For most of us, the way we live our day-to-day lives has changed substantially since the beginning of the pandemic, with many of those changes now permanent. This shift has introduced opportunities and some challenges for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
It’s not just Zoom and Netflix that are seeing the transformative effects. A recent study found that property and casualty insurance customers now have much higher expectations for their insurers’ websites and mobile apps. Similarly, mainstream adoption of telehealth has continued to surge, growing by 36% in 2021 as health care consumers adopted it as a more routine option and states expanded insurance coverage for telemedicine. The use of retail banking apps and web apps has skyrocketed, while branch visits have plummeted — even among older generations.
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These are not exogenous blips. The behavioral changes that have taken place over the past two years were no doubt accelerated by COVID-19. But now that people have had a chance to reap the benefits of on-demand, digital-first channels for so many of their day-to-day interactions, the conventional wisdom on customer engagement and brand advocacy has changed forever.
How are business leaders finding ways to differentiate themselves amid this explosion of new, digital-first touch points? Increasingly, that answer comes down to using data and analytics in smart ways — to better anticipate consumer needs and to deliver “human” customer experiences at the right time.
The Millisecond Economy
The rise of digital-first client engagement has changed every industry in many ways, but the real root of transformation has come in the form of faster decisions. Every aspect of a transaction needs to be executed instantly, whether determining which special offers will be promoted, making a lending decision, or serving up optimized products. We are now living in a millisecond economy in which consumers expect to be able to execute trades, comparison-shop insurance policies, access important documents, and find a new TV series to binge-watch in an instant. To deliver on these expectations, companies must leverage technology, data and analytics, and cloud solutions to achieve the combination of speed and accuracy necessary to enable these types of experiences.
Take the point-of-sale financing market, for example.