Digitalization in recent times has certainly created various transformations in many aspects of human communication. From the business perspective, digitalization increases the urgency of understanding communication characteristics that are relevant to consumer needs. When businesses understand this, they can then develop more precise and relevant customer communication strategies for long-term growth.
Technological developments have driven changes in consumer behavior in various aspects, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated digital transformation in both communication and interaction. In the context of this article, we will focus on communication by businesses and brands. Nowadays, providing quality products alone is no longer sufficient to satisfy consumers. There needs to be differentiation, especially in the aspect of communication, so that consumers are satisfied when making transactions and will be inclined to recommend your business or brand to a wider market.
However, what are the aspects that need to be considered in building communication technology that is suitable for consumers? McKinsey predicts that where will be an increase of up to 60% in digital and omni-channel trends even after the COVID-19 period. The following are characteristics of today’s consumers’ digital communication habits that you will need to consider.
1. Increase Interaction with Consumers
Previously, what often occurs between businesses and customers is one-way communication, which does not allow feedback or response from users. For example, when you receive information on how to use a brand’s product, such as promotional announcements, proof of payment, and other documentations from a business, as consumers, there is usually no direct way or urgency to respond because these materials communicate the brand’s message directly to the consumer.
Nowadays, relying on such one-way communication alone is not enough. Consumers now expect two-way communication when interacting with businesses they are interested in and prefers to be engaged. Consumers want to be able to respond to messages sent by businesses in an easy, instant, and real-time way so that they can get answers directly from businesses. This helps consumers experience a more memorable customer experience and help them make purchasing decisions. Customers tend to make purchases or return for repeat purchases when they are able to ensure their needs and enquiries are responded to.
It is important for businesses to be able to identify such consumer expectations so that they can focus on improving aspects of their businesses that can better serve customers, which helps them to identify current pain points or leverage on an advantage they already have.
This is supported by research conducted by Salesforce, who found that 76% of consumers have hopes that companies can understand their needs and expectations. Therefore, it is very crucial for your business to switch to this two-way communication method instead of the traditional one-way.
2. Stay Away from App Fatigue
Today, many businesses have built their own mobile apps available for downloading on the Appstore and Google Play. A lot of businesses consider this advantageous since it means that they no longer have to buy ad space, such as billboards, to attract potential customers. They also believe apps make it easier for them to showcase their products in a more affordable manner. They also believe apps will help to gather feedback from consumers and provide real-time insights and analytics. In reality, making business applications specifically for consumers is no longer an effective option if we consider the user perspective. Why?
Downloading new applications is certainly not an activity that consumers like, especially if the application is not one that supports their daily activities and communications. Reasons such as limited consumer cellphone memory and the act of downloading itself may prevent a potential customer from continuing on the purchasing journey and one customer lost is already too many. This has also been proven from research carried out by Comscore, an American analyst company, who found that 65% of Americans did not download any new applications within a three-month window period of being surveyed.
Consumers also tended to open the same set of applications in their daily lives, which means lesser opportunities for newer apps to be opened. A research conducted by another US-based company, Forrester, found that smartphone users only open an average of five applications during 88% of their screen time and these apps are most probably the ones they need. This fact shows that the company’s decision in creating a special application intended to provide some form of customer service is most of the time not something that can trigger a positive response from consumers.
Instead of developing new applications, you can develop customer service platforms via chat, such as through instant messaging applications, which are already used by many consumers. This option will be preferred by consumers, which was what Hubspot, an American developer and marketer of software products for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service, discovered: 71% of the people they surveyed chose to use a short message application to obtain customer-related information, emphasising the fact that consumers expect fast and convenient responses from businesses.
3. Select Channels which are Concise, Effective, and Precise
This is not the time for your business to use ineffective and wordy customer care mechanisms. Accenture, a global professional services company specializing in digital, cloud and security technology, found that 73% of consumers it surveyed want a customer service method that is more accessible and convenient.
Therefore, transform your #CustomerExperience businessby evaluating your customer service methods if they are not effective. You can analyze the pain points that consumers feel about your business’ services. For example, is the customer service process too long? Are all incoming chats from consumers served properly? Have you evaluated the level of customer satisfaction about your current customer service platforms?
You can also judge whether your customer service seems too complex to consumers, lacks concise info, or is irrelevant at the moment. For example, the olden day methods of calling a paid or toll-free hotline, making a complaint via email, or filling out a customer service form available on the website just to submit feedback is, of course, no longer relevant at this time – especially if consumers have to create a new account specifically on the website . Your customers want instant and accessible communication.
Businesses must be able to facilitate consumer services through communication channels which are widely used by consumers, such as instant messaging, which already has high visibility in the eyes of consumers. In addition, the instant messaging platform chosen must not only be mobile-friendly, but also include a variety of all-in features, such as being able to include various attachments so that consumers will not find any complexity in its use.
4. Scalable Social Contact Centers
After designing a relevant communication method as described above, it is important for businesses to ensure that all customers can be served in a fast, real-time, and effective manner. Make sure that your business does not ignore incoming consumer messages and not take too long to respond so that consumers will not be disappointed. It is worth remembering that businesses deal with real people who have real problems that need to be solved.
Relying on a telephone-based customer service system is, of course, not beneficial to meet existing needs, given the increasing number of consumers and the limitations of businesses in responding to increasingly diverse consumer demands. Therefore, social contact centers such as social media and instant messaging applications are good options in escalating your business’ customer service outlets.
You should be implementing instant messaging that can offer multi-agent access, which allows unlimited access in terms of devices and agents at the same time to the communication channel. This will create an even allocation of jobs so that customer service agents will not be overwhelmed when dealing with consumers. In addition, businesses can also use supporting technology such as chatbots to escalate their customer service response speed. Choose a chatbot that allows human-bot collaboration so that your business not only provides fast responses but also leave a positive impression on consumers so that they will return.
Utilize a Chat Application Used by 83% of Indonesian Internet Users
Now that you have understood the characteristics of digital business communication which are relevant to the current context, the next step is choosing the right channel. At Qiscus, we offer the WhatsApp Business API together with Qiscus Multichannel, both of which are a powerful duo which can provide all the necessities of current communication trends. WhatsApp Business API offers excellent features and the right choice for your business if you want to create a positive and memorable consumer journey for your customers.
Now is the time to try!
Meeting various consumer demands in this digital era, especially in the current Low-Touch economy, may be overwhelming but it is also not as difficult as it seems if you choose the right channel such as the WhatsApp Business API . For further discussions regarding the WhatsApp Business API and other business communication needs, you can contact us via this link.