Pull back to launch forward: Harnessing the power of pause in business planning
This is the first in a series of columns from the Twilio Foundry team, beginning with lead visioneering consultant Sam Richardson.
“Bring it on!”
That’s normally how I respond to change: I embrace it, full steam ahead. This year, though, has been a bit different.
Like so many of us, I’ve found myself overwhelmed by fear-inducing headlines and the constant, unrelenting pace of new information, new ways of existing, and urges to “accelerate.”
This “new normal,” digital acceleration, our “brave new world,” the great recession: no one phrase is menacing on its own, but thrown on top of each other, over the span of a few months… it’s a bit much.
Here at Twilio, we’re as much a part of it as anyone: we tout the benefits of our ability to rapidly scale and how we’re built for speed, and that’s usually a very good thing.
But sometimes, it isn’t. …
SIGNAL 2020: Empowerment, technology for good, and other major themes from our annual customer and developer conference
The Twilio community kicked off our annual customer and developer conference, SIGNAL, last week, to discuss and explore the future of communication, customer engagement, and the times we’re all living through since the COVID-19 pandemic upended the entire world earlier this year.
While SIGNAL looked a bit different compared to last year, as our first fully-remote, online event, the inspiration and energy was just as high as we welcomed business leaders from companies including Delta, Nike, and many more, and heard from speakers including Barack Obama, Bill Nye, Trevor Noah, Spike Lee, and others.
In the coming weeks, we’ll share our highlights and deep dives into the dozens of sessions attendees enjoyed, but in the meantime, here are the key trends and themes that emerged last week.
As a community, we’re all focused on empowering businesses and individuals to join or continue the great digital acceleration through intelligent, long-term, scalable …
The pandemic is driving more companies to hand customers the wheel
While the difficulties we’ve collectively faced as individuals, businesses, and a society in 2020 are impossible to ignore, this year and more specifically, the COVID-19 pandemic, has also ushered in some silver linings in how we approach communication technology and helping (as opposed to merely selling to) customers.
In particular, this pandemic has highlighted the universal need for easy, digital-based access to health care and education, and the importance of safety and security across both. Because of this, more companies are creating technology that hands the reins over to their customers to access information on their own terms.
In seeing this shift, we’ve identified seven major ways that businesses have used COVID-19 as a time to build a better customer experience model focused on autonomy. Scroll to find examples of how innovative organizations are using tech to make people healthier, safer, and more educated about the world today.
Self-service—addressing common …
Required reading: Our most popular content from H1 2020
This year, perhaps more than any before, has shown us the true value of digital communication and how crucial it is to business survival. It has never been more important to be creative, agile, and consistent in engaging with your customers.
...And truthfully, that’s not a particularly compelling statement. You probably already know that to be true. So what does it really mean to engage and communicate with your customers in a global pandemic? How do businesses reach beyond the social distanced six-feet-away face masks and actually connect?
It means two-way conversations. Treating your customers like humans. Empathetic interactions. Being honest. Being accountable. Being real. More than ever before, 2020 has been a year where small talk and lip service have no place. It’s not enough for businesses to just talk at their customers. They have to talk with them.
Our most-popular content from the first half of this year …
Turning “direct to consumer” into “direct with customer”—the importance of customer service in the DTC business model
Quick link: Get our latest ebook, the Roadmap to Building Consumer Trust, where we share key tenets on the future of customer engagement and how companies can leverage digital transformation to build strong customer relationships.
The direct to consumer (DTC) business model has seen explosive growth over the last 15 years, and it’s a boom that seems primed for continued growth, whether you’re in the wine, fashion, banking, or razor business. Digital natives especially expect the ease and self-service options that are the hallmark of DTC.
D2C has its limitations though; a recent study found DTC brands deliver less than half of the features customers have come to expect in today’s on-demand, personalized environment. In-store pick up and return, for example, have gone from being a practical solution to one that is now firmly expected as part of the customer experience, and have extended omni-channel service delivery.
From “direct …
Human interactions go digital in a COVID world: Introducing the Roadmap to Building Consumer Trust
TL;DR: Get our latest ebook, the Roadmap to Building Consumer Trust, where we share key tenets on the future of customer engagement and how companies can leverage digital transformation to build strong customer relationships.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impose a profound impact on the way companies do business today.
On average, organizations across all industries report a six-year acceleration in their digital communications strategy due to COVID. Most have been forced to rapidly shift to digital models in response to the social distancing and shelter in place protocols of the pandemic, and it’s a change that may be permanent: 75 percent of consumers using digital channels for the first time indicate that they will continue to use them when things return to “normal.”
COVID-19 has led to a paradigm shift in consumer expectations. Consumers are turning more and more to the brands they can trust—those that are …
Think outside the big box: What SMBs can learn from leading retailers' COVID-19 response
COVID-19 has made all businesses—no matter the size—reconsider how they attract and retain their customer base.
Some big-box stores have been quicker on their feet than others in responding to the crisis. The credit, in part, goes to the marketing and customer experience strategies implemented beforehand, and the agility to react to rapidly changing customer needs during the crisis.
Meanwhile, small and medium-sized businesses are having a more difficult time pivoting with fewer resources, short staffing, and smaller budgets.. Despite these limitations, SMBs also can be more nimble and have a greater chance of recovery once the risk from the virus subsides.
In some ways, it’s easier for smaller and medium-sized businesses to do what big brands are able to do; for example, a small business can test different channels for customer engagement and make their customer experience highly customized, instead of being held back with generic, one-size-fits-all solutions.
Make sure your messages reach your customers’ overflowing inbox (plus best practices across every channel)
TL;DR: Get one of our top-downloaded ebooks of the year, the 2020 Guide to Customer Messaging, with best practices for customer engagement across all channels.
As companies transition from their immediate COVID-19 response to adapting their business to ongoing demands related to the global pandemic, email is foundational to long-term customer engagement. Our global survey on customer engagement preferences found that, unless a message is urgent, 83 percent of consumers prefer to receive communications from businesses via email.
Read the full results from a survey of +2,500 consumers, and get the full guide on email deliverability.
And, they’re checking their email all the time: 84 percent of respondents check their email at least once a day, with the majority of people checking messages numerous times throughout the day.
Unlike other forms of messaging, though, email must conform to laws like CAN- SPAM and GDPR, as well as the …
10 steps financial services firms can take to modernize, adapt, and grow from COVID-19
As the world economy ebbs and flows with the effects of COVID-19, the financial services industry has also had to reprioritize and strategize digitalization as it adapts to this new normal.
Like many traditional industries, financial institutions are deeply rooted in in-person interaction and have been historically slower in their digital adoption.
With COVID-19 however, a gradual shift into a more digital space is no longer a luxury any business can afford.
Financial firms must adapt and respond to changes in their business models, and do so from a stance of risk management and organizational resiliency. The checklist below offers financial business leaders a step-by-step guide to doing just that.
Build from the inside out
Avoid analysis paralysis as to where to begin and start with internal considerations, like updating systems and databases inconsistencies, preparing incident management protocols, and creating a concrete system for contact tracing.
1: Establish internal consistency …
Survey reveals how financial services plan to adapt their customer engagement strategies post-COVID-19
The uncertainty created by COVID-19 has sent ripples through the world economy. The financial services industry has been impacted in major and unexpected ways, and has forced industry leaders and company decision makers to rapidly adapt, respond, and evolve to meet the demands of an unpredictable and rapidly morphing crisis.
To better understand how leaders across all industries are facing this new challenge, Twilio surveyed more than 2,500 enterprise decision makers in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Singapore about how COVID-19 is impacting their digital engagement strategies.
Let’s look deeper at how this global pandemic is affecting the digital communication strategies of financial services, focusing on some key areas:
Almost all companies are looking for new ways of engaging customers and stakeholders as a result of COVID-19; 60 percent of financial services companies say the pandemic sped up their digital transformation a great deal.
COVID-19 has …