One in three businesses say customer engagement is the biggest challenge they face during COVID-19, with the finance sector among the hardest hit.
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, companies across the globe have had to adapt to new ways of working and the difficulties that come with it.
New data from telecommunications provider Esendex reveals customer engagement to be the biggest struggle faced by one in three businesses right now (37%) – rising to 42% in the finance sector.
Almost a quarter of firms (24%) are experiencing reduced demand for their services and/or product, while 14% say safely managing their workforce is their biggest endeavour.
The survey also highlights the ways in which companies globally are dealing with the crisis; 40% have moved to remote working, while for 22% it’s ‘business as usual’ with precautionary measures.
When it comes to mass remote working, the education, finance and healthcare sectors have struggled the most – with 21% of finance companies stating this as their main COVID-19 challenge.
Amy Robinson, senior brand development manager at Esendex, said: “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 – rising to 62% in the finance sector. The findings really highlight the fact that firms are having to tailor the ways in which they communicate to deliver high levels of customer service – whether that’s by email, text, social media or even WhatsApp.”
The survey looked at struggles faced by 350 businesses globally and the impact COVID-19 has had on their operations. Questions included ‘how is your business dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak?’ and ‘what are your main challenges’ at the moment?’ – with one in five companies revealing they’ve been forced to temporarily close.
Nigel Frith, senior financial analyst at AskTraders, added: “The pandemic has raised a lot of challenges for businesses in all sectors and it’s no surprise that customer engagement has suffered as a result. But while many financial institutions are reporting engagement struggles in this study, the reality is that financial security is something everyone will be trying to protect in the coming months so the interactions the finance sector has with its customers are likely to increase rather than drop off.”