The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s behavior in a lot of ways — among them, how they interact with businesses. Businesses that want to maintain communication with customers and prospects need to consider how their communication strategies have to change in light of a more online, remote, and virtual world.
At Plivo, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to help businesses communicate better. We just published an ebook called Rethinking Business Communications: Plivo’s Guide to Better Customer Experience in 2021. You should download it to get our perspective on how you can adapt your communications to meet changing customer expectations. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in the ebook.
Reach out strategically
Want to stay in touch with your customers? SMS and MMS is the way to go. SMS messages have a 98% open rate, 90% of text messages are read within three minutes, and text messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook.
Businesses can use text messaging to their advantage, but the details can trip them up. Should they use long code phone numbers or short codes? What about the new 10DLC numbers? How do you send potentially hundreds of thousands of messages and meet throughput requirements while staying in compliance with carriers’ restrictions on messaging volumes? The ebook offers some tips, and if they’re not enough, we’ve written a blog post on SMS best practices.
Let customers help themselves
Customers don’t always need you to help them get where they want to go. And we’re not talking about just pushy salespeople in retail shops — every business is moving toward more self-service.
One way to automate self-service is through interactive voice response (IVR) systems. With a good IVR setup, customers can open service tickets, pay bills, schedule payments, book appointments, and track order shipments. On our website, we’ve got a great tutorial on how to put together an IVR system using PHLO, our visual workflow builder, or by using our APIs in any of seven popular programming languages.
Always be there
Customers and potential customers expect businesses to be there for them all the time. That can be tough on a company’s social media team — but hey, we’re all having trouble sleeping these days, so maybe responding to tweets at 3 a.m. isn’t so bad.
When it comes to business communications, always being there means having a communications infrastructure that’s always online. That’s especially important for tasks like two-factor authentication, for example. It’s critical that every 2FA voice and SMS message gets delivered within the 10- to 15-second window that avoids disruption in the customer experience.
Plivo provides 99.99% uptime, as do other cloud communications platforms, but even that may not be enough. That’s why it pays to have a fallback channel — a second provider that can step in and seamlessly maintain your availability. Having a second communications platform can also help you load-balance your messaging when both platforms are up.
Communications for a changed world
Those are just a few of the tips and hints you’ll see in our latest ebook. We think you’ll find additional observations in it that can help your business.
It’s going to be a long time before we give up social distancing for group hugs, and elbow bumps for handshakes. We might never get back to our old habits of doing business primarily in person. Download our Rethinking Business Communications ebook for more tips on how to meet today’s customers’ changing communication expectations.