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Can on-demand services continue to engage?

11th Sep 2020
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The coronavirus pandemic has been the catalyst for many on-demand services to blossom.

Meal delivery apps from the likes of Deliveroo, streaming services, health apps for GP services such as Babylon and education apps like Busuu not only kept consumers engaged but were also a lifeline for those unable to leave their homes.

While convenience was, arguably, the main driver for on-demand services before Covid-19, safety quickly took over during lockdown. Now, with many lockdowns neasing, the landscape for on-demand services looks very different.

Customer bases are fragmented – some continue to stay at home whilst others have begun making a foray back to the high street and physical stores. The challenge now for on-demand will be whether they can break through the noise of competitors and keep consumers engaged beyond the lockdown.

On-point communications

In order to stay relevant and stand out, on-demand services need to have an engaging communications strategy that brings them front of mind for consumers. At the core of any successful strategy is agile technology which allows brands to send personalised messages through channels that resonate most with consumers.

Not only do channel-agnostic, agile platforms allow brands to action campaigns at large scale in near real-time, they also offer valuable insights to learn which campaigns, channel combinations, timings, and content worked well and which fell flat.

This is in stark comparison to the legacy platforms, which, due to their inherent data and channel silos, often fail to connect the dots for brands, failing to help them keep up with customer demands and fluctuating preferences that have only heightened post-lockdown.

A great example of an on-demand service engaging customers with a robust communications strategy is Babylon. The health tech company provides users digital consultations with doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and psychotherapists via its app.

Babylon identified a need to drive more users to its Healthcheck feature, which asks users questions about their health, diet, exercise, and any pre-existing conditions in order to generate specific health recommendations for that person.

To boost engagement, Babylon utilised technology to create an interactive campaign using AMP for email that delivers rich, dynamic content that users can interact with directly in their desktop or mobile inbox. As a result, Babylon saw 56% more click-throughs and drove a 20% increase in people completing Healthcheck for the duration of the campaign.

The real-time advantage

For on-demand services, business is fast-paced, so capitalising on an agile customer engagement platform that provides brands with actionable insights that can be immediately acted on is crucial. Consumers want to interact with brands on their terms – so the ball is in the brand’s court and knowing when to throw it is the key to engaging customers.

To keep customers engaged in the ‘always-on’ era, brands much embrace effective data management to make data agility a reality throughout their technology ecosystem. With the right mindset, tools, and strategy they can utilise real-time data to focus on the right channel for the individual customer, personalise their messages, and communicate in the moments that matter.

Tech and team = the dream

As society moves towards an increasingly on-demand, online-centric world, it doesn’t mean that communications have to be impersonal and lack the ‘human’ element that a customer would experience in-store.

The data behind an engaging customer engagement strategy is important, but to successfully engage and build customer relationships that drive long-term business success companies need teams that can effectively manage complex projects to ensure a thoughtful approach to the iteration that can ensure ongoing optimisation.

An example of a brand using tech and teams together to create engaging, customer-focused campaigns, is Bloom & Wild. The leading online florist spotted an opportunity to be even more in-tune with customers and their needs, offering customers the ability to opt-out of messages around occasions that may be sensitive to some, such as Mother’s and Father’s Day.

By adopting technology and with the ‘human’ touch of messages created by the Bloom & Wild team, they were able to continue committing to their customer-first values but also be empathetic in their communications to customers.

Although the hot demand for on-demand has been clear during the pandemic, the world such services are now operating in is far different. Whatever the future holds – whether that’s another lockdown or continuing fragmentation of the consumer landscape – it’s key that on-demand services have a robust and engaging communications strategy to soar above the noise in a competitive market.

The combination of the right tech and the right team is the answer to achieving this and to staying prepared for the challenging months ahead.


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