The Power of Platforms Rise Especially During Pandemics

By guest author Pieter de Villiers, CEO and co-founder at Clickatell

Communication is the backbone of good response management during times of crisis. Having the ability to quickly and effectively communicate with your customers, staff, and other stakeholders should be one of the top priorities of organizations when crisis strike. However, the impact of mass consumer movement restrictions, such as we are experiencing now, not only leads to the rise of crisis communication it also leads to the rise of cashless transactions, creating a perfect storm for the rise of chat commerce as a platform. In fact, the World Health Organization has already called for cashless transactions in an effort to minimize the spread of the coronavirus as currency changes hands.

In recent history, platform technologies have been especially useful in reaching large parts of the global population when dealing with socioeconomic challenges. Examples of platform efficacy is seen in many global examples, such as:

  • Post-election riots in Kenya saw the world-renowned African payment platform, M-pesa reach scale in 2008. Today more than half of the Kenyan GDP flows over the M-Pesa network.

  • In 2002, the SARS outbreak in China fundamentally shifted the retail landscape across Asia. As people avoided malls, travel, restaurants, and isolated themselves, e-commerce that had been slow to take off skyrocketed and birthed both Alibaba and

  • In January this year, Alibaba’s mobile payment app Alipay launched an online clinic service allowing citizens access to medical consultations. The Chinese mega platform also leveraged its logistics clout to deliver medicine, filling the gap of a buckling public sector offering.

While communication remains one of the most critical services in times of disaster, today’s customers want the ability to communicate with organizations around the clock and also interact and transact with them, as is evident by the two- to three-times rise in customer call center interactions.

Brands have a critical responsibility and also an opportunity to make it easy for their customers to reach and transact with them on digital channels that are scalable, ubiquitous, and do not have a steep learning curve. With recent all-time highs in stock prices of digital communications providers, such as Twilio and Live Person, Clickatell predicts the real multiplier effect will be within the emerging chat commerce segment where digital communications intersect with digital payments, as evident by the recent $1 billion investment into PayTM in India. We finally see leading brands not only in emerging markets embracing chat commerce as a way to meet and serve their customers where they are sheltering in place, we also are seeing a three-times increase in demand  in particular vertical markets, such as financial services.

Learn more about our own response to Covid-19 here and get in touch with a Clickatell representative to find out how our platforms can enable you to better communicate and provide support and service to your customers today.

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