Seemingly overnight, consumers have gone from living lives that were augmented by digital interactions, to living lives that are defined by it. People are socializing on video chat, visiting museums via virtual tours, and participating in fitness activities through live stream.
Regardless of whether they offered digital services before, all businesses today must rapidly shift to remote and digital transactions –– if they wish to remain operational.
Lightico conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans in March 2020 to understand the impact of the coronavirus on their daily habits and needs. As was to be expected, a majority of consumers are concerned about the virus’ impact on their health and finances.
Respondents overwhelmingly expressed a need for digital and remote ways of getting things done, with two-thirds saying they are more inclined to try new digital offerings now than before.
If businesses want to navigate this difficult period, they must keep a finger on the pulse of consumers’ new reality –– offer solutions (like e-signatures) that consider the impossibility of face to face interactions and create easy, remote and digital services.
Here are a few of the top takeaways from the new survey of consumers in the coronavirus era:
Customers are fearful –– and avoiding essential services
With the fear that coronavirus carriers are walking around potentially anywhere, a whopping 82% of consumers are concerned about going to their local bank or grocery store. In fact, nearly half of consumers would avoid taking a loan from the bank if it required going to a physical location.
Considering that 56% of consumers are worried about being able to pay back loans in the coming months, there is a sizable portion of the population that may be putting off getting a desperately needed loan due to a lack of remote servicing options.
Putting one’s finances in order or procuring food is a necessity, not a luxury. Businesses must enable cash-strapped and jittery consumers to modify or defer their loans, refinance their mortgages, and have food in their fridge –– without risking their health or the health of frontline employees.
Lower income individuals are most impacted
Unsurprisingly, the most vulnerable members of our society are the most worried in light of the coronavirus crisis. And higher income individuals seem to be less immediately concerned. For example, 84% of households earning less than $126,000 a year are worried about going to their local bank or grocery store.
Meanwhile, only 64% of those earning over $126,000 a year say the same. Perhaps this reflects the enhanced ability of high-income individuals to gain access to better services, such as a strong personal relationship with a banker who can make things happen remotely, or easy access to online food delivery. Also, wealthier may people simply have more options, which helps reduce fear.
Yet many businesses, including banks and auto lenders, should expect the fastest-growing demand for services to come from lower-income folks in the coming months. This is the population that will most require loan deferments, forbearance, and refinancing. In fact, 64% of customers earning under $35,000 a year are concerned about their ability to pay off their loan in the coming year –– compared to just 26% of those earning over $126,000.
Lower-income individuals’ fears about going to a physical location to do business, combined with their urgent need for financial servicing ( and the already poor track record servicing this demographic), means that the requirement for intuitive digital services is greater than ever.
Customers demand remote, digital service
Before the coronavirus era, customers were already expressing a strong preference for frictionless online journeys. Today, they are demanding it. 84% of consumers surveyed expect brands to find ways to maximize digital interactions to keep them safe. For example, the vast majority would like to receive a virtual health consultation before going to a physical facility.
Moreover, 72% of consumers believe that companies need to invest in long-term digital solutions to minimize physical interactions. And a similar percentage (74%) think the transition to a more digital environment will be a lasting trend even after the coronavirus is defeated.
A majority of all age groups are adopting more remote solutions in light of the coronavirus, showing that there is universal demand.
The takeaway is clear: rapidly adopting remote servicing solutions is non-negotiable for businesses today. But the investment in remote technology will continue to pay dividends in terms of customer loyalty, efficiency, and turnaround time long after this crisis comes to an end.
Especially Now, Remote Servicing is Key to Business Survival
Amid the chaos that the coronavirus outbreak has unleashed upon the world, there is one thing companies can do to assuage the public’s fears and ensure business continuity: implement remote and digital servicing, with tools like an eSignature solution, ID verification, and easy form completion.
To read more of the essential insights from Lightico’s survey of consumer habits during the coronavirus, click here.