What UK businesses can learn from our annual State of Engagement Report

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    Meg Buchanan
  • Feb 24, 2021

Our annual State of Engagement report explores the trends, events, and topics driving business on a global level and how organisations can use our findings to grow into 2021 and beyond.

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While a new year often brings interesting business insights from the one before, never has that been more of an understatement when looking back on 2020. A few months into 2021, understanding and deciphering the global customer engagement trends from the previous year aren’t just a useful reflection, but critical to business survival. 

Our annual State of Engagement report explores these trends on a global level and how organisations can use our findings to grow into 2021 and beyond. Below, we dive into some of those key insights from 1,439 EMEA businesses (300 of which are from the UK) as well as how both EMEA as a whole and the United Kingdom specifically can use these trends to guide customer engagement in 2021. 

UK customer engagement trends

The U.K. experienced a substantial increase (nearly 63 percent) in digital interactions during 2020. Many U.K. respondents accredited this swift digital transformation to the nation’s focus on speed, reliability, and flexibility when it came to the unique digital communication solutions they implemented. Nearly 60 percent of UK companies specifically named flexibility as the most important factor in this success. 

Flexibility has been key for organisations like BGL Group, a leading distributor of insurance and household financial services. The London-based company built a new, virtual contact centre in just 8 days, enabling 1,200 agents to safely work remotely while continuing to provide its three million customers with the best engagement and service possible. 

What’s next for U.K. businesses? As the nation continues it’s digital transformation, our report found that U.K. business owners are planning to implement both live and in-app chat as well as IVR channels into 2021.

European customer engagement trends

Several countries in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region were among the hardest hit by COVID-19. Given this, EMEA had even less time to react than other regions and had to digitise while the pandemic spread through cities as opposed to digitising in preparation for it to hit. Despite these grim circumstances, EMEA’s businesses were quick to react and scale from COVID-19. 

Overall, it took organisations 28 fewer days (a 47 percent decrease) to implement new communication channels during the pandemic than prior to lock down. And these quick to react updates to customer engagement aren’t just a temporary solution. Even with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic glimmering in the near future, 94 percent of EMEA-based organisations have no plans to remove these channels. In fact, many businesses plan to add at least three new customer communication channels within the next 12 months. 

Global customer engagement trends

It’s no surprise that digital engagement was a critical factor to business survival in 2020. For many companies, big and small, updating business from face-to-face to exclusively digital interaction had to be done in a matter of weeks, in order to keep operations going. 

Going digital became not just a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘necessity to survive’ with 96 percent of business leaders reporting that NOT digitising customer engagement would have negatively impacted their business, from revenue loss to an inability to meet customer expectations. 

And while reacting quickly to COVID-19 to improve digital customer engagement had its’ hiccups, it also came with a massive increase in customer data. 90 percent of our respondents reported a huge uptick in customer insights as a result of greater customer engagement during the pandemic. With this nearly 50 percent increase in digital interactions, companies can create better customer experience and thus, higher customer satisfaction by personalising their digital communication and meeting their customers on their preferred channels.

See more key consumer engagement insights in the United Kingdom and across EMEA in our annual State of Engagement Report here.

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Meg Buchanan

Meg Buchanan is a Colorado native, a Kansas Jayhawk, and a proud multi-tasking millennial. As Twilio's Content Marketing Manager, she has more than seven years of experience writing for both agencies and in-house brands on topics from healthcare to hospitality.