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DCX 101 – All about Digital Customer Experience

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Customer Experience is the competitive edge to win the market

Let the numbers tell the stories:

  • 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs.
  • More than 80% of companies who prioritize customer experience are reporting an increase in revenue.
  • Customers will spend 17% more for a good experience.
  • Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that aren’t.

Traditional Customer Experience was in the past – Digital Customer Experience is the “now”

Adopting a customer-centric mindset is definitely not a new concept. However, it is undeniable that customer experience has changed drastically over the last decade, from which technology is the momentum. The more technology develops, the more innovative and creative customer experience grows into. 
Today, customer experience in almost every industry is either migrating to digital platforms, or being driven by quickly evolving digital technology. Just think about why Google beats Yahoo in the search engine, why Apple can sell a smartphone twice the average market price, or why Uber has taken over the taxi market. The common constant is that these companies are so proficient in knowing what their customers need and accordingly leverage their technological edges to satisfy those needs. They provide a holistic set of solutions and meticulously plan out the whole journey for anyone using their products and services: from the digital touchpoints to the post-purchase services, backed by the power of technology, which makes the customer experience they offer relevant and seamless. The borderline between technology and customer experience is likewise quite blurry, and in many cases they work closely together as a single strategy to business. It is safe to conclude that the combination of digital technology and customer experience – to which we refer as digital customer experience – is and will be the wild card for business sustainability.

The Digital Customer Experience trends of tomorrow

Curious how digital customer experience will evolve in the next few years? Here is a peak:

Mobile Experience is the potential channel to lead Customer Experience

According to a recent Adobe survey report, 92% of respondents said their smartphone is their primary device. Besides, smartphones have also overtaken computers as the top e-commerce source thanks to its convenient size and friendly interface. Mobile is, without a shadow of a doubt, a prosperous land for customer experience. 
The drop? Only 22% of consumers think mobile experience is good.
Despite the claim of 60% of businesses about their excellent mobile experience provision, mobile experiences are in fact lacking in quality, which reflects in the dissatisfaction of 78% of users. However, it is not a reason to be pessimistic about the future of mobile in customer experience – it in fact creates a need for good mobile experiences and leaves room for their future growth. Grasp the opportunities and be ahead of the mobile experience revolution.

Virtual assistants will be in the main line of Customer Service 

Back in 2011, Gartner predicted that by the end of 2020, 85% of customer relationships will be managed without human interaction – and that seems to hold true to today. The aggressive development of Siri, Alexa, Google Home,… is making people’s lives much easier. Virtual assistants will answer common customer service questions, eliminating the need to wait “on hold” for the next available agent to help customers with a simple problem as in bill, product, or service and therefore allowing customers to get in and out in a jiffy. It will take orders, provide support and answer questions. It will upsell, issue refunds and tactfully solve many other problems – in less time and effort, which later enhances the rate of customer satisfaction.
Banks, for instance, are linking with Alexa and Google Home to allow customers to schedule transfers and bill-pay. Stores are allowing them to order products by voice. Movie theaters can allow them to purchase tickets, select seats, and pre-order popcorn before they even leave the driveway—without even hopping on their smartphones. 
Furthermore, since such virtual assistants are built with AI/Machine Learning, they will constantly learn and evolve without any expensive coaching and training courses and become more clever as each day passes. It will be a tireless, need-no-sleep, productive and tactful representative of your company, and a cost-effective HR solution within the Customer Service/Customer Experience department.

AI/AR/VR takes Customer Personalization to the next level

This is an era when we rarely need to search for the products that would make our lives easier. It’s so easy now to find a recommendation based on your past history. Here we are talking about recommended videos and movies on YouTube and Netflix; recommended music on Spotify; recommended TV shows on Hulu; recommended concerts and performances on Bands in Town; and recommended products on Amazon. AI is essentially putting “in the know” hipsters out of business by bringing any and all content to the forefront. This is an age where everyone knows everything relevant to their needs and wants. AI is also finding its way into the cloud where companies are putting their data lakes to glean faster insights from data and analytics. Azure and AWS, for instance, both offer deep expertise in building applications around AI. This enables companies to scale their AI capabilities quickly leveraging capabilities and experience from the leaders in the public cloud.
In terms of AR/VR, with the rich, immersive filters and simulative vision, they move the technology beyond gaming to more practical sectors such as e-commerce (applied in try-on functionalities), education, healthcare,…Via providing customers with realistic simulations, AR/VR guarantees a great sense of personalization to customers, which explains the revenue projection of $160 billion set by the end of 2020 .

Cybersecurity is converted into Customer Loyalty

According to a recent research:

These statistics indicate that customer trust has already been fragile from the beginning – and even a small snap can take it down immediately. Customers who keep the business alive want reassurance. Likewise, cybersecurity criticality can cause a lot of troubles to businesses because such breaches cause customers to run and brand loyalty and confidence to erode. As such, enhancing cybersecurity is an obvious solution to strengthen trust between the parties, improve customer loyalty and consequently improve digital customer experience. 

How businesses should respond to the emergence of digital customer experience?

Enough talking. Keeping the complexity we just started to explore in mind, let’s look at the digital customer experience – and steps to win the hearts, wallets, kudos and loyalty of the ‘digital’ customer. Here are some basics you should carve in mind:

Defining digital customer experience

Just as customer experience is a very broad field that essentially looks at the sum of all experiences and the overall customer lifecycle, digital customer experience overlaps a broad range of activities.
The only way to look at it, remembering that the customer doesn’t care about the difference between digital and non-digital, is seeing the digital customer experience or digital customer experience as an end-to-end given as well. It’s the sum of all customer experiences a customer has with your brand, company, services, offering etc. across all possible digital touchpoints and contact moments, fueled by digital transformation.

Dissecting the digital customer experience

Dissecting digital customer experience is crucial to improve it. The definition of the digital customer experience is one thing, the reality behind it is another. And that reality is about to change even more dramatically than it already has in these days of digital pervasiveness, as mentioned above. There are several domains where ‘customer experience’ and ‘digital’ meet:

  • The customer experience (expectations) of a digital-savvy customer who uses more digital technologies and channels.
  • The customer experience across various digital touchpoints.
  • The digital technologies organizations can deploy to enable customer interactions (the front-end) and to improve the customer experience (back-office).
  • The experience regarding digital services and products as such. This is one area where smart technology factors come into play:

      + Are built by brands and thus influence the perceptions of those brands.
      + Come with an entirely different type of experience.
      + Offer opportunities to improve customer experiences within the device and/or based on data regarding the usage of the device.

Digital customers are…everyone

Of particular interest is the ‘digital customer’ as such. Simply defined as the customer who really uses digital channels a lot for all kinds of purposes, this digital customer is changing as well. Just as the customer doesn’t really think about the digital customer experience (he cares about the experiences), he doesn’t care whether he’s a digital customer or not.
However, he sure cares about “digital” channels, tools and of course experiences. The availability of digital channels to interact with brands, seek customer service and so on has even become a key decision factor to do business with an organization. And that – for us – is probably the most essential reason to look at the digital customer experience and at the “digital customer”.

Finding a vendor to help you with the technical aspects

Since digital customer experience is now playing a crucial part in leveraging your business, it is important not to only focus on the channels but also on the device, the software and the technology behind it. Finding a vendor that is competent and has past successes in helping clients bolster digital customer experience will better promote your brand with less cost.
Read more: How to find the best vendors to outsource
At the heart of Vietnam – an emerging destination for technological outsourcing, Savvycom is racing against time and innovation to deliver world-beating social apps to our valued clients. With 10+ years of tech expertise, the endorsements from 100+ clients of 4 continents around the world and multiple successful partnerships with reputable global firms such as Apple, Accelerance, IBM, etc., we promise to help our clients deliver the best digital experiences to customers.
Read more: Vietnam as an excellent destination for technology outsourcing

Contact us for further consultation:

 

Empowering your business during pandemic – It’s possible!

savvycom-ceo-coronavirus
UNPRECEDENTED SITUATION BRINGS UP UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNITIES
Firstly, we hope that you, your colleagues, your business and your beloved ones are all well. 
The COVID-19 is honestly an unprecedented pandemic with such desperate impact on our life and work. Right actions need to be taken so that the governments do not have to resort to more intense methods, and we expect that the current closure is the beginning of more openness afterwards – the starting of your new ideas, new plans, and new opportunities.
In this social distancing situation, staying digitally connected is crucial – connected to customers, partners, colleagues, and communities – to get informed, instructed, supported, so that no one is left behind. And Savvycom can assure that we have such experiences, abilities, infrastructure, and proven processes to empower your and your business’ connection with the society through this challenging time.
ASSURING CONTINUITY OF BUSINESSES
When the top priority is the health and safety of our society, businesses are advised to employ digital application to enable business continuity. Aligning to such spirit, Savvycom has implemented our pandemic-response action plan as follow:

  • Promoting our strengths as a Digital Service Provider/Global App Developer: Savvycom is familiar with remote working, as it is the nature of our services. We have 10+ year proven processes in remote working, and it is time to adapt and utilize this advantage on other aspects of business management. 
  • Shifting 100% of our business-related activities to remote-working mode: 1-on-1 business is initially challenging enough, but we have learned from our best example – our Developer Team, who have been working tirelessly with our clients from around the world despite any difficult situations.
  • Support policies for customers: we understand the challenges your business is facing, and we commit to working more than 100% of our normal capabilities to provide our customers with beyond-required assistance. Pandemic-response policies would be carefully customized to best support each certain case.

And we want to do more! A rule by nature is that whenever there’s a “down”, the “ups” are awaiting ahead. Therefore, we hope to exploit what we have had in our capital to help your business going and to help all move on from this current situation. Your business is going to experience the “ups” much quicker once you are empowered with the right IT companion.
IT IS YOUR DECISION TO TAKE A STEP BEFORE ANYONE’S UNCERTAINTY
Amid the tension, there’s a joke that goes, “The main factor that decides the digital transformation of your company in 2020 is neither CTO or CEO, but COVID-19.” Hilarious as it may sound, it is true. To grasp the chance and empower your business with the advancement of technology, or to passively stay on hiatus and pray for the epidemic to go, it is your decision – business owner!
Warm regards,
Van Dang
CEO, Savvycom.

Want to know more? Contact us!

 

The Magic of Flutter

Globally, there are about 5 billion smartphones, according to various estimates, up to 80% of them use the Android operating system, and less than 20% use iOS. And yet, each country has its own characteristics, for example, in the United States more than 65% of smartphones work on iOS. Therefore, when creating mobile applications, it is most often required to release versions on both iOS and Android, using either native or hybrid (cross-platform) development.
Currently, React Native and Flutter are the most active players in the game for most of the new hybrid projects. Unlike React Native, Flutter is just an infant in the development world. So, what do we know about Flutter? What can Flutter do? When should Flutter be used? How is Flutter different from Native and its mate React Native? 
This article could help you figure them out.

What is Flutter?

Flutter is a free and open-source mobile UI framework created by Google. In a few words, it allows you to create a mobile application with only one codebase. This means that you can use one programming language and one codebase to create two different apps (for iOS and Android).  
flutter-savvycom
Flutter is not a framework but rather an SDK for applications designed for a touch screen. Its primary purpose is to work with iOS and Android devices but can run on other platforms as well. Therefore, Flutter consists of two important parts:

  • An SDK (Software Development Kit): A collection of tools that are going to help you develop your applications. This includes tools to compile your code into native machine code (code for iOS and Android).
  • A Framework (UI Library based on widgets): A collection of reusable UI elements (buttons, text inputs, sliders, and so on) for your own customization.

“Flutter is Google’s UI toolkit for building beautiful, natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase.” – Google, flutter.dev

Who benefits from Flutter?

It can be especially interesting for:

  • Startups, e-commerce and all tech-related companies that want to build a faster, more efficient 2D app and release it on all available platforms at the same time
  • Programmers — because it makes coding faster, more efficient and compatible
  • Designers — who want to build great-looking, modern applications that meet the standards of both common mobile platforms.

How does Flutter work?

To develop with Flutter, you will use a programming language called Dart. This is a relatively easy object-oriented programming language with many useful features when building a native application.
As for the interface site, Google’s framework uses Skia, an open-source 2D rendering engine. This set of components allows creating UI in a way — for those of you familiar with game development — engines like Unity allow creating games.
In addition, everything in Flutter is a custom widget created to look natively both for iOS (Cupertino) and Android (Material Design) devices. The whole UI design is all about combining those widgets, including text, shapes, animation. They determine even aspects of the layout like padding. You can even build your own complex widgets from simpler ones.

Pros and cons of Flutter

Advantages of Flutter

1. Allows to build iOS and Android apps at the same time

Because iOS and Android apps built with Flutter use the same code base, there is no need to develop for one system and then repeat the process for another. Apps made in Flutter work on both Apple and Google platforms seamlessly. That means less coding for your development team and more business opportunities with a simultaneous launch on both platforms.

2. Speeds up coding and prototyping

If there is one aspect that should convince anybody to use Flutter is its hot reload. This feature allows seeing any changes made in the code almost in real-time, with no need for app restarting. The updated source code is injected into the running app and Flutter automatically rebuilds the widget tree so that changes are seen in real-time. Hot reload speeds up the process dramatically and also improves the whole process helping the developers to identify bugs as soon as they appear and test new UI or features without tie-ups.

3. Great performance

Since Flutter is not using any OEM widgets and there is no JavaScript bridge for reactive views, the app performance (especially startup times) is noticeably faster than in non-Flutter apps.

4. No compatibility issues

All widgets and their renderers are part of the app, not the platform. There is no need for any additional libraries to ensure compatibility with iOS and Android devices. There are some restrictions, though. Running Flutter is possible on iOS 64-bit devices and all Android devices above 4.4 or 4.1. with software rendering.

5. Open-source

Flutter is an open-source tool which means it has countless possibilities of customizing almost everything in the framework — from Material and Cupertino widgets to animation and gestures.

Disadvantages of Flutter

1. New language

Although Dart is an easy language to learn, it’s still a language to learn. That is why, since Flutter is only several months on the market, the first steps could be tricky for those who look for some online help and support from the community.

2. Suited for universal apps

Flutter’s biggest advantage — building native-looking iOS and Android apps using the same code base can be its biggest disadvantage for some. It is a framework designed for universal, cross-platform apps. Using Flutter for platform-specific projects that use the platform provided views or are in any way tied more to one platform than another is not the best choice.

3. Apps cannot be smaller than 4MB

Because Flutter-made apps are using built-in widgets not platform widgets, their size is usually bigger. Right now the smallest possible app made with Flutter can weigh no less than 4MB, but the Google team ensures that they are working on optimizing it even more.

4. A new, unstable tool

Like all new tools, Flutter can experience problems of relatively fresh technology. Typical concerns include not coping with changes in the UI of iOS and Android for example. Some developers also claim Flutter is still not mature enough to handle big, e-commerce applications — but Tencent and Alibaba’s examples seem to prove otherwise. 

Selection Criteria for Native and Hybrid (Flutter/React Native)

For business

1. Time scale and complication level

Native technologies are often applied when the application is designed for long-term operation (in other words, “life span”). It is also beneficial if there is a need for high performance, a complex interface and animation, low power consumption, integration with third-party resources (API, etc.). Native applications are more profitable in the long run due to lower technical support costs.
On the other hand, cross-platform technologies (Flutter, React Native) is used for quick hypothesis testing, development of prototypes and applications with a clear limitation of the operating life, for example, apps developed for certain events.
Memo for business:

  • For complex applications – native development is recommended;
  • For simple applications – a hybrid (cross-platform) technology like Flutter and React Native.

2. Speed and task matching

Speaking about the development time of a mobile application, it is also important to understand that there is no “average time”. There were simple applications (launch time lies between two or three weeks), and large-scale projects with a development period of more than a year – meaning there is no fixed period for the development of a mobile app. Time to market is determined by the size of the development team and the complication level of the features, rather than any general estimation.
If the application is simple: using the same UI, no platform-specific details such as access to the camera, working with the file system and fingerprints or runtime permissions, working with cross-platform frameworks can be faster and more profitable. Hereof, hybrid development saves time by reusing almost all of the code and the UI for two platforms. However, if you need to create complex custom views, cross-platform development like Flutter or React Native may slow you down. 

3. Security and prospects

When choosing a language, it is important for a business to evaluate its reliability and safety from a technical point of view, as well as prospects for further development, and the risks of obsolescence.
In terms of reliability, native development is ahead of all its competitors. The development of the main libraries has been going on for several years, most functional bugs have already been fixed in them, native languages ​​- such as Java, Objective-C, Swift, Kotlin – are constantly evolving.
React Native provides all the tools for creating secure mobile applications, for example, Skype, Instagram, Facebook and other well-known products. Security concerns are only possible when using third-party modules during development. At the same time, JavaScript is actively developing, new features are being released, in the foreseeable future, the risk of obsolescence is minimal.
In the case of development on Flutter, the risks are higher since the framework is young. According to a recent survey by inVerita where they compare 4 projects developed using different technologies: Native (Kotlin, Swift), Hybrid (React Native and Flutter), the number of cosmetic bugs in the Flutter-project is reduced in 4 times in comparison with Reactive Native and twice in comparison with native applications. There’s no regression in the number of functional bugs. This shows that Google has done a very good job of finalizing the problems and improving the app for better competitive ability.

flutter-bugs

Source: inVerita

For developer

Above, we described the factors that influence businesses and contractors. There are also technological criteria that project managers and developers shall take into account. For example:

1. The level of knowledge of native languages ​​and team preferences

Each team has its own preferences in the choice of technologies. Native development requires the most complete knowledge of the respective languages. However, due to the use of native tools of the systems, there are fewer restrictions and difficulties when customizing or accessing platform-specific tools (unlike React Native and Flutter). If you have experience in JavaScript, a mobile developer can easily switch to React Native (no need to additionally learn the Dart language, as is the case with Flutter) or to Dart (knowledge of TypeScript will be a big plus).
React Native uses native modules under the hood. As a result, if there is a need for customization (and this is not supported out of the box), it is necessary to work with native modules. 
Flutter, unlike React Native, stands out with its own graphics engine. On the one hand, this allows you to not touch native at all when developing simple applications. On the other hand, if you need to access native, this means additional difficulties (for example, messaging with elementary data types and JSON) and the inability to use graphical components of native.

2. Entry threshold

If the developer decides to learn a new language, the availability of the community, as well as background information and documentation, becomes an important issue.
Flutter and React Native are constantly evolving, they have an active professional community and good documentation. At the same time, native development is ahead of the frameworks, thanks to a larger community and more training materials and forums, which describe the development processes of complex components.

In case you want a further comparison of 2 hybrid technologies: Flutter and React Native…

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Once you go down for Hybrid, the next big step is to decide on whether it is going to be Flutter or React Native. Each has its own perks, but since we are seeing the situation through a “Flutter” perspective, we would say despite its younger age, it is sure to be catching up.

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Source: Google trends

There are more and more people taking interest in Flutter, fueling its disruptive growth in these few years. On GitHub, Flutter is currently achieving 89.2K stars against 85.8K stars of React Native. Topics about Flutter on stackoverflow.com are piling with hundreds of votes per question. It is also recommended by my professionals that Flutter is thriving in MVP (Minimal Viable Product), helping businesses to power their lean start-up with a simple and optimal mobile app. 
Flutter is gaining huge popularity, and it creates an edge of a large community, allowing the users to be supported anytime during a short life-cycle of an IT project. Still, if you are making the choice between Flutter and React Native, we advise you to pay attention to the following aspects of work:

1. Assessment

You need to test all the platforms involved (iOS, Android). It is important to objectively assess the level of knowledge and experience of all project participants so that the rating in hours does not turn out to be underestimated. Consider the risk of bugs in the React Native and Flutter frameworks themselves during development.

2. Design

Some elements are difficult (or even impossible) to render in Flutter or React Native. For this reason, the design must be agreed with the developers – and before the customer falls in love with a beautifully drawn picture.

3. CI / CD

On React Native, specific problems with auto-assembly are not ruled out (for example, due to the installation of libraries on different platforms). Need to lay more risk reserves.

4. Splash screen

Implementation on Flutter is faster than on React Native, where this element can only be drawn natively, with a high probability of bugs. When using React Native on a splash screen with all rendering and bug fixes, it is advisable to lay more time.

5. Parallel development of web and mobile

If the web version of the application is written in React, less time is spent on developing a mobile application on React Native – due to the logic of the same components.

6. Layout

When using React Native, layout on iOS and Android must be done simultaneously in order to avoid problems when adapting layout for one of the systems.

7. Debug

If the application is large, React Native makes it easier to test and unit tests. On Flutter, you need to lay more time on the bug fix, since the logs are not informative.

8. Work of the application with system files

It is necessary to request permission to SD-card, while it is not possible to get a name and path with every file. To send a file, you must use ContentResolver. In order to minimize risks, allocate the time for all operations related to the file system.

9. Delivery of assemblies to the client

There are no significant differences from the native development, you can choose any convenient service: Crashlytics, TestFairy, TestFlight.

Wrap up

Whether Flutter is a fit to your company depends largely on your expectation upon the mobile app (time scale, speed, complication level,…). If you are looking for a simple yet stunning and convenient platform, Flutter might be the one. Otherwise, you shall consider other alternatives, such as Native or React Native. 
In our company, we have a skeptical attitude to different kinds of “silver bullets”. We must be confident that the technologies we use will benefit us and our customers, and that benefits must be long-term – not a short-lasting one with a tough “hangover” afterward. Therefore, we make sure to assess the compatibility of your requirements to each technology and suggest the best suit for you. In case you need further consultation on how Flutter matches your future mobile app, feel free to contact us via:

[Op-ed] How to save your business from the Coronavirus

It has been 3 months since the Coronavirus first broke out in Wuhan and mainland China. With the lightning contagion, WHO has announced the virus as a global pandemic, which pushes many governments to take serious actions to constrain the situation. The world is in chaos, and if countries fail to ostracise the virus, the global economy will be stung for quite more time. Businesses would suffer hard, lots of them may be unable to recover and have to announce their bankruptcy. 
This article, based on our collective resources and intelligence, will deconstruct the current state of the Corona pandemic as well as some forecasts till the end of this year; therefore, guide you to effective business continuity with the helping hands of technology.

What is going on?

More than 162,000 results on Google for the Coronavirus. 386,332 reported cases. Over 177 countries and territories are infected. More than 16,747 deaths and 102,333 recoveries. That’s the state, counted to March 24.
In China, the once-hotspot of the virus, the situation seems to be cooling down. Meanwhile, with the recovery of China and East Asian countries comes the uprising of the West as the epicenter. People are required to stay at home, many public events, social gatherings, education and business activities are postponed indefinitely. Border shutdown, large-scale quarantines, travel restrictions, and social distancing have been put into effect to stop the transmission of the virus.

corona-case

Source: Medium

Also, as Corona is a newly found virus, the information around it remains partial and inconsistent. This has put the whole society in a VUCA stage.
Volatility – information overwhelmed
Uncertainty – what we should do, when will the vaccine be available, how long this is going to last
Complexity – of transmission, of solutions on how to protect yourself, of continuity management 
Ambiguity – haziness of information
Not only the society in general, but also the business owners have been dragged into the stage of uncertainty as a result. Some of the variables epidemiologists are still discovering, listed in COVID-19 briefing note of McKinsey, are:
The extent of undetected milder cases: We know that those infected often display only mild symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Therefore, there is a high possibility for public-health systems to miss such cases. For example, 55 percent of the cases on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship did not exhibit significant symptoms (even though many passengers were middle-aged or older). But we don’t know for sure whether official statistics are capturing 80%, 50%, or 20% of cases.
Seasonality: There is no evidence so far about the virus’s seasonality. Coronaviruses in animals are not always seasonal but have historically been so in humans for reasons that are not fully understood. In the current outbreak, regions with higher temperatures (such as Singapore, India, and Africa) have not yet seen a broad, rapid propagation of the disease.
Asymptomatic transmission: The evidence is mixed about whether asymptomatic people can transmit the virus, and about the length of the incubation period. If asymptomatic transfer is a major driver of the epidemic, then different public-health measures will be needed.
However, against all those uncertainties, there is one thing we know for sure: The virus is highly transmissible. Both observed experiences and emerging scientific evidence show that the Coronavirus is easily transmitted from person to person. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the virus’s reproduction number (the number of additional cases that likely result from an initial case) is between 1.6 and 2.4, making the virus significantly more transmissible than seasonal flu, whose reproduction number is estimated at 1.2 – 1.4.
corona-infection

Source: McKinsey

What does it mean to the economy and your business?

The range of potential outcomes is large and depends on the spread of the virus and resulting economic fall-out. As the growth in the number of infectious cases is unstable and inconsistent, the future is uncertain. Therefore, McKinsey divides the situation into 3 major scenarios that cover all possible outcomes. 
Quick Recovery: In this scenario, although the case count continues to grow, countries are able to achieve rapid control as China, so that the peak in public concern comes relatively soon. Plus, given the low fatality rates in children and working-age adults, we might also see levels of concern start to ebb even as the disease continues to spread. 
The scenario assumes that younger people are affected enough to change some daily habits (for example, they wash hands more frequently) but not so much that they shift to survival mode and take steps that come at a higher cost, such as staying home from work and keeping children home from school.
As a result, GDP growth for 2020 falls from previous consensus estimates of about 2.5% to about 2.0%. The biggest factors are a fall in China’s GDP from nearly 6% growth to about 4.7%; a one-percentage-point drop in GDP growth for East Asia; and drops of up to 0.5% points for other large economies around the world. 
Global slowdown: This scenario assumes that most countries are not able to achieve the same rapid control that China managed. It assumes one major epicenter with 40-50% of all cases, two or three smaller centers with 10-15% of all cases, and a several number of towns with a handful or a few dozen cases. 
This scenario sees much greater shifts in people’s daily behaviors. This reaction lasts for six to eight weeks in towns and cities with active transmission, and three to four weeks in neighboring towns. The resulting demand shock cuts global GDP growth for 2020 in half, to between 1 and 1.5%, and pulls the global economy into a slowdown, though not recession.
In this scenario, a global slowdown would affect small and mid-size companies more acutely. Less developed economies would suffer more than advanced economies. And not all sectors are equally affected in this scenario. Service sectors, including aviation, travel, and tourism, are likely to be hardest hit. Airlines would continue experiencing a steep fall in traffic on their highest-profit international routes (especially in Asia–Pacific).
In consumer goods, the steep drop in consumer demand will likely mean delayed demand. This has implications for the many consumer companies (and their suppliers) that operate on thin working-capital margins. For most other sectors, the impact is a function primarily of the drop in national and global GDP, rather than a direct impact of changed behaviors. Oil and gas, for instance, will be adversely affected as oil prices stay lower than expected.
Recession: This scenario is similar to the global slowdown, except it assumes that the virus is not seasonal. Case growth continues, potentially overwhelming healthcare systems around the world and pushing out a recovery in consumer confidence. This scenario results in a recession, with global growth in 2020 falling to between 0.5% and 1%.
In any of those scenarios, the economy is sure to suffer a hit – the question is to which degree, and when will the situation witness a shift – and your businesses too. Of course, the future remains unknown, still, businesses must plan ahead in preparation for the worst scenario. 

How can you survive?

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As Dwight D.Eisenhower once told, regardless of how the events track off the plan, a mature planning process will always give you the tools and agility to quickly adapt and respond. You either pray for the best to come, or take the lead and prepare for the worst. Here I assume you are sane enough to go down for the latter.
Before any further deep-diving, it is important to note that you cannot confront a pandemic the way you do with other types of crises, such as natural disasters or political events. Because the media often talks about these events, we fracture it as part of our normal life and consider them as known and probable events. We know that these events are potentially going to disrupt or destroy our infrastructure, therefore, we devise plans on how to relocate infrastructure and rebuild it to the way it initially was. 
However, it’s not the same as that of a pandemic. In such events, it is not the infrastructure nor equipment that is going to be unavailable, but the people, the community, the personnel that are supposed to run those infrastructure and equipment. These obstacles create 3 major problems for every company, naming:

  1. Downsizing your customer base.
  2. Absence of employees at the office.
  3. Stagnant supply chain.

Hence, the challenge is that although the facility and the products themselves are still there, the stakeholders you need aren’t going to be able to get there. Therefore, your job is to connect the facility and the products to the people that are relevant. You need to scale the environment in order to support more remote users that are going to connect to the resources you have.

Distending the downsizing customer base

The thesis of this is that social distancing has changed purchasing behaviors, putting limits on outdoor entertainment and social interaction. It results in businesses’ downsizing customer base throughout the pandemic.

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Source: Ogilvy

This leaves a huge pressure on on-premises activities since one cannot sell if there isn’t any visitor. Therefore, an apparent solution is migrating your offline infrastructure to a virtual platform, or leverage it as your business’ strategic channel to win back the customers. From here, the work to be done is boiled down to 2 aspects: technology and online marketing.
The technology aspect we are referring to is based on the scenario that you sell your products or services on your own E-commerce platform. Building an E-commerce website/application is strategic, because it gives you the edge in customer experience – and in times of a pandemic, what is more satisfying than having an excellent experience? Even after the pandemic passes away, it would still be advantageous to your business due to the soaring development rate of digitalization.
Still, in order to really deliver the finest experiences to your audience, the platform should not only be well-functional, but also excellent in design to propel customers into scanning the products and services, paving the wave for any activation marketing following up. Hence, we suggest some criteria for a pandemic-shielding platform:

  1. Provide all key eCommerce components, such as product catalogs, shopping cart management, and settlement processes required for B2C and/or B2B eCommerce.
  2. Provide a rich and interactive customer experience, with shopping tools (e.g. single-page checkout) and the ability to leverage user-generated content (such as product reviews and ratings).
  3. Support multiple payment methods.
  4. Allow different types of online marketing capabilities in your webshop such as promotions, up-sell, cross-sell, etc.
  5. Enable great on-site search and external search engine optimization capabilities.
  6. Provide real-time product/service recommendations, guided selling and other capabilities to help customers find products and services.
  7. Provide appropriate ownership models, such as licensed software, transaction based models and SaaS.
  8. Leverage external web services (e.g. Google Maps, Google Analytics, product reviews,) and internal web interfaces (such as fulfillment systems and ERP) to complete the customer experience.
  9. Integrate with other points of customer interaction, such as stores, mobile devices and social networks.
  10. Enable personalization of the overall online experience.

Read more: 3 Common Mistakes In E-commerce Web Design
Apart from those basic criteria, it is important to role-play your customers and think of the “X factor” – your unfair advantage or unique selling point you want to integrate into your platform in order to compete better in the market – especially when many businesses are also relocating to E-commerce. You should as well think of a potential vendor to actualize your ideas and leverage your platform’s user experience. 
However, in the face of the pandemic, it would be hard and definitely expensive to recruit a team of talent engineers and get them to collaborate efficiently to deliver the product in a short amount of time. Therefore, outsourcing a remote team, who have already had the competency and experiences of building such platforms would be a more ideal option to fuel your online selling. The steps you are going to make after that are:

  1. Defining your outsourcing goals and objectives
  2. Choosing a suitable outsourcing model
  3. Collecting a vendor list
  4. Choosing outsourcing destination 
  5. Evaluating each vendor 
  6. Deciding on the most potential vendor and start working on the project

Read more: The Ultimate Outsourcing Guide
Read more: Vietnam – the offshore IT outsourcing heaven for tech dominants

 
In terms of Marketing strategy – a strategy that is effective enough to retain the maximum number of customers within your funnel, you have to think about a major question: How do you innovate to find a new way to deliver solutions and services in line with the new situations and new behaviors?
The key for the question is understanding the stage of the market. You have to grasp the latest information about the development of the Coronavirus, by which degree it is spreading and how people are reacting to the pandemic in order to analyze into the situation, to forecast where it is going and how you are going to react accordingly. It is the combination of news, articles, reports and social listening to derive customer insights and their changing behaviours. Some helpful and reliable sources for latest information and ideas we recommend are:

  1. Your country’s official information channels
  2. World of meters
  3. Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering 
  4. Kantar World Panel
  5. Nielsen
  6. McKinsey
  7. Boston Consulting Group
  8. Bain
  9. Harvard Business Review
  10. Gartner

From there, you start connecting the dots – in alignment with your business competency and future prospect – for innovative marketing ideas. Ogilvy divides the essential steps into 4 major phases: 

  • Sustain long-term sales, where you reallocate spend behind most topically relevant segments and SKUs.
  • Engage all audiences and stakeholders where you carry out stakeholders mapping and recreate “shared values” programs.
  • Activate your purpose where you generate a meaningful message, action and support for public health and safety.
  • Spend smarter where you optimize drive-to-web, drive-to-commerce with smart digital platforms.
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Source: Ogilvy

Also, it is important for you to look at what the customers are doing during the pandemic. If they don’t go out, then “where” could they be? Find the answer for that, and be available where they are – in the right place, at the right time. Put it another way, you should adjust the channel mix, content and potential partnership to secure the efficient reach and keep your online selling relevant.
channel

Managing the “work-from-home” culture

Work from home is probably one of the hottest searches on the Internet these days. The governments are taking further steps in controlling the pandemic, so do the companies. Besides the inevitable situations, such as quarantines or transportation shutdowns, business owners are also allowing their employees to work remotely to protect their health – and it is definitely necessary, given the transmission of the virus. 
However, it poses a problem as to how to scale the working environment to more remote users. It is about the paradigm shift from local network access to remote network access, followed by the increase in bandwidth, along with the traffic and architecture.
But why is moving to remote working a problem to consider? It is because of 2 reasons: the unstable Internet routing and the efficiency of employees without physical supervision.
Business activities, if not dependent on physical meetings and conferences, are mostly reliant on the Internet. However, as most people stay at home during the pandemic, there are a lot more users trying to use the Internet – not only those who work, but also those who want to entertain. This puts pressure on the Internet, hence reducing the efficiency and service quality. Therefore, you need to plan ahead on your Internet routing quality, on how to improve its capacity and efficiency. The solutions might be lying in:

  • Colocation

Relying on a colocation data center allows better connectivity as it has fully redundant network connections to ensure that customers’ business-critical applications always run uninterrupted and complete control of your physical servers. It also provides you with the flexibility to burst to higher bandwidth levels to accommodate your traffic demand without having to make repeat capital investments. 
Hereof, you can increase or decrease bandwidth as you wish so when shifting from working in the office to working from home you will be able to guarantee the bandwidth and the internet connectivity of your company network. In addition, if you have the time and ability, you should centralize your data source that gives you access to redundant high-speed networks. 
However, if you’re not currently on a colocation or don’t have the resources to do it, you can contact your telco and not only increase the bandwidth that you have between your on-premises environment and the public cloud, but also between sight-to-sight depending on how you’re going to architect your work-from-home strategy.

  • On-demand virtual workplace

Working from home means your employees will need access to your network remotely. Therefore, you need to plan for how employees will access the workplace from a hardware perspective, from a software perspective, from a licensing perspective and from a network perspective. 
A suggestion is that you consider users’ work shifts for remote access. You can’t have all of your users connecting at the same time because it will overwhelm your system, making your system harder to scale and pressure the Internet. The solution is that you still let everyone involved, but at an appropriate time to adapt to this paradigm shift.
In case of remote supervision, apart from calling your employees’ autonomy, integrity and responsibility, you could leverage your existing business management software to a more convenient one, or customize it to your needs. It could be a software allowing companies to push all the processes and documents on the public cloud – but with superior user experience, or a Feedly-like software which integrates multiple types of business management software such as invoicing, asset management, CRM, database,.. into one place. Therefore, it would be easier for the CEO to keep track of the process of every function in real-time with less time.

Upgrading the supply chain

Just as the first 2 segments, there are currently 2 problems with the supply chain: stagnancy of export/import, and the uncertainty of where to push stocks to. Trucking capacity to ship goods from factories to ports is at about 60 to 80% normal capacity, while goods are facing delays of between eight and ten days on their journey to ports due to border shutdowns. Customers that have pre-booked logistics capacity may not use it; customers may compete for prioritization in receiving a factory’s output; and the unpredictability of the timing and extent of demand rebound will mean confusing signals for several weeks or even months. 
A must then is to stabilize the supply chain. You need to define the extent and duration of your supply-chain exposure to areas that are experiencing community transmission and inventory levels. You also need to consider rationing critical parts, pre-booking rail/air-freight capacity, using after-sales stock as a bridge until production restarts, gaining higher priority from their suppliers, and, of course, supporting supplier restarts. 
Companies should start planning on how to manage supply for products that may, as supply comes back on line, see unusual spikes in demand due to hoarding. In some cases, medium or longer-term stabilization may be warranted, which calls for updates to demand planning, further network optimization, and searching for and accelerating qualification of new suppliers. You need to digitize your processes and tools to integrate demand, supply and capacity planning, in which leveraging your supply chain management system shall be recommended for better and smarter application. 
That being said, there is a sharp need for a more distributed, coordinated and trackable supply of components across multiple geographies and vendors while maintaining economies of scale, which could be actualized through integrations of sophisticated technologies such as 5G, robotics, IoT and blockchain to help link multiple buyers with multiple vendors reliably across the of supply chains.

The Corona pandemic is a shock to thousands of individuals and families it has affected, as well as to the global economy. Large-scale quarantines, transportation shutdowns and travel restrictions have put many pressures on the customer base, the paradigm shift and the supply chain, which requires businesses to react fast and plan for all possibilities. Firms that choose to capitalize on changes will survive and ones that don’t will get disrupted. 
We hope that our articles have given you valuable insights as for how to overcome the pandemic. In case you need further consultation on how to apply technology to your businesses to optimize cost and boost efficiency in this time of the pandemic, feel via to contact us via:

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