As some of the restrictions we’ve endured over the past 18 or so months begin to start relaxing, there are a few pandemic lifestyle changes that will likely be here to stay. Some will remain more as an available alternative or convenience option. However, some – such as the method in which consumers will interact with companies – may completely restructure the statistical pie chart.
One of these changes is digital engagement and customer communication with businesses. Termed asynchronous messaging, this is defined as:
“…a communication method where participants on both sides of the conversation have the freedom to start, pause, and resume conversational messaging on their own terms, eliminating the need to wait for a direct live connection…”
This covers methods such as text, social media, third-party messaging, and chat through a mobile app. For example, a consumer might send a message to a business, walk away for a few hours, and return to the conversation right where they left off.
Source: Forrester/Google, U.S., “What Businesses Need to Know About Communicating With Consumers,” Dec. 2020
In the above mentioned study, the most common use of this was to get help with an issue or to resolve a problem, with a secondary use being appointment scheduling. The results of the Forrester Study also provided some interesting insights into consumers’ expectations moving forward. Let’s talk some numbers:
- 33% of consumers said they complete more transactions online now than before
- 25% of consumers expect this change to be permanent
Regarding methods of communication and engagement:
- 24% of respondents said their primary method of contact with companies has shifted from in person to digital
- 22% of respondents expect to be able to conduct all tasks with a brand digitally
Among Gen Z and Millennials, the shift is almost twice as high with 35% of respondents under 35 expecting to conduct all brand interactions digitally.
One last number for you… 68% of respondents, given their choice of companies from whom to purchase, said they would be more likely to buy from a business that offers convenient communications. Speed + convenience = a perception of accessible and responsive customer service.
As you can see, consumers are moving to take more control over their brand experience. A good place to start is your Google My Business page to see what is available for you to keep pace with the coming wave. To be forewarned is to be forearmed – what’s your next move?