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Businesses fail to prioritise customer engagement in recovery

Yext, Inc has today announced the results of research that reveal that UK businesses could be putting their post-pandemic recovery at risk by failing to effectively communicate with customers. 

As many organisations begin preparations for a full reopening over the coming weeks, recent research by Econsultancy in collaboration with Yext has showed the true extent of the pandemic when it comes to customer engagement, with nearly half (45%) of business’ saying the pandemic has had a negative impact on their ability to communicate with customers. With one-in-ten businesses even admitting to having a lack of confidence in being able to quickly communicate accurate information to customers online. 

“While the pandemic has been disastrous for pretty much every business around the world, the ability to engage with brands online has been a key go to for customers looking to bridge that gap between face to face interaction in brick and mortar stores” said Jon Buss, Managing Director, EMEA at Yext. 

“So it makes for uneasy reading when you see that UK businesses are struggling in their ability to communicate effectively with customers, and spells for disaster when you look at their ability to reopen effectively and get back to business. With reopening on the cards for the majority of businesses, now is the time to seize the opportunity and jumpstart their post-pandemic recovery, with quick and accurate customer engagement.”

This lack of confidence by businesses can be seen even clearer when you consider the fact that when asked to name the top two most important communication channels used by their company today, the majority (85%) of respondents chose their website. Only half selected ‘social’, and as few as 12% selected ‘search engine listings’ as a top two channel. 

A worrying statistic considering the omnichannel approach to brand engagement that customers use and value today. And even more worrying when considering the fact that the go-to research channel for global internet users is search engines.

The good news though is that many businesses are recognising the need to diversify their communication platforms and improve engagement. When provided with the chance to make one change in the way their company communicates critical information, ‘expand the number of channels’ was the top response (30%) from respondents of Yext’s research. With the second most important option being able to ‘instantly update our site and mobile app with new information’.

Customers are currently digesting a lot of information around COVID safe social distancing practices, designated entrances and exits, and changes to opening times, so it is imperative that businesses are looking at tools to easily communicate information with customers online. 

One business that’s put multi-channel digital at the forefront of their communication with customers is The Langham Hotels, who’s been partnering with Yext to boost discoverability and the customer search experience during the pandemic.

“Our customers always start their journey with research and looking for answers to questions related to their trip. We want to make sure that we deliver those answers at every step of that journey, building customer trust and enhancing their experience with the hotel” said Kasia Rudnik, Director of eCommerce at The Langham, London. 

“The pandemic has again shown us how important it is to deliver accurate information about our hotels and restaurants and being able to communicate any changes to our customers is one of our priorities.

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