In the formative years of a digital transformation journey, customer experience is the primary source of derived business value, as organizations see value in deploying strategic digital initiatives to augment and improve every customer interaction, with the goal of increasing customer growth and retention.
Customer experience is followed closely by cost reduction, as organizations are continuously looking for opportunities to leverage technologies for increasing process efficiency, improving decision making, and automating more tasks.
“As per a recent Gartner survey, by 2020, at least 40% of people will interact primarily with people-literate technologies, removing much of the perceived need to invest further in improving computer literacy. Additionally, virtual private assistants (VPAs) and voice response systems, such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri, are increasingly becoming the norm for consumer interaction with search engines, along with many other services that would previously have required interaction via web browsers.”
In the subsequent section, we will go through a few use cases that are now being increasingly deployed across industries to unlock untapped customer value. Additionally, we will see that how some of these use cases are industry agnostic, and can be implemented across other industries with minor tweaks to augment customer experience.
- For instance, major organizations in the hospitality industry can leverage AI and predictive analytics to deploy intelligent models which can help in help in predicting customer buying behaviors and patterns, online purchase journeys, and the way they prefer to choose, book, and stay, enabling hotels to engage on a more personal level. This hyper-personalization can help in effective lead nurturing as well as augmenting experience of existing customer base.
- A similar analogy can be seen in the automotive industry to enhance their CX. Customers’ paths to purchasing a car have substantially changed over the last few years with online channel now being one of the most important marketing and sales channel for automotive players.
“Eighty percent of car buyers’ (mostly millennial) research online when looking for a new car, spending ~14 hours on average to make a final decision, and more than two-thirds of customers make their purchasing decisions online.”
Hence, a commerce platform which address pain-points like unavailability of a specific car model at the showroom, option of customizing a vehicle with accessories online, EMI calculator, loan/credit options, insurance options based on previous driver history, etc. can create an immersive CX and drive greater brand loyalty among existing and potential customers.
- Another way of creating an enhanced CX is by leveraging augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR). AR- and VR-based solutions can be deployed in car showrooms to create an immersive CX. Prospective buyers can go through any vehicle’s functionalities, exteriors, interiors without the need of the exact vehicle to be actually physically present in the showroom. This is something that is already being envisioned and prototyped by many major players.
- Predictive maintenance is another industry-agnostic application which helps streamlining the post–purchase Leveraging IoT and smart sensors in manufacturing, and heavy industrial applications, such as power generation (windmills/ electric substations), can significantly reduce downtime, predict possible failures proactively, and expedite the resolution process.
- Similarly, smartphone-based telematics applications leveraging MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) and OBD (on-board diagnostic devices) can help in predicting vehicular breakdown in advance, and save customers from unforeseen troubles. Next-generation innovations such as AR/VR glasses which precisely highlight engine component health in different color codes (depicting the level of breakdown), can garner significant traction among potential buyers especially among millennial.
- Another application of smart sensors and wearable devices can be profoundly found in the healthcare industry to enhance CX. Tele–medicines and virtual healthcare platforms can remotely monitor patients 24/7, gain insights from EMRs to take preventive action against critical illnesses, and provide a holistic CX round the clock (essentially providing healthcare as an ongoing service)
- Conversational interfaces leveraging NLP/ NLG can help in uncovering data patterns hidden in multi-structured and multi-source textual data, and provide valuable customer insights. These humanoid robots can communicate through emotion, speech or body language, as well as can classify tone of voice. These kind of solutions have been piloted across industries in roles like hotel receptionist, hospital concierge, caregiver for the elderly, chatbots for e-commerce players, luxury retail players, etc.
These examples are merely a depiction of the tip of the iceberg. Organizations across industries are already making significant strides in deploying digital solutions for augmenting CX. Nevertheless, these can be a good starting point for organizations that are still unsure about the efficacy of such digital solutions.
However, for reaping maximum benefits from digital projects, organizations need to make continuous effort to capture, process, and analyze customers’ data in real time from interactions, journeys, events, and emotions. This will help firms to build a holistic view of the customer as well as develop actionable insights of their needs, expectations, and brand empathy.
In subsequent articles, we will see how employee augmentation can be achieved by organizations in the process of a digital transformation journey, thereby generating greater business value and opportunities, and simultaneously optimizing various cost levers.
- CX: Customer experience
- NLP: Natural language processing
- NLG: Natural language generation
- IoT: Internet of things
- EMR: Electronic medical records
- AR: Augmented reality
- VR: Virtual reality.