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Mastering Digital Advantage In Transforming Customer Experience

A Walker study states that by 2020, customer experience is expected to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

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In the digital age, consumers are looking at personalized, frictionless and effective mediums for communication. With new delivery channels emerging every day, it is challenging for enterprises to establish a consistent customer experience across different delivery channels. This is imperative in the digital age where customers expect their companies to interact with them in real-time. 

A Walker study states that by 2020, customer experience is expected to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. This is reflected in the huge success of companies like Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and closer home, Ola, which have redefined customer experience.  

The CIO is at the center stage of this digital era where customer experience is extremely critical in a brand’s success. From measuring the satisfaction of the customer to understand the true voice of the customer, the CIO has a critical role to play.  

The new era of customer experience 

Globally, and in India too, we have examples of several firms that have used digital technologies to truly transform the customer experience. Understanding that account opening is a tedious process, many banks in India have smartly used a combination of different technologies. From using tablets to help customers open their accounts at home, to using selfies to automate the account opening process—many banks in India have smartly used the eKYC option to transform the customer experience.  

IoT is another technology that is being used to proactively solve customer issues. Consider the retail sector, where IoT is being used for improving customer experience. From understanding the exact preferences of customers to digital signage to self-checkout, IoT can be used to provide customers with a better experience. IoT can also be used for preventive maintenance. The same technology which is used for tracking the critical parameters of plant operations of a manufacturer can also be used effectively for proactive monitoring of vehicles. In India, one of the largest manufacturers of vehicles uses IoT to enable its customers to understand the health of their vehicles. In case of breakdowns, drivers can contact emergency services and fleet owners can track the location of their vehicles in real-time. What’s more, remote diagnostics can enable vehicle owners to monitor the health of their vehicles on a real-time basis.  

Similarly, Augmented Reality (AR) applications can offer consumers a visually interactive experience. For example, ketchup brands can show recipes on the mobile phone, while pharmaceutical companies can tell patients more information about the drug and possible side effects when they point their smartphone on a particular section on the product. Vehicle manufacturers can also use AR to show how to maintain and fix their vehicles. 

Artificial Intelligence is also being used in a big way to improve customer experience. For example, instead of calling a customer service agent in a bank, a customer can simply engage in a conversation with a bot, and ask, “How much balance do I hold.” Over a period of time, bots will naturally evolve and can handle more complex queries. For example, if you are interested in a car loan, a bot can connect you automatically to a sales person (after your consent) and can even schedule a test drive of the car in the nearest location close to your home.  

As more customers actively engage themselves on digital channels, expect virtual assistants or bots to be the norm than the exception. Gartner, for instance, predicts that 25 per cent of customer service operations will use virtual customer assistants by 2020. Gartner also states that organizations report a reduction of up to 70 per cent in the call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a virtual chat assistant. They also report increased customer satisfaction and a 33 per cent saving per voice engagement. In India, several banks and insurance firms are making use of bots to automate the answering of customer queries.   

As all the above examples show, thanks to the combination of technologies such as AI, analytics and IoT, enterprises can proactively enhance customer experience and deliver hyper-personalized experiences at every touchpoint. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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customer experience Walker iot

Prasenjit Roy

The author is Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, NTT-Netmagic

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