Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR
The rush to digital platforms by consumers during the pandemic was good for merchants ready for the volume. Many others, however, were slow to respond. With forecasts showing a continued digital popularity in the new normal, what can brands do to capitalize on this digital appeal?
Websites will continue to be popular and much attention should be directed there. Today, many need to invest in new capabilities to keep pace with increased demand. Similarly, customer engagement must also be improved to satisfactorily resolve consumer issues and queries.
Keep It Personal
The importance of personalization has been addressed in previous articles and brands that haven’t yet invested in tools to improve this as well as advanced analytic capabilities would be wise to do so. Interacting with customers through every step of their journey has also become more important.
What’s also invaluable is opening up more channels on the brand’s digital platforms to better interact with customers throughout their entire journey. This can be achieved by launching more applied programming interfaces (API). Investing in purpose-built developer tools is also helpful in the integration of these new capabilities.
Managing the increase in consumer traffic doesn’t necessarily mean hiring more customer service staff. However, the combination of more traffic being driven through more devices raises the bar for brands. Now would be an excellent time to consider investing in an open-source content management system. Doing so also requires a platform that can not only host, but also accommodate and scale to meet the demand. A new platform should also be able to prevent surges in volume from turning into security issues by delivering added security and monitoring capabilities.
More Than One Helps Exposure
Having a presence on more platforms is great for brand exposure and sales, but scaling to consistently satisfy customers on them can also be a bigger challenge. What’s important is to create a seamless internal system to manage the numerous sites and customer portals. Assembling a think tank from all the affected departments, including customer service, sales and marketing, and getting their input can be priceless, not just for the information gathered but also in giving everyone a sense of ownership. A seamless system is but one part. The other is to have enough flexibility to prop up differences In style between the various and distinct platforms and sites while maintaining brand consistency at the same time.
As Alexei Orlov of MTM said, “Last, but certainly not least is the heartbeat of the brand, its employees. During the pandemic, many worked remotely. Some forecasts indicate that a good number of workers will continue to do so in the future. In companies where this potential exists or already lives, a good intranet is important.”
For brands where much of its workforce will continue working remotely or for those with locations spread out regionally and nationally, there are highly scalable cloud platforms that can be utilized for websites and internal content. Some are capable of updating and managing both internal and external platforms from a single codebase making the lives of communicators, HR staff, and marketers a lot easier.
The Right Tools
On a similar note, having a centralized CMS with an API-first set-up and tools allowing teams to work together on a single platform saves time and frustration. The CMS will also be invaluable in providing engagement services for remote employees.
All of these suggestions and improvements should help brands move forward more successfully with both their customers and employees.