Blog

The Power of Human Connection

Author: Valerie Patmore

Focus. But, on what?

The project is on hold.

Covid has killed the budget.

Right now, we are doing all we can to keep the lights on.

All the above is certainly true, and much of what we are all hearing or saying these days. For those in leadership roles, the stressors are two-dimensional, financial health of their companies and the health and happiness of their customers and employees.

They say that a happy workforce is a productive workforce. That content employees do more with less and are compelled to do so out of loyalty more than obligation. The same can be said for our customers. Customers, much like employees (our internal customers), reward what they ‘feel’ is a good experience. Case in point: I just received a thank-you email from a company I had an interaction with. Normally, that would not be remarkable. In this case, however, I was thanked for a merchandise return. That was something new. When I was looking for something else, this site was my first stop. The first item was sub-par. The experience was amazing. The company got my loyalty.

This pandemic has caused what I see as a change in what is considered valuable. The investments we make right now are less about dollars and more about focus. Are we focusing on our teams? Are we really focusing on our customers? It is the people, both employees and customers, that drive our success. Both deal with challenges that are not likely to have been dealt with before and hopefully will not be again. It is clear, though, that the new norm is changing and will continue to change the status quo.

Brent Kelton, CEO, Ameri100

I learned how adaptable our workforce is to working from home, including our India-based team, where WFH is pretty much a “foreign concept.” It was great to see that 91% of our employees are feeling “OK” to “Great” about the current situation and 90% are pleased with Ameri100’s response to the pandemic. I also learned that everyone values constant communication during this time. They want updates weekly, if possible, on how the company is doing and how the pandemic is impacting our customers.

With these thoughts in mind, we sent out a survey, leveraging SAP Qualtrics, to better understand and ‘take the pulse’ of our internal customers, our employees. If the adage that happy teams are productive teams is true, this should give us some great insights into how to affect both internal and external customers.

We asked our teams if the changes to their daily routines (i.e., work from home vs. commuting to an office) has affected their productivity? Their mental state? What are the challenges that have come with these changes? What do they consider the successes that have resulted? Do they have what they need? Are they scared about the future of their job? All these questions and many more were answered anonymously.

Here’s some of what we learned:

  • We learned that those who typically work in an office really prefer to do so and find themselves more productive when they do.
  • Understandably, we discovered that the team members who are responsible for generating revenue are scared about their future and the pandemic’s impact on their ability to be successful.
  • You can see from the charts that although we are doing well in terms of communicating and making our teams feel prepared and stable, there is room for improvement.

Brandon Gordon, EVP, Ameri100

Sales teams thrive on building relationships. When officials directed everyone to stay at home to flatten the curve, I anticipated our sales team would be amongst the first to become concerned. Relationships are built on interaction…both phone/email and in person. Our employee survey confirmed our salespeople were not only concerned about their ability to strengthen relationships with customers and prospects, but they were also uncertain how to manage current pursuits during a significant economic downturn. With the data provided by the survey, we decided to leverage this opportunity to do 3 primary things:

  1. Ensure the safety and health of our sales team and customers by providing PPE (gloves and masks) as and if needed. The message to our team and our customers: “we are here for you if you need anything. Keeping you, your family, and your employees safe is our #1 priority.”
  2. Ameri100 provided additional avenues to further the education and upskill opportunities of our sales team
  3. We launched social and sales campaigns that highlight our “touchless” methodology for S/4HANA migrations, Application Management Services, and Data Services.

Information is important. What we do with that information is tantamount to everything else.

  • For the offshore teams, we are holding company-wide town hall meetings. We are sharing our home office environments and sharing the way we are managing work and life balance, all from the confines of our own homes.
  • We are sharing, with all our employees, that regardless of considerable challenges, we have not lost any customers and have brought in a number of new projects. Many of them are net new logos.
  • We have substantially increased the number of meetings that we are holding using video instead of just audio. It is amazing how much of a difference a visual connection makes.
  • For our external customers, we have kicked off multiple campaigns and written multiple blogs, some technical, some not. We are operating from the understanding that we need to focus on connecting. People need that connection now more than ever. We know that business will resume when it is ready but likely not as usual, and that’s ok.

Being able to connect has really been the true value. Understanding how our customers (internal and external) feel is the key to our making changes and plans, confidently. Although it feels like May 41st, instead of May 14th, I’m confident that when this is all behind us, we will all be better for it. Better educated, better informed, and better able to move forward.

Business photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com