25 of March 2021 Bangkok,Thailand

Recent years have created a social disconnection between people. In many countries, restrictions started around February or March of 2020 with a false idea that it would only last for 14 days. Some cautious people even retire from society for the full pandemic, meaning that it has been almost 1 year. 

As months continue and people keep their distance, researchers discovered the long term and short term effects of this social phenomenon. Most people that were locked down at their houses, especially if living alone experienced symptoms like insomnia, loneliness, depression stress, and anxiety. 

Companies had to deal with an emotional customer that is struggling to cope with the global situation. With limited access to goods and services, customers realize that in most cases companies are far from being digital-friendly. 

Companies that had direct interaction with their customers like direct selling, in-store services like spas, beauty shops, and even some retail shops experienced a huge drop in purchased goods. Industries like hospitality and traveling got impacted right away and the panorama has not improved much throughout the time. 

Companies around the world are facing a conundrum, how to be close to the customer when the customer is in social distancing?. This is where innovation plays an important role and companies have developed several strategies. 

  1. Deploy Chatbots – One of the preferred strategies for companies that have an increasing demand for incoming conversations. However, chatbots usually can solve simple requests.  New platforms integrate your points of contact like Facebook, Line, Messenger, or even your own website to controls everything and let humans take over with great synergy. 
  2. Keep your social media active and reply faster. Share essential updates – let customers know about store hours or policy changes that may be occurring. Share delivery promotions, special takeaway bundles, and more. Your customers will value a considerate promotion for the situation. 
  3. Create a service channel on your website. Forgetting a little about Chatbots, try to make your website ready to offer, explain, and show off your products. Microsites to promote and sell products like insurance or financial services for B2C companies have proven to be key resources. 
  4. Offer appointment scheduling/rescheduling – Automate the process of booking, make sure the customer can easily reschedule an appointment for a future date. Again chatbots are one great solution to accomplish this but also providing clear information and a good and reliable phone number can put your company on the right side. 
  5. Open eCommerce platforms. If you are selling goods and you have not started to consider e-commerce in 2021, there might be a big strategic issue for your company. E-Commerce has been a pillar of global economy during the pandemic situation. Your brand can easily be searched and purchased. 
  6. Offer delivery – Partnering with the new delivery services can generate sales that otherwise you would not have. Pick a partner that does not overcharge for the service and that can support delivery in your area. 
  7. Provide knowledge – This might sound simple but most companies do not have an easy-to-use self-service Q&A. If you don’t have one, start with the basics, analyze your common inquires, and answer them. If you already have one you might want to integrate this with your chatbot or even create an RPA to avoid any human processing.  
  8. Buy now, use later – Creating promotions, offers or bundles to use at more flexible times can create cash flow for your business. Remember this is not revenue until you deliver your product or service. You can use gift cards now and redeem them once the social distancing guidelines have been lifted
  9. Integrate video call solutions to conduct sales or solve customer issues. Some products are more complicated than others. If your product usually requires any face-to-face interaction, like insurance, financial product, or an attorney make sure that you have an ace under your sleeve during these times.  There are many providers of Digital Face 2 Face conversations like Zoom, Google meets, and many more. According to your industry regulations, some might lack the security and privacy measures to comply. Explore your options and pick the Digital face-to-face solution that best suits your needs. 
  10. Simplify your digital process to make it easier for your customers. Some strategies do not require transforming something that is already created but integrating technology to make it more simple. e-KYC (Know your customer), PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act), Money laundering detection, are ringing the bells lately. Technologies like OCR, Face recognition, Face comparison, Liveness detection, and real document scanning can be great plugins to simplify and bulletproof your processes. 

By Jaret Carranza R.