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Why Touch?


During the pandemic, health officials have issued advisories on wearing face masks, handwashing and sanitising to break the cycle of virus transmission. Touching potentially infected surfaces and became a huge concern everywhere from public spaces, offices to other establishments. This sensitivity that touch can be unsafe should be addressed.

Organisations may not sustain no touch interactions. We foresee an evolution across the spectrum of touch. Businesses will eventually adopt hybrid combinations of interactions from high-touch, to low-touch and even no-touch. This requires a combination of technology and reimagination of experience and service design.



Spectrum of touch


The degree of human interaction that parties have with each other varies on a spectrum of high-touch to no-touch. For example, checking one’s balance in a bank account is a low-touch service that requires little human intervention. Conversely, financial planning is a high-touch service that requires a high amount of human interaction to provide the sense of security and reassurance. Social distancing and contactless transactions have created a new degree of separation between us – how can organisations bridge this gap?



Empathy


The ability for organisations to be sensitive and adapt to the different needs of users across the service. Some users, such as the elderly or disabled, may have difficulties using services that are easily accessible by others.



Community


Organisations must exhibit social responsibility as part of their corporate practices. Traditional ad-hoc social responsibility activities will no longer suffice. Organisations should consider the interests of society at large in all aspects and ensure that corporate social responsibility is ingrained as part of the organisation’s operations.

How to Rebalance Touch?


COVID-19 has become a catalyst for change. Organisations will hasten the pace of digitalisation because customers demand it and organisations need it to reap the critical cost and agility benefits to survive in the post-COVID-19 world. This trend of digital consumption will become irreversible. To thrive, services need to be redesigned to leverage digital at its core and not just at the periphery.

Yet, the need for social interaction is fundamental to our nature as human beings. The most successful companies will be those that transform their business with human centricity. Organisations must rebalance the digitalisation of frequent user interactions with the right level of human connection to form an enduring relationship with customers.

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