Adaptation speed and time to market determine success in the COVID era

July 17, 2020

Many of us – businesses and individuals alike – are still reeling from COVID-19’s continuous impact. Beyond the virus’s critical health toll, we were all forced into a sink-or-swim environment overnight … not what any of us expected from 2020. The pandemic came swiftly and left us without much time to prepare, leaving livelihoods and entire industries hanging in the balance.

Internally, we at Sendbird had to adapt quickly. Our clients had to do the same. We watched organizations radically pivot, and we recognized a trend. Overall, the companies who adapted with haste aren’t just making it right now – they’re thriving. Organizations that were able to actively engage their customers digitally in real time have seen a notable difference in engagement and usage numbers.

Engaging customers over digital mediums right now means implementing technologies like chat, voice, and video at lightning speed. This is where our in-app chat API and SDK can save you invaluable time in getting live chat or video chat services to market and in the hands of your users as quickly as possible.

Across sectors, the story remains the same: companies and industries have had to pursue massive business transformation to meet changing customer needs. Here are some lessons we’ve learned so far.

This isn’t the end of COVID-19’s impact

Even though communities across the United States have begun resuming operations, this thing isn’t close to its end. Cases are spiking, and COVID-19’s containment and end remain relatively unclear: periods of social distancing are expected to continue through 2022. If your current business plan is to wait until this all blows over and resume business as usual, now’s the time to come up with a better plan.

It’s important to take a look at what we know based on the data. Here at Sendbird, this means looking at the companies and industries that are doing well and extrapolating insights based on their success.

Rapid pivoting works in the COVID era

Our internal numbers by the end of March painted a numerical story of what was happening in the real world. Messages shot up. Users increased. Overall, people became increasingly socially dependent on digital communication to augment the real communication that was missing in our new, socially distant lives.

For example, our social community sector clients saw the overall number of messages increase by 31.15%, and the number of users increase by 20.16% from December to March. Among our gaming customers, users shot up by 233.5%, and messages skyrocketed by 269.52%. 

While some industries were poised for the boom, like telehealth, others weren’t initially as prepared. They had to adapt, and in some cases, change their entire business model to stay profitable.

One of our gaming customers is a perfect example of this swift adaptation. A major gaming company in Asia, they were solely dedicated to a single sport – until a few months ago. With live sporting events no longer happening, they had to quickly figure out how to keep their community engaged and on the platform.

They pivoted to fantasy games and replays of historic sports matches and we worked with them to bring this experience to life by allowing fans to chat and share memories in the context of those games. Their usership initially dropped when COVID-19 hit, but

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