COVID-19 is still prevalent while people are returning to their offices or to physical businesses such as restaurants, gyms and hair salons. We are only scratching the surface of how one can utilize accelerated Hard Trends in technology to increase trust as customers return to physical locations of businesses around the world.
Yet these improvements made to physical businesses reopening are only one part of elevating customers’ trust in the post-pandemic world. There is a digital counterpart to consider as well, because several of these businesses will continue offering their remote options founded during the pandemic as a way to keep those customers coming until they feel confident in returning physically.
There are many emerging technologies that can help provide an elevated level of safety and trust. For example, mobile payment using smartphones has been a growing Hard Trend for some time now and will accelerate greatly the more we reopen.
Grocery stores and pharmacies that have been doing record business during the pandemic have learned that in order to keep employees feeling safe and coming to work, they must put in see-through partitions at checkout and as many touch-free systems as possible. Cashier-less checkout, something Amazon has already introduced and is licensing to other retailers, is accelerating in lieu of the pandemic as well. For many customers who do want to shop in-person, several prefer handling their groceries themselves, so self-checkout is the way to go.
A few more similarly accelerating technology Hard Trends that increase in-person trust are contact-less kiosks for self-service in retail stores, and hotel and airline check-in using facial recognition and/or voice and smartphone. While hotels and airports are physical locations that one must be comfortable enough to physically use, what about the essential businesses that individuals need but may not feel comfortable entering for years to come?
This is where my Both/And Principle can aid in regaining trust for those businesses capable of doing so.
The digital counterpart to offering curbside pickup and mobile payments for groceries gives customers comfort and reinstates their trust that you hear their concerns as well, touching on my Both/And Principle, in which both the grocery store and customers win.
Over time, the goal is to increase trust enough using my Both/And Principle to convert those curbside customers or at-home weightlifters to returning customers, whether or not the virus remains as uncertain as it is currently.
While many gym goers invested in their own equipment at the start of the global shutdown, many gyms offered their members at-home workouts remotely. However, just as many are working tirelessly to regain customer’s trust in order to see them return to their facility. How are they doing this?
As an example, several have installed touch-free doors on all bathrooms that open automatically with motion sensors. Given that prior to COVID-19, touching a bathroom door to exit after using the bathroom was considered to be unsanitary, it is understandable that because COVID-19 will still be around as we reopen, even simple little touches like touch-free doors will show that you as a gym owner care about your members’ health and safety.
And let’s not forget about advanced air filtration systems, as well as smart airflow systems that can blow air in or suck air and viruses out, robotic floor and wall cleaners, and self-cleaning technology systems will all be in high demand. Gyms and other businesses that have in-person clientele patronizing their facilities for hours on end will need to keep up with cleanliness unlike ever before, requiring near around the clock attention to sanitary detail.
Opportunities to innovate are everywhere. Need an elevator? Order an elevator with a smartphone, and have your touch-less elevators controlled by your smartphone using a wireless Bluetooth link.
Going back to what I was saying about airlines and hotels earlier: When a number of major airlines recently made public announcements promising that everyone in line and on the plane would be wearing a mask and that there would be spaces between passengers on the plane, and that didn’t happen, what happened to trust?
I’m sure some of you have seen recent news stories in which passengers posted videos on social media of crowded planes and few passengers wearing masks. When you lose trust, is it easy to get it back? Absolutely not, and with the speed at which viral videos of your missteps travel in today’s world, you aren’t just losing the trust of in-person customers; the remote customers’ trust you’re trying to gradually welcome back is obliterated as well.
With that said, make sure you put elevated trust at the center of your reopening strategy.
It has never been more important to be an Anticipatory Leader who uses Hard Trends and certainty to turn change and disruption into opportunity and advantage. So how can you use accelerated Hard Trends in technology to bring remote customers back to in-person services?
By using my Both/And Principle, you continue to offer what you built during the pandemic to show each and every customer that their concerns have been heard, and that it is in their hands to return, but they will always be a valued customer regardless.
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Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.