The Biggest Impact of Coronavirus: The Fear of Change is Gone
Under “normal” market timelines, the onboarding of new technology occurs gradually, with early adopters leading the launch of the bell curve. This is especially true for businesses, which tend to avoid rapid updates for fear of disrupting something that is working (even if not optimally). In the new normal, because of COVID-19, entire populations have been forced into newer technologies and new habits rapidly, sometimes overnight.
As business begins the work of emerging from the pandemic, it is discovering that some customers may be more receptive to new tech adoption than in the past. Some are even embracing it. The rapid shift to virtual technology tools is softening some of the standard roadblocks to virtual meetings, conferences and strategic planning sessions. We now have a new perspective of what is possible, how powerful new technology can be and when distance is required.
We Were Ready for Big Change
In the past decade, our world has withstood profound digital growth that has mostly gone unnoticed. And when you look at the numbers, it’s crystal clear that we were unexpectedly preparing a virtual future.
In just eight years, from 2011-2018, the number of daily active Facebook users went from 372 million to over 1.6 billion. In 2007, about 880 million devices connected to the internet globally. By the end of 2020, experts estimate that number to reach 31 billion. In just the last two years, 90 percent of all data in the world was generated.
Our internet-connected devices are smarter and enabled with more capabilities than we thought possible even a few years ago. In this tech-saturated world, the possibilities are endless with what we can and will develop from instant access, openness and connectivity.
The New Normal Workplace
As tough as COVID-19 has been to the public, being forced to stay home has sparked a wave of innovation. For many, it has changed everyday life. Even as we wash our hands what seems like a thousand times a day, simple acts such as a handshake are increasingly becoming a relic. The coronavirus has shaken our culture and business norms to the core, providing us an environment for testing and launching new ideas.
For example, the “work from home” trend was already growing before the pandemic, but for now it’s the new normal. The rapid rise of Zoom, a web conferencing platform, is an early indicator that people are capable of rapid change. In December 2019, there were 10 million Zoom users. By April, Zoom had more than 300 million users with social distancing in effect to stop the spread of COVID-19. New customers include the U.K. cabinet and 90,000 schools in 20 countries.
Transformations like these will influence how we think about office space and business interactions and lead us to innovations that reflect these trends and make them permanent.
Redefining Customer Experience
Your brand’s relationships with customers are built over time through experiences grounded in expectations and confirmed through repeated interactions. A customer experience survey by PwC conducted before the pandemic found that 64 percent of US consumers and 59 percent of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience. Fast forward to 2020, as people adjust to the “new normal,” the desire for a human connection only grows stronger.
The locked-down nature of the coronavirus pandemic response has forced many companies to adapt to doing business remotely. At the same time, they are maintaining customer experiences people expect. This all will test the relationship’s durability.
How prepared is your brand to satisfy a customer with a fully digital experience?
Customers care about brands with emotional intelligence. They want honest, empathetic communication. In this time of crisis, people are sensitive to tone and motive. They expect brands’ outreach to be authentic and caring.
As you assess these changing expectations, your messages should be grounded in the needs of your customers so you can build and maintain trust with them today and into the future.
A Digital Path Forward
The pandemic has been a huge reminder to us as a global society that the digital world we’ve been creating all this time is critical to our livelihood and the relationships between businesses and consumers. The new behaviors and habits we have adapted overnight speak volumes to the drive we have to innovate our digital interactions.
The fear of change is gone. We know now we’re capable of adapting and emerging together in a better place.
TruStar Marketing fuses the art and science of marketing to improve your business. We specialize in health care, insurance and high-tech manufacturing industries. Digital marketing that works stars with a free introductory call.