Updated: Apr 20

The COVID-19 pandemic has been described by Forbes as “A before-and-after moment in the history of the economy and the digital transformation”. Business Insider reports that “a third of the global population is on coronavirus lockdown”, while according to UNESCO, about 1.3 billion learners around the world are not able to attend school or university. The impact on economies around the globe has been staggering.

However, what has emerged clearly is that “enterprises leading in digital transformation are significantly less vulnerable”. As the International Data Corporation (IDC) found in 2 surveys conducted in February in China: “The outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic has showcased the value of IT and digital transformation and organisations should turn the crisis into an opportunity to accelerate the transition.”

The “on-demand’ economy: on-demand food and services

Around the globe, businesses have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some have been destroyed, while others, like some airlines, will be bankrupt without major bailouts. Restaurants, hair salons, retailers, multinational corporations and many more are struggling. However, the directives that are forcing thousands of workers to work from home have also led to greater demand in some areas and there is “a sharp uptick in demand for delivery services, especially in the food and grocery sector”.

Companies such as Pick ‘n Pay that have already invested in digital transformation strategies with online shopping platforms face many challenges in Namibia in the current crisis, such as importing goods. But they are better able to meet customer needs than those that are only now waking up to the enormous changes “driven by a culture of ‘everywhere commerce in which digitally connected consumers are increasingly expecting to be able to shop whenever and wherever they want; whether it be in stores or online, using their smartphones or even voice-activated digital assistants.”

And it’s important to note that all is not gloom and doom. In the USA, “…some companies have seen soaring growth due to COVID-19. The publicly traded video conferencing platform Zoom, now part of the country’s collective lexicon, has seen its stock rise, as have delivery services as most Americans try to ‘shelter in place.’ Large companies like pet supplier Chewy, meal kit company Blue Apron, as well as smaller businesses and start-ups have been blindsided by surging sales over the past several weeks as COVID-19 and increased containment restrictions turned worlds upside down.”

For example, Farmbox Direct is a company in the US that delivers fresh fruit and vegetables via an online subscription service. When the owner woke up on 14 March, she thought there must be a gremlin in her computer system. “‘There’s no way we could have taken that many orders overnight,’ recalled Tyrner recently, ‘but we did. We are doubling the company every 24 hours.’ Many of Farmbox’s new customers are located in areas where supermarket shelves sit empty. Other new customers set up deliveries for parents and grandparents who are not risking infection by leaving their homes to shop.”

Since there are now so few In Real Life (IRL) experiences in shopping, people in self-isolation are exploring social media to a far greater extent than before for content and connection. And brands are becoming more creative with their social media channels, focusing on their existing customers with automated marketing and loyalty programmes. Shopify suggests selling on Instagram if you aren’t already doing so. It reports that: “Over the last two weeks, influencer agency, Obviously, found a 76 percent increase in daily accumulated likes on Instagram #ad posts, and a 22 percent increase in Instagram campaign impressions from last quarter. With such a highly-engaged audience, Instagram can make your brand more discoverable by existing and future customers.”

Working from Home/Telecommuting

One of the most profound changes to occur as a result of the pandemic is the shift to working from home. “Whatever objections businesses have previously had to telecommuting, COVID-19 may be the moment that brings it into the mainstream and shows leaders that with the right technology, culture and expectations, employees can be just as productive and effective from home.” As the IDC survey in China revealed, two of the top three positive impacts of the pandemic on businesses are:

  • Improved corporate ability of long-distance collaborative work.

  • Wide recognition of the value of digital transformation and information technology among employees.

When asked what their digital transformation focus for 2020 will be, the companies surveyed indicated that one of their top priorities would be “creating new telecommuting and enterprise collaboration systems.”

Many of the reservations companies had in the past about allowing their employees to work from home were about monitoring their activities and a potential drop in productivity. However, with software that tracks keystrokes, as well as email and Web surfing monitoring programs, and remote screen readers, companies can successfully track employees’ work performed at home.

In fact, Forbes revealed in surveys of companies using telecommuting that more than two-thirds of managers reported an increase in overall productivity. Why is this so? “With none of the distractions from a traditional office setting, telecommuting drives up employee efficiency.” And, without needing to spend time during the day driving to and from work or using public transport, employees are less stressed. The environment benefits too as the carbon footprint is reduced.

In addition to the benefits for employees, the survey found substantial benefits to companies as well in the form of decreasing costs. “According to Aetna, an insurance giant in America, it shed 2.7 million square feet of office space and as a result saved $78 million. American Express reported similar results by saving $10-15 million annually thanks to its telecommuting policies.

Much has changed as the world responds to the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve seen massive surges in e-learning, streaming and online shopping. And we’ve learned that: “Organisations that have web enabled their businesses are in a much better position to weather this pandemic, both in the short and long term.”

It’s important to remember that different organisations take different paths to digital transformation and maturity. Every business will have a unique digital journey that is aligned with the needs of the business and its customers. V5 Digital – one of the leading digital marketing agencies in Namibia – will assist you in developing your unique digital business model, whether that involves helping you to use digital to sell your products or services online, or connecting with your customers on social media. Don’t hesitate to contact V5 Digital for a free assessment.

Instagram remains the coolest of the social media platforms, with fans, brands and influencers flocking to it to garner likes and followers. But as more of us get our businesses onto Instagram, there comes the stark realization that it can be fairly difficult to drive your business objectives on the platform. Sure, you can use hashtags to expand your reach and acquire new likes and followers, and you can even use paid media to promote your post. But there is one critical problem: Instagram captions do not allow for clickable links, and your Instagram account bio has space for only one link.

How much time are you spending ensuring your Instagram bio is fully optimized?

The solution many of us have turned to is very manual and time-consuming: remembering to write “Link in Bio” in captions where we need to move people from our post to another site (where we might want them to view more content, sign up to our newsletter or a host of other activities). We then also need to remember to update the link in our bio so that it corresponds with what we’ve just posted. Furthermore, we are often driving multiple objectives at one time. Our post this morning may need a link to our YouTube channel, while the post this evening needs to get traffic to our website.

It becomes apparent that that tiny piece of digital real estate – the link in our account bio – is highly valuable. To be savvy about the way we go about doing our digital business, we therefore need to carefully optimize that little piece of real estate. Yet doing so can become a time-consuming and laborious task and can often feel like a losing battle – particularly when we are trying to juggle multiple objective. Don’t you wish someone else could do that for you?

We all want likes & followers on Instagram, but how are we using our bios to drive our business objectives?

Well, now you can get someone to do exactly that on your behalf! V5 Digital is a leading digital marketing agency based in Windhoek, Namibia who offers a pioneering new service to help keep your Instagram bio permanently fully optimized, so that it is packed with all your most up-to-date and relevant links that align with your posts.

You might be thinking, “That’s nice, but I’ve seen various other solutions from global competitors, so what makes V5 Digital’s solution different?”. The first major difference is that V5 Digital offers a personalized, customized solution built for your business. Competitors offer you an anonymous service without getting to know your business needs. V5 Digital, on the other hand, begins the process by consulting you to get a 360-degree understanding of your business objectives so we can craft the ideal solution. Do you need to gain more subscribers? Have more people sign up to your newsletter? Drive traffic to your website? Get more downloads of your content? More listeners on Spotify? More app installs? Once we understand the multiple goals you are aiming for, we can begin to craft the ideal solution.

Secondly, V5 Digital conducts a social media account audit to reveal the ways in which your account could be set up in more optimal ways to drive your objectives. For instance, are you using your Instagram Stories highlights buttons to provide your potential customers with a clear understanding of your brand pillars?

Here is the clincher: unlike competitors who offer a one-size fits all solution, V5 Digital builds a custom solution for you based on our thorough understanding of your business and your needs. Whereas competitors’ offerings will click from the link in your bio to a bland screen with multiple clickable links, V5 Digital’s offering clicks through to a screen that we tailor to match the look-and-feel of your brand. We include social icons so your audiences on your other social accounts can grow and cross-pollinate. Instead of copy-heavy link buttons, V5 Digital uses visual representations of your content that are clickable, transporting your audience to exactly where you need them to be.

This retainer service from V5 Digital will give you peace of mind, knowing that your Instagram account is functioning at 100% to help you achieve your objectives on an on-going basis. That means you can focus on your business.

Still unsure of how V5 Digital’s Link In Bio solution works? Check out our own Instagram account and click the link in our bio to see exactly how we are getting the most from that precious piece of digital real estate.

Ready to do the same for your Instagram?

Don’t hesitate to contact V5 Digital for a free, non-obligation consultation.

Updated: May 26

Entrepo Finance, a major Namibian lender offering loans to all permanently employed Government employees, was seeking ways to delight its clients, to make its service as efficient as possible, and to grow its customer base. V5 Digital, the leading Namibian digital agency, helped realize this vision by creating a brand new website with the introduction of a chatbot called Yola on the lender’s brand new website – designed and developed by the V5 Digital Team. What lay behind the decision to install a chatbot, and why was this the correct route to support Entrepo Finance in achieving its objectives?

Entrepo Finance and V5 Digital team celebrating the launch of their new Entrepo website.

Evidence globally reveals that the outlook of chatbots is overwhelmingly positive. As the Ottawa Business journal reports: “Every bank that has launched a program based on an AI chatbot has achieved great success in one sphere or another. Many banks tell about outstanding results that have been possible only because of bots.”

So what exactly is a chatbot? The journal defines a chatbot as “a conversational marketing tool that automates either textual or voice conversations with end-users. Instead of messaging with a support agent, a customer can engage with a chatbot to receive instantaneous replies based on user inputs. Sophisticated algorithms combined with user data ensure the outputs are as personalized as possible.”

Customers today are expecting – and often demanding – not only consultations at any time of day, but also personal assistance. They’ve had annoying and frustrating experiences with long waits on the phone to call centers when they wanted fast answers. And banks have had to recruit many new call center agents, which has resulted in having to pay more staff members, and having to provide training for every new employee.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots have changed that. What they offer is 24/7 availability. Moreover, as Bizcommunity reports: “they’re never rude, tired or irritated. This is why chatbots are prevalent in customer service-related industries”. Furthermore, customer queues are eliminated and chatbots provide a uniform standard of excellent service.

Clients want to interact with their lender instantly - 24/7 - and not have to endure hours of waiting for a call center agent to attend to their queries

Yola, the chatbot which V5 Digital installed on the Entrepo Finance website, performs a range of tasks from answering basic questions such as operating hours, to initiating the process of applying for a loan.

Using chatbots not only improves customer service, but the savings in time and money are monumental. According to Juniper Research, “Automated customer experiences in banking and finance are expected to save the industry $7.3 billion by 2023. The equivalent time saved by banks is approximately 862 million hours.” A chatbot can handle thousands of queries at once, whereas humans can only handle one query at any time. And with the chatbot filtering requests, the human support team is not overloaded.

Clients want to interact with their lender instantly - 24/7 - and not have to endure hours of waiting for a call center agent to attend to their queries. Chatbots are becoming ubiquitous across most industries since they can offer first rate customer service.

Some of the top industries currently benefiting from chatbots are retail, insurance, healthcare, hospitality, tourism, finance, and even government. For example, a chatbot called Hipmunk will help users find and book their vacation. It will ask you questions to find out what sort of holiday you’re looking for, and will use your phone’s location to find out where you’re departing from. A review of Hipmunk concludes: “It’s a great way to cut down on what can be a laborious search across multiple sites. Condensing your entire vacation search to one, highly engaging channel is – for people like me – a life saver. “

And there’s much more: the range of activities that can be performed by chatbots enhanced with AI extends to other fields in addition to basic transactions and answering queries. For example, financial service providers can use chatbots to support areas such as data security, fraud detection and wealth management.

In fact, V5 Digital is poised to implement a new phase of Yola’s functionality in Entrepo Finance, which will take the customer service to the next level by providing customers with instant affordability assessments. The lender has joined the ranks of cutting-edge global banking by using one of the most effective technological solutions available today.

Don’t hesitate to contact V5 Digital for a free non-obligation quote to find out how your business can benefit from a new, customer focused website with integrated chatbot.

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