Could the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spark an increase in innovation?
Throughout history, innovation has been inspired by hardship and necessity. In the past few years, positive markets and strong job performance may have curtailed innovational improvements because things were going well. If you consider the history of pandemics as a guide, this contagion, like all others, has the opportunity to spark a wave of innovation, and alter the shape of society.
Some positive moments that have already occurred include:
- Microsoft, Google and Salesforce enhance communication technologies and provide free access to small businesses and individuals
- Public and private businesses have increased cleaning and sanitation processes to improve occupant experience and decrease the potential viruses to spread
- Individuals have become more aware of their own responsibility to protect themselves and those within their environment by improving self-hygiene
- Biometrics and smartphones have the opportunity to take the place of badges and ID cards and help reduce germ transmission
- Some polluted cities can see blue skies for the first time in years as millions stay home and reduce carbon emissions, smoke and smog production
Look for ways to improve
If COVID-19 is reducing business for your company, consider stepping back and finding new ways to improve your customer insight, internal and external operations and communications.
- How can you serve your customer better?
- Are there better ways to interact with consumers?
- What steps are needed to improve your business model, employee and customer experiences?
Use this slowed time to improve processes in your business that may have been neglected because things were “too busy” before. Consult with employees, especially those on the frontline, and listen to their ideas. They have a unique insight and that may improve your business model and help you double down on enhancing customer service.
This can also be a great time to improve training and launch virtual classes for employees. It gives employees the chance to learn at home and improve their skills for when they return.
Investing in in-depth customer service training and employee development skills will improve your business in the long run.
Continuing to interact with hourly employees can spark new insight for the business and provide employees with additional skills when they return. It also helps generate work for hourly employees that may not be able to perform their day-to-day duties and don’t have enough time-off accrued.
While the current circumstances are out of your business’ control, making the best of a situation can improve company morale and customer engagement.