Digital Transformation: The Relocation Industry’s Pivot In The Pandemic
It is often said that crisis is the best impetus for change, and the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly illustrated this point. The pandemic has pushed companies over the tipping point for digital transformation, changing the best practices of business strategy forever. Therefore to stay competitive in this new environment, businesses in the relocation industry have had to pivot towards online channels. From small startups to large multinationals, all have struggled to adapt and evolve. Here is a guide to how businesses in the relocation industry have successfully pivoted during the pandemic.
Table of contents
- How has the pandemic changed businesses?
- How have relocation businesses changed?
How has the pandemic changed businesses?
To meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, businesses had to adopt agile and decisive best practices. Now as we move into the next phase of recovery, it is now time for businesses to take digital transformation to the next level, seizing new opportunities. This involves understanding the lessons learned from the pandemic, and using these to inform their business strategy. Here are some key takeaways for how the pandemic has changed businesses in the relocation industry.
Going digital first with digital transformation
Being a digital-first brand isn’t a new concept, but many relocation businesses were poorly equipped to handle the digital demands of the pandemic. This is nowhere more evident than in previously human-first fields such as home search. During the pandemic, people were no longer able to look for homes in person. This led to solutions such as virtual home searches, with some relocation businesses taking this a step further by creating immersive experiences using new technologies such as augmented reality. With in-person home searches difficult, this digital-first approach to digital transformation has been key to help customers make informed decisions in their home search journeys.
New ways of working
With many around the world getting used to working from home, the way we work is increasingly reimagined. Indeed, long gone are the days of spending hours commuting to work and sitting in cubicles. Relocation businesses have to adopt to an agile, flexible workforce, with the freedom to work anywhere, at any time. As a result from a revenue perspective, a flexible working culture means more relocation moves away from the cities towards new exotic locations as people look to connect to nature. In fact, four in ten homeowners in London are already considering a move to the country.
How have relocation businesses changed?
1. Business strategy: going beyond just moving companies
Relocation businesses have increasingly developed and expanded their portfolio of services. No longer can specialist immigration, moving or housing companies thrive. Single multi-skilled relocation businesses that can do it all, and do it well, have emerged stronger than their peers. This is because of their forward-looking best practices. As a result, the strongest relocation businesses today are ready for anything their customers throw at them. They do this with a business strategy leveraged on flexibility. Sometimes, they may be required to act as a specialist within a group of external partners arranged by the customers. Other times, they may act alone as a single point of contact for end-to-end relocation.
2. They are flexible in their approach
The key for success is no longer a cookie-cutter approach to relocation. Already, we see that no one-size-fits-all solution applies to post-pandemic relocation. Many expats are most likely unable to travel freely anytime soon without government travel restrictions. Even then, situations can be dynamic, and flight cancellations, sudden quarantines and expensive tests have become the norm today. It is important for relocation businesses to have a plan and best practices in place to keep in contact with their customers every step of the way. Therefore, finding a way to get information or push alerts to customers in real time with digital transformation has been something that we’ve seen make or break relocation businesses.
3. Balancing high tech with high touch digital transformation
While the benefits of technology-delivered customer service is clear in the pandemic, technology alone is not able to calm client nerves or solve difficult problems. What customers want is the right mix of self-service solutions and timely access to human support. As a result, digital transformation business strategies should be focused on keeping high touch where it matters the most, while using technology to free up administrative workloads. This will help customers feel that their relocation service providers care as much about their success as they do the bottom line, while freeing employees to value add effectively.
The importance of a digital transformation business strategy to the survival of relocation businesses is clear. A Yelp survey found that 60% of business closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic are now permanent. As companies continue to navigate a post-pandemic world, it may only get worse. This means struggles for some, while unlocking opportunities for others. Startups such as Localyze have managed to capitalise on these times, raising significant investment funds to support staff relocations and hiring across borders. Digital transformation is key to pivoting in a post-pandemic world.