Here are my thoughts; across the continent, we will have incredible business opportunities post COVID-19 in what my fellow experts are now calling the “novel economy”.
Out of the many key things I think African businesses and leaders should do to thrive and not just survive post COVID-19, let me share some thoughts about these four:
EX (Employee Experience) is critical if any business will stand tall post COVID-19. This global crisis came with a lot of tension, fear, chaos, stress and much for professionals. It is the responsibility of business leaders, board of directors and management team to pay close attention to their employee experience. This should not be left to chance. African owners and executives should ensure to create an attractive, friendly and purpose driven workplace culture that will enhance employee performance.
Go beyond paying attention to just the profits, the sales, the systems and forgetting the people who make all these work. Provide your employees more than just a good salary; provide them care, kindness, emotional gratification, fun, family and much more.
“A Great Employee Experience Creates Engaged Employees. Businesses with Engaged Employees Outperform Competitors by More Than 200 Percent” Dear business executive, create an environment where employees feel heard, valued, cared for and appreciated, they become more productive.
CX – Customer Experience. Let me start by reminding us about these keywords so we do not confuse them;
Customer: The people who support our business or buy from us.
Service: The acts of helping someone.
Support: The action of giving assistance to someone, to enable someone to do something.
Experience: The human reaction to a moment.
African businesses should be ready to go beyond just providing customer service. Designing and implementing great customer experience will be a critical competitive advantage in post COVID-19 business period especially for small and medium sized businesses. This is a situation where the experience is shaped by how the customer feel, think, and react in any moment. Note this; what your clients remember about their experience is your brand. Genuine customer’s experience means designing, imagining and executing the customer’s experience to mean something more profound, memorable and unforgettable
As African business executives, we must be conscious the quality of a customers experience with our businesses defines the very value of your business
Speedy and Effective Processes
We are in a moment in time where customers are very impatient…I call it the fast economy. The inability of a business to serve customers with speed and efficiency will negatively affect customers experience and loyalty. The process effectiveness of any business will determine the level of success. Effective business processes lead to
– Higher productivity
– Increase in sales and profitability
– Increase in employee morale
It is therefore imperative to develop business processes that will enable the business to serve customers with speed and effectiveness. It could be counter service processes, distribution processes, inquiry processes, complaints handling processes among others.
One key way to set processes is by developing business process plan. This involve setting goals and devising practical and realistic schedules that allow for the consistent achievement of those goals. Laying out clear step-by-step (systematic) objectives and expectations for each employee. Building repetition and consistency are necessary steps in developing effective processes that stand the test of time. In addition, repeated processes can go through innovation to serve a higher purpose.
Expansion of Digital Transformation
There is an urgent need for African business leaders to push and lead the digital transformation process in their businesses. Due to lockdowns, social distancing and other COVID-19 measures, the need for digital way of serving customers have greatly increased.
Digital transformation is about taking proactive steps to incorporate new technologies into your way of doing business
It is time for businesses to prioritize digital innovation to develop digital products and services, digital ways of expressing and delivery services to customers. Digital transformation is one of the best means to expand market opportunities. Here is the fact, digital transformation is essential for African businesses of any size to stay relevant and competitive in today’s African market. African business owners and executives simply cannot ignore the benefits of using the right technologies in their businesses.
In driving digital transformation in your business, you should aim to achieve the following
– Automate routine workflows
– Increase effectiveness
– Improve customer service and experience
– Lower cost of operations & increase profits
To conclude, the way we do business in Africa will greatly evolve in post COVID-19 period, the novel economy will come with a lot. We should be ready for what is coming. Take note, McKinsey described five qualities that will be critical for business leaders to find their way to the next normal: resolve, resilience, return, re-imagination, and reform.