As COVID-19 disrupted business operations and supply chains globally, many businesses were forced to fast-track their digital transformation strategies to adapt to the new normal. So much so, that we’ve seen digital transformation strategies of our customers compressed by an average of six years into just a few weeks.
For many businesses, the pandemic highlighted the need for effective digital communications to keep stakeholders informed, support remote work, and enable new forms of customer engagement. It wasn’t a “nice to do”. It became a “must-do”, just to survive.
However, this has bought about a new way of thinking for business owners. There are solutions now available that weren’t possible only five years ago. Digital transformation has seen many companies looking for solutions that embed intelligence into their operations, automating organisational processes and transforming engagement with staff, customers, and suppliers.
This digitisation of communications processes has delivered increased productivity, improved customer engagement and assisted businesses in complying with new workplace practices.
Small businesses can utilise low-code/no-code communications platforms to cost-effectively digitise and automate their communications processes. These easy-to-use platforms integrate with existing IT systems, such as your customer databases, and can be quickly implemented and used without an IT team or developers.
This type of technology facilitates personalised and contextually relevant two-way communications at scale and across multiple delivery channels, such as SMS, email, Facebook, WhatsApp and video. It can be used to automate and improve a range of business communications processes, including stakeholder engagement, operational coordination and crisis communications.
Small businesses can easily create their own communications templates or utilise pre-defined templates, which can then be quickly updated to respond to changing operating conditions. Pre-defined templates are ideal for crisis communications and businesses coordination, removing the need to prepare communications under pressure.
More advanced event-triggered communications, if A happens then send B, can also be easily implemented through these platforms. This type of functionality improves marketing interactions by enabling businesses to automatically respond to customer emails, website clicks and form submissions in real-time.
COVID-19 saw digital channels became the primary and, in some cases sole, customer engagement model. Being able to automate as many of these communications processes, and quickly resolve customer queries, became a primary driver of productivity.
In the new normal, communications platforms are also being used to automate new return to work processes, even for businesses with remote workforces out in the field or spread across different sites. Small businesses with large manufacturing precincts are leveraging communications platforms to keep an auditable record of who has been in the facility, when, and for how long. In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak on-site, this information can then be securely provided to health authorities and efficiently cross-checked with other organisations and government departments.
Manufacturers can also utilise these platforms to send notifications to suppliers and customers about product shortages, delays in the supply chain or recommend an alternative product where necessary.
Office-based businesses are utilising the two-way communications to establish where staff will be working the next day, as well as conduct remote check-ins for lone workers in the field.
Communications platforms like Whispir’s are incredibly versatile and can be utilised by a diverse range of businesses to solve a range of challenges. They provide fast development capability, cost-effective infrastructure and service delivery, repeatability and reliable process automation – all key benefits when looking at ways to more effectively operate in this new COVID-normal.
And, most importantly, they optimise processes so that small business operators can concentrate on what they do best – running their own business.
Ben Erskine, Head of Content, communications workflow platform provider Whispir