Throughout 2020, the key story was that of disruption. Organisations with field workers needed to invest in technology innovation as a way of “keeping the lights on” through the pandemic. As noted in the previous article, the offshoot of organisations making these investments has been that they now have highly transformed IT environments that are now ripe for innovation and technology leadership, but only if these newly transformed environments and technology solutions are managed well.
Disrupt or be disrupted!
A recent study by IDC, titled The Hybrid Workspace: Enabling Security and Mobility for an Agile Workforce, found that the CEO’s top three priorities in this digital economy are firstly, to engender trust in customers, secondly, define new value in the digital economy, and finally, to ensure reliable digital services and experiences.
“Trust” is a simple word, but one of the consequences of the disruption of the past year is that trust is in short supply. Trust has declined across all sectors – within retail, banks, and right through to entertainment and travel sectors. Consumer behaviour is being modernised by a desire to keep a hygienic distance from contact with other people.
This has led to a boom in contactless experiences, and pushed organisations with field workers, to find a new, contactless approach to customer interaction. However, building trust involves more than simply providing field workers with new mobile technology. The organisation needs to formulate new ways of working and interacting, both with the customers and internally, to ensure that the organisation remains responsive to customer needs.
“Agility” is going to be the keyword moving forward. Businesses need to be highly adaptable and able to change quickly, as customer behaviour becomes more fluid and dynamic. Customers are increasingly aware that businesses can engage with them on their terms, and with that understanding comes expectation. Core to building trust in this new normal is the ability to execute on that expectation.
Trends moving into 2021 and beyond
The “gig” economy has been critical to helping many navigate through the pandemic in delivering meals, groceries, and household goods, as well as providing a more hygienic and safe option for transport when it has been necessary, as an alternative to using public transit.
Additionally, the gig economy is of great benefit to businesses as it allows them to rapidly scale to meet demand, and then scale back during slower periods. With the business environment likely to remain in flux and disrupted for some years to come, gig economy workers will be seen as preferable to full-time placements among many organisations.
At the same time, gig economy workers have struggled in their status as “independent contractors” rather than employees. This has made it difficult for them to remain safe in their work through the pandemic, and hasn’t helped consumers build trust with the organisation. Things are changing; Uber recently agreed to treat its drivers as employees rather than contractors in the UK, and it can be expected that gig economy workers will be treated in this way more frequently into the future.
Beyond taking a greater level of responsibility for gig economy workers, businesses will be able to leverage technology to better integrate their gig economy workers into their workforce. As the Samsung “The Next Normal: Reshaping the Future Generation of Mobile Workers” report cites, 60% of global enterprises will be testing smartphones as their company’s singular IT-supported 3-in-1 devices, and 15% would have adopted it this year. Organisations that do adopt this approach will be able to seamlessly integrate gig economy workers into their workforce and manage through the mobile device that they carry on them.
Companies that are able to thrive in this post-pandemic world will be able to adopt the gig economy approach to more of their work. Take retail, for example, by modernising retail scanning, the retail employee can be freed of their need to work within the retail outlet. They can become a remote sales associate, processing purchases and organising delivery, while giving remote customers access to the full experience of the retail store. By being able to take the retail experience to the customer, the retailer can build further trust by meeting customer’s new expectations of service.
Meeting new customer experience expectations rests on doing much more than simply rolling out new mobile devices to employees. It is important to do that, and consolidate the remote working environment to a single device, but CIOs should be looking at the broader perspective, too – software and applications deepen the functionality of these devices, remote support ensures maximum uptime and productivity, and, underpinning all of this, enterprises need to protect the data of both employee and customer. Brought together, these elements provide a customer experience that will become a point of competitive differentiation for the company.
For more information on Samsung’s suite of mobile devices and leading management tools, click here.