Lockdown and social distancing measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in a severe economic downturn world over. In the midst of uncertainty and the fear of the unknown, businesses are grappling with a myriad of questions: What will the re-opening of the economy look like? Who will be our first customers? How will we meet the needs of our customers given a decrease in demand and a fear of proximity?
City life as we know it has been disrupted, a major component of which is transportation and mobility. Given work-from-home set ups, virtual learning, and lockdown restrictions, travel demand has fallen by 80-90% in cities all over the world. A transportation client of Impact Signal has seen an unprecedented drop in customers- a 90% decrease in ridership related to COVID-19 restrictions. Other industries too, are facing the grim reality of a significant decrease in demand. Airlines, taxis, gyms, and shopping centres are amongst the industries that are trying to plan for an uncertain future and re-build trust with their customers.
Considering depressed demand, it isn’t feasible to re-open all lines of service at once. Given these circumstances, we at Impact Signal are helping our clients navigate a re-opening strategy to deliver services. Predicting what the future holds will always be a gamble, so how does one make decisions about the future and minimize the risk of failure at the same time?
Ultimately, we have to make some assumptions about human behaviour. Assumptions that may no longer hold true in an economy reawakening from lockdown. We start by using a predictive model of customer behavior and map key indicators based on our assumptions. For example, we believe that certain occupations will be the first set of customers – an assumption that we need to be able to verify, by building in opportunities to check and track them. In the event that our assumptions don’t hold true, we have playbooks in place that will allow us to alter assumptions and/or dive deeper into the topic to learn more. This upfront iterative planning helps our clients navigate the uncertainty better equipped.