We talked to Chris Tan, Founder of Outrankco Pte Ltd, a digital & online marketing agency in Singapore and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Chris Tan: We are doing well, and adjusting to working at home wasn’t that bad for us. It was awesome to be able to spend more time with my family while at the same time helping our clients get back on their feet through digital marketing.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Outrankco Pte Ltd.
Chris Tan: We started off from a humble beginning, from the printing of marketing collaterals such as brochures, flyers, marketing posters, and banners, to providing flyer distribution solutions for businesses, both big and small, helping them to connect with their customers in a low cost and effective means.
As technology advances as well as the ever-changing marketing landscape, we realized the urgent need for company transformation, not only to enhance our company’s overall value proposition and also to create values for all of our customers.
Therefore in 2017, we ventured into providing digital marketing solutions such as SEO services, with the aim to assist customers who have yet to join the digital bandwagon, helping them to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage against their competitors.
In 2019, Outrankco Pte Ltd was incorporated to consolidate our resources and streamline our service delivery process for a better customer service experience.
How does Outrankco Pte Ltd innovate?
Chris Tan: One of the things that we began doing, even before the pandemic, is to test out Google’s algorithm using the alive and active domain. This allows us to identify the types of SEO strategies that are still effective and relevant after a Google core update. With this information, we can recommend and employ the best SEO strategies for our clients.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Chris Tan: This pandemic has brought some positive effects to our company. We believe that this current world crisis will speed up and bring forward digital transformation by several years. Aside from our previous clients, we gained more new customers that kept us afloat through these dark times. Some of my clients, who previously had a negative stigma on SEO, had begun asking for more information on how Search Engine Optimization can help with their business.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Chris Tan: It’s not always easy to make decisions, and we always try our best to put ourselves in the shoes of our team members. Fortunately, we do not have to make any difficult decisions during this pandemic. One of our ways to maintain healthy finances is to keep our operating and overhead expenses low. We have always kept our team small, and every member can perform in more than one business function besides their core specialization.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Chris Tan: The pandemic has cut down the number of face-to-face meetings with our clients. Project discussion would have to be done via phone or video conferencing software such as Zoom and Google Meet. On the one hand, video conferencing can be extremely beneficial as it helps increase productivity, reduces travel expenses, and makes communication effective. On the other hand, we felt that we had lost the personal touch to engage our clients. As the saying goes: “too little tech and you’ll seem out of touch, too much, and you’ll lose the personal touch that keeps customers loyal and engaged.”
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Chris Tan: As a Singapore-based company, we have received grants from the Government, from wage subsidy to tax rebate.
Your final thoughts?
Chris Tan: Managing a business is tough. I chose to enjoy every moment in doing business, focus on improvement, and do my best to work on it. The pandemic has made us busy, and now I have seen many businesses severely affected by the situation slowly coping up. Who would have thought that it could change companies focused on traditional marketing methods to adapt to this ever-changing world of technology? It is indeed a wake-up call.
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