If we had to choose the theme of 2020 there would be a number of negative contestants. Just watch Charlie Brooker’s ‘Death to 2020’ and you will realize it – wildfires, pandemics, protests.
However, during 2020, humanity made one big leap – it managed to digitalize millions of people and brought online communications to a whole new level. All thanks to the amazing video conferencing solutions we have developed.
And really, if we had to name the winner of 2020, video conferencing could easily be it.
We have all realized that video calls are not just a way to see your mother (or child). Instead it is a great medium to work remotely, have fun with friends, and also receive all types of services from a distance.
Video calls – a bridge between physically separated providers and clients
In a previous article, we explored a recent study of the developments of the online services industry during the pandemic. There, we went deep into what online services are and how much they have grown.
Due to these novel opportunities and outcomes, video calls have proven they are here to stay. They have shown us they could be an effective bridge between all types of professionals and their colleagues or customers. Moreover, it has never been easier to bring your practice online.
Just 1 year ago most of us were skeptical about online services, but make no mistake – the majority of us now prefer receiving both goods and services directly from our homes.
The benefits of receiving online services and why you should bring your practice online
There are numerous benefits to receiving online services.
And that’s not just an opinion. It’s a fact that is being proven every day.
Let’s focus on the results from the study we mentioned in the beginning.
Accessibility of different services (from a customer perspective)
Think about it. There is no need to travel to a different city to meet your preferred specialist (and we all know that neighborhoods in the US feel like separate cities). In fact, 68.3% of all respondents to the study have indicated that this is the biggest benefit of receiving online video services.
Accessibility to your services (from a provider perspective)
Customers are just one side of the story.
Providers are the other. They also benefit greatly from the irrelevance of their physical location. Nowadays, they can help much more people, having rid themselves of the need to roam the country to meet their clients or patients. In other words, bringing your practice online is a great way to expand your business.
Time savings from traveling
Even in the same city, the time that we lose in traveling is completely pointless and irreversibly lost. If you are a provider – people come to visit you, so no problem.
However, we, the clients, know that this is a daunting task. A chore. Truth of the matter is that 68.2% of the participants in the study believe that they would greatly enjoy the time savings of using online services.
Cost savings from (the absence of) traveling
Having a nice walk or a short break from work is quite healthy and actually advisable for everyone. However, if this walk is to the lawyer’s – ‘ain’t nobody got time for this’.
We usually jump on public transport or our own vehicle and visit the lawyer (or doctor, or even gym) of choice. This is an extra expense as transportation does not come for free. In fact, in large cities such as NY and London, the cost of such a trip could be as much as a whole meal in a restaurant. Moreover, this has negative implications on our health and also on that of the planet! While not as prominent as the other factors, 30.2% of the cohort prefers to stay at home and enjoy these cost savings from traveling
No more queues
Even if we have made the choice to receive a service in person, we are often greeted by the brutal reality of physical locations – queues.
Even with a scheduled appointment we often have to wait in front of the office or cabinet. This is a legit reason to opt-out from using a service at all.
Kind of FOMO (fear of missing out) on … whatever else there is to life but queuing.
According to the data, 46.5% of the respondents believe that online services (including sports) are more likely to fit their schedule if queuing was not a factor.
Avoiding crowds and direct contact as a whole
Apart from the anger that fills me while I wait in a queue for my scheduled appointment, I would also prefer to save myself the fear of getting sick. This is especially relevant when it comes to visiting my general practitioner at the hospital.
It seems it’s not only me. 43.5% of the cohort finds crowds and direct contact with random people an obstacle to receiving services in person.
I’d rather stay at home
A third of the respondents just prefer the comfort of their home to the outside world. And who are we to judge – we all feel like that sometimes!
Are online services more expensive (no, they are not!)
After going through all the benefits of online services it is only natural to ask the question: are they more expensive than offline services? They are obviously far more convenient!
Actually, price does not seem correlated with these aforementioned benefits. Only 4.3% of the respondents state they would pay more for a service that is being held online, instead of in-person.
About 49.3% would pay the same price and 46.3% would expect a discount on the service!
Providers should be encouraged that about half the people believe that the price should be the same. After all, service providers (lawyers, doctors, coaches, etc.) are paid for their knowledge and not their physical presence. That said, if you take your practice online, you can provide more convenient payment methods, too.
Why do some people believe that the price should be higher?
While there aren’t many people that share this belief, it seems they value online services highly. The top reasons that they state are:
- Time savings
- Better accessibility to remote locations (even within the same city)
- Easier to fit an online service into one’s daily life
Why do some people believe that the price should be lower?
It’s hardly surprising that such a high percentage of people would pay less. Truth of the matter is no one wants to pay more… for anything. If you are an exception, commerce is definitely not your strong suit.
Going back to the data, the top reasons for paying a lower price are:
- I don’t know
- Because it is online
- Because live meetings must be more expensive than online meetings
- Because the quality is lower
- Because it is cheaper for the providers
Reasons 1-3. The first 3 reasons summarize the general feeling of the customers. It is this instinct that we all get before we look into the actual benefits of receiving services online.
Reason 4. When it comes to the concern that the quality would be lower, we may assume that this could be true, because the providers are learning new methods of delivering their service. In this case – online services. Just a year ago no one was offering services online, so we must be tolerant and give providers some time to catch up with the novelties.
Reason 5. In my view, the most unexpected reason is: “Because it is cheaper for the professionals”.
Unfortunately, this is true only if the professionals are completely online. Many providers actually have increased costs. They are paying for a physical office (cabinet) and are also paying the fees for providing a service online.
How much lower do customers expect to pay?
The times they are a-changin’
During 2020 we observed unprecedented growth of video calls. It came hand-in-hand with a great increase in the demand and supply of online services. It is just a matter of time to start receiving and paying for all our services in one place – online.
Therefore, if you are a service provider, it’s the right time to take your practice online and we wholeheartedly wish you to be able to remove all costs related to a physical location and move completely online. In this way, the customer would be ‘always right’, while the provider – more than successful!