When I speak to healthcare groups about the future, I often talk about the use of robots for care and support. For example, the Paro robot seal in aged care facilities provides support and comfort for older people, and “Stevie” is an interactive robot that’s brightening up aged care homes:
Although robots have continued to find their way into healthcare settings, their take-up has been slow, because they are generally seen as a “nice to have”.
The same applies to Boston Dynamics’ robot dog “Spot”, which is amazingly powerful, but didn’t have many practical applications – until the pandemic. Spot now has a new job: frontline healthcare worker. With an iPad and a two-way radio, Spot helps a doctor remotely diagnose and treat coronavirus patients from a distance, keeping the humans safe from infection. Before the pandemic, Spot would still have been in the “nice to have” category: quirky and possibly useful, but not essential. But now that it’s serving a more immediate and urgent need, its role has been elevated to “need to have”.
The same applies to your organisation.
Sometimes the entire customer journey has changed, but sometimes it’s just a small – but important – change to your customer’s priorities.
For example, here are ten ways the pandemic has changed the customer experience:
- Telehealth becomes a standard offering from healthcare providers
- More retail shops close in favour of online shopping
- Ride sharing services expand to deliver groceries, pharmacy products, and other online orders
- We become even more of a cashless society and electronic payments become the norm
- Robots take on more roles to reduce the health risk of human contact
- Regional areas continue to grow, as people choose less densely populated areas
- Telehealth growth increases demand for personal monitoring devices
- Employees demand more flexible work options, especially for working from home
- Virtual reality lets us experience unreachable places in new ways
- The recession spurs people to support local businesses to help rebuild Australia
What will be a “need to have” for YOUR future customers?
Assess your own business, and consider what was “nice to have” that has now been upgraded to a “need to have”.
If you don’t know, ask your customers. Many organisations talk about being customer-centric, and the best way to do that is to involve your customers more in your business.