Customer engagement the biggest COVID-19 challenge for 1 in 3 businesses

Topic: Esendex news

New data from Esendex reveals the challenges faced by businesses across the globe – with customer engagement the biggest struggle for one in three companies.

Since COVID-19, firms have been forced to change the way they operate and communicate with both their employees and customers. Keen to assess the global impact of the virus, we have carried out a survey to unveil the most pressing challenges faced by businesses in the current climate.

One in three businesses (37%) say they are struggling to keep customers engaged, while almost a quarter of companies (24%) are experiencing reduced demand for their services and/or products.

The most affected sectors

According to our survey, which questioned more than 350 organisations globally, the retail sector has been the hardest hit. 35% of respondents from this industry say their business has had to temporarily close; for another one in three retailers (34%) it’s ‘business as usual’ with precautionary measures. This sector is also struggling the most with keeping customers engaged and dealing with reduced demand.

The data also reveals education, financial services and healthcare as the sectors finding mass remote working the biggest hurdle. 11% of financial firms have had to adapt their product/service to the current climate, while 1 in 10 say keeping customers engaged is their biggest endeavour.

SMS and customer engagement

More than 50% of those surveyed said they’d be keen to use SMS for customer marketing and updates, with 23% of all responses to this question coming from those in retail. One in five businesses would want to use SMS for employee communication, while 19% answered “business continuity and crisis communications”.

Senior brand development manager, Amy Robinson, comments on the findings: “The statistics show just how difficult the current climate is. Business leaders have a lot to think about – how to stay operational, how to navigate the challenges of mass remote working, how to keep employees safe and how to keep customers engaged.

“We also learnt that half of the companies we surveyed are most likely to need SMS services for customer marketing and updates right now – rising to 66% in the retail sector. The findings really highlight the fact that firms are having to tailor the way in which they communicate to deliver high levels of customer service – whether that’s by email, text, social media or even WhatsApp.”

Official ONS data shows that total retail sales stood at £34.6 million in March 2020 – up 24% when compared to February. However, when comparing year on year, sales have dropped by 2.3%.

If you’d like to explore SMS as a way of boosting customer engagement, we’d be happy to help. Simply call our team on 0345 356 5758 or email [email protected] for more information.

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