A new TELUS International survey suggests that many Americans will continue to spend much of their time online once COVID-19 has passed. While only around half of the respondents had used online health and wellness (45 percent) and online gaming (53 percent) services before the pandemic, many had started during lockdown and the majority (77 percent and 71 percent) planned to keep up their new habits even after things return to normal.
According to TELUS, those findings reflect the fact that many people have had positive experiences with online services during the pandemic. Seventy-eight percent of the respondents reported that their online customer interactions were better during the pandemic than they had been before the pandemic, which indicates that many digital transformations were successful and translated to better outcomes for consumers and businesses alike.
The online trend observed in the wellness and gaming industries held for online shopping and digital banking, though the differences were not quite as dramatic because both already enjoyed high adoption rates before COVID-19. Eighty-six and 85 percent of the public shopped and banked online, respectively, prior to the pandemic, and 97 and 92 percent will still do so after it is over.
Consumers cited convenience (34 percent) and more personalized service (20 percent) as the two biggest contributors to their improved digital experiences. However, many respondents felt that there was a lack of empathy in their digital interactions with various brands. Businesses in the wellness sector tended to have the most empathetic relationships with their customers.
“While empathy should always be top of mind for brands when interacting with its customers, its importance has been amplified by the effects of this pandemic,” said TELUS International CTO Jim Radzicki. “Given that consumers’ digital behaviors will for the most part continue post-pandemic, companies that haven’t already should start prioritizing ways they can deliver effortless, personalized and anticipatory customer experiences. Either brands decide to lean into digital CX in 2021, or they risk getting left behind.”
TELUS is not the first company to suggest that businesses will need to update their digital practices to survive in a post-COVID environment. TransUnion has argued that businesses should be prioritizing digital payments, while Onfido has similarly stated that financial institutions need to offer strong digital services to retain their customers.