Each year, I anxiously wait for the WeAreSocial annual report as if it was a lighthouse for my working strategy from January to December. This year – the year of (dis)grace 2020 – this was the outlook:
And this was what they said about the internet usage in 2020:
The average internat usage this year will spend an time online equal to 100 days (6 hours and 43 minutes per day): that means in 2020 we will collectively spend 1,25 billion years online. More than 1/3 of this time, 2 hours and 24 minutes per day, is spent on social.
The leaderboard, when speaking of social media, didn’t differ much from the one of 2019, with Facebook, Youtube and WhatsApp firmly at the top of the list.
That was before the lockdowns, before the pandemic, before everything was about to happen.
When the Covid-19 spread, the sole Facebook (including Messenger and WhatsApp) grew 70% in usage in Italy since the start of the crisis, with group calls going up to 1.000% in one month (on top, e-commerce saw +40% buyers in April).
In a word, digital has turned into “the new normal” becoming the relationship channel par excellence.
A digital leap forward that caught many unprepared
This unexpected shift brought us to a point we would have normally reached maybe in 5-10 years. Businesses of any size and type now have to rethink and digitalize their external processes as well as the internal ones.
The overall framework is one where the internet audience is going to be way bigger than expected in a little time, with relationships turning into e-relationships and raising to the status of “primary goods”. At the same time, there’s a huge gap among users in terms of digital literacy.
5 must-do for companies to manage the shift
Communication clearly becomes king (and queen, if not the whole court!) for companies.
But most important is to do it right.
1. Create a customer centric user experience
“Customer centric” is the real deal in 2020 and UX becomes essential, as we cannot ignore anymore the need for a low learning curve, especially in the very first virtual approaches with a brand. A company storytelling goes also through technological choices and, in such a situation, keeping it simple and accessible can also be regarded as an ethical choice.
2. Use contact management as a positive battlefield
Empathy, presence and immediacy are going to be the values upon which any communication will be based. At the same time, the focus must be on expectation management and cost management, especially considering that “peak” situations will likely be more frequent than before.
3. Don’t forget about relevance
Everybody is communicating so much that the share of voice for each one of us will be even smaller than now. More and more, it will be a matter of quality over quantity.
Counterintuitive as it may seem, the winning players are going to be the brands who will prove able to find a balance in the “communication pressure”: targeted content and offers will be the key to stay visible in this crazy time.
4. Be there and anticipate
We all know companies need to be where the consumers are. Now, they need to behave in similar ways, so to “speak their language” and create proximity. That is way challenging: one can’t just be there, to be competitive. Brands need to keep up as much as they need to individuate patterns and trends in advance. That is why big data analysis is another almost-known topic to keep in mind. Gather information, treat them carefully (never forget GDPR!) and make the best out of them.
5. Don’t underestimate the changes ahead
You may think the climax is already behind us. Look closer. With Artificial Intelligence running faster and faster, companies need to get ready for the real big shift. One great way to start is to go conversational into your apps and websites, on top of your social media pages, embracing the conversational paradigm in its entirety. Then, steer towards artificial intelligence – which will need to be trained and will also require the best coordination with human agents.
As you can’t ignore the future, do not settle for less.
Take on technology with technology
Get ready to embrace tech, that’s all I have to say. Choose your solutions carefully, look at those who can actually bring value to your company. An example? Go conversational. Not just on all digital premises (see WhatsApp or Messenger) but also on your own – apps, websites, you name it.
– it mimics a natural language (come on, even our grandmas are on WhatsApp!)
– it uses an asynchronous model, allowing your agents to manage peaks in a smoother way, and avoiding any sense of frustration (typical of live chats or, worse, phone) in your customers. People will expect not to receive an answer immediately, but they will rest assured they will finally get a reply
– it’s a huge, great basin of big data (imagine all the information you can get from a simple chat?)
– allows to enter (or at least preparing for) the game of the big players: the artificial intelligence. The real one.
OK, this is something you already know if you’ve read our previous posts. So, I will add a small provocation to our usual thoughts, to liven things up.
If you already embraced conversational and even AI, are you sure you are using all of your softwares the most effective way? Or are you struggling, let’s say, to make your AI “talk” to your customer care systems?
There’s a reason for those questions, but it’s not yet the time for me to reveal it.