Inevitably, the world will change once we have emerged from lockdown. With a heightened sense of hygiene and further concerns about workplace safety, employers will need to look closely at ways to reduce contact and move towards what is being touted as the Low Touch Economy. But how can this happen with as little disruption to business as possible?
One of the key ways to help aid in this transition is to embrace digital. Going digital has long been presented as a choice for companies — now, it’s less a choice and more a necessity to remain relevant and to keep up with the modern age. We take a look at some of the methods business owners will need to adapt for their companies to embrace the “new normal”, with a focus on digital saviours.
In many ways, the changes that have been accelerated by the pandemic were already creeping into the business world prior to the virus’ arrival. For example, going paperless within the office was a policy already embraced by many as a means of upgrading, digitising, and building a greener workplace. It has been reported that the average office worker in the UK will print off around 1,584 sheets of paper monthly, with up to 80 per cent of office waste being paper.
Now, there’s another benefit to going paperless — less indirect contact from other people rifling through papers or physically handing documents to one another. Paperless documents can be safely emailed to whoever needs them, with no concerns about a virus’ longevity on a surface.
Plus, according to DocuSign, embracing digital and going paperless has financial benefits to a business too. Digital documentation means a reduced transaction time, as well as an audit trail of digital records to aid with compliance.
Paperless documentation is a worthy upgrade for your workplace as it can improve so many aspects of office life. From digital invoices for online purchases to paperless certificates after your equipment is tested on calibration rigs, every industry can benefit from paperless.
Allowing your customers to receive their purchasing paperwork digitally is another way many businesses can help avoid unnecessary contact in a low-touch world, as well as making the move towards the inevitably electric future. We’re not just talking about digital receipts either — consider purchases that, until now, seemed impossible to do if not in person. For example, the automotive industry has long stood as one of the few sectors where customers would prefer to see the product in person before committing to a payment, being able to question a salesperson face to face.
Now, the sector is toying with the idea of a supermarket-style click and collect service, which would see customers ordering their desired vehicle online, committing to the purchase before they even see the vehicle. This would not only allow customers a greater degree of variety when it comes to customisation options, but still allows them to see the vehicle before driving away with their new car.
Now more than ever, brands and businesses are expected to have a presence online, particularly on social media. Customers value the ability to get in touch with companies directly and easily, and for them, social media is an easily accessible channel. HubSpot reported that 80 per cent of consumers chose social media channels to engage with businesses, 54 per cent use the platform to research products, and most importantly, 54 per cent of customers said they preferred to use social media for customer service rather than phone or email. It’s certainly a digital platform to invest in as your company heads forwards — after all, solving an issue via social media is 83 per cent cheaper than using a call centre.
Be ready for whatever lies ahead. As lockdowns lift, take stock of your company and see which areas of your business could be given a digital upgrade — both your social distancing measures and your finances will benefit from it.