If digital transformation was a strategic business priority in the pre-2020 era, the pandemic propelled it to an existential imperative. Consumers witnessed the results of this enforced experiment in myriad ways. Their favorite clothing brand launched virtual try-on services. Their doctor became accessible via telehealth appointments. Even their local government—not an entity typically associated with expediency—released an app that gave citizens connected access to services in a fraction of the usual time.

Now, we’re teetering on the precipice of a post-pandemic business landscape—the next phase of what’s been dubbed “the new normal.” Employees and customers consider digital interactions like the ones outlined above a given, and many of the shifts set off by the pandemic seem poised to stick around for years or even decades to come.  

In fact, Pew Research found that a full 86% of respondents to a survey about post-pandemic life expect the pandemic to have lasting effects on everyday experiences. In the context of retail and ecommerce, more people expect to shop online post-covid than ever before—even for unconventional products and services, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). On the workplace front, employees are seeing both advantages and challenges to the new world of hybrid and remote work. Microsoft’s Future of Work 2022 Report outlined benefits including an uptick in collaboration platforms and a baseline improvement of accessible digital workspaces, as well as hurdles like “video call fatigue” and the rise of employee burnout.

While the covid crisis catalyzed a more virtual, mobile, and distributed business ecosystem, reliance upon digital experiences is now an unstoppable cultural shift. To remain relevant, businesses must continue iterating upon pandemic-sparked digital efforts that serve both customers and employees.

In a survey conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights, respondents cited priorities like implementing self-serve and personalized experiences—all with digital trust at the fore. Sixty-two percent of respondents noted the pandemic prompted their organization to improve internal messaging and communication systems, 53% noted they had bolstered self-service capabilities, and another 53% said they’d improved integration and support over digital channels to facilitate smoother operations (see Figure 1).

Digital experience across sectors

Exclusively crediting covid-19 with the current digital evolution is overly simplistic. Even before the pandemic, businesses across nearly every industry were eager to invest in emerging technologies. That said, there’s little doubt that the pandemic was an accelerant. In 2020, online retail sales increased by more than 30%.4 They grew another 14% in 2021. According to our survey data, the majority of respondents (62%) noted that the pandemic hastened the digital transformation of customer and employee experiences by one to three years (see Figure 2).

Lax Gopisetty, the global vice president at Infosys, notes that many businesses have now “recalibrated” to adopt technology as a core competency rather than a supporting one. Today, digital experiences have transitioned from piecemeal tools for process management or data collection into a disintermediated, service-oriented component of nearly all business operations.

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By: Francesca Fanshawe
Title: Customer and employee experience: The new normal
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2022/07/19/1056163/customer-and-employee-experience-the-new-normal/
Published Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2022 08:59:22 +0000