At Metova, we help companies solve problems and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers through technology.
Our job is to look into the future, to predict trends and technologies that help our clients plan for what’s to come and build the right solutions for their customers.
Due to COVID-19, the future is now.
And instead of keeping these conversations to ourselves and our customers, we thought you could benefit from this as well.
If your current plan assumes that things will “get back to normal” eventually and you’re working hard to weather the storm, it might be time to think differently —starting today.
COVID-19 Accelerated The Future. Now, What?
We’re suddenly faced with a challenge that almost none of us have encountered in our lifetime; having to live our day-to-day experiences entirely from home, with limited contact to the outside world.
As business owners and operators, we need to immediately make critical decisions in response as our customers are struggling with what to do next.
We all hope this is a limited experience, but acknowledge this will fundamentally change consumer behavior beyond the immediate emergency. We’re unlikely to be going back to the world as it was even a few weeks ago:
- What does this mean for you?
- What does this mean for your customers?
- What does this do to your customer expectations?
- What inefficiencies or opportunities do you see now and in the future?
These are all questions we should not only be asking, but actively and creatively answering.
With that said, and in serving our collective customers, we anticipate several key areas changing forever:
- Career Management & Planning
- Health Care, Services & Delivery
- Social & Entertainment
- Family Operations.
Our customers’ core behaviors in these areas will fundamentally change when tasked with the challenge of being confined to the home, along with their family.
- Do you rely on your customers coming to you for goods and services?
- Do your customers have a problem to solve that they would otherwise come to you for, but now cannot?
It’s Time To Adapt to a New Normal, Or Else.
The reactive organization will see COVID-19 as a nuisance to business, cash flow, and operations.
The proactive organization will see this as a time to adapt and serve customer needs today but also the demands of the future: a person’s ability to continue their way of life without having to leave the house to do it.
We’ve included some example categories to consider, and while you’re reading, ask yourself:
- Where do you fit?
- Where are your customers struggling where you could help them?
Doing things remotely from home has been a gradual transition we’ve all been facing for the past 20 years, but that gradual transition turned into a necessity in March of 2020.
Businesses that respond to this challenge now are likely to replace those that do not, from here forward.
This is critical as consumer behaviors are often difficult to change or influence, but when they have no alternative they will look to those that can solve their problems under the current circumstances, and then are likely to embrace those brands moving forward.
Let’s dive into these key areas now, and for each, we’ll include a Future Forward example and possible solution.
CAREER PLANNING & MANAGEMENT
People are suddenly faced with working from home — challenging their profession and its viability. They are now finding a way to pivot in a time of need but being ill-equipped and faced with the risk of failure causing a massive impact on their family.
Many people are currently employed in a career that requires them to leave the house. As this has always been an option for them, they haven’t considered the possibility of what would happen if they had to stay home for weeks at a time, or longer.
They are going to be looking for alternatives — quickly. They have skills that may translate to many positions that do provide for them to work remotely and there may be gig economy options for them, but this is all foreign to them and it is suddenly urgent.
- Are you operating a business that could help them?
- Can you help match talent with a need that’s newly available?
- Could you enable these people to do a version of their job from home that’s never been an option before?
There’s a way to help solve this problem and it’s going to be in high demand.
FUTURE FORWARD EXAMPLE
A hairstylist requires that people show up every day, that all appointments are filled and that service is provided. While getting your hair cut, styled or colored may not be a necessity — it is something that most us do on a regular basis.
For many, even a few weeks of reduced appointments could have a massive impact on their business, but they aren’t prepared to do anything else, nor do they have a plan to keep their business going under these circumstances.
What if they worked out a system to coach their clients over video chat on how to color, style, trim, and care for their hair remotely? What if they had a platform for distributing content via subscription to their clientele? What if this could then scale to clients that were located much further than their typical client would travel?
A crushing customer behavior shift could inspire a pivot into a successful new business they never thought possible.
Access to healthcare is suddenly a pressing issue. With the risk of interacting with others in a health system facility combined with an urgent need to get help for unrelated issues, people will be faced with extremely difficult decisions on how to take care of themselves and their families.
While the web has produced countless sites and pages of healthcare troubleshooting over the years, the option to just head in to visit your doctor, visit an urgent care center or even the ER has always been there.
Insurance and cost have been limiting factors, but in most places, access has not. In a time when going to any of these facilities may be its own health risk, or the delays and unwillingness to join the masses to wait may have many people questioning how to get treatment for average health ailments.
What about the sprained ankle, deep cut or other moderate to serious health situation that typically requires care?
How do people make the tough decision to go out and enter an urgent care facility with anything other than a virus related issue? Could they be helped at home?
FUTURE FORWARD EXAMPLE
Video chatting with healthcare professionals is in its infancy — but it does exist. Could this be accelerated rapidly to establish care and consulting as a remote service that happens in the home?
Could supplies be delivered directly to the home so that, with a professional’s assistance, people could care for themselves and their family members directly?
This would ease the load on the health systems, put available professionals to work regardless of the facility bandwidth or location and for many people, these treatments and solutions could be managed directly with guidance along with follow-up care and services to be managed through applications.
SERVICES & COMMERCE
Like most things, we tend to take the on-demand availability of services for granted. Especially when those are things like getting the supplies we need and having people help in and around our home – activities such as housekeeping, landscaping, utilities and beyond.
The challenge of filling these needs when these services become compromised will require a behavior change that could change the way they accomplish these tasks going forward.
FUTURE FORWARD EXAMPLE
Many people don’t do all of the cleaning in their home, and aren’t prepared to do the kind of cleaning that may be necessary in today’s world.
What if a brand stepped up and delivered a monthly box of customized supplies, tutorials, and guidance to manage their home, keeping it clean and sanitary?
This is an opportunity to provide education, tools, supplies, and instruction to people that may have otherwise relied on others to do — and potentially creating a brand new market.
SOCIAL & ENTERTAINMENT
As events, gatherings, and popular destinations are being cancelled a void is forming where social engagement and interaction were once common.
Due to our social nature, this impacts much of our daily lives, from weekly church, going to the movies, to catching a concert. While many connected devices in the home provide an opportunity to bring entertainment into our living room, there is still much that will get left behind without change.
FUTURE FORWARD EXAMPLE
Movie theaters will be immediately affected as people choose to watch movies on their couch. While we already do this, the movie-going experience has provided us the opportunity to watch first-run movies at the theaters long before they appear on the services we use today.
This could be a great opportunity for the movie industry to finally provide first-run access from home, this could be combined with a theater brand subscription and also delivered entertainment packs that include popular snacks to even further bring the experience home. This disruption hasn’t occurred yet as the industry has worked hard to protect the trip out to the theater, but the alternative is a wave of empty theaters unable to generate revenue.
Cash flow alone may be a tremendous burden on the family that needs to stay home. Work options may be limited and reserves may be tight, creating an immediate sense of urgency for people.
In addition, small businesses may have a very steep hill to climb as the products and services they offer may not be necessities (think of the local donut shop, nail salon or restaurant) and they could have short runways to financial disaster. Finding ways for these people to rapidly pivot will keep them going well into the future.
FUTURE FORWARD EXAMPLE
There are a number of key issues that will be facing our customers as the economic impact of these changes ripple through large and small businesses alike. Being proactive and getting creative here could have a massive impact on the health of entire communities. As a financial institution you might see an opportunity to proactively help consumers “skip” payments on their loans, whether those are mortgages, car loans, credit cards, etc.
When the last economic crunch hit, the banks came off as the “bad guy” for many, this is an opportunity to reach out with a plan for customers in need that are already up all night worrying about what financial options they have. A bank that’s a service to them in their time of need changes the entire conversation.
With school closing, child care limitations, working from home and preparing all meals at home, maintaining family dynamics and necessities will be an increasing challenge for many people.
Even the basics of pet care and family outings will be affected with limited access to outside services. This may be completely foreign to many families who have routines that they’ve been operating under that they rarely deviate from.
FUTURE FORWARD EXAMPLE
With kids at home during what would typically be the school year, and parents at home during what would typically be the workday — there is a challenge to ensure everything gets the proper attention.
Work still needs to get done and education still needs to continue. While homeschooling has been around a long time, most parents have little to no experience and are looking for an approach that works for them.
Having the ability to provide a curriculum, a series of tasks and work and age-appropriate content could set the parents up for success, while ensuring that their children are doing more than watching TV all day.
We Hope COVID-19 Will Be Quick…But Its Impact Won’t.
This isn’t a time to capitalize on a pandemic, but it is exactly the right time to plan for a future that is suddenly here. Looking at your business from every angle is critical right now as the new way forward may be uncomfortable, but necessary.
The impact of this health crisis is here to stay, and those who adapt and apply the lessons quickly will enter the next era with a profound advantage.
This is what we do at Metova, and we sincerely hope this information helps you and your organization to better navigate these difficult times. Take care of your team, look out for your customers and be bold in redefining what success means in your organization.
– Team Metova