This article was sponsored by Twilio
2020 was the year of digital engagement that nobody foresaw. Companies had to find new means of engaging customers in a global pandemicand change was both widespread and swift. Companies around the world built more ways to engage, faster.
The trends below tell an inspiring story of hope for the future:
The pandemic spurred organisations to implement new channels 46% faster, including live chat functions, chatbots, interactive voice response (IVR) and video.
- 87% of companies report digital customer engagement will be part of their success going forward.
- 96% report that the act of digitising customer engagement has had a positive impact on their business.
- 95% of companies expect to increase or maintain customer engagement investment post-pandemic.
Five essential actions to digitise customer engagement in 2021 and beyond
Businesses agree: digital communications are the future. Through careful analysis of key trends found in Twilio’s State of Customer Engagement 2021 report, we’ve identified five data-driven actions to digitise customer engagement:
- Embrace personalisation at scale
- Don’t fight against the tide of remote agile working
- Adopt new digital channels
- Use video to enhance not replace
- Build your digital experiences
Let’s take a look at each action to find out what it means for your business.
- PERSONALISATION: why does digital data matter?
90% of businesses have unlocked increased customer insights in 2020 as a result of greater customer engagement.
Businesses have added, on average, three new digital channels in response to the pandemic. This increase in digital touch-points opens the door to better customer data and greater behavioural understanding, driving personalisation at scale.
More access to digital data delivers more opportunity to tailor experiences. We’re entering a new era of data-rich insights and better-targeted communications. Building upon and streamlining the connections between customer experience (CX) and customer insights (CI) will enable you to arrive at the holy grail: personalisation at scale.
Better customer experience and higher customer satisfaction are the most-cited benefits of digitising engagement.
- AGILE WORKING: why should cloud feature in your plans?
92% of businesses report Covid-19 accelerated their move to the cloud.
Where flexibility and agility are watchwords, cloud is likely the answer. The working world will no longer be constrained by the need to share a physical location. Instead, the average knowledge worker will spend close to half their time in the office and half remote.
Cloud technology is the facilitator for anytime, anywhere working. We expect the majority of businesses who’ve made the leap to cloud to maintain the new workflows they’ve created as a means to drive additional customer loyalty and open new revenue streams, like enabling in-store retail employees to use app messaging to provide one-on-one services to online consumers.
Serving customers from anywhere and serving customers under any circumstances are the most-referenced benefits of digitising comms.
- DIGITAL CHANNELS: what about regulation?
Digital channels affect a wealth of new possibilities. And security needn’t be an issue.
87% of businesses report customer engagement will be critically or very important to their success going forward.
Healthcare providers, for example, can differentiate by using technology to connect and support patients remotely. Banks can embrace online banking to serve those currently unbanked or underbanked. And in the public sector, government agencies can use digital communications to connect with more constituents directly, enabling new opportunities for dialogue.
Attracting new generations of customers and enabling new avenues for dialogue are key benefits of creating digital channels.
- VIDEO: more than a temporary replacement for in-person contact?
3 in 4 organisations now use video communication with their customers.
Video is no replacement for in-person interaction. But video is not meant to replace, it is meant to enhance, and businesses can unlock value by finding communications that work better in video than in person. Already companies like AirTutors are building dynamic features like whiteboarding into their online learning platform to keep students engaged, and Yembo.ai combines video with artificial intelligence so moving companies can survey belongings and quickly provide accurate quotes.
Stronger relationships and increased customer access to products are top benefits of video channel use with customers.
- DIGITAL EXPERIENCE: to build or to buy?
92% of businesses say they’re likely to build communications solutions to meet future customer demands.
The pandemic was a digital catalyst, forcing firms everywhere to make technological leaps forward. Now the challenge is to stay ahead and make further competitive gains.
Great online experience can’t be bought, it must be built. Forward-looking organisations must focus on building the best experiences, using flexible software building blocks (APIs) to set themselves apart. Businesses that listen to customers and use flexible software to quickly adapt to what they hear will win.
Better customer insights and faster speed to adapt top benefits of building not buying customer engagement platforms
What you can learn
The important lessons captured by each of these questions could help you accelerate growth, connect with customers and deliver the seamless customer experiences your business needs.
Customers in every industry are looking to the digital sphere to find what they need. When they get there, they’ll expect a seamless, joined-up experience. The only way to get there is to build for yourself, use new digital channels like live chat and video, and tailor the experience to each customer as much as you can.
Download Twilio’s State of Customer Engagement report to get clearer insight into the near future of digital customer communications.
Read it today