Rising to the challenge in 2022
Rising to the challenge in 2022
We don’t need to tell you that 2022 has had a rocky start. Once again, COVID - in the form of Omicron, has left corporates across the country guessing how the year will pan out. Despite the uncertainty, Australia’s corporate sector remains largely positive. So too are global research bodies, like J.P. Morgan.
"Our view is that 2022 will be the year of a full global recovery, an end of the global pandemic and a return to normal conditions we had prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. We believe this will produce a strong cyclical recovery, a return of global mobility and strong growth in consumer and corporate spending, within the backdrop of still-easy monetary policy,” according to both Marko Kolanovic and Hussein Malik - Global Co-Heads of J.P. Morgan Global Research.
And while business in 2022 may require a different approach, it seems a key theme to much of the business advice currently circulating is connection. Whether it’s with your employees, suppliers or customers – business travel is definitely back on the agenda as companies globally re-connect with their core stakeholders.
Here’s our top 5 strategies to help you rebuild and reconnect -:
1. Get comfortable with the shifting talent pool
Hybrid working models have become the norm and they’re here to stay. With a tight labour market and employees seeking more balanced lifestyles, the nature of full-time employment has changed forever. Businesses in 2022 have little option but to embrace these realities to retain and attract staff – including remote working, flexible work days and hours, contract workers and freelance support. In a bid to boost productivity, the United Arab Emirates has this month kicked off its new 4.5 day work week. Office hours have also been reduced from 7.30am to 3.30pm Monday to Thursday and 7.30am to 12pm on Friday.
With shortages in the talent pool, employees have the upper hand and companies need to find ways to keep them engaged, connected and feeling like they are an important part of the company.
FCM Australia General Manager, Melissa Elf, said now that borders were opening and people feel more confident about flying, bringing travel back into the equation will help connect interstate and international employees.
Workers may be geographically scattered or WFH, but by scheduling more face-to-face time for teams, conferences or planning sessions, employees can reconnect far better than they would with a virtual meeting,” said Melissa. “Putting time into bringing people together can help co-workers reconnect, increase collaboration, support company culture and increase employee satisfaction. And it doesn’t need to be a full-on all-staff conference, smaller regional or state meetings are great options.
2. Form strategic connections with partners
One of the key ways to strengthen your offering for customers is with strategic partnerships. Choose companies that align with your values and have services or capabilities that not only support your own core offering but bring value to the table for either your employees or customers. Whether it’s suppliers, contractors, travel partners, NFPs or industry bodies, make sure all your stakeholders have similar objectives or at least are heading in the same direction, so the partnership can deliver mutual benefits.
FCM’s collaboration with global travel risk expert Sherpa, as part of our COVID Travel Hub resources and Tasman Environmental Markets BlueHalo, which power our carbon emissions display in the FCM online booking tool, have provided high value solutions for both our customer-facing technology and travel capabilities.
3. Get to know your customers again
The pandemic-induced global upheaval has accelerated change across every business sector. That means your customer base, or at least your customer preferences, have most likely shifted also.
If you haven’t redefined your target market lately, the chances are it’s changing as fast as everything else.
“Findings from 2021 have shown that the way customers seek information, research and buy, has changed forever,” said Melissa. “Across many industries customers have more choice than ever before, as a result of many businesses pivoting to online services and embracing e-commerce.”
Inevitably 2022 could be the year your organisation invests time, money and resources into connecting with your customers either through one-on-one research, surveys, engagement sessions, customer feedback portals or tech. Make the effort to get up close and personal with your clients, to understand how their business has changed and how you can support their new operating models or objectives. With restrictions easing, travel will be easier in 2022 than it has been for several years. Giving you the opportunity to strengthen relationships with more face-to-face interactions to further build trust and rapport with key customers.
4. Show customers the love
Look for ways to provide value or add-ons beyond your core offering to give customers something extra. Or align yourself with partners and suppliers that provide services that make it easier for you to do this. Try to find value offerings that can help your customers meet their targets, solve problems or make work and life easier. And while showing the love is one thing, showing more personalised love will be even more important. As artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things continue to develop, deeper personalisation will be a differentiator for brands and businesses. Consumers want specific, customised experiences and business success will rely on knowing what makes each customer tick to be able to deliver on their expectations. Enter big data!
5. Tune in to omnichannel services
Companies with an omnichannel strategy achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to those that don’t*.
Making your services available on every device, every channel and then optimising those channels for a great customer experience is now so important. Consumers are about to become more mobile than ever which means the reliance on mobile devices for 24/7 global access to data is about to go gangbusters. Whether it’s via text, chat, messenger, social media, PC, phone or chatbot, giving customers the option to deal with your brand on any channel or device they prefer is now an essential part of the customer experience. The key however, will be to make each interaction easy and fit for purpose.
Travel is no different. FCM’s ground-breaking technology FCM Platform, is an omnichannel offering that has been developed to meet the specific needs of bookers, travellers and managers. The FCM Platform experience seamlessly integrates an online booking solution with an AI enhanced chatbot tool, aka ‘Sam’ as the digital avatar, which provides live chat and real-time assistance across all of the platform’s channels. From reporting, to travel changes and updates — Sam is available online, in app and in your inbox to make your FCM experience smooth as can be.