How have you cracked the code of keeping your customers, employees, and investors simultaneously updated and informed?
We have been running marathon webinars on high-tech domains with our customers. We conducted about three webinars in the last two weeks, with almost 800 plus participants. Our partners and customers spent more than an hour attending each webinar with ample interaction. We are not just ensuring information exchange but establishing social connectivity too.
Simultaneously, we are paying more attention to our key customers. We are having one-on-one deep interaction video sessions with them to discuss each other’s challenges and strengths, basis which tasks are prioritized or deprioritized regularly. The other touchpoints for us are our partner ecosystem and employees. We ensure daily virtual interaction with them for their quarterly Business Review, project-level discussions, etc. In fact, now, limited by our physical constraints, we are more actively participating in employee interactions. We also run several programmes like virtual yoga and online motivational classes.
Company’s top brass leaders have been conducting several webinars and cross-departmental events to keep us motivated. We also had a two-day virtual business review that was more interactive and engaging than the normal physical events.
In the current situation, how important is being honest and keeping transparency in terms of numbers – the revenue that is coming or not coming in?
Honesty and transparency are of absolute importance. As a company we follow a method of global reporting. Our Q1 report has been published recently. We are being very transparent in terms of numbers. We are being honest about the evaluation of the current situation, upcoming challenges, business expectations for the coming quarter and year; we are also ensuring transparent communication on our product release cycles and delays, if any.
How responsive are your customers towards these types of frank communication?
I was very skeptical in the initial days of the lockdown, but to my surprise it has progressed quite nicely. I think, customers have also accepted the new normal and have been very forthcoming. Before COVID, virtual events were less successful, but now virtual events are seeing more participation. In the past few days, I could to talk to many of our key customers face-to-face on a video call and spend quality time with them discussing important issues – it was as good as a physical meeting.
Being a part of the hi-tech industry, we supply parts for product releases, hence, supply hindrances are bound to impact customers projects. We are seeing disproportionate growth in some customer domains which is translating to demands for immediate fulfillment while certain sectors have slowed down and therefore, we need to defer some building and shipments accordingly. But so far, customers are being quite transparent, ready to interact and collaborate.
Has your communication shifted towards a more reassuring and informative tone?
Our exchange with customers started with the lockdown. It has been over 50 days, during which the situation kept changing. Today things are slowly progressing, and product schedules are getting back on track. Being a multinational company, we are operational across the globe. Operations have begun in our Hong Kong and China offices and post phase two of the lockdown, delivery of our shipment had also started. All this positive information is being communicated to our customers, enabling us to comfort them and tell them that we have already entered the recovery phase.
Have things evolved from when the lockdown started to the third phase of lockdown?
Announcement of the lockdown took everyone, including our industry by surprise. IT industry dominates our clientele. For them, lockdown meant, enabling their employees to work from home by ensuring the availability of devices and bandwidth with cybersecurity. So, in the first 4 – 5 weeks most of our customers in this domain were only focusing on business continuity. And, our communication at that time was predominantly in terms of reviewing the importance of our collaborative projects in the scheme of things and discussions around if we can help with the heavy lifting in any way.
Today, in the third phase of the lockdown, the initial anxiety and chaos have been replaced by peace in terms of business continuity. Now, operations are running smoothly and people are looking at newer projects and ways to accelerate growth in the post COVID world.
About the author
Sajan Paul is the Managing Director & Country Manager, India & SAARC at Juniper Networks