Time marches on and the world is settling into new patterns. We are starting to see a flattening curve in some jurisdictions and some economies are announcing phased reopenings.
Government funding for the most part has been designed and is being dispersed.
For a complete listing of COVID-19 news visit my agency’s COVID-19 page for daily updates https://www.graphicintuitions.com/covid19-updates/
The economic impact of COVID-19 is deep and deepening and the human tragedy is unparalleled in history. This is an inflection point in our history.
While many are yearning and waiting for a return to normal, things will not be the same. New patterns are emerging, previous trends are amplified and behaviours that couldn’t be changed prior have changed overnight. I have compiled my observations into two sets; clear, obvious emerging patterns and changes such as increases in manufacturing automation and parking lots being turned into waiting lots, and non-obvious changes and patterns to consider.
Obvious Changes and Patterns
- Manufacturing will see increased automation and robotics in the next 18 months that would have taken years to accomplish. Now due to social distancing and fluidity in the reliability of the workforce, manufacturing is being forced to increase automation. Investments in robotics and automation have skyrocketed to replace labour and get factories back to capacity. This will create more reliability and increases in supply in time. Even so…
- Supply chains will move closer to home and the globalization trend will retract. This crisis has exposed how vulnerable the world is to disruption for basic inputs. There will be a counter-reaction to this, which is bringing the supply chain home and increasing inventories as insurance. This will create supply chain business opportunities and changes in materials management logic.
- Remote work is here to stay
Since 37 percent of jobs can be done at home, according to a University of Chicago study, working from home may be the new norm post-pandemic. There is a mountain of other studies that point to increased productivity and quality of life, plus the reduction in costs for organizations. For a long time companies will not have a choice about remote work and with all the tools available to track accountability the old reason for “not knowing what the employee is doing” no longer applies. The outcome of this crisis is that bosses and employees will realize that work isn’t where you go, it is what you do. The negative impact of the forced march to the office are now too big to ignore. Expect general society push back if bosses demand a 100% return to work. A hybrid model will emerge.
- Business Processes and Customer Experiences will digitalize. Prior to COVID-19, curbside pick up was a novelty and a “nice marketing tactic to do.” Now, no matter the size of the business, it has been spun up in weeks, leapfrogging years of painful progress in this direction. Overnight, parking lots have been converted into waiting lots. The pace of this change will break down barriers for further change. The old guard that had resisted digitization is now chanting “change or die!” Expect the pace of adoption to be brisk and an arms race to occur as brands grapple to provide the easiest, seamless, digital experience…which leads to…
Non Obvious Changes and Patterns
- The current poor CX will not be tolerated much longer. As businesses spin up quick, yet clunky, “touchless” digital experiences, customers are tolerant of the bumps in the journey – for now. This will change as leaders emerge and set the bar higher for all. Happily, the tools are in place for all brands, big and small, to move their business online and thus their CX online. As stated above, there will be an arms race and this is the battleground of customer service. Now more than ever, how easy and safe it is to do business counts as much or more compared to the price and product features. Organizations now need to map these newly created customer journeys and augment them with technology.
- On the ship and off the ship matters more. The gig economy had been roaring and low was the sad employee shackled to a day job. If you didn’t have a “side hustle” you were an unambitious fool. The script has flipped with contractors cut en mass in order to save these same lowly full-time employment jobs. Now the security of full employment is more coveted and appreciated than ever before. Expect employers to have their pick of who to hire and wage pressures will be all but eliminated in most cases….and yet…
- Leadership will be held to account. This will happen immediately in some cases as poor crisis management will lead to business closures, but of those businesses that survive, their actions during this time to staff and customers will be remembered. Perhaps not much can happen now to punish bad behaviour, but with social and word of mouth being increasingly powerful in today’s digital age, those stories will emerge in time. Payment in full will occur.
- Tech Utilities will become even more entrenched. Yep, Tech Utilities: Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Alibaba, these and more will become so entrenched that they will be like the utility companies of old, unassailable, unmoveable, perhaps even untouchable. This bodes ill for the billions of users in which the new normal depends on their services. We know some of the bosses believe in the greater good while others not so much. These organizations will be influencing our society and “writing” many of the rules of new commerce.
My hope is you can reflect on these changes and trends to help you navigate the way forward for your organization. As many requested access to last month’s list of compiled resources I have published that newsletter Understanding the new normal. The insights from 30 days ago are still very relevant today.
Lastly, I am here to help, and as always I have complied some additional resources for your consideration, many of which reinforce the views above.
This month’s roundup includes:
- What I am Currently Reading and Why
- Global-View of Consumer Behavior
- Seven Areas that Matter now to Your Customers
- Digitally Transforming Now or Never
|What I am Currently Reading and Why |
Being an information junkie, I consume a lot of books. This year I decided to take a page from Tim Ferris and not read any “new” books in 2020. So I have been cruising my two-story bookshelf finding “old gold”. This is the list of what I have been reading and why:
Outside In: The power of putting customers at the center of Your Business
Harley Manning, Kerry Bodine
If you are looking for the fundamentals of Customer Experience, this is the book. I have the e-book with me at all times, the audiobook and my physical copy is well worn. This was at least my fifth complete reading, it is the way I kick off my new year reading.
The Nordstrom Way to customer service excellence (second edition)
Robert Spector, Patrick McCarthy
This treasure had been sitting on the shelf unloved for a long time. I pulled it off. It is a history of Nordstrom, which is interesting in of itself, but what I found fascinating was how advanced the company was with modern CX techniques considering it is an old book (2nd edition updated 2012). Eight years ago Nordstrom was doing what today are considered leading best practice CX. What are they doing now? It is also a great read for understanding how to build a remarkable culture.
How Hard is it to be your Customer? Using Journey Mapping to Drive Customer-Focused Change
Jim Tincher, Nicole Newton
This is a step by step best practice guide for Customer Journey Mapping. It will be an ongoing reference for my current and future practice.
The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson
This is my second reading of this old book (2011). I have read many “sales” books, and this is by far the best for B2B selling. It teaches a new way to connect and challenge the thinking of your customers instead of building/leveraging a relationship and pushing a product. A change that still is needed in buckets right now.
What got you here Won’t get you there
I mean, the title says it all. This is another reread on this list. What is interesting is the extra layers of understanding and personal insight I am gaining on this second pass, years removed from the first read…if I knew then what I know now. Or more accurately, if I applied the advice I read then, instead of starting now…
|A Global View of Consumer Behavior |
Depending on where you live, the COVID-19 lockdown has been in place for over a month or closer to two months. Considering that it takes 66 days to form a new habit it is unreasonable to expect a “return to normal” as new habits will inevitably be formed.
Consumer behaviour studies are starting to decipher what that may look like. It comes as no surprise that most studies point out that the digital shift our society was undergoing prior is being accelerated and here to stay, whether that is for entertainment, personal communications or commerce. Companies have been rapidly struggling to deploy an improved experience online or to create an experience online. The need is here to stay.
Currently, customers are tolerating poor experiences being offered by companies and organizations due to the exceptional nature of this time. But this tolerance will not last, especially when leaders emerge in providing a remarkable experience for this new way. As a business leader are you shifting to meet new expectations? What was once a slow trickle is now a tidal wave of change.
Read more here
|Seven Areas that Matter Now to your Customers |
Customer experience takes on a new meaning against the COVID-19 backdrop. Typically we approach customer experience by creating seamless, convenient and engaging customer journeys; however, the needs of customers at the moment have shifted dramatically towards more essential concerns.
A recent McKinsey survey of US consumers found that 64 percent of respondents have felt depressed, anxious, or both over the past several weeks, and 39 percent stated that they would be unable to pay their bills after one month of unemployment Learn about the emotional areas that matter to customers now and how you can connect.
Read more here
|Digital Transformation Now or Never |
“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is clear: Businesses had better get on the ball when it comes to their digital transformation initiatives. As they do so, it’s critical that they unify and improve the customer experience across physical and digital channels.”
Read more here
Whether you are looking to map your customer journey, build customer profiles, set goals or conduct marketing channel ROI, check out the expanding set of tools available:
Steve’s first book Thriving in the Customer Age – 8 Key Metrics to Transform your Business Results teaches about the customer journey and provides a guiding framework spanning all stages of the customer experience. The book explains how every metric impacts an organization and how leaders can utilize each metric to create continuous improvement in their customer experience. Everyone knows the customer is the most important part of a business. This book provides the tools to improve an organization’s customer experience and drastically transform business results.
If you are looking to take your customer experience to the next level let’s connect!