Consumers Motivations and Nudges, Understanding the Drivers of Compliance With COVID-19

Consumers Motivations and Nudges, Understanding the Drivers of Compliance With COVID-19

Have you ever wanted to possess a superpower that would give you the ability to have complete control over the entire world? Did you imagine yourself to be an enormous, towering giant, able to rule with brute force? Or maybe you are so small that nobody can see you, but you are equally as powerful as you are tiny, and you move about unnoticed until everyone realizes a little too late, YOU HAVE ARRIVED!!

COVID-19 didn’t exactly come onto the scene in that way, and the virus isn’t something anyone would call a superpower, but it did arrive with little notice and it has controlled much of what the world has been able to safely do since the beginning of 2020.

When COVID-19 began to spread from country to country and then swept across the U.S., everyone was scrambling to make sense of the seriousness of the impact of it and to understand ways in which we could slow the spread of this unnoticeable, tiny, but deadly disease that quickly became a public health safety giant.

Public health guidance and U.S. government mandates began to take shape and we were instructed about how to best slow the spread of COVID-19 and how to best keep ourselves and our families safe. The battle was on!

It was during those early stages when federal compliance measures went into place in the U.S. that OSG Analytics recognized the opportunity to bring the same approaches employed with clients, pharma clients in particular with understanding behavioral motivations related to medicine and medical devices, to understanding how anyone can be motivated to better comply with COVID-19 public safety initiatives to slow the spread of the virus.

Most states were under strict stay-at-home orders. Businesses reduced or ceased operations. Those who could, transitioned into working from home and educating from home. Large gatherings were cancelled, and nonessential activities halted.

While many people in the U.S. complied with stay-at-home orders, wearing face masks and other face coverings in public, and the many other mandated measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, there were those who did not believe in the value of compliance, and therefore, they did not comply.


COVID-19 Research Using Behavior Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Technology to Understand Public Health Safety Compliance

OSG conducted research April 1-9 to understand what fundamentally drives people in the U.S. to comply with federal COVID-19 public health safety mandates. The sample was comprised of U.S. population cross section of 394 respondents, ages 18-55+. The study examined 27 attributes in 6 categories, evidence, financial, influencers, regulation, resources and social to understand what and to what level of importance each factor motivates the individual to comply. In addition, the study aimed to understand how to best motivate individuals who aren’t complying with COVID-19 safety guidance to better comply. A top down approach was executed.

The data was analyzed with OSG’s Stanford University developed proprietary methodology which uses behavioral analytics, artificial intelligence, mathematical algorithms and technology to determine outcomes.

Individual data as well as averages of data for all study participants were compiled, analyzed and examined to understand what motivates people to comply with government orders and public health safety guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.


Advance Analytics Researchers found Four Behavior Groups, Fearful was Number One

OSG’s Advanced Analytics Researcher team identified four segments that were different but motivated similarly, Fearful (38%), Financially Concerned (26%), Skeptics (19%) and Overwhelmed (17%). The researchers determined that all groups could be nudged to comply, but each were motivated by different factors. The fearful group was the most compliant while the Skeptics would be the most challenging group to motivate. Not surprising, the overall, number one factor which motivates compliance for everyone no matter which group is fear. See exhibit 1.


EXHIBIT 1—Initial Overall ASEMAP™ Results by Segment 

Results for drivers of compliance separated by segment are the averages of the all participants’ data.



  • Fearful: are motivated primarily by fear for themselves or loved ones. Disturbing evidence and news reinforce their fear which in turn grows anxiety about the future. They are largely self-motivated and likely to comply without nudging.
  • Financially Concerned: are concerned about their financial health in all this chaos. Compliance may have to take a back seat to their ensuring other commitments are met. Incentives and support are likely impactful to motivate this group to better comply (stimulus checks, unemployment benefits beyond the usual amount and duration, etc.).
  • Skeptics: see it all with a sense of doubt and challenge to their freedom. They demand evidence, and a lot of it, but there is a question about what evidence would be effective in motivating them. Even though they want evidence, proof may not motivate this group to comply. Nudging is unlikely to help.
  • Overwhelmed: are overwhelmed by the circumstances and are looking for external guidance as well as practical assistance in managing the situation. They are interested in complying. Nudging and ideas about how to stay on track could motivate them to better comply.



U.S. Opens as COVID-19 Slows Down; CDC Compliance Still Important

From the beginning, the impact of COVID-19 has been felt at varying levels across the U.S. and the adherence to government mandates and CDC public safety guidelines have also varied. This trend will likely continue in the future for as long as the virus is active.

The Washington Post published an article which was updated on June 18 outlining where states are reopening and at what stage they are operating following a government issued phased opening plan. All 50 states and U.S. territories have some measure of restrictions, except Alaska which is listed as no restrictions. All states, even Alaska, is reminded that physical distancing is mandatory. Elsewhere, mandates are strict. Wearing masks are still required in areas of the country which were hardest hit, limited capacity and sanitization orders are still enforced in many cities. 1

As businesses and organizations operate responsibly by protecting the health of their employees and customers, understanding what drives people to comply with COVID-19 public health safety measures, mandated and self-imposed, should help to inform how to nudge those who don’t comply and to help you navigate your path to the next new normal.

For more information, how OSG can help you improve your customer experience program reach out to OSG here. 

1 Washington Post staff. “Where States are Reopening After the U.S. Shutdown.” The Washington Post, June 18, 2020, Accessed June 19, 2020.

Post COVID-19 and Customer Experience Transformation: Is the Investment Worth It?

Post COVID-19 and Customer Experience Transformation: Is the Investment Worth It?

September 24, 2019 Forbes published an online article entitled, 50 Stats That Prove the Value of Customer Experience. People in the business world had no idea when that was published what was coming months later when COVID-19 upended how we all do business. Now, businesses are scrambling to stay alive in this volatile climate, and the ones who will survive are those who have shifted, transformed and found creative ways to safely offer their products and services. More than ever, this quote from the 2019 Forbes article rings true, “Without a customer focus, companies simply won’t be able to survive.” Businesses must focus on customer experience (CX) now more than ever. To do this though, will likely require businesses to transform in some way, but will they find the investment in CX transformation worth it?


Vaibhav Sharma, Director of Business Development at OSG Analytics talked on a recent call about how companies will need to plan for CX transformation, and what are the risks involved in doing it.

“As for bringing in transformations, some businesses are [doing it] and some aren’t. That’s where we need to understand that for a certain aspect you may give two different ways to address those needs for customers. But, one of those needs probably requires a lot of investment and the return is not there,” said Vaibhav Sharma, Director of Business Development at OSG. “It has to be an ROI calculation, without which nobody could survive. The other way is you do the change and then you wait for six months to see whether it worked out for you. That, I believe, no businessman wants to do,” he added.


Customer Expectations During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed customer expectations in a number of ways. Health safety is top of mind for both businesses and customers. As countries have begun to open back up, brick and motor businesses need to find ways to safely engage customers with their products, services and staff while continuing to provide excellent customer experiences; this may require CX transformation. Here are a few examples of businesses who have transformed CX in the wake of COVID-19.


Creative Customer Experience Transformation During COVID-19

A restaurant in Amsterdam, Mediamatic ETEN, came up with a creative solution, personal quarantine greenhouses, which sit close to the water’s edge. Rows of individual greenhouses offer a lovely dining experience while maintaining social distancing; they are charming and provide a safer environment for people who want to enjoy dining out as the country opens up again. Still in trial stage, as they test their new business model with employees and family of employees, Mediamatic ETEN has sold out all of their reservations in anticipation of the greenlight to open again. Even before COVID-19, a cozy date night or dinner with friends and family in a tiny glass house would have been delightful. Who knows? Maybe the personal greenhouses will remain post-COVID.

Carrefour, a sprawling hypermarket chain which offers customers everything from electronics to food, transformed how they serve customers in response to COVID-19. Like most retailers and grocers who are deemed essential, they restricted the number of people allowed in the store at any given time due to social distancing mandates. In addition, they began offering curbside service, as have many other businesses in the U.S. and around the world.

At the curb, customers use an electronic tablet covered with plastic to make their selections. Between uses, the tablet is sanitized, and the plastic covering is replaced. The salesfloor staff who normally assist customers in-store have transformed into personal shoppers for each individual customer. Once gathered, the purchase is delivered curbside. Customers never need to enter the store, so their shopping experience is safer. However, in-store shopping is still available to customers who prefer it.

“They [Carrefour] can do more business [curbside]. What they’ve [Carrefour] done is a partial transformation. There are options which are available to you, [in-store and curbside] especially to those customers who are coming for very specific needs. They don’t have to enter the store,” said Sharma. He shared his own experience, “My shopping trip, which used to be one and a half hours has now been reduced to only a maximum of 20 minutes.”


Jeff Weaver, Vice President, Client Engagement and Business Development at OSG said about curbside pick-up from a home improvement store he recently visited, “It’s changed my behavior. I can just drive over there and have someone have my shopping list ready for me. I’ve got to think that there’s an element there that never returns back to normal.”

In the immediate, it appears that for businesses such as Mediamatic ETEN and Carrefour, the investment in CX transformation will likely be worth it but more data is need to determine if this is so, and to what extent. Businesses like OSG analytics who analyze large amounts of data can help businesses who are weighing out the cost vs ROI of customer experience transformation due to COVID-19 to help them understand to what extent they have been successful.


Customer Experience Transformation Will It Be Lasting?

Right now, businesses are in the thick of it trying to transform in a number of ways to stay in business and to provide excellent CX while dealing with the constant threat of COVID-19 and the safety issues that it creates. All of this leaves the imagination with many questions about how businesses will continue once we emerge at the end of COVID-19. As Sharma pointed out, transformation must be carefully calculated.


A sea of questions keep CEOs, business owners and decision-makers up at night, especially at this difficult time. Sharma and Weaver question what will be lasting too. It makes sense to wonder:

  • Will big box stores continue curbside orders and delivery and then reduce their brick and mortar footprint, shrinking the size of their stores?
  • If so, will curbside shopping mean that big box retail businesses will convert salesfloor space into warehouse space? Or possibly lease floorspace to another retailer such as a coffeeshop or a fast food chain?
  • If curbside shopping is long-lasting, how will retail stores recoup lost revenue on those strategically placed products designed to create impulse buying?
  • Will pop-up ads on the tablet that shoppers use curbside replace impulse products at the checkout lanes to entice shoppers to continue to impulse buy?
  • If so, will shoppers find that frustrating and become fatigued from it?


The big question though is:

  • Is the investment in CX transformation during COVID-19 worth it?

None of us knows for sure, just yet. But, one thing we do know for sure, changes are happening at an unprecedented pace. Innovation CAN transform customer experience, and the impact CAN be lasting.

Behavioral and cognitive analytics companies like OSG employ artificial intelligence to help to uncover what matters most to customers so businesses can deliver superior customer experience. Insights provided by their expert team of data scientists can help businesses to make important decisions as they transform customer experience during the era of COVID-19.


For more information, and to learn about how OSG can help you with your customer experience transformation, reach out to OSG here.