Embracing the Opportunity: How COVID Allows for Redefining Experiences

Unprecedented is the term used for so many things right now. Our expectations are changing at a rapid pace and businesses need to learn to lean in and embrace the opportunities presented when it comes to evolving their experiences.

There have only been a few times that the world has shared collective experiences on a global scale. Wars, famine, natural disasters can all leave lasting affects, but the experience is reserved for those directly in contact, COVID has touched all areas of the populated globe and forced changes upon us as a global society. With all that comes the freedom to explore new and/or different approaches to all experiences.


While some customers may not agree with or welcome changes, most have become more adaptable and understanding that we are in the process of shaping the “new normal”. This is true for changes in the workplace, as well. Employees are being productive while working remotely and in many cases have demonstrated that work doesn’t have to be done in the same fashion it has been. Another key element that has emerged is having permission to fail. When things are changing in rapid ways, trying new things to see what works is, at times, the only way to advance. This mindset shift is an important one when it comes to human centric design as testing, iteration and more testing is paramount.

Industry Studies

Financial Services

The financial service industry which has been trying to right size locations, increase digital adoption and self servicing has a great chance to remake their service model. Many went to an appointment and drive thru only model for a good portion of 2020 and an increased focus on the digital experience. I will be watching to see if any larger permanent changes come from this opportunity.

Mass Retail/Dining

Mass retail and dining truly embraced the order ahead with curbside pickup, which may have forever changed the experience people want. There are still issues with transporting food without a degradation of quality for many, but the ease of ordering from an app and knowing when it would be ready is a solid upgrade that I foresee being a standard from this point on.

High End Retail

High end retail saw some ingenuity by leveraging FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc to create a personal shopper experience. This is a natural progression for most who already cater to their customers and tend to know what will and won’t work for them. The issue here is how can this be monetized as an ongoing service.

So how can organizations improve their experiences?

It comes down to three things; understanding your values, defining your purpose and truly understanding your customers. Has there ever been a better time to reevaluate your values? What do you stand for and once those are established, how do you put those values in action in a bigger purpose? Yes, for the majority of brands, profit is the “purpose” but profit only comes from knowing who you are and what problems you are solving for your stakeholders. Which, in turn, leads to understanding the wants and needs of your customers. What does your data tell you? Maybe there are opportunities to align values, purpose and customers that create new experiences that, ultimately, drive new revenue streams.

Many print shops and promotional items vendors had the opportunity to offset normal business with an increase in POS signage to help remind and enforce in person guidelines, which was needed by almost any organization that was still open to the public. Another opportunity in manufacturing or sourcing Plexiglas dividers, face-masks and hand sanitizer. While not all of those will be lasting items, it shows that their businesses are capable to retool if needed, leaving an opportunity to reevaluate offerings for long term success.

We must not be too quick to dismiss things learned, if and when, returning to “business as usual”. Take this opportunity to redefine yourself as you may never get another chance at having a shared reason for change.

A new perspective can make all the difference.