In 2020, the power of digital communications showed itself to be integral business resilience. It wasn’t just a year of battening down hatches and surviving—this is the year we digitally advanced at a rate that should have taken companies a decade to complete. This is the year we gave customers even more autonomy to create relationships in the way they want with businesses they trust. This is the year we rolled with the retail punches, modernized the financial industry from the inside out, and changed the face of healthcare forever.
The longest year. The hardest year. The most frustrating year. And yet… the year where we showed up, dug in, and became better for it. Our most-popular content from the second half of this year exemplifies this. From healthcare to finance, chatbots to cloud-based contact centers, here are the top ten lessons learned through the content our readers consumed in the second half of 2020.
The top customer engagement content
Plan ahead, the old adage said, and well, it’s not wrong. COVID-19 struck the globe, leaving many businesses scrambling to figure out how to both support their customers and their workforce from home, practically overnight. A business continuity plan means you have a system in place in case anything (pandemic or otherwise) goes array.
And creating your own business continuity plan doesn’t just give you a ‘just in case’ system either; it showcases you as a leader in times of crisis and gives you peace of mind when things go back to normal.
Notification fatigue is real. Overwhelmed by as many as 63.5 notifications per day, customers are now muting notifications from non-essential mobile apps. So how do you reach them on the go? Through secure, 1-to-1 communication, or group channels. Like a friend. Like a human. Conversational messaging is the future of customer engagement. Make it part of your communication plans to reach your customers in 2021.
The best use case content
When it comes to enhancing customer communication, chatbots are doubly powerful, giving customers the autonomy to find answers themselves and enabling your human workforce to help with more complex issues. And in a year where many customer support agents were overwhelmed with calls/messaging/etc., updating your technology to ease the surge of requests can also help boost company morale.
Exercise caution and do your research on video applications before jumping in, however. A seamless, quality video experience can enhance your relationship with a customer. An experience that lags, freezes, or fails to protect customer security, can have them dropping you like a bad video call.
Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly. Email and SMS. Some power duos just are better together. And when it comes to a seamless, connected customer engagement experience, using multiple communication channels together can inspire trust and amplify your engagement efforts for every part of the customer lifecycle.
The top industry-specific content
While we all can learn from this year about reprioritizing and focusing on digitization, the financial services industry, in particular, can learn from other leading FinServ organizations on how to be more forward-thinking in communication with their customers.
FinServ companies like ING are honing in on personalized communication to make their mobile banking and notifications alerts stand out from the noise of their competition. And a tip for all: if you want to learn how you can improve for your customers, take a note of what companies in your industry are doing well and then find a way to do the same in a way that’s genuine to how you do business.
For healthcare organizations historically, communication with patients has come with a large amount of HIPAA-related red tape. These regulations have prevented many practices from taking a step forward in technology despite SMS notifications minimizing no-show appointments, improving interactions between providers and patients, and even providing more effective care/dosage instructions—all while saving your practice resources.
This year, however, patient engagement went more virtual than ever before and health organizations redefined the waiting room by using text alerts to fill in the blanks of the physical space. And in that same way, thinking creatively within the guidelines of your industry whether that be transitioning from brick and mortar to abiding under HIPAA laws, is a takeaway that all businesses can learn from.
The top trust and security content
Before you rush into new opportunities to engage and communicate with your customers via SMS and mobile apps, follow best practices in securing your business’s and customer’s data to avoid data breaches. A seamless mobile experience is great; a security threat to your customer’s information jeopardizing their trust in your business is decidedly not.
From shifting to a mass remote workforce to preparing virtual classrooms, every industry has had to shift ‘business as usual’ this year. And in our haste to continue as a society, leaving account security out of the equation would be remiss. Do your research on industry regulations around user authentication and read up on common use-cases on how to secure virtual interactions that are vital to long-term business success.
And the No. 1 piece of advice this year
Your consumers know what they want, when they want it. And having conversations with your customers-- no really, ask them what they want!-- can make all the difference in how you continue to engage with them. We asked a sample of US consumers where, why, and how they want to be communicated with. Their answers provide real lessons for any business wanting to truly connect with their customer base.