The Coronavirus has a major impact on society and economy, worldwide we see deserted streets and life seems to have largely moved to online. We are called upon to keep our distance from each other in order to prevent the spread of the virus, the so-called "social distancing". Fortunately, we are responding to this en masse and the health of the collective is being put first. But there is no denying that it has a major impact and brings new challenges.
Due to social distancing, digitization has gained momentum in recent weeks. Schools, sports facilities and restaurants are closed for the time being, and many shops also keep their doors closed or have adjusted opening hours. People are advised to keep a distance of one and a half metres from each other, often work from home and follow the advice on scaling down social contacts to a minimum. This requires a considerable amount of adaptability. People are by nature social beings with the urge to belong and to be connected with others. This rapid adaptation in social structures and the media violence that accompanies it brings with it uncertainty. This intensifies the need for information, certainty and the desire for authentic and personal interaction.
The measures not only create physical distance between people, but also between companies and consumers. Companies need to be creative in the new digital context that has arisen in order to be able to reach and continue to connect with consumers. It makes me proud to see how the Dutch are dealing with this: digital initiatives are popping up like mushrooms and the sense of belonging seems to be greater than it has ever been.
However, it is uncertain how long this situation will last, which is why it is important to secure consumer loyalty and to keep the service levels personal and relevant, especially now and at distance. In this way you avoid losing the loyalty of your customers in these times and at the same time build a strong foundation for your proposition in an increasingly digital world. But what are these consumer expectations and how do you deal with them as a company? In this blog we explain a number of opportunities for you.
The consumer sits at home, but that doesn't mean he forgot about you right away. We just have to find a new way to meet (again). The first step is therefore the digitization of the offer. Restaurants are massively joining platforms such as Uber Eats and Thuisbezorgd and gyms offer their teaching offerings digitally. We see the supply of online content grow enormously, from libraries that now offer their audiobooks digitally to large festivals that stream various shows from the past online. These are great initiatives that are aimed at keeping the connection with each other and continuing to provide each other with what we are accustomed to.
We went through the first step well. By digitizing the offer at a fast pace, the consumer can also be reached and served in the new context. However, this offer is mainly focused on sending information. The real challenge is: strong relationships only emerge when there is interaction and understanding. When we communicate with each other and understand each other's needs. By analyzing the digital interactions well, these needs can be mapped out and the possibility arises to not lose the personal touch in this new context. After all, this is what the modern consumer expects. The challenges that await us in this respect are:
The above shows that we all ended up in a new reality at lightning speed and were able to adapt to it within a very short period of time. We now also find each other digitally, and especially now we must not stand still. It is uncertain how long this situation will last, but realize that all the knowledge and experience that is now being gained will also make you stronger in the long term. Let's not forget that findability is one thing, but interaction, personal approach and authenticity are the key to digital success.