Despite its focus on digital products, the company was equally affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown. First, due to travel restrictions, regular personal contact with foreign customers who represent a large part of the SME’s customer portfolio has been lost. In addition, for several months in 2020, there was an interruption in video recordings, which are essential to create the product, and this delayed the delivery of many projects that had already been planned. “Customer uncertainty has also affected our company,” says its CEO. "Overnight, many customers suspended activities as they awaited certainty in the news to contain the general panic.” Many projects, even those already planned for a long time, were therefore suspended and rescheduled.
This obviously meant reworking the budget. “Since we are operating in the online sector, we knew that our solutions would still be the first to be re-implemented and therefore we didn’t need to panic,” explains the CEO. "And in fact, just in the last quarter of 2020 we saw a gradual recovery in demand. Of course, this situation has caused a lot of inconvenience but it is encouraging to see that we weren't wrong.” A sign that, in the medium term, the company can benefit from the changes brought about by the pandemic. Because, as Andrea Laus states: "We are entering an era in which remote meetings will increasingly become the norm and learning to have better conversations will be even more essential with less physical proximity. That’s our job: helping people communicate better. So, in hindsight, maybe our product will be even more useful than before.”
The CEO is optimistic about the future. Digital training courses will not completely replace in-person ones, but will complement them, says Andrea Laus. However, digital technologies, such as Lifelike SA's artificial intelligence-based learning simulations, make learning more efficient, both in schools and universities, and especially in continuing education in the corporate and healthcare sectors.
The company has defined two key points on which it wants to focus in the future for its main target market, the United States. “The first focus is training courses related to social inclusion,” explains the CEO. "This involves teaching people to overcome their own 'unconscious biases' – that is, unconscious wrong assumptions about other people and to do it through better conversations.” The second point of focus is the "managing without authority" area. In other words, when co-workers take on coordination tasks within teams while being at the same hierarchical level. "This situation requires excellent communication skills," emphasizes Andrea Laus.