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Picture: UNSPLASH/SURFACE
Picture: UNSPLASH/SURFACE

Companies have had to reinvent many of their traditional business processes to remain operational while ensuring the safety of their employees during the turbulent events of the past year. Communicating with all stakeholders has become more important, and will affect the trends influencing these engagements in 2021 and beyond.

Prioritising internal comms

Many CEOs have already used the pandemic as the opportune time to rethink the way they work and communicate. Internal communications, with its focus on engaging employees, sharing information, and creating a company culture will require a fundamentally different approach to be successful.

Internal communication must remove as many barriers as possible for employees to access the content and systems they need to remain productive. Having an internal communications strategy that reflects how this different environment affects the mental health and wellness of employees will be a trend in the new year.

Remember privacy

With the implementation of the Protection of Personal Information (Popia) Act around the corner, companies only have a few months to get their systems ready to reflect an increased focus on data privacy and security.

It will also change how businesses can communicate with their customers. For instance, people must now opt in for e-mail and SMS messages, there must be a relevant privacy notice in place, and the unsubscribe process must be comprehensively audited. Non-compliance will carry significant financial fines and reputational damage if the company is found guilty. This means that any marketing campaign and communication that gets disseminated must adhere to the regulatory framework.

Understanding customers better

Even before the lockdown, data science was a growing field. But as companies need to differentiate themselves better thanks to more challenging economic conditions, they will refocus to embrace predictive analytics and gain a better understanding of their customers.

With the rise of clean data gathering tools that are supported by omnichannel platforms, decisionmakers will understand even more from their data. Nothing is unimportant when it comes to customer data. Everything has the power to inform how goals for the business are created.

Everything from transactional customer data to customer behaviour tracking can significantly influence how products are developed. However, it’s in the personalisation of communications with customers where businesses can add value, allowing customers to feel better understood in terms of who they are and what they need.

More than just retention

About the author: Karyn Strybos is the marketing manager at Everlytic. Picture: SUPPLIED/EVERLYTIC
About the author: Karyn Strybos is the marketing manager at Everlytic. Picture: SUPPLIED/EVERLYTIC

This understanding will help businesses become more customer-centric, which is vital as businesses cannot rely on customer acquisition alone. They still need to give existing customers exceptional value to mitigate against the risk of churn. Signing on new customers is a resource-intensive process. Invariably it takes some of the focus away from identifying opportunities for growth.

Using automated communications will allow the organisation to retain a customer and build a long-term relationship with them at a scale previously unimaginable. The customer needs to have a consistent feel of the organisation right from when they are still a prospect, to becoming a new customer, and eventually to being a loyal customer, who then has the potential to become a brand advocate. This is where more meaningful customer experiences become essential.

Companies must capitalise on relevance and personalisation. But personalisation goes beyond marketing and into every way customers interact with the business. For example, something as simple as asking a customer for their communication preferences can make a big difference. The business then knows how they want to be contacted and can avoid frustrating them by choosing a different method.

Ultimately, 2021 will be about putting people first, whether they are employees or customers. It’s about gaining a better understanding of these stakeholders and using digital solutions to send timely, relevant and automated communications that speak to their needs.

This article was paid for by Everlytic.

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