One of the factors that distinguishes companies that survive crises like these from competitors that don’t, is the fact that they can move fast and pivot quick. Characteristics that sometimes caused a fairly limited difference in normal circumstances can now have a huge impact.
Take a look at the video conferencing tool Zoom. It is one of the only companies that will benefit from the boost telework has received: it now has 300 million daily Zoom meeting participants - a huge jump from the 10 million back in December. On a technological level, it has managed to scale up without major damage - a fail that Niantic couldn't avoid years ago when it launched Pokémon Go, resulting in weeks of downtime.
However, Zoom didn’t give a faultless performance. When the eyes of the whole world are suddenly focused on you, mistakes emerge even faster. One newspaper after the other reported on the security issues at Zoom, forcing the company to openly apologize.
In the same blog post, the company announced that ‘over the next 90 days, they are committed to dedicating the resources needed to better identify, address, and fix issues proactively.’ They proposed a roadmap to fix their security issues, bought key directory Keybase a few weeks later and announced a plan to build end- to-end encryption that can reach its scalability. That’s moving fast, breaking things and fixing them all at the same time!
From HQ to the supermarket
We don’t even have to go that far to look for inspiring examples, there are also many Belgian companies that seem to be able to weather this crisis well. For companies that were fully committed to digital since years, such as KBC, little changes for most of its users.
Retailer Colruyt invested in speedy, easily viewable, relevant and up to date communication in the MyColruyt application in these uncertain times. Thanks to concrete and clear notifications and in-app messages in the new version of the app, Colruyt can keep its customers informed of the latest Covid-19 measures in the shop. There’s an ‘emergency banner’ in MyColruyt too, which is used to give updates. Next to that, promotions had to be temporarily disabled on short notice, and were quickly re-enabled once they were allowed again. The app, which we helped develop, saw a huge increase in usage in the last weeks.
Not only on a digital level the company proved its agileness, also on an organizational level. In no time the people that normally work at the company’s headquarters were helping to fill the shelves all across the Belgian supermarkets. ‘More than 1.000 employees supported their colleagues during the crisis. People from the central desk, marketeers, directors, people who normally work in a non-food shop… This really underlines the importance of our 'group thinking' and that in these times we need more help from each other - and are also very happy to offer that help’, says Lies Cassiman from Colruyt.
Such a sudden switch only works on one important condition: if everyone knows exactly what is expected of them and what the company goals and values are. In the case of Colruyt, ‘readiness to serve’ is one of the most important group values: ‘helping is one of our qualities. We are committed to serving our customers and colleagues.’