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Succeeding through a crisis: four customers share their COVID-19 stories

12 Oct 2020
Iris Meijer

Iris Meijer

Chief Marketing Officer,
Vodafone Business

Running a business is no easy feat, especially when you’re facing a global pandemic that has brought entire industries to a grinding halt.

In response, many have had to completely change the way they do business. From how they work together and communicate with customers, to how they handle changes in demand.

It takes grit and determination to carry on and to turn uncertainty into opportunity, but that’s exactly what some organisations have managed to do.

In awe of what they’ve achieved during 2020, we asked four customers to share their stories and explain how technology has helped them continue to succeed through the current crisis, as well as preparing them for future challenges.

Four customers, four countries, one story

Four customers, four countries, one story


Four customers, four countries, one story


Four customers, four countries, one story


Four customers, four countries, one story


Four customers, four countries, one story


Survival instincts

In 2004, the unthinkable happened. While on a family holiday in Sri Lanka, Rob and Paul Forkan lost their parents to the Boxing Day Tsunami.

Just teenagers at the time, the brothers decided to turn loss into hope and Gandys, a travel-inspired fashion brand which donates some of its profits to underprivileged children around the world, was born.

Resilience and survival are foundational to this business. Working as part of a tight knit team, the pandemic has seen them have to find new ways of keeping in touch. Not just with each other, but with customers and suppliers too.

Using mobile services, they didn’t miss a beat and were able to stay connected at all times, from different locations. This has given them the power to adapt at speed to the rapidly changing business environment.

Keeping connected

For leading professional services firm in Germany, Drees & Sommer, mobile was a huge part of its adjustment too.

Offering a range of services from construction management, project management and consulting, it was vital for the team to keep in contact with their customers and one another. They’d normally carry out site visits and catch up face-to-face, but government enforced lockdowns meant that this could no longer happen.

Using technology, they were able to find quick workarounds. Video calls replaced meeting in person, and bi-weekly team meetings became short daily catch ups. Something that’s been so successful, they plan to keep working like this in the future.

Changing demands

While many businesses have seen a decline in sales and demand at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, demand for leisurewear and sports equipment soared, as did online shopping.

For premium Italian sportswear brand DEHA, that meant a big surge in people visiting the site and buying products.

To meet these new demands, DEHA used cloud and data insights. This meant the business could deal with the increase in orders and process them quickly.  And being able to analyse the data gathered, the team could work out which clothing lines were most popular and manage stock levels to meet the demand. Now the business is ready to gear up for other busy periods such as Christmas.

The human touch

For Corral & Vargas, a family run dental business with three clinics, COVID-19 hit the heart of the business.

Used to having a lot of face time with patients, it was essential for the team to find a way of continuing their dental services remotely during lockdown.

They set up a virtual switchboard to organise their phones so that they could stay in contact with their patients and each other.  Patients could book virtual appointments and discuss their emergency dental issues with their dentist from the comfort of their own home. 

For Corral & Vargas, transferring confidential patient data between teams in a secure way was critical, and our network gave them that peace of mind.

This meant the clinic could continue its founder’s legacy and give great care while putting the safety of patients and employees first. It also means the business is ready to handle any further disruption ahead.

It’s this kind of tenacity and adaptability that explains why SMEs are at the heart of the European economy.

That’s why we’re doing whatever we can to support them.

To watch more customer stories or learn more about how technology can help your business, visit V-Hub in UK, Germany, Spain or Italy.

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