DAILY BRIEFINGS ON BUSINESS UNUSUAL
IN OUR NEW NORMAL

COMMUNITY WEBCAST

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AHA! BIZ

EPISODE 5

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AHA! Hero
One of the pioneers of IT-BPO industry with twenty years of experience in managing different BPO companies shares some of the best practices he had seen in the field when this crisis started.

COVID Context
In light of the current state of the BPO industry, a lot of these companies are trying to cope with the lockdown in different ways in order to minimize the economic impact and become a part of the solution to counter this downturn.

AHA! #1
Iterate your Business Continuity Plan (BCP)/disaster recovery plans based on the crisis ahead. A call center company with 6,000 employees was able to transition their employees to the work from home setup in just five days. How were they able to do this? They brought out their 'disaster playbook,' use the protocols applicable to the current landscape and pivot them according to the current context. Through the help of their IT and HR employees, they were able to come up with a plan to continue their business even in this condition. After rolling out the process, they reviewed it and continue to iterate based on systems that worked and didn't work.

AHA! #2
Clients as collaborators. Most contact centers follow strict measures when it comes to the security of their clients. But because of this unfortunate situation, they were forced to 'relax' their measures in order to continue to operate in the work from home model. Some companies were able to talk to their clients to update the existing system wherein employees will be able to work from their homes provided that the company can assure the client that their confidential data is protected and they will provide the same quality of service. Before COVID, clients would not allow this, but through a compromise, they were able to transition to WFH setup as long as they were able to meet certain conditions and client requirements. This proves that in times like this, clients and service providers can work together to come up with a win-win solution for both parties.

AHA! #3
Upskill your employees while on lockdown. Some companies see this situation in a different light and take this as an opportunity to offer technical course and advance the skills of their employees. Some of them upskill their customer service agents in different facets - voice, chat, text email, support so they are well-rounded and they can go from one department to another should the need arises. Additionally, they also offer expanded canned training modules and have partnered with online institutions like Harvard and other learning institutions that offer java programming, project management, and other relevant courses that are shouldered by the company. Through these courses, employees can get certifications that they can add to their many list of capabilities that will help them in their careers.

AHA! Hero
Joshua Aragon, Founder of Zagana, an online platform that sells fresh fruits and vegetables direct from local farmers to restaurants. Their aim is to uplift the lives of Filipino farmers (Benguet and Batangas) and give consumers in Manila access to safe, healthy and fresh produce from farm to kitchen.

COVID Context
They’re one of a few companies that have good problems right now. Zagana’s orders blew up to thousands daily since the lockdown because everybody wants fresh fruits and vegetables now. The problem was that they’re undermanned and lacked the system to fulfill huge volume of orders. So what did they do with this opportunity?

AHA! #1
They expanded their reach to where the customers are When they started, their customers were mainly restaurants. Since these restaurants closed down, they shifted to selling directly to households. They considered being able to serve during this time as a blessing because they are able to help their fellow countrymen. This is something that big companies can learn from: If you’re stuck in a situation where you can’t reach your typical, go to where the need is.

AHA! #2
They gave opportunities to others They’re struggling now because only the skeletal workforce is allowed to work. So they partnered with barangays for additional manpower to fulfill orders everyday. As a result, they provided opportunities to people who are idle, while helping their own business at the same time.

AHA! #3
Collaborating in a time of Corona Since Zagana has its own facility, e-commerce platforms (Lazmart, Shoppee and Grabmart) have approached them such as . All of these are using Zagana’s facility that’s why they’re all cramped up in one space. Right now, they are working to stabilize their operations. To meet the demands, they needed to be agile in setting up systems and processes, but it was clear that they couldn’t do it alone. So while they’re stabilizing their systems internally, they partnered with Pushkart PH (an online grocery delivery service) to be able to accommodate orders.

AHA! Hero
Producers from ABS-CBN Entertainment

COVID Context
Since the lockdown was implemented, they were not allowed to physically tape episodes in studios. In order to stay relevant, they needed to produce fresh content without having to gather together physically. Staying true to their mission of keeping people happy, ABS-CBN’s live entertainment shows are redefining how they entertain people amid the crisis.

AHA! #1
Value As Usual ABS-CBN Entertainment’s live shows air their episodes via Zoom webcasts that are broadcasted nationwide in free TV. They define this now as the new normal for broadcasting. This started with their daily noontime show Showtime. Magandang Buhay and ASAP followed suit. It may look weird seeing a web conference interface on TV but people are buying it because despite the setup, the entertainment value is still there while following protocols from the government.

AHA! #2
Staying Relevant To Stakeholders In Showtime’s case, they still go on their usual singing OBB, funny banters and segments, such as the Corona Ba-bye Na, which encourages audience participation by making them send their take on Vice Ganda’s new song online, and Showtime Biyayanihan, which features stories of good samaritans amid the crisis (like the story of Boyong Bataoil, a taho vendor from Valenzuela who gave out free taho to frontliners). These segments are tailored fit for COVID.

AHA! Hero
Kriska Santos, together with her husband, owns Eggs For Breakfast brunch restaurant

Background
Their first branch opened in 2014. Eggs for Breakfast currently has 2 branches, one in Antipolo and 1 in Marikina, with under 20 staff. They are in the top 10 list of best restaurants in Antipolo, so it’s safe to say that they have a pretty solid following.

COVID Context
Since the lockdown, they have had to close down their restaurants but of course, the household bills are still running. Aside from that, they have a lot of stocks left. How can they at least break even and minimize the wastage by just throwing out their stocks of produce?

AHA! #1
Pivot. How can they still serve their customers given the resources they have? When the lockdown started, they had a surplus of eggs (because, Eggs for Breakfast), so they started selling off those. After they have sold off their stocks and perishables from their branches, eventually, to maintain their relationship with their suppliers and of course earn some money at the same time, Kriska and her husband decided to do full-on online grocery via FB which they called Crisis Market. Now, aside from eggs, they are selling vegetables, daily staples, even alcohols and sanitizers. They themselves do the market shopping and delivery, but people can also book via Grab or Lalamove. Kriska says that they are considering Crisis market to be an ongoing business for them even after the lockdown, because she sees the great demand for it, as she experiences firsthand from her patrons.

AHA! #2
Listen to your customers. Since the lockdown, their customers and patrons have been reaching out to Kriska and asking what else they can offer? How far they can deliver? This is the reason why she started Crisis Market. Aside from customers reaching out to her, she proactively crowdsourced feedback from Facebook, asking her friends and customers whether an online grocery business would be something that they would need and support. And when she got critical mass of positive feedback, she then decided to do Crisis Market in full blast. Now, she even started doing “pasabuy” services, meaning people can request for stuff outside of what they currently offer and she buys it for them for an additional charge. This coincides with an article from Entrepreneur.com titled How Your Small Business Can Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic, in which they pose a question to entrepreneurs: "How will your customers behave moving forward? What will and won’t matter to them, and how can you accommodate your new type of customer?"