09 Jun 3 Things the Pandemic Has Taught Us About People
Committed CX practitioners design for people as they are, not as we wish them to be. Yes, it would be great if people were completely rational decision-makers, but social science has shown us time and time again that they aren’t.
Our understanding of people is always evolving, and periods of rapid change, such as the pandemic, offer new insights into what makes people tick: their habits, preferences, needs, beliefs, etc. And sometimes, these insights force us to rethink some of the assumptions we have been making.
Here are three things the pandemic has taught us that challenge our assumptions about people:
1. Millennials and Gen Zers are not as tech-obsessed as we thought they were.
Although Millennials and Generation Z have the reputation for being all-digital, all the time, the pandemic tells a different story. Everywhere, young people crave real human contact. Although technology helps them stay in touch, it was clearly no substitute for hanging out with friends, attending in-person classes, or going to school sporting events. The pandemic underscored just how much real human connection matters to most people, regardless of age.
So What? When you think of how you can help your team or what your customer needs are at the moment, technology is not always the answer. Be human.
2. People will change when they have to.
Conventional wisdom holds that most of us resist change. But within the space of several weeks, we pivoted in nearly every way imaginable. Companies that had not seriously considered moving to remote work suddenly moved their entire staff online. Teachers moved lessons online, and children learned how to navigate Microsoft teams like bosses.
So What? If it were necessary for our survival, we would learn to do double flips in the air. Yes, we can change. But didn’t we have enough change lately? When every day brings a new set of uncertainties, try to incorporate familiar and simple routines that bring comfort to your team and customers.
3. People seek security and stability in periods of uncertainty.
Remember all the empty grocery store shelves and the memes about people hoarding toilet paper? The thing is, it was never really about the toilet paper. When the country went into lockdown, people experienced unprecedented change and an uncertain future. In situations where people feel they have no control, whatever tiny slivers of control they can. And having enough toilet paper was one of the only things they could control.
So what? It is critically important now for the leadership to step up their game. You (the boss) might be the only thing that did not change in the past 8 weeks. Creating a safe and stable environment for your team is more important than ever.
Everything has been turned upside down in our lives and understanding and further researching human nature will give you helpful clues on your next steps. The more we know about people, the more meaningful, effective, and satisfying the customer and employee experiences we design will be.
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