Almost half of UK businesses have increased their customer communication efforts in response to COVID-19 according to new research, as firms look to respond to the array of challenges presented across industries over the past nine months.
With less face to face communication compared to pre-pandemic levels, and other unprecedented shifts such as the rise in demand of online shopping and home delivery, businesses have had to pivot to offer maximum transparency and the best possible service for customers and partners.
SMS communications provider TextAnywhere surveyed businesses to determine how they had used customer communications to maximise service during the pandemic.
Compared to pre-COVID-19, 43.8% of UK businesses said they’re now sending more messages to potential and existing partners and customers, while just over half are sending the same amount (45.8%). Just over one in ten businesses said they’re sending fewer messages right now (10.9%).
The majority of messages sent by companies over the past nine months related to delivery information (20.56%) and appointment management (20.56%). The full breakdown of how businesses have used customer communications messaging during COVID-19 was as follows:
- Delivery information – 20.56%
- Appointment management – 20.56%
- Marketing / promotional activity – 16.67%
- Customer service / process updates – 16.67%
- Emergency information – 11.94%
- Customer satisfaction surveys – 6.94%
- Account updates – 6.97%
Commenting on the results, Demi Edmunds, communications specialist at TextAnywhere, said:
“The challenges for businesses throughout the pandemic have been unique to each industry and business. However, what is universal is that companies have recognised the importance of communication during such unprecedented times, which for many has been key to retaining loyal customers which will be crucial as we hope to return to some normality in 2021.
“Maintaining a great level of customer communication has never been so pressing, as companies have already had to adapt how and what they message customers. The rise in SMS messaging, in particular, may be in part due to businesses trying to ‘cut through the noise’ and content saturation, preferring a method that has significantly higher open rates when compared to other channels such as email.”
The data forms part of a wider survey which asked 656 international businesses to state how COVID-19 has impacted their business messaging.
TextAnywhere’s top tips on how to use business messaging effectively during the pandemic:
Be as helpful as possible
For companies which are still open to appointments, appointment management and reminder messages will likely be appreciated by your customers right now. These can include a link to a platform, which enables individuals to change or cancel their booking should they not feel well, or are faced with circumstances in which they need to self isolate. Furthermore, this also enables businesses to redistribute these appointments and arrange staffing levels as required.
Keep it personalised
Customers have come to value and almost expect a personalised service – even prior to the pandemic, 54% of consumers anticipated a personalised discount within just one day of providing their details to a retailer. So businesses who are able to create a more personalised shopping or customer experience, are more likely to secure those all important sales and achieve greater customer loyalty. Just be sure to include a clear ‘call to action’ to make bookings and purchases as easy as possible.
Gather valuable feedback
A great way to use this time is to carry out research on how customers currently view your business. Even a simple SMS survey, can prove a powerful tool to collate customer feedback. When planning ahead to 2021, you can then use this data to identify any areas of weaknesses, potential new revenue streams and pull together an appropriate plan to address these.
For the full results of this research, visit https://www.textanywhere.com/content-hub/blog/technology/how-covid-19-has-impacted-business-messaging-for-7-industries-across-5-territories/