The COVID-19 epidemic has had a devastating impact on businesses. Tourism must contend with a near-total travel ban. Global logistics have been disrupted by lockdown measures. Shopping malls and restaurants have faced weeks-long closures. And consumer confidence is at a record low.
With thousands of small, medium and large enterprise clients, dtac has seen firsthand the many struggles businesses must face during this difficult time. In dtac’s Business Group, Chinthanadit Pornsirikiat, an assistant manager, has a client portfolio of around 100 clients in a wide range of sectors, and all were affected.
BETTER DIGITAL SERVICES
“My first impulse was to reach out and ask them how they were coping with the situation. While we’re practicing social distancing and remote working, staying connected is so important. We should keep them connected. It goes beyond provider-client relationships. We go through good times and bad times together and we’ll survive together,” he said.
Indeed, many businesses rely on direct contact and dtac’s shops for service—many of which were shutdown throughout March and April. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, 80 percent of customers relied on shops to make payments.
With the support of people like Mr. Chinthanadit, business owners quickly discovered other channels could be equally, if not more, effective. Use of digital channels in the Business Group from Mar to April soared from 14 to 38 percent of payments.
“We interviewed dozens of businesses to better understand their needs during this crisis. We launched new services such as picking up checks at their location, a perk which dtac is the first and only operator to offer,” said Mr. Chinthanadit. “We’re also the only one to provide business clients payment services from within our app.”
Today, dtac has the widest range of service and payment options, from online/web, to bank counters and applications. And there are further plans to continually improve e-care and e-billing to completely remove the need for businesses to visit shops.
BUSINESS SURVIVAL TOOLS
“Payment isn’t the only challenge for businesses, and most of our shops have reopened now. But businesses now need our support to keep their customers and employees connected,” Mr. Chinthanadit added.
dtac quickly reacted with a range of measures to support businesses, called the Business Survival Tools. These included free data on productivity apps, whose usage increased by triple digits as employees began to work from home, and free access to the Microsoft Office suite, allowing for more effective cloud-based collaboration. Thirdly, dtac launched mobile broadband routers as an affordable and easy way to connect homebound employees to unlimited internet.
“Once of our customers working in logistics was badly hit by the Chinese lockdown. We consolidated their 30,000 mobile subscriptions to make them easier to manage and more affordable. And we also extended their credit terms,” he said. “This allowed them to quickly pivot, remain productive and tap into the current surge in domestic shipping.”
While the global supply chain is a well-known casualty of COVID-19, Thailand has seen another, much less likely victim—the private hospital industry. And it too is relying on connectivity solutions to dull the outbreak’s impact.
“Once of my customers is a hospital in an industrial area. With factory closures and many people fearing contagion within hospitals, their business was badly impacted. We offered them a location-based solution that can target potential customers at the right time and right place. It was very effective in reaching out to locals and letting them know the hospital was ready to serve them safely,” Mr. Chinthanadit told dtacblog.
THE NEW NORMAL
Some industries must simply wait the situation out. Mr. Chinthanadit’s hotel customers saw occupancy rates drop from 80% to 50% and then close to zero.
“For those businesses who are severely affected, we tripled the length of our credit terms in some cases. During this tough time, empathy comes first. Since the first day I worked for dtac, customer centricity is what the company promotes. We want to be our customers’ partner and get through this unprecedented time together. I’m very proud of working at dtac and feeling so good that I can stand by them when they need us most,” said Mr. Chinthanadit.
As lockdowns ease in Thailand and globally, the dtac Business Group is already looking to the “new normal.” Cloud-based collaboration, remote work, and increase use of digital channels are here to stay. And dtac has the solutions to empower all Thai businesses with effective ways to respond to these changes. Find out more at https://www.dtac.co.th/business/