Priority 1: Mass notifications
Consumers prefer secure, 1-to-1 communication, or group channels, with just 12 percent of consumers preferring a company’s mobile app for receiving communications from a business. To reliably provide accurate, real-time updates, and time-sensitive messages to many users at once, you need a short code. Short codes can send SMS and MMS at 100 messages per second, and this high throughput is perfect for marketing communications, notifications, and high volumes of one-to-one transactional notifications.
Forty-seven percent of consumers want to hear from companies either with the same frequency as before COVID-19 or more frequently given how rapidly things are shifting. It’s important to consider what kind of notifications are best-suited for SMS versus email.
Start by asking two key questions:
- How business-critical is the message?
- What is the message’s timeliness?
Priority 2: Contactless delivery
Contactless delivery is taking different forms in every business, involving Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPIS) for retailers with both a physical location and online store, or relying on couriers or delivery services to place items at customers' doorsteps.
At the end of 2019, just 7.7 percent of the 208 store-based retailers in the Top 1000 had the buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) capability. Over 90 percent of those who have tried BOPIS since COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect said curbside was convenient, according to NRF’s Spring 2020 Consumer View survey.
Keep in mind since traditional methods of verifying identity like showing an ID or signing for a package are no longer an option with contactless protocol, using a customers’ phone number for verification becomes important for the entire order fulfillment process.
The most common method for confirming a working number belongs to the account holder is by sending a one-time code—usually a 4-to-6 digit token—via SMS and asking the recipient to enter that code back into the application. To reach customers using landlines be sure to offer the option of receiving a voice call or having the code read aloud over the phone.
WATCH AN ON-DEMAND WEBINAR ALL ABOUT ENABLING CONTACTLESS DELIVERY.
Priority 3: Self-service
Self-service means interacting with a business without talking to a human. Self-service can take place through interactive voice response (IVR), web and mobile chatbots, messaging channels, or automated responses. Gartner predicts that 85 percent of customer service interactions will start with self-service by 2022. Typical use-cases for self-service include answering frequently asked questions, generating leads, routing for customer service inquiries, and scheduling.
Artificial intelligence that can respond to customers with more personalized responses is ideal. For example, U.K. retail giant Marks & Spencer uses natural language understanding (NLU) technology within its interactive voice response (IVR) system to convert speech to text for Google DialogFlow to determine customers’ intent. From there, the IVR routes calls to the correct department, or presents relevant self-serve opportunities to the customer. Marks & Spencer can automatically route customers without needing to request a “reason for contact.”
Earning and keeping customers’ trust during and after COVID-19 will require an omnichannel engagement strategy that allows for flexibility, scale, and transparency. To learn more, watch an on-demand webinar all about how to take a phased approach for adapting to changes in consumer behavior caused by the global pandemic.