For the last year, the world has been dealing with truly unprecedented circumstances, at least in the modern era. The spread of COVID-19 has led to varying levels of upheaval the world over. Entire countries have been forced to reconsider everything from their social lives to their travel arrangements, and with no clear end in sight these are important considerations to make.
One lasting impact likely to be made by the crisis is on the world of work. Periods of international lockdown have forced companies to rethink their working practices and to reevaluate what is important, while entire workforces get used to home becoming an office.
For some, consideration over exactly how much office space is actually necessary to run a business in 2021 is a conversation that could save companies a fortune on overheads. For others, factoring in new ways to provide a personalised, remote service for their customers has opened up new avenues of business and forced the hand of innovation.
Remote by default
One of the core societal impacts of the coronavirus has been distance. Both socially and professionally, society has been tasked with doing things remotely. For the world of work, this means largely working from home where possible and creating a way of working in which that is effective.
One side effect of this shift will likely be a similar gravitation towards remote services. Why would you go into a bank during a period of social distancing when all high street providers have fully functional mobile apps and websites? A poll released in early May showed that 60% of British people would be uncomfortable going to a bar or a restaurant even if lockdown was lifted, with 40% saying they would be uncomfortable going to the shops.
As a result of what will likely be lingering discomfort with public spaces, businesses may be forced to take their services more remote and, ultimately, digital. If a wealth manager, for example, can perform all the traditional functions digitally, through an app or through a website, this may be the natural choice for a population affected by months of distance and preparing for a hitherto unknown number of months to come.
Digital services have never been more vital
As people seek their ordinary services in a digital format, companies that built their businesses with technology in mind will thrive. As a market leader in digital selling, Amazon has seen its stocks outperform every other company on earth since the pandemic took hold.
Another example is Zoom Video Communications – you’ll know them as Zoom. Creating a seemingly unfaltering virtual meeting service has been a masterstroke in not only its simplicity but also its positioning. The ability to overtake Skype – a company with an 8-year headstart and serious backing – to position your brand as synonymous with ‘video calling’ has been remarkable.
Zoom’s success is part timing – how could anyone have predicted that a massive global event would make video calling a truly vital part of almost every business – and part design. Put simply, the service just works. It is an uncomplicated, uncluttered app with all the tools you need for video conferencing and nothing more. Digital-first and indeed digital-only, Zoom is a golden example of societal changes helping to form a brand’s identity.
Wealth management, gone mobile
For investors, wealth managers having a functional digital offering was already important, but will only become more so as we grow accustomed to an economy now digital by necessity as well as design. Mobile banking is a relevant comparison – people need up-to-date information on their accounts and full control over every facet of their banking experience, as well as always-on customer support. Mobile banking has provided it.
Take Moneyfarm as another example of digital-first here. Our investors need only download our app, input some information, transfer funds and they can begin investing, backed by a full team of experienced, dedicated wealth managers. The process is frictionless because it was always intended to be a remote, digital experience.
Our is a truly premium service, one that traditionally would have required face-to-face interaction but is now possible entirely through the medium of a smartphone. Even when our customers are in need of investment advice, they need not set up face-to-face meetings and can instead simply call one of our team of investment advisors for an in-depth, secure discussion about their finances.
Moneyfarm is in the fortunate position of being able to operate entirely remotely without surrendering any of the quality of our service. The conversation and coffee might be better in the office, but our digital-first approach is benefiting our team as much as it is our customers.
Explore your investment options
By now your smartphone is likely awash with digital services. We’re never more than a few clicks away from ordering a meal, our content comes to us and we can check how much that’s all costing us using only our thumbprints.
It’s worth taking the time to consider which other services you could upgrade. For many, the barriers to entry for investing are related to its complexity as much as they are its financial requirements. Take a look at how easy it might be for you to start investing. Our service is as personal as it is digital, with a full team on hand to run you through your investment options and to facilitate any buying on your behalf.
If you want to find out more, or just want to talk through your personal investment options, get in touch with a member of our investment advisory team.