There are few times when a business’ internal capabilities are put on display more so than during a crisis.
Companies that lag behind their peers often find themselves in precarious positions when economic conditions become less than ideal. The Covid-19 pandemic is a prime example of this phenomenon. In an age in which business analytics have become more important than ever, companies that have fully adopted decision-making rooted in data are finding themselves well-positioned relative to their peers.
But, of course, everyone in business talks about analytics. Unfortunately, a much smaller number of people know how to integrate it into their business processes.
According to a report published in May by Mckinsey & Company, top companies are using data to detect and overcome the economic challenges presented by the pandemic.
But these companies are not only using analytics to inform the decisions we typically associate with data analysis, such as strategic and financial decisions. In fact, the firms are using them as they contemplate how to keep employees engaged despite them working remotely as well as how to keep customers engaged in light of the newfound distance between them and the company.
Over the past few months, “a new normal” has become a phrase most of us have heard repeatedly. For better or for worse, however, it’s likely true. Companies that have embraced data analytics for all of their decision-making are more likely than not to emerge from the pack
But where to start? If you’re a company looking to confront the challenges posed by the pandemic head on and set your company up for future success, here are a few ways in which you can leverage the wealth of data available to you and your company’s management team.
- Identifying Cost Savings to Increase Cash Flow
Small to medium size businesses across the country have bore the brunt of Covid-19’s impact on the country.
In a study from April, MetLife and the U.S. Department of Commerce found only 59 percent of small and medium sized business owners felt comfortable with their company’s current cash flow. This was in stark contrast to 2020 Q1, in which 80 percent of business owners reported satisfaction with their firm’s cash flow.
One of the best ways to determine whether your company is positioned to take on the challenges presented by the down economy is through cash flow simulations and financial modeling. Using the company’s past financial data, you can pinpoint potential areas of concern on the horizon. From there, you can analyze areas of cost savings, such as salary reductions and cuts in non-essential spending, and use the information to generate a plan for your company as it confronts this short term uncertainty.
- Leverage Customer Data to Anticipate Call Volume
Delivering a high quality customer experience is perhaps more difficult now than it has been any time in the recent past. In many cases, your customer service agents are fielding calls from their home from customers who are likely dealing with unusual issues of their own.
It’s reasonable to expect higher call volumes to your centers during these times. Once again, data can help. To start, you should use past data to guide your call volume forecasts. Look back into your records from previous periods of uncertainty, such as the 2009 financial crisis, to anticipate call patterns and allocate resources accordingly.
As you generate your forecast, you should also consider data such as customer demographics; the extent to which the area in which a customer lives has been impacted by the pandemic; data from customer service agents around the nature of calls they are receiving from particular customer segments and publicly available data, such as local supply chain disruption.
Being able to forecast call volume and anticipate the nature of a call from a customer will shorten the amount of time your agents spend on the phone while increasing customer satisfaction in a time when many are already undergoing undue stress.
- Utilizing Employee Data to Maintain Engagement
It’s often said employees are a company’s greatest asset. Ensuring they perform at their best can, however, be difficult when face-to-face contact is impossible.
Based on a survey conducted by Snappy Gifts, 64 percent of employees say recognition is even more important than normal when working remotely. But every employee is different and needs validation in their own way.
Much like customer service, you can maintain the morale of your workforce through segmentation. Through survey data, you can craft profiles of employees from within different segments across your company. This could include whether they believe their opinion matters at the company and how they prefer feedback.
From there, you can tailor interventions to meet the specific needs of employees based on the profiles you created using the survey data. If implemented successfully, measures of this kind can permanently alter your company culture for the better, which will pay dividends long term.
It’s never too late to get started on instilling a data-driven culture at your company. If having analytical insights from across your company at your fingertips is one of your top priorities, consider setting up a visual demonstration of Sage Intacct. With Sage Intacct, metrics from all facets of your company can be consolidated into a single, user-friendly interface.
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