Almost every business leader is focused on how to move their business over to digital because of COVID and the lock-down. Employees are working from home more than ever before. Customers are doing record breaking online shopping. Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are getting hammered. As a result, there’s a mad frenzy to shift business to completely online.
But is this the right approach? COVID is temporary and society will recover. Yes, consumers and employees will get accustomed to more online behavior. Most customers will find it more convenient and continue to do convenience shopping online. This also creates a gap. People are social animals and there is a physical aspect to being social that online cannot replace no matter how hard you try. Perhaps virtual reality will play a role in the future but it still cannot replace physical touch and relationships.
The Business Opportunity
We believe that a blended approach with online and brick-and-mortar is the best strategy moving forward. The businesses that have an optimal hybrid online and in-person customer and employee experience will lead the way. Many businesses are making rush decisions to move their entire platforms over to online. But business is about a longer-term play. How are you going to create a competitive advantage in the long-run? This is the question you should asking yourself.
Customers and Your Business
Your customers are people and people are social beings. Online experiences present customers with a flavorless experience whereas in-person experiences are rich. It’s the difference between watching porn online and having real sex. Nothing can replace it no matter how hard you try! Yes, porn can get you addicted but not because it’s a great experience. It’s just more convenient. The challenge is that many businesses fall short with their in-person customer experience. They provide a low-level experience or a poor one. Customers have no incentive to go out of their way to go their physical locations.
Even without the COVID challenges, you should be focusing on your in-person customer experience. It’s an investment that pays you back in multiples. Disney has created it’s entire foundation on the experience they create for their guests. In fact, creating an amazing experience can turn your average customers into raving Super Fans. Super Fans rave about your business, refer new customers to you, buy more, pay more and remain loyal in the long-run. Very rarely do customers transition to Super Fans online. I know because I wrote the original book on Super Fans (get your copy by clicking here or by going to www.superfansbook.com).
Employees and Your Business
Do employees enjoy working from home? The answer is some of them, not all. Some people love working from home. The convenience is ideal for them. Others hate it because they can’t get anything done. The physical environment of your employees’ workspaces matters. It especially matters if you’re trying to create a high-performance team culture and environment.
I’ve had an online team for years and I can tell you that I still prefer to have my team in person. They build stronger connections with each other and they are not as distracted when they are in a room together vs. online at home. There is just an energy that cannot be created online. For simple administrative work, having employees work from home may be ideal. But for more complex projects requiring greater interactivity, in-person is still much better.
Here’s a bigger reason to consider having your teams work in-person. Our research and experience shows that employees perform better when they have stronger relationships at work. Theses relationships are strengthened outside of working hours when employees go out for lunch or drinks together. You can’t do this online.
Your employees are not your most important asset as much as some business leaders like to think. Individuals don’t make businesses successful. Teams make businesses successful. Rather than looking at individual employee preferences, you should be making decisions on how to make a stronger and better team.
Before you make any major decisions, weigh out the pros and cons of online vs. in-person. For both your customers and your employees, there’s an ideal hybrid model that will move you ahead of your competition in your market and industry.
All the best!
The Strategist For Businessmen
P.S. To get your copy of Super Fans go to www.SuperFansBook.com or go to Amazon by clicking here.