The pandemic lockdown threw certain challenges that were faced by the businesses, and they still are trying their best to manage and navigate through this pandemic. Enhanced business communications have become the need of the hour as it can automate the communication processes. Apart from large scale, small and medium scale businesses have also started adopting & exploring cloud communications due to limited capital investment required for deploying the setup, faster on-boarding and ensuring end-to-end communication cycle.

Below are some challenges faced by different industries during these unprecedented times and the solutions adopted by them to ensure seamless communications:

1. Government & NGOs

Many NGOs and governments globally have announced relief packages to enable people to sustain and fight this pandemic. Variety of relief efforts are being undertaken globally. The use of text messaging and push notifications is being used widely at such times. A push message can be triggered with an option to get the conversation on Viber Business Messages. Where a Viber Business Messages chatbot can assist them with FAQs about what is Covid-19, what precautionary measures to be taken, the nearest centre for testing or the medical/quarantine centre using the geotagging feature to get admitted if diagnosed. A lot of Governments and NGOs around the world have been using WhatsApp Business Solutions as well.

2. Customer assistance / Contact Centre Assistance/Services

In this current situation which has led to a dramatic increase in the call rates for many brands and organisations, it’s vital for brands to perform at a high-efficiency level without compromising the service quality. For.e.g due to a higher volume of calls, there is a lot of hold time for customers, this may ruin the customer experience. With WhatsApp Business Solutions’ IVR deflection to WhatsApp feature, the customer gets an option to continue the conversation on WhatsApp without the need to wait for the next available customer agent to come online. The AI-driven chatbot is completely capable of assisting customers for basic queries. This not only improves the customer experience manifolds but also reduces the load on call centre agents.

A similar experience of IVR deflection can be enabled via RCS Business Messaging and Viber Business Messages as well.

3. Healthcare/Medical Industries and Testing Centres

The healthcare sector is still developing and facing a lot of challenges due to poor infrastructure, workforce shortage, absenteeism, and quality of care. Healthcare brands can implement a WhatsApp Business Solution with a simple onboarding process and enable a Click-to-Chat feature. For e.g If a person is visiting the Healthcare brands’ website and is looking to get online assistance for COVID-19, Click-to-chat feature on the website will enable them to start a conversation on WhatsApp. All the FAQs can be embedded at a backend and the assistance can be via a chatbot that can answer all the related queries of the customer. The brand can also share educational tips via videos & images. They can also provide virtual assistance from various doctors, send prescriptions, pdf bills, invoices, and reports via WhatsApp Business Solution.

4. BFSI Sector

Owing to the current situation, banks are working for limited hours and many of its employees are working from home. This may be challenging for its customers as they may need to communicate with banks to avail various services. Banks can implement RCS Business Messaging by following simple onboarding steps and ensure seamless communications. For e.g the bank can send a push SMS to inform the customers about its new RCS Business Messaging (RBM) service and onboard them. The customer can type “Hi” to initiate a conversation using RBM. The rich features, simple menu, suggested replies enable customers to engage with the banks more effectively. For e.g knowing the account balance, requesting for a cheque book, knowing the nearest ATM or banks location. The sender verification enables the customer to trust the message source. The features like logo, business description enables the banks to brand the messages.

The pandemic has given ample opportunities to fraudsters to send fraudulent messages to gain customers’ personal information. Most of the sensitive information is sent by BFSI companies to its customers such as OTP number, account authentication details, and any other updates. With Verified SMS, financial institutions get a verification badge, their business name and logo can appear in the message thread. With these features, customers can easily differentiate and engage with the insurance company. Furthermore, a call-to-action button can enable them to connect with the business with ease to understand further about the additional cover and pay the premium amount. Verified SMS can help to mitigate frauds such as phishing, and does spam detection and protection, thus safeguarding the customers and maintaining the brand’s trust.

5. Home Delivery of Food

The pandemic has forced everyone not only to work from home but also do the home chores. A lot of QSRs have started and increased the home delivery services by distributing pamphlets with QR codes. The customer can quickly scan the QR code, they get redirected to Viber Business Messages. Once they type “Hi”, they get a menu option to select from. They can browse the menu which is displayed as a carousel, the customer can then select the desired option and place the order of their favourite cuisine within minutes. A ‘thank you’ message is displayed and the order is placed. Post that a tracking link is sent for the customer to track the order. Once the order is delivered, delivery is confirmed and a coupon code can be sent for the customer to use it for the next order. A similar engagement experience can be enabled via WhatsApp Business Solution and RCS Business Messaging.

6. E-commerce Industry

The demand for online groceries and for daily essentials on E-commerce websites is staggering. To meet the demand of customers buying online, many E-commerce websites have started to take orders via RCS Business Messaging, which makes it easier to order online. The brand can display the products using rich features such as rich cards, product carousels, high-resolution images etc., allowing the customer to choose the relevant product and place an order. This is hassle-free and enables the customers to order at the comfort and safety from their homes.

A lot of brands are using WhatsApp Business Solution in the packaging as well. For example, an active WhatsApp number is printed on the packaging for the customers to place their next order via WhatsApp Business Solution.

7. Online education

The pandemic has forced schools and universities to be closed, affecting globally over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries. In order to continue, schools and universities are adopting e-learning portals. They can now send links for the registration or to join the online classes via SMS and emails. Products like Smart URL shorteners can trim the entire URL and send unique hyperlinks embedded within messages for landing pages, registration forms, video links, assignments, give links to payment gateways etc. Furthermore, it also enables the online education brand to get detailed tracking, actionable insights and analytics.

8. Tackling Business continuity

Brands are looking for ways to ensure business continuity communications have been successfully delivered and read by all the customers. An Omnichannel solution is a great option. It ensures unified communications across multiple channels replacing the single and multichannel communications. The parallel and sequential communications ensure the delivery of the communications using messaging, voice, email or enhanced business messaging like WhatsApp Business Solution, RCS Business Messaging, Viber Business Messages and host of similar channels.

Multiple channels of communication provide the capability to understand, quantify, and review communication with each customer. Furthermore, a customer-centred viewpoint of Omnichannel gives businesses the opportunity to manage customer relationships across all channels. It also removes the dependence on a single channel to help reach customers through their favourite channel along with personalisation to create brand loyalty. The uber-cool dashboards help the brand to keep track of its campaign results with actionable insights into response and overall delivery.

We see that most businesses have adapted or are adopting digital communications to serve their clients and customers and will be evolving more in the future. Cloud communication is a game-changer in most of the businesses, as it is able to send real-time communications, enhance its customer engagement and achieve better customer experience.

Published in Businessworld: Top 8 Challenges That Emerged During This Pandemic & How Enhanced Business Communication Channels Have Played A Crucial Role