Although we’re probably all reading a lot about situations in China and other parts of Asia getting back to normal after COVID-19, in reality the restrictions on travel remain and the day-to-day situation for the UltraSoC team working across Asia as a whole remains much the same: we’re still working remotely and we’re still adapting, and learning to cope with the challenges it brings.
As with the situation reported by Jo Windel in the UK and Marcin Hlond in Poland, thanks to technology we have still been able to connect with people, to maintain a business dialog with customers, and with colleagues around the world: particularly the engineering and sales teams (usually found) in the UK headquarters in Cambridge, and Bristol office. Since all of UltraSoC employees are currently working from their own homes, it’s certainly been an interesting challenge for us here in Taiwan which where I’m based.
In spite of the restrictions and the challenges it presents, we have still managed to successfully hire a Field Applications Engineer (FAE) and taken on board new partners in the region. Additionally, we’ve even been able to successfully conduct all the training via web conferencing. Considering the language barriers across the Asia region, for which I am responsible, this was a major challenge, but it has worked well so far and feels like a real achievement.
The biggest challenge in online sales meetings, whether by phone or via video conferencing, is that it’s never as easy to read customers’ face or body language compared to an ‘in person’ meeting. In Asia, this is particularly important in gauging reactions and assessing their real interest or identifying possible issues. This can lead to misunderstanding when doing web conferences and is a disadvantage in scenarios particularly in introductory meetings which we would always want to do face-to-face. Whilst technology will offer a temporary fix, and in some places it may become more widely used following the experience of these ‘strange’ few months, in Asia as a whole however, I don’t think technology will completely replace the need for in-person contact especially for complex solution sales like UltraSoC.