As we all know, it is unprecedented times, and we’ve never been here before, so it’s hard to know where we are! At Atteline, they asked the community, via their continual communication work, to tell them what they believe to be important for themselves and everyone around them.
Atteline shares their findings with L'Officiel Arabia readers in our feature Communication During COVID-19.
"Always Within Reach" by Bianca Riley, Director at Atteline
In the year 2020, people are more connected than ever before. With an answer to any question, connecting with someone on the other side of the world, and nearly any product or service available at the click of a finger, technology has evolved our daily lives. How can we harness this connectivity is up to us. With the recent pandemic, the world is undergoing radical change. People are staying indoors, shopping malls were (and most still are) closed, and a lot of businesses were no longer doing business. But adaptability is key in moments like this, and which brands thrive and which suffer the most can often be determined by how willing to change these leaders were.
The availability and intuition of technology, brands are being forced to update their business model to centre around it, no matter how they felt about it before. Business has become a real-time experience in the past decade, and as consumers, we deal with a relentless stream of messages and communications, but how can (and have) businesses use this to their advantage?
It can be overwhelming. With the numbers of platforms available, consumers are spending hours per day surfing the web and being exposed to different products and services. Whether it’s email newsletters, Facebook and Instagram ads, or Tik Tok influencers promoting a product, not only is it more difficult for consumers to decide, it’s also increasingly difficult for brands to sell and ‘stand out’. And now, without the traditional call to action of heading down to the store, how are brands meant to drive sales with no actual point of sales?
There are quite a few case studies of brands that were quick to adapt, even though it completely changed their business model. Saudi-born homeware brand aura and modest fashion brand Leem were quick to turn to WhatsApp for sales support. The UAE and KSA have 7.77 million (1) and 24.37 million users, respectively, and with no e-commerce platform (and insufficient time to develop one) the brands took advantage of where their users already are to place orders and manage delivery through their own resources and external partners.
The food and beverage industry is one that has been hit hard, with the mandatory closure of many restaurants. Many outlets have followed the previous model, taking to the placement of WhatsApp and phone orders, while others looked to food delivery partners such as Careem NOW in the UAE and Delivery Hero in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Solution-finding if you don’t have the resources yourself to meet customer demands is paramount, so whether you’re running an F&B, grocery or retail business, delivery partners are far and few to come by and will make the difference in the short and long run.
On the other side of the spectrum, brands like UAE-born Wallace & Co. which had a strong online presence and was already developing their e-commerce platform had made the decision to fast track the development and launch early. While risky, this also shows dedication to fulfilling customer orders and ultimately to staying afloat. This is a perfect example of what businesses should be exploring and executing to optimise their customer service strategy. While customers may appreciate the level of service they currently receive, they are bound to expect and demand a more sophisticated experience from the companies they engage with. The modern, tech-savvy customer wants faster response times to issues. They want a seamless brand experience across channels. And, above all, they want highly competent agents ready to attend to their needs.
For some companies, digital transformation may be seen as a costly and unnecessary commitment. And while there’s no doubt that the process takes time, investment and patience, ultimately, it’s the businesses that adapt and adopt that are reaping the rewards in today’s business landscape. In other words, going digital isn’t really an option. It’s a necessity.
This article is a result of co-operation between ATTELINE and L'Officiel Arabia.