Coming out of lockdown stronger

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Rocketspark’s Grant Johnson talks about lockdown and the future.


What have your main challenges been?

Our challenges at Rocketspark have been mostly positive ones. We experienced significant growth in March and April as businesses focussed their efforts online by launching ecommerce websites and online service propositions. New customer enquiries also increased significantly, which put extra pressure on our customer success team to maintain service standards.  Fortunately, our whole team, including developers and marketers, are trained to use our customer support systems and are delivering in an amazing way, with customer satisfaction and first reply times staying consistent with before Covid-19.

We do need to hire some more customer success team members and while so much can be achieved remotely it is challenging to do all of the new team member training remotely so we delayed the recruitment until we can do some of the training in person.

The business uncertainty early in Covid-19 was a particular challenge too. Some key decisions were put on hold until we had a better handle on what the impacts would be. While we’ve experienced great growth we’re still operating with some caution due to the uncertainty of how the impact will play out over the longer term.

What have your successes been?

With the advent of Covid 19 we went on the offensive and produced a huge amount of content, new features and online classes to help businesses. This has been a huge investment of time and our team has really pulled off some amazing things to deliver this.  I was really proud of how our team took real ownership of ensuring we supported our clients really well.

We have many clients in hospitality and food services so we rapidly developed a scheduled ordering system that the likes of restaurants, cafes, bars, butchers, bakers and florists could use to set up schedules for pickup and delivery of food orders. It was nice to see the results achieved by clients and an early follow-up feature request was the ability to limit the number of orders per 30 mins as some venues were swamped with orders.

We were due to run our partner conference in May where our design partner resellers come together for two days of learning.  We’ve had to postpone the in-person event due to restrictions on large gatherings so we ran a remote conference with two online classes per day spread over the week.  Our UK partners dialled in live for the morning class and we replayed the afternoon class later in the evening with a live Q&A to cater to the different time zones.

We’ve really enjoyed seeing the success of clients who recognised the opportunity for ecommerce early on and pivoted their businesses.  Many of those who innovated during lockdown have done very well.

As a result of the work we’ve been doing to support businesses transition to ecommerce we’ve been invited by Xero to join their Xero Hour learning sessions where they invite their partners and customers around the world to join an hour of learning and we’ll be sharing with their community the opportunities for small businesses to generate business online.

What difference has moving to Level 2 made for you?

As a team of mostly introverts the lockdown has suited our personalities quite well.  From a work perspective we’ll enjoy spending some time with the team in the office but there will also be some routines from the lockdown that we’ll likely to carry through such as daily check-ins with the remote team.

While a business like ours is well suited to working remotely, the more social aspects of life are a key part of work-life balance and we’re looking forward to seeing friends and family and the team again.

What long-term changes do you see yourself making to the way your business operates?

The online video classes we launched during lockdown are here to stay. It’s a format where we can help someone in Cambridge, Dunedin, Melbourne or London to still have a personalised experience with a Rocketspark team member, with an opportunity to fast-track their learning in a short 30-minute webinar format, followed by live Q&A.

Some of our scheduled ordering businesses have stopped doing deliveries now as they start accommodating diners again and their delivery drivers are converting back to being the front of house team but many have retained their pickup option. Lockdown revealed a hidden demand for higher end restaurant meals as takeaways and many operators have indicated they’ll continue to offer a takeaway option.

Final word?

We’ve seen some amazing success stories during lockdown and it’s highlighted how important it is to understand your market and not roll over in the face of a crisis.   For those who innovated, hustled and pivoted during lockdown, many have seen incredible results where they’ll come out of lockdown in a stronger position than they were before.

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