Digitization: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences, many trends, such as measures in the course of the advancing. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences, many trends, such as measures in advancing digitization, have been accelerated in numerous business areas. Some of these developments will also trigger changes in our working world in the long term. It wasn’t just about absorbing economic losses. For many industries and business areas, the partly enforced measures were also a kind of food for thought, which opened up sustainable, positive prospects for the companies and employees. Sum Total has identified five important developments in digitization.
Digitization: The Triumphant Advance Of Virtual Sales Platforms
The trend towards online shopping has preoccupied retailers and brands for years. The temporary closings of stores to contain the current pandemic have supported this trend and spawned new concepts. In many places, smaller local businesses have joined forces and set up common online platforms. Consumers can continue to use local providers as an alternative to the extensive online media in the future.
But the unplanned break was also food for thought for industries that traditionally rely heavily on an on-site sales experience. The automotive industry, for example, continues to rely on car dealerships with showrooms. Up to now, many dealers had hardly any online resources for selling, and even the automobile manufacturers themselves had very different levels of online offerings. Although the virtual offer will not replace a test drive in the future, a large part of the research for car purchases could shift permanently to the online area. Comparison platforms on which vehicle features and prices can be compared are already the starting point for many buyers when buying a car.
Providers who also offer a virtual brand experience, where buyers understand the driving experience and the equipment in advance, realize a clear sales advantage. Tesla, Hyundai, Audi, and VW are among the pioneers where you can not only wholly configure your dream model online. In the first virtual showrooms, interested parties can take a seat from the couch at home in the driver’s seat or on the back seat, look around the interior, and even receive advice in real-time. Such a virtual brand experience also conquers other industries – from digital kitchen planning and the furniture industry to sports and fashion brands.
Digitization: New Requirements For Customer Service
While sales staff from shops and direct sales had to go on short-time work in many places in recent weeks, inquiries in call and contact centers exploded simultaneously. This affected not only the trade but also service providers. Many industries reacted to the shift in customer inquiries with new digitalization concepts. Financial and insurance service providers, for example, are expanding their virtual advisory services. Instead of a combination of on-site advisory meetings and telephone advice, future-oriented service providers opt for video conferencing options, for example. This means that the customer does not have to forego more personal visual contact with his advisor. This concept could also prevail for many users and consultants in the future.
Again, for example, from the automotive industry: Hyundai had already launched its online showroom before the Corona crisis and combined it with personal advice. In a studio in Aschaffenburg, there are four vehicle models and specially trained sales advisors. They can guide interested parties around the vehicles via video chat and answer questions. Due to the general shift in the direction of online consulting, companies need to rethink their online concepts and technologies used and a change in human resources. Instead of losing experienced specialists, further training could qualify them for a transition to virtual counseling if necessary.
Digitization Optimizes Interaction With Partners And Suppliers
What applies to customer contact also applies to interaction with partners and suppliers. In this regard, too, many industries have so far been rather conservative and have mainly relied on a fleet of employees who carried out negotiations and training on-site. Here the enforced contact restrictions had at least a positive effect. In the medium-sized business sector, in particular, some suppliers or service partners have so far been somewhat skeptical of virtual channels.
The enforced contact restrictions had at least one positive effect in this regard: some skeptics found that virtual sales processes, meetings, or training courses also work better than expected. Personal contact will remain important in the future. Still, the number of conferences and the many kilometers that the “Road Warriors” cover in sales far from their families on the streets could be significantly reduced. From webinars with technical instructions for installers to onboarding new suppliers via virtual platforms and with the help of collaboration tools and video conferences, many digitalization technologies have been able to demonstrate their practical benefits in recent weeks. In addition, there are cost advantages and faster implementation of many work processes.
Use Of Technology And Digital Tools
Digital tools and platforms form an essential basis for implementing work processes without personal contact. A necessary step in this is integrating business systems and their opening beyond company boundaries to enable smoother cooperation with partners and suppliers. But solutions such as webinars, online training, collaboration platforms, and other digital offerings can be used for numerous business areas and processes. The use of video conferencing solutions has exploded in the last few weeks. The possibility of virtually face-to-face communication makes it possible to establish a personal connection despite the physical distance. This is just as important when onboarding employees, partners, or suppliers to maintain a sense of community when working remotely.
The trend towards increased mobile and decentralized work had already established itself in recent years. Since the current crisis has forced many companies to grow their equipment for digital systems and remote workplaces faster than perhaps planned, industry associations assume that this trend will continue, at least in some areas, even if workplaces can be fully occupied again. According to a survey by the digital association Bytom, one in two (49 percent) currently works entirely or at least partially in the home office and can imagine working remotely in some cases in the future.
Employees As A Critical Factor In Digital Transformation
The implementation of digital technology is an essential basis for the performance of a transformation. However, it is at least as important to develop the necessary skills and qualifications among employees. Dealing with new technologies and tools is just one area where employees have to be trained more and more frequently.
However, a flexible and quickly applicable system for employee training is one of the critical factors for almost all work areas to react to new situations and requirements. This affects employees in direct contact with customers who, for example, have to comply with hygiene regulations, deal with a seasonal rush in shops, or the current restrictions and distance rules. The same applies to the many employees who work in virtual teams or contact customers, colleagues, or partners increasingly shifting to virtual channels.
Thanks to digital HR, HCM, and learning platforms, employee training courses are becoming much more flexible and can be implemented ad-hoc and from any location, as required. In addition, such systems help recognize which employees would be offered further training or retraining if changes in the company – for example, a shift of advice to online channels – lose some tasks or roles and new jobs arise elsewhere. In this way, qualified employees can be retained and qualified for future digitization requirements.
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