Post-COVID, Consumers Will Demand More of Tech Companies
Featuring thought leaders from across the innovation economy, Collision from Home took place on June 23-35, 2020. The LIZ was in attendance, and will share some insights and expertise throughout the rest of the summer in a series of blog posts.
By Omar Taleb
In a post-COVID world, the future of technology will be dependent on an age-old customer service pillar: trust.
A global survey, the 2020 Edleman Trust Barometer, was updated this past spring to better reflect the realities of the pandemic, with “an all-time high of 65 percent” from more than 13,000 respondents placing their trust in their respective government bodies. In times of profound change, the status quo is looked to for reassurance.
Consumer Confidence in Tech
The question, however, of where technology and tech-focused startups stand in an era of even more political divisiveness, civil unrest, and public mistrust over corporate data usage, is one deserving of scrutiny. Unlike our government institutions, the status-quo in the technology sector just isn’t cutting it anymore.
Growing calls for accountability from lawmakers and consumers continue to push tech unicorns such as Facebook and Google to be more transparent about how their products use personal data. Consumer confidence in technology will define much of the new decade.
At Collision 2020, one of the largest technology conferences in North America, Anuj Kapur (former Chief Strategy Officer at Cisco Systems) brought up the “redesigning” of a company leader’s mindset; simply focusing on the traditional stakeholder perpetuates a narrow view of a company’s role in the larger ecosystem. Trust in leadership and in technology itself is predicated on successful Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Legal Tech and Access to Justice
Turning our lens towards the legal sector, we see consumers of legal services facing an industry with an aversion towards change. For both legacy law firms and legal tech startups, access to justice is the most relevant talking point when we look at corporate responsibility in the legal field. Startups within this sector must not only take positions of leadership in a historically inaccessible field, but also figure out how to implement their version of CSR to appeal to investors and consumers.
At the Legal Innovation Zone, the Family Law Portal serves as our flagship initiative to promote access to justice, by providing the information needed for individuals going through a separation or divorce. A service such as this, free of charge and with the sole purpose of helping to democratize an expensive process, would rarely, if ever, be spearheaded by a traditional law firm; this allows an incubator such as the LIZ to place itself in a leadership role within the field while capitalizing on an unmet market opportunity.
Consumer Expectations, Leadership, and Trust
This is the key advantage for legal tech startups. Established law firms are grappling with increasingly outdated technology and corporate cultures, with current consumer attitudes pushing them to uncomfortable places. Startup founders can position themselves as modern leaders in their respective niche areas and continue to thrive in these uncertain times.
Legal tech startups ultimately look to fill in gaps between the capabilities of a traditional law firm and evolving consumer expectations. Placing trust and transparency as cornerstones of client relations will add to the value of their tech-driven product or service, just as efforts to remove entry barriers allow for wide-ranging adoption rates while improving company image.
The current climate of instability should be, and most likely is, number one of the list of pressing issues for startup founders. Post-COVID, users will demand more of technology and the people behind it; entrepreneurs should proceed accordingly.