Ending this Wednesday and thinking about recovery. What will it look like? When will we start to see our clients again in person? What are key actions that my clients should take now? I can go on and on about the questions floating through my head and many of my colleagues, family and friends. However, before I wrote this article, I wanted to see what the latest consumer sentiment was and so I went to my handy tool (published by Experian and Horizon Consumer Science) to check on the latest data (it's updated daily). Here are the views of consumer in our great country as of this eve:
43% of Americans experiencing a financial hardship right now.
35% of Americans can't or are having problems paying rent, mortgage or credit card payments.
45% of Americans don't have a financial reserve to draw upon at this time.
20% of Americans expecting to have their financial situation be worse than present as we enter June.
On the health side:
8% of Americans have someone with COVID-19 in their household
18% of Americans are a caregiver for someone outside their home
85% state they have health insurance (was shocked with this one)
34% having problems paying or will have problems paying their medical bills
47% are not confident they could pay for expenses if a family member contracts COVID-19
50% are increasing their television usage
52% increasing their smartphone usage
42% increasing their desktop usage
25% increasing their video game usage (another shocker for me)
In addition to this data, reviewed and listened to a great economic overview last week in the Altisource Mortgage (plug for one of my great mentors in John Vella and his crew) webinar where some of these trends were revealed as well:
- Fueled by record setting refinance volumes, estimated mortgage origination volume is on pace to reach $2.4T.
- Purchase application volumes are picking up across the U.S.
- Technology cost per loan is increasing (somewhat surprised me but reinforces the investment many lenders are taking to streamline the process and deliver better customer experiences)
- Influence of the Millennial revealing itself through the purchase and first time homebuyer data
So some positive signs and yet some major concerns are there as we all look at various stats, data, and insights floating all around the internet, newspapers, TV, etc. What I'm taking from these data points and the nearly 100 conversations that I've had over the last few weeks, leaders are starting to take action and look to seize an advantage.
I'll take the example of a demo that I saw last night from a former colleague and currently a CTO at a Fintech firm. As he started to run the demo and talk about the key services and value the technology provides, I was seeing how his passion for delivering exceptional customer experience was driving the evolution of the technology. I spent an hour online with him and provided some feedback on go-to-market strategies, marketing and coverage within key accounts. At the end, we both realized how fast the time flew and that we were both very optimistic of what our futures would be....BRIGHT!
Time is Now! Several key themes and actions that I'm seeing taking place on the road to recovery include the following:
1) Continue to be FOCUSED on taking care of their employees and their customers
2) Leaders are ramping up their marketing while their competitors sit on the sidelines (example: seeing more LoanDepot ads lately)
3) Leaders are increasing their investment in digital marketing, content and technology
4) Leaders are focusing on thought leadership and positioning their client facing teams into advisors
5) Leaders are fanatically utilizing video and conferencing technology (let's put it this way...by the end of this year, even our grandparents and great grandparents will know how to operate a video chat)
6) Leaders are allocating resources and budget to new product/service innovation (you have to evolve and pivot offerings but do so with intelligence)
7) Leaders are moving forward with M&A/Partnerships/Alliances....these are key levers enabling growth (I know that I'm utilizing these to grow my practice)
I'll close with this quote that I have been keeping up on my screen, it reads: "This is the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yet, it presents opportunities. Executives and Leaders with vision and BOLDNESS can ensure their teams emerge stronger than ever!"
Good night everyone....