It seemed as if the end of the world had finally arrived when Covid-19 spread across our communities. Everything came to a halt, from the economy to dating to gym memberships, and left millions of people in the lurch.
The pandemic has harshly affected commerce. Businesses have had to close their doors while others have lost the majority of their customers. All companies have had their operations and sustainability models tested.
In discussion with Jeremy Diamond on How Tech Can Help Businesses Survive COVID-19, he explained that Covid-19 has served as a wake-up call for most. The pandemic has forced the move to online operations for many. Proactive businesses that adapted to the pandemic’s challenges early have realized that it’s been a blessing in disguise. Those that have weathered the storm have done so because they’ve shifted a lot of their production online.
Jeremy Diamond on the Onset of Digital and Internet Tech
Jeremy Diamond, a senior partner at Diamond & Diamond Law, a full-service law firm with plenty of experience in personal injury cases, explained: “There are some of our clients who embraced digital and Internet technology. It was only natural for them to go through some adjustments at first. But going online for some has allowed them to be more efficient despite being on lockdown.”
A recent study showed that around 35% of small businesses have begun offering online services since the shutdown. 76% of these business owners said they were now using digital tools more expansively than before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. A third reported that they would’ve had to close their businesses if it wasn’t for Tech Helping Businesses Against COVID-19.
Some businesses had to change because of the pandemic completely. For others, it brought them into the digital revolution that might have taken 4 to 6 years otherwise.
The legal profession is no different. Although faced with many challenges in the past and adapted, they never had to do a 360-degree turnaround. While working remotely, the legal fraternity has had to evolve to online consultations and meetings, online libraries, and even virtual court appearances and library searches.
Online Collaboration With Team Members
Reliable communication with team members has always been essential. In the past, this has all been accomplished via face-to-face contact. Meetings and traveling to meetings took up valuable time. With the onset of the lockdown, businesses could save a lot of time by meeting online. A lot of them began using tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack, among others.
These programs allow you to share documents, create email lists, and chat rooms, all without changing out of your pajamas. Files are portable, and you can download them onto any device. This makes it incredibly easy to connect with employees, manage daily tasks, and keep operations running.
Useful tools help team members finish their work within the targeted timeframe and the available budget. Communicating online assists with clarifying goals and sharpening communication, both verbal and written. With all of the resources available to take your business online, anyone can do it.
Advancements in the Legal Tech Industry have been vital to this new legal world. It creates a flexible work schedule that works for employees and clients, which e-commerce client management.
Embracing Online Communication Tools
Businesses have woken up and found that communication doesn’t have to take place in a boardroom. Employees already had everything they needed to participate in the workforce at home. They were already equipped to continue operations even during the lockdown. Using programs like Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Slack, they could carry on with their everyday tasks.
Video chat technology has also allowed remote team members to meet and plan at a distance. The advantage of this technology is a decentralized workforce. One that can keep in touch no matter where the individual members are at the time. Office space and the cost to maintain it is no longer necessary.
A lot of us hadn’t heard of some of these tools before the pandemic. Today, they’re household names. They have allowed businesses to communicate with their teams and connect with clients as if nothing happened.
There may be some disadvantages to operating remotely for legal firms. By removing the office environment, you remove the support staff, and even though most lawyers have a PA, it does not replace the team dynamics. There may also be a lack of networking opportunities and socialization with your colleagues. But, some might see this as an advantage.
However, the advantages of being more flexible, saving time on commutes, and lower overheads using cloud-based technologies far outweigh the perceived disadvantages.
Jeremy Diamond on Shifting Operations Online
Jeremy Diamond, a senior partner at Diamond & Diamond Lawyers, knows all too well the benefits of leveraging one’s presence online. He has managed to grow his firm across Ontario and other provinces by using creative branding and aggressive web & digital marketing methods.
Other businesses can follow this model to shift some of their operations online and continue serving existing and new customers.
Example: Yoga instructors have felt the impact of low customer turnout because of the pandemic. Some teachers have managed to stay afloat and even grow their membership base by shifting to live streaming yoga classes.
Example: Tech repair shops saw their sales decline during the lockdown. By going online and boosting their social media presence, they strengthened their device servicing operations. At the same time, they pivoted more toward marketing their online gaming inventory and offering free delivery.
If we look at recent statistics, we can see this shift happening across industries. Social media engagement has increased by 61% during the lockdown. At the same time, web browsing activity has grown upwards of 70%. These are significant numbers that should show any business the current benefits of online marketing and ecommerce. It’s exciting to see How Technology is Helping Businesses Survive COVID-19.
Service Industries Are Going Digital
Before the lockdown, service industries such as financial management, personal grooming, and fitness instructors didn’t see themselves as virtual providers. E-commerce was mostly a great business tactic, but many smaller service industries have seen owners adapt to offer creative consumer solutions.
Pre-pandemic, real estate agents relied on open houses, networking events, and meetups to drive sales. More and more are now taking advantage of online bidding, virtual tours/walkthroughs, and social media engagement.
Tour guides have also embraced virtual online tours. They use these to promote themselves and bring travelers to their regions. Some have created online portals to generate income. Museums and art galleries have opted for 360-degree virtual tours of their exhibits.
Healthcare professionals are offering virtual clinics and online medical consultations.
Hairdressers have opted to use online booking portals that control the number of appointments and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Even law firms are shifting online. Personal injury firms like Diamond & Diamond are now holding video chats to consult with clients. They also offer online tools to continue working on their existing cases.
Successful law firms ensure that their services deliver a consistent and effective service. They also listen to their clients and assist them with their expectations. Creating avenues whereby the client can access information remotely and follow up with an online consultation at their own time, and work/home makes absolute sense. Technology is building a new sense of customer service, which can only benefit the legal fraternity in the future.
Jeremy Diamond says that “Digital technology is here to stay, and Covid-19 won’t be here forever.” You had better believe he’s right.
Focusing on E-commerce
Before COVID-19, some physical stores already employed e-commerce and mobile app models, but these weren’t their focus. The pandemic has allowed them to fine-tune these aspects of their business. Some have even experienced reduced overheads after pivoting their concentration.
The changes we see aren’t short-term and will continue to grow as more shoppers want to see their favorite stores set up on the Internet. Up to 87% of customers, if not purchasing online, are now doing research and looking for products online before buying in-store.
Operating in a digital world doesn’t mean closing down your conventional brick-and-mortar business. Still, by digitizing, you can put yourself in front of exponentially more people than you could with an old-fashioned window display alone.
Despite the challenges that Covid-19 and the resulting fallout continues to throw at us, you can leverage technology to improve your revenue stream. You may not meet previous demand, but you can adopt strategies and techniques that may open new avenues for sales. It would help if you didn’t stand back and only watch Tech Helping Businesses Survive COVID-19. You want to be one of those businesses.
Often people say they hope that business will return to normal, but that may never happen. In the meantime, we could be developing new products and services that will take us even further into the future of commerce.
Covid-19 might have thrown a wrench in normality, but it also sped up consumer technology adoption. The effects of the pandemic will be felt for years to come. But the results weren’t all bad across the board. One thing it has accomplished was to make everybody rethink the way we do business.
In the words of Jeremy Diamond, “Businesses may have been left with no other choice but to embrace technology because of the pandemic, but the upside is that once the health emergency is over, businesses then will be better equipped to continue serving customers, who most likely have also embraced all things online anyway while trying to survive Covid-19.”