Communications in Australia is changing.
The rise of on-demand platforms like Netflix and Uber have shifted the standards by which businesses are now measured. Today, consumers are demanding an ever safer, swifter and more personalised experience, but worryingly, it appears that many companies have yet to wake up to this reality.
According to research by Twilio, 94% of businesses believe their customers are satisfied with the responsiveness of their communications. Yet, despite this confidence, 96% of consumers appear to disagree. Examining how successful businesses are connecting with their customers at the right time and with the right message offers invaluable insight into how more companies in Australia can help to bridge the gap between user expectation and the service they actually receive.
Today, if you want to talk to a friend, there is a strong possibility you will do so via Facebook Messenger. Similarly, if you are looking to connect with a prospective employer on LinkedIn, you can easily do so directly through the website or mobile app.
In theory, one might assume people to want to communicate with their Uber drivers or colleagues or friends in one centralised place, but the reality is, people want to communicate on a variety of channels based on which is most convenient at a given moment. For example, customers on the go are more likely to be receptive to mobile-based communications, while customers at work may prefer to speak to a business via a live web chat on a computer. As a result, it has become increasingly important for businesses to be present on a number of channels, so a customer can communicate with them wherever they are, via a channel most convenient to them.
On-demand, more demand
In today's rising on-demand economy, spearheaded by the disruptive work of names like Airbnb and Uber, the way in which businesses engage customers has changed.
Thanks to a rise in cloud technology, contextual data has become easier to access for companies of all sizes, meaning that startups today can provide a communications experience far richer than well-established brands could a mere 15 years ago. Because of this, customer expectations have rocketed.
For many organisations, an in-app experience allows them to meet these customer expectations head-on. Brands like Uber, WhatsApp and Twitter have all built their own communication capabilities directly into their apps. For example, if a customer decides that a push notification confirming the dispatch of their Uber will not suffice, they have the option to open the app and to monitor the location of their driver in real time. Users benefit from an experience which not only extends beyond a single channel but which has also been designed to work specifically with the product or service they are using.
Through both customer feedback and experimentation, companies can learn more about how they can connect with customers through the right channel, with the right message and at the right time.
Any company with a truly customer-focused outlook will appreciate that this will not only make the user experience richer and smoother but will also help to build customer loyalty. In fact, Twilio's research has revealed that, globally, seven in ten consumers admit to purchasing more products or services from a company following a positive communications experience.
Take Airtasker, for example. The Australian start-up launched with the goal of connecting people who have tasks that need doing, with dependable, competent people who have the skills to complete those tasks.
In order to provide an experience capable of meeting its customers’ expectations, developers at Airtasker have created an application in which user correspondence can take place. Private messaging and calls can take place within the platform, meaning that any issues can be resolved directly between the customer and the Tasker. This means that problems which may have otherwise gone unsolved, or been cumbersome to overcome due to having to speak to a customer service operator rather than the Tasker themselves, can be dealt with quickly and easily. This is where the communications aspect proves key to the success of the service as a whole.
Brands like Airtasker, Deliveroo and Uber have understood the role that effective communications can play in providing customers with the service and attention they are now demanding. There is, however, still work to be done.
Australian companies need to appreciate that customers are demanding a true omnichannel experience, which offers them a personalised service that they can pick up via whichever channel is most convenient. In an age of increasing customer expectation, providing this multi-channel communications experience has proven essential for building loyalty -- the price of failure is as simple as a customer choosing to take their business elsewhere.