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Who’s getting the message?

A shift towards instant messaging

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77% of businesses agreed that responding to messages from clients in a timely way is key for business growth post-Covid-19. To find out more, we looked into the different methods SMEs have found effective for replying quickly and efficiently to their customers.

As our research has shown, instant messaging services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have proven to be hugely useful and beneficial to SMEs during the pandemic. 39% believe they’ve seen an uplift in enquiries thanks to these types of tools and 53% believe this format of communication will be key for business success post Covid-19.

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of SMEs either strongly or somewhat agree that instant messaging is key for business success post Covid-19

of SMEs either strongly or somewhat agree that instant messaging is an important communication tool for their business

of SMEs either strongly or somewhat agree that responding to messages in a timely way is key for business growth post Covid-19

For the five key trades we looked into further, these figures were even higher. 73% of the automotive industry believed these were essential tools, 62% of domestic services, 73% of hair and beauty and 58% of trades. Only the professional services scored these under the national average, with 42% believing these were vital.

But messaging apps aren’t the only instant options SMEs have been finding useful – other immediate response methods businesses find valuable and believe will continue to be key post-Covid-19 include:

  • Being available on the phone: 69%
  • Video Calling: 51%
  • Chatbots: 41%
  • Automated customer service: 45%

In summary

These stats show a clear picture; instant messaging is going to be crucial for SMEs to survive and thrive both now and in the post-pandemic future. While businesses can still succeed using slower communication methods such as direct mail or even email, it’s with faster paced, more immediate channels that we’ll be likely to see increased success. This doesn’t mean ditching your email, but if you’re not incorporating any kind of instant messaging options in your communications, now is definitely the time to start.

Survey methodology

1,006 SME owners and 2,009 consumers surveyed in September 2020 by Censuswide on behalf of Yell Business.

Download SME survey data

Download Consumer survey data