed security services monitor customer networks and ensure security services are always bang up to date, freeing up IT staff for other tasks.
Of course, it’s worth reminding customers of the savings that can be made with cloud-based applications, and the fact that OpEx services require minimal initial financial outlay.
If any of this smacks of opportunism, it really shouldn’t. Many customers – and especially SMEs – will be crying out for solutions to problems they haven’t faced before. If so, they’ll appreciate an expert guiding hand as they prepare for a very different business landscape.
For more detailed insight on helping your customers manage change, download our ebook.