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Latest 05 May 2020 | Customer Service | 6 min read

This Week: The Lasting Effect of COVID-19 on Digital Customer Experience

Hello and welcome to The Conversation Round-Up where I sift through the latest news and trends in messaging, automation and customer experience to bring you the stories that matter.

The lasting effect of COVID-19 on digital customer experience

COVID-19 has made all of us look at things differently. It’s changed the way we work, the way we socialize, and the way we behave as consumers. 

With physical locations closed, nearly all of our interactions with businesses are now online. To support this change, plans for digital transformation simply have to accelerate.

Brands that still rely heavily on traditional customer support channels are likely to cause an irrevocable dent to customer loyalty. With call wait times reaching record highs brands must offer customers more convenient ways of reaching them. 

We’ve been working closely with our partners to build automated customer experiences that resolve their most common issues quickly and give people the information they need without having to wait. 

This was our approach before the current situation unfolded and it will continue to be afterward. The only difference is that COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on the areas where companies are operating deficiently. 

This quote from a recent Forbes article sums up why this is such an important time for brands to get CX right:

Once consumers become accustomed to the convenience and ease of connecting with businesses virtually, they may not be as inclined to return to the way things were. 

They say it takes around 2 months to form a habit, my hunch is that we will see a lasting impact on the way consumers engage with businesses on digital channels.

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Facebook makes its largest acquisition since WhatsApp

Facebook announced that its annual F8 conference is being turned into a series of live video events over the coming months. The first installment featured Mark Zuckerberg discussing the “very elevated levels of use” across all platforms (total messaging has increased more than 50%), plans for dealing with the spread of misinformation, and new group video conferencing capabilities.

The video update came after the recent news that Facebook has made its largest investment since the purchase of WhatsApp in 2014 - a $5.7B dollar minority stake in Indian technology conglomerate, Jio Platforms. 

"Facebook said the deal would bring together JioMart, an e-commerce venture of Mukesh Ambani and its WhatsApp platform to enable people to connect with businesses."

Jio Platforms is the digital arm of Reliance Industries and manages Reliance Jio, which is India’s market-leading mobile operator. The deal awards Jio Platforms a pre-money enterprise value of around $66 billion, making Jio one of India’s top five listed companies based on market capitalization.

This vertical expansion, into e-commerce in India, is another example of Facebook stretching itself to allow consumers and businesses to operate more effectively across the digital supply chain.  

Last year, Facebook announced that it is going to open its WhatsApp platform to allow for money transfer and payments - starting with India. India is home to 400M WhatsApp users making it the ideal location for Facebook to refine its business capabilities including direct e-commerce. One option that has already been discussed is to align Jio’s small business platform JioMart with WhatsApp, allowing consumers “to connect with businesses, shop and ultimately purchase products in a seamless mobile experience.” 

It is going to be very interesting to see how WhatsApp evolves as a result of this investment and how it impacts:

  1. the Facebook ecosystem 
  2. the consumer experience
  3. expansion beyond India 
"This vertical expansion, into e-commerce in India, is another example of Facebook stretching itself to allow consumers and businesses to operate more effectively across the digital supply chain."

Test out our automated customer experience chatbots

I’ve already mentioned our focus on building automated customer experiences and I wanted to give you the opportunity to try some for yourself.

Here are three bots that we built for different industries to help them handle the high volume of customer queries they’re facing. Just scan the QR code with your smartphone or click the link to begin. Have a play around and let me know what you think on Twitter @idohacohen.

Airline bot:

Airline Bot QR Code

https://www.messenger.com/t/103915587918008

Retail bot:

Retail Bot QR Code

https://www.messenger.com/t/104325141221564

Financial Services bot:

FinancialServicesBot

https://www.messenger.com/t/102895348049088

 

Let’s keep the conversation going

Thanks for swinging by again. You can carry on the conversation at @conversocial or @idohacohen

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