People have significantly increased their use of technology during the global pandemic
Three-quarters of Americans have experienced a tech wake-up call due to COVID-19, according to new research. The survey of 2,000 Americans revealed just how reliant they are on digital services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondents were asked to reflect on the digital services they've used during self-isolation and how their lives have changed because of them. In this new climate, digital services have come to the forefront of Americans' lives, as six in 10 respondents shared that they've expanded their horizons to use a digital service they normally would not use. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Sungard Availability Services, the survey found that 77% of respondents said they don't know what they'd do on a daily basis without today's technology. As respondents have been sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, naturally they've turned to more digital services than they normally would use. Over half of those surveyed said they've used telehealth services during this time and don't know where they would be without it. In fact, the results showed there was a 154% increase in respondents' telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seventy-six percent of respondents shared they've also utilized delivery services to get their prescriptions during the pandemic and 79% have used a grocery delivery service, which is an increase of 200% and 139% respectively. Seventy percent of those surveyed said they've even made virtual visits to national parks, museums or zoos during their time indoors - a 261% increase during respondents' time indoors. In terms of entertainment, the use of streaming services rose 95%, online gaming grew by 104% and social media use climbed 105%. Seven in 10 respondents also shared they're likely to continue using the new digital services they've utilized during their self-isolation even once they can return to their normal lives. This increased reliance on digital services during self-isolation comes with hiccups, however. Respondents shared they've experienced an average of six tech-related issues since entering self-isolation. The top technology issues respondents have experienced during self-isolation included websites crashing when paying bills, long hold times for customer service calls and their internet crashing or slowing down. "The more customers depend on technology, the more disruptive any downtime or glitches become. Three-quarters of respondents agreed that it's unacceptable for websites or apps to suffer an outage or be unavailable during the pandemic. That means companies have more responsibility to keep digital services available," said John Beattie, Principal Consultant at Sungard AS. "The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the shift to digital that was already happening, which means all businesses need to take a hard look at how resilient they really are." Seventy-seven percent of respondents have even come to believe that it's unacceptable for websites or apps to suffer an outage or be unavailable. Over half of respondents have even become so frustrated, they've changed a service provider or even reduced their service levels while they've been sheltering in place. Another 41% of respondents said they're planning on cutting ties with a provider once the pandemic is over. Nearly half of those surveyed said they're even planning on avoiding certain companies altogether based on how they've handled their COVID-19 responses. Eighty-three percent of respondents also said that businesses should use the COVID-19 pandemic as a real-life example of what they should improve about their digital services. "Consumers' only loyalty is to businesses they trust, and every outage, every crash, every gap in service erodes that relationship," said Beattie. "Whether they're facing a hardware failure, a hurricane, a power outage, or a global pandemic, companies have to ensure their infrastructure holds up and services remain available. If they don't, customers will find another company that can."