There are mountains of data and prognostications being passed around about how to prepare for what happens next. In all of that information, there are two clear themes, leading companies are accelerating their digital transformations and those companies that remain relevant to and connected with their customers will produce outsized results. It’s also clear that companies not proactively communicating with customers, reimaging every touchpoint along the customer journey, and driving new business models supported by digital communication channels will quickly be left behind.

The key is getting started now with quick and easy capabilities to engage customers in proactive and convenient ways that develop trust and commitment to your brand.

As a place to start defining what to do, here are some additional data points to compare with your understanding of the current situation.

Consumers are feeling anxious

Consider this statement from the University of Michigan’s June 12 Surveys of Consumer Sentiment report: “The resulting record level of income uncertainty has had a significant impact on consumers’ willingness to make discretionary purchases, although uncertainty has slightly eased recently (see the chart).”

Love their optimism: “slightly eased recently”. Unfortunately, consumer sentiment is about the same around the world. McKinsey’s insightful summary of global consumer sentiment recently concluded, “Even in countries that have partially reopened, consumer optimism remains muted and spending intent is still below pre-crisis levels.”

Source: Global Consumer Sentiment Report

Additionally, consumers are taking money out of the economy. Hanover Research's June 2020 COVID-19 Situation Report indicates “Americans are saving 33% of their disposable income and decreasing personal consumption expenditures by 13.6%.” Take a moment to think about that statistic. Consumers make up an average of 60%+ of a country’s GDP. They are taking a massive amount of spending out of the economy to prepare for the future. Every company should be paying attention. Not just to their spending levels, but also to their increasing disloyalty. They are making marketers’ lives miserable.

The marketing challenge

According to recent Gartner research, 87% of B2C marketing leaders are focused on customer engagement as a key strategic priority to drive growth but lack a clear definition of successful engagement resulting in varying degrees of effectiveness. They go on to point out:

  • 61% state they enjoy the process of researching new products and services
  • 58% love to seek out new products and services to try.

Those numbers should create anxiety in marketers. But it gets worse. Gartner also uncovered how fast disruption is happening with 85% of B2C marketing leaders indicating they are challenged by new competitors today that were insignificant five years ago. Additionally, nearly two-thirds have lost market share to disruptive brands in the past five years.

And, of course, where possible, interactions have moved online with many companies adding new channels in the last few months.

This combination of anxiety-ridden, brand hopping consumers, forced migration to online engagements, and upstart competitors are creating a new requirement for marketers - they must engage their customers in proactive ways that deliver convenience and ease of execution.

But there isn’t time to take a plodding, waterfall approach to make changes with how you are connecting with customers. It’s time to innovate on how you innovate.

The good news is that communications technology has rapidly progressed over the last few years and now there are capabilities available that you can use to be instantly up and connecting with your customers in relevant and convenient ways.

To meet this challenge, companies can use SMS, Chat Apps, Voice, and Video to redesign workflows, enrich customer engagements, and drive incremental revenue even in this economy.

SMS

With a 98% open-rate in less than 3 minutes, this is the most reliable and trusted communication source available. There’s no better way to keep your customers informed through proactive notifications. Additionally, it adds a level of security with mobile number verification and one time pins. With the right platform, it will also easily scale with your business.

The great part is you can get started immediately, no integration required. Just log in to the online portal and start communicating with your customers. You can check it out here.

Give SMS a test drive - Tutorial

Try SMS out today

Chat Apps

A chat app is worth 1,000 words with the ability to share rich content like photos, videos, screenshots, PDFs, location tags, or files. Look for solutions that can handle more than one chat app. For example, the 8x8 Chat Apps API lets you manage WhatsApp, Viber, Google RCS, WeChat, LINE, Zalo, and Facebook Messenger. No matter which chat app your customers use, a single API works for all of them.

Chat Apps Documentation

Try Chat Apps out today

Voice API

This versatile API provides text-to-speech, call masking, and app-to-app calling capabilities. Whether you need to reach mobile phones and landlines with an extended message or alert, keep phone numbers anonymous to stay in compliance with privacy regulations, or enable in-app calls over VOIP, a voice API can get it done.

Voice API Documentation

Programmable Video

Many industries are looking for ways to connect with customers in a distributed environment. The 8x8 Programmable Video App is built using WebRTC so you can quickly add real-time video and audio into any mobile, web, or desktop application.

Merely pick up the code and go. It’s easy to implement. There’s no need to worry about low-level APIs or having DevOps manage loads of infrastructure as 8x8 provides a proven, highly scalable, and highly available infrastructure with the highest level of privacy and security.

Video Documentation

These are just a few of the capabilities and related resources, that you can start using today. Over the new few weeks, we’ll continue to demonstrate how using these and other communication channels can help you quickly redesign workflows, enrich customer engagements, and drive incremental revenue even in this economy. And, maybe even start to lower consumer anxiety levels.