From Banking to Healthcare, Everything Has Changed
So consumed with the day-to-day demands of our jobs, it’s easy to forget there’s an entire universe of ever-advancing technology ushering in new conveniences for consumers. And, oftentimes, those “once-a-convenience, now-an-expectation” situations come knocking (loudly) on our doors, demanding our immediate attention.
Let’s take a moment to peek outside the realm of our overflowing to-do lists and see what technological innovations are transforming the customer experience in other verticals.
Bank On It
During the pandemic, banks, like so many other consumer-centric businesses, found themselves fast-tracking initiatives that otherwise may have been on the back burner.
In a heavily regulated industry, where slow and steady wins the race, they had to quickly adapt to “rebuild their business with a digital core that could support a more flexible workforce, a more agile operating model and a range of emerging customer needs.”1
As noted by Ron Shevlin, senior contributor to Forbes, “the pandemic helped shake up some long-held beliefs about the primacy of the branch.” Traditionally in-person interactions, like opening a new account, suddenly required an online alternative. And mobile banking, already gaining traction among older generations, became an imperative for those most at risk from the virus.
Today, with 68% of banking executives saying the pace of digital transformation continues to accelerate, the next big question for banks is how to sustain the momentum. One trend that will promote swifter speed-to-market is a move toward low-code and no-code platforms. These, along with integration-ready APIs, will enable in-house business experts to envision – and then build themselves – bespoke experiences for their customers.
A Healthy Dose of (Virtual) Reality
Telehealth, once reserved for…who are we kidding? Did anyone use telehealth before the pandemic? It’s safe to suggest both consumers and healthcare providers were reluctant to adopt virtual doctor consultations as an alternative to in-person visits, for a variety of reasons. To say that Covid-19 transformed the way patients and doctors communicated is an understatement.
And while we couldn’t call telehealth an innovation (it’s been available for decades, after all), it did manage to soften – if not completely smooth out – some of the common complaints about visiting the doctor’s office. Instead of waiting 45 minutes in a cramped germ factory after driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic and paying for parking, any waiting you did was from the comfort of your couch. We’ll consider that a collective win.
What’s more, many healthcare providers improved their communications around these appointments with SMS reminders and notifications. (It’s worth noting that SMS messages enjoy a 98% open rate and prompt a response within 90 seconds on average.)2 Proactive communications like these lessened the occurrences of no-shows and appointment cancellations, saving the healthcare industry billions of dollars.
Can’t Buy Me Love, But Can Buy Me Just About Anything Else
Current industry leaders in the retail sector have been at the forefront of customer experience for years. And those with their customer-first ducks in a row, like juggernauts Amazon and Apple, were handsomely rewarded during the pandemic. Both enjoyed record profits, despite facing unprecedented supply chain challenges and a difficult labor market.3
Still, many of the conveniences Amazon had in place were available long before the pandemic hit, leaving other, often older, retailers to play catch-up. Conventional supermarkets, the unsexy station wagon of the retail sector, found themselves scrambling to roll out ecommerce and delivery options, partnering with purpose-built platforms when possible, while still trying to eke out any semblance of profitability in a historically low-margin business.
It appears that online grocery shopping is here to stay. While not as prolific or popular as purchasing general merchandise from Amazon, 60% of U.S. consumers now buy groceries online and plan to do so at the same pace post-pandemic.4 It’s a pretty momentous shift when you consider nearly 98% of U.S. grocery shopping took place in-store, pre-pandemic.5
More than ever, consumers are taking advantage of self-service tools and at-your-fingertips conveniences. And, while the pandemic may have been the accelerant, the desire for improved CX was already smoldering, sparked largely by forward-thinking, consumer-centric retailers.
Having experienced what is possible, consumers have transferred those expectations to every digital touchpoint, including transactions happening in traditionally staid sectors, such as utilities. Fortunately, engaging with consumers in a meaningful way has never been easier, thanks to platforms built specifically to address this need. If you haven’t already, consider working with a vendor who excels at delivering exceptional customer experiences to ensure you’re not left behind.
1 Abbott, Michael, et al. “Banking Technology Vision 2021,” Accenture.com, https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/banking/technology-vision-banking-2021
2 Gargaro, David. “MMS vs. SMS: Which is Best for Text Message Marketing?” Business.com, https://www.business.com/articles/mms-vs-sms-text-message-marketing/
3 Palmer, Annie. “How Amazon managed the coronavirus crisis and came out stronger,” CNBC.com, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/29/how-amazon-managed-the-coronavirus-crisis-and-came-out-stronger.html
4 Redman, Russell. “Online grocery shopping grows amid ‘pandemic-induced channel stickiness’,” SuperMarketNews.com, https://www.supermarketnews.com/online-retail/online-grocery-shopping-grows-amid-pandemic-induced-channel-stickiness
5 Wilkinson, David. “How Retailers Can Capitalize on Last Year’s Giant Step Toward Digitization,” rRISNews.com, https://risnews.com/how-retailers-can-capitalize-last-years-giant-step-toward-digitization