Omni Accounts – Surviving Lockdown
The Challenges and the Plans
Fortunately, most of our employees have been able to work from home. However, our biggest problem was that we were not able to set up our switchboard to divert to mobile phones. This was a problem in that our customers were not able to call us for support.
The Whole Omni Team
- Connectivity. Not everyone has a good stable internet connection. Some of the team have a fibre connection which works well. Others are on 3G/4G connections, which have been prone to speed issues and disconnections. It is clear that in South Africa we do not have the infrastructure to deal with lots of people working from home.
- Family. Some of the team have small children at home or older children needing assistance with lessons. Spouses can be a problem too; we have one who chews up bandwidth on YouTube. There can be issues with both parents trying to work from home and conflict over childcare, internet, household chores, etc. Space can be an issue, with problems over a quiet place and desk. There is also the change of work environment and challenges of working from home. It is also a challenge for management, to have everyone working from home, but we put our trust in our staff and we have not been disappointed.
Omni Support Team
- Phones. Here we managed to make a plan. We have a couple of mobile numbers which we divert in rotation to different support consultants each day. This works reasonably well but it’s far from perfect.
- Time. We have definitely seen a drop in demand for support, with many businesses being closed and unable to work from home. We have made things a little easier for our support team by reducing the working hours from 09h00 to 15h30. This is a temporary measure and will be adjusted as circumstances change.
- Remote Support. We use TeamViewer to do remote support on our customer’s computers. This has voice capability so the support consultant can talk to the customer. We also use Zoom at times from training.
- Teamwork. Each morning all the support team connect up in a Zoom meeting. This really helps to keep everyone connected and all on the same page. We also use WhatsApp groups to stay connected during the day.
- Website Chat. We have been supporting customers via the chat function on our website.
Omni Sales Team
- Contacting Customers. Many businesses have been unable to work or if they are working remotely, then their contact details were not provided.
- Demos. Our sales team has been kept busy with Zoom demonstrations. We have found many businesses have been using this time to do some research on better ERP solutions or looking at efficiency improvements of their current solution.
- Training. We have used this time to upskill our sales team in terms of product knowledge and also providing demonstrations. This has proved extremely valuable. With an online demo, we are now able to have multiple people sitting in on the demo and learning from the process.
- Reduced Sales. Understandably, our sales revenue has dropped. This is to be expected as businesses try to conserve their cash and reduce expenses. We have found that our new software rental scheme is popular as there is no initial outlay of capital.
Omni Admin Team
- Phones. Here too, due to our switchboard issues, we have provided staff with pay-as-you-go sim cards so the staff can call without disclosing their personal mobile numbers.
- Work as Usual. For the most part, it has been “work as usual”. Our core team are our unsung heroes holding the fort in the background and keeping things up to date and ticking along. We have had to put a couple of people on ‘extraordinary’ leave, as unfortunately, the nature of their work has meant they could not work remotely.
Omni Development Team
- Work as Usual. Our developers work remotely most of the time as a rule. So in this case, nothing much has changed in this section.
- TERS/UIF – We have applied for some assistance from this fund. Our salary bill is our biggest expense.
- Suppliers – Some of our suppliers have been generous in offering reduced SLA charges for a month or so. One of our landlords has also agreed to a reduced rental. We greatly appreciate this assistance.
- Our Team – We are extremely grateful to all our employees during this time. They have pulled out all the stops and have really adjusted to the situation and found new ways of getting the job done. We could not have survived without their commitment and loyalty. We are proud of our whole team and we have continued to be available for our customers.
Many businesses will be facing much the same challenges as us. This whole crisis has made us rethink how we go about doing business and how things we thought were impossible are actually possible if there is no other option. We would love to hear from other businesses on their experience.