Teddy Liu, General Manager for Group Audit & Management Services, New World Development Company Limited [HKG: 0017]
Things are changing at a speed of light in recent months, particularly the whole world is impacted by the merciless coronavirus pandemic sweeping over the continents at the quantum velocity.
Now as we all know, or are forced to reckon, that change is inevitable.
Frankly speaking, not many people will actually fear of change itself, for they do not know what the end state of the change will be. Being ignorant may sometimes be a blessing. On the other hand, most of us do have fears on the process of change, for we may have doubts if we can “adapt” ourselves to something not expected.
If you are still not convinced that change is inevitable and is at your door front, think about these:
• Can you leave your house without your smartphone? If so, how comfortable that you consider yourself is connected with the rest of the world? How much can you plan your next step without looking at your digital calendar? How would you connect with your friends at different locations and chit-chat simultaneously without social media apps? This is an example of how technology changed our lives.
• Have you ever tried to use your friend’s portable and search for items using Google? Do you feel something different as compared to your desktop search engine? Do you realize that what props up from your search may not be what you would have expected as you do the same using your own computer? Why? You are clever enough to know that your behavior over the net is somehow tracked and tailored. That is the magic of “big data.” Your search engine has learnt from your daily behavior and helped you look for things that you prefer.
• In the current days where COVID-19 is still wide-spreading world-wide, a home office is a must to save each other from cross-contamination. You may consider such an inconvenience is just a temporary one, expecting to go back to “normal” when the epidemic is gone. However, gradually, you accept the fact that such a pandemic may persist for a longer while. Have you ever noticed that the new way of “mobile working” is seeping in our lives and drive us towards a new working mode? How often you heard the words “Zoom” or “VC” that provide you with the solution of meeting others through the net without physical touch?
The world is changing fast…
Against this background, can we still stay relevant?
To be relevant, we cannot just look within ourselves and see how good we are. We need to reset our reference point. As business people, what is a better beacon than setting our anchor on our “Customers”? Without customers, we have no business, and we shall be forced out of business.
Who are our customers? How can we identify the right ones? How to ensure we are serving our customers effectively and efficiently so that they are satisfied and continuously supporting our businesses?
Nowadays, businesses do not only happen on the street, more and more businesses are transacted online. That said, as the younger generations are generally digital savvy, they are the new mass of customers that we are going to serve. So, who are helping the companies to serve our customers on the net? How do we evaluate the return of investment on a digital frontage? Are we ready to gear up our employees to be digitally competent so as to capture the new generation customers?
Covid-19 provides us with a good time to rethink and to reset. We all understand that we have no escape from the digital arena, no matter how “conventional” our business can be. So, instead of waiting for things going back to the “used-to” normal, we have to move ourselves to adapt to and if possible, drive our business growth under the “new normal”.
“How to create value to the customers based on what we have?” become a prominent question to be answered by every surviving business. On that, the next challenging question will be “What talent we have that can help the company to strive in the new normal?”
Do we need a new breed? Should we acquire our new talent or groom them ourselves?
With the brutality of fact, things are moving fast and have passed the point of no return. Either you have to acquire the new talents from outside or to groom your own, you have to start now.
So, as with the wisdom ofa famous philosopher:
What next? Just move and start with your core competence and rethink, and see how your vision can fit into the basic human needs in a new way, both virtual and physical, well-blended.
Some practical steps to suggest:
1. Revisit on what you are good at – defining your core competence.
2. Revisit on who are your customers – your revised value proposition. Are you still relevant?
3. Identify the touchpoints that you can reach your new customers – revise your customer journey mapping, online and offline.
4. Review your resources deployment plan, are all your resources being deployed to the critical touchpoints where your impact to the customers is optimal?
5. Focus on cashflow. Cash is king.
6. Redefine your internal process and marketing plan to present your core competence to the new customers on the new customer journey map.
7. Set goals and measure progress.
8. Put things into splints, PDCA, and continuously improve.
9. Mobilize (motivate) all capable staff into the growth zone, and build your own competent team.
10. Stay agile, positive and proactive.