Will the world be the same after the pandemic? Probably not. The same can be said for the world of business messaging. The trends that originated in the turbulent 2020 will continue in the future — this is the forecast made by MEF experts during the “How Did Covid-19 Disrupt the Way Enterprises Use Messaging?” discussion, which took place at the MEF Connects Business Messaging event.
Experts agree that messaging has a bright future. Direct user engagement during the pandemic came to the fore, and although COVID-19 made its adjustments to the specifics of this communication, contact with the customer via SMS, messengers and apps became vital for corporations.
Consumers are accustomed to working, having fun, shopping, and getting all the information they need online, and this practice has proven to be too convenient to give up in the future.
Shopping. Since the pandemic outbreak, people have become accustomed to buying everything online, from clothes and ready-made meals to cars. The number of internet purchases will grow, and so will the traffic, courtesy of order, payment and delivery updates, promotions, etc. Also, retailers should expect that increasingly more purchases will be placed via mobile devices.
Travels. What is the first thing everyone dreams of doing once the pandemic is over? To travel again, regardless of the format of these trips, TripAdvisor’s Destination Marketing Director, Justin Reed. He claims that with the first lockdown, the company’s traffic dropped by 95%, but the dialogue with customers was quickly restored. Instead of reporting on hotels, restaurants, and new travel destinations, TripAdvisor worked closely with government agencies to educate customers about quarantine conditions and country policies.
When the strict restrictions were lifted, demand for travel information rose again, but this time people were eager to learn how to organise a trip closer to home, perhaps even in the vicinity of their home city. Reed is confident that interest in travel will not disappear; on the contrary, the traffic of business messages in this area will only grow after the pandemic.
Business. Business travel will almost certainly decrease. It will be replaced by video calls and communication via instant messengers and SMS. During the pandemic, messaging occupied many specific niches, one of which was communication between companies and their employees. For example, via SMS, employees received up-to-date information about whether to go to the office or work remotely.
Booking. The booking platforms activity grew significantly during the pandemic, since before almost any visit — be it a restaurant or a barbershop — you have to make an appointment first. Experts are confident that this trend will stay, which means that traffic volume from booking messages (mainly SMS )will increase.
Informing the citizens. In a pandemic, when sharing inaccurate information often means sowing panic among the population, contact between the state and citizens has become especially important. Channels like SMS have proved to be an ideal solution to establish this communication. In Sweden, for example, the state sent messages with information about COVID-19 to the country’s entire population (more than 10 million people) in close cooperation with the largest mobile operators. As a result, the state web portals’ attendance reached an all-time high during the campaign’s runtime. Mobile citizenship is definitely on the rise (see our other story).
All these trends will persist in one way or another, which means that communication with customers via text messages will actively develop — and this is precisely why the enterprises should pay attention to and invest in this area. Despite the obvious promise of SMS, experts recommend an omnichannel approach and to strictly observe the rule “the right channel for the right person at the right time.”