Do you ever feel like you’re spending your whole day with your head buried in your laptop, cell phone or tablet? Do your thumbs hurt from constantly e-mailing, texting or updating your status, yet you oddly feel like you never really communicate with anyone? Do you secretly think if one more “must-do” social network pops up, you’re going to lose it? Turns out you’re not alone.
A major global study by Euro RSCG Worldwide recently polled consumers worldwide to understand how people are handling modern life and technology. The answer? Not so well. Here’s some of what the study, titled This Digital Life found:
Fifty percent worry that digital technology and multitasking impair their abilities to think deeply and concentrate on one task at a time.
More than half think constant digital communication weakens their bonds with other people.
Sixty percent think people shouldn’t share so many personal thoughts and experiences online.
Think these findings apply only to old fuddy-duddies who can barely work the TV remote? Far from it:
Thirty-three percent of Millennials say social networking makes them less satisfied with their own lives. (That’s more than the percentage of respondents overall who felt that way.)
Sixty-seven percent of Millennials believe their generation has no sense of personal privacy.
At the same time they’re worried about digital overload, survey respondents are also concerned about the conspicuous consumption that’s become part of daily life.
Nearly two-thirds think society has become shallow and that we focus too much on things that don't matter.
The majority is tired of conspicuous consumption and wants to scale back; 40 percent would be happier if they owned less “stuff.”
Almost 75 percent are “moderately to extremely worried” about the growing gap between rich and poor.
What do these concerns mean to your business? Are we fast approaching overload? As busy business owners, technology is both a blessing and a curse. The same is true for our customers and clients. Here are some takeaways I think are important.
Don’t overload your customers. Is the information you’re providing to clients on social media truly worthwhile, or are you just tweeting, Facebooking and Pinning things to keep up with the pack? Focus on offering fewer, but more valuable, bits of information.
Keep it simple. Streamline your website, order forms and processes. Make it easy to get information, buy from you or deal with you in a few clicks. Set up systems that are intuitive for customers to follow.
Protect privacy. Privacy is a big deal, even to Millennials, who might be expected to feel otherwise. Make it clear how you protect customers’ personal data.
Get real. There’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction. Get your nose out of the laptop, step out of your office and talk to customers in your store, restaurant or office.
Euro RSCG concludes that customers are ambivalent about the digital future, and will respond by searching for a “hybrid” way of life that combines modern conveniences with traditional values: “Whether [by] spending time digging in the garden, immersing oneself in literary classics or purchasing artisan-made products, people will seek to temper the new with the old, the artificial with the natural, the digital with the analog.”
How can your business combine the best of the old with the new?