As 2021 draws to a close, many companies are still responding to the changes in the business environment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The global crisis introduced the need to innovate, forcing many to rethink how they communicate with their customers and redesign product and service offerings for the new landscape, which is defined by digital transformation.
The numbers illustrate this evolution. According to Statista (https://bit.ly/3tdhr5C), 97% of those surveyed in a digital transformation survey stated that the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation processes in their respective organizations. Global spending on digital transformation (https://bit.ly/31H0pkV) is projected to reach $ 1.78 trillion by 2022. But how will this transformation play out? The answer lies in the technology trends that will shape the businesses of tomorrow.
A unique solution for omnichannel communications
As more companies interact with their customers in online and remote spaces, there is a need to optimize and improve communication channels. The result is an omnichannel approach to customer experience (CX), comprised of multiple platforms on which customers can interact with operators and commercial services. It’s a process that is kept as simple as possible, while being accessible and cost-effective. You see this trend with the likes of Twitter and Instagram which, in addition to being social media products, now offer business-oriented features to facilitate B2C communication. Similarly, the latest feature of the WhatsApp Business platform gives brands the opportunity to deliver an e-commerce experience within WhatsApp conversation, making online interactions instant, easy, and powerful.
But with so many channels comes the need to manage them effectively and efficiently. Many companies do not have the resources or manpower to handle customer conversations in a broad digital landscape. What is needed is a single technology solution that has the ability to manage all communications and serve as an end-to-end portal for the entire customer journey. By converging existing technologies, a platform could enable companies to track and collect crucial CX and customer data that can then be used to drive better business decisions and expedite problem resolution. This is something companies should look into next year.
Automation and humanity
Automation has been with us for centuries, but its application in the digital age is something completely new. We are seeing it creep into almost every aspect of our lives, with far-reaching and never-before-seen results.
Take, for example, sporting events like the 2021 Heineken Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix, where fans can order tickets, get refreshments, secure purchases, and get all their questions answered via a chatbot running through by WhatsApp. With the help of data reporting and features like suggested responses, internal collaboration, and skill-based routing, the Dutch Grand Prix could interact with fans efficiently and effectively. This was made possible through the implementation of a customer data platform (CDP) to manage event pre-registration data and the use of cloud marketing software to introduce attendee reductions due to the pandemic. Technology helped create a seamless experience for both event organizers and fans.
While this type of technology automation has focused on improving the customer experience, it also has the potential to affect the employee experience (EX). Because in 2022, the notion of total experience will guide many business decisions. Strong CX principles, or taking the position that the customer is always right, cannot be at the expense of employee well-being. This impacts the well-being of the business itself. Research from McKinsey (https://mck.co/3ndsaZX) finds that people with a positive work experience have a 16 times higher level of engagement than people with a negative experience. This, combined with widespread employee uncertainty about the consequences of increased automation in the workplace, makes EX more important than ever. Happy employees cultivate happy customers.
Another popular area of automation, chatbot technology can optimize CX and further strengthen it thanks to innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Gartner predicted that a quarter of all customer service operations would integrate chatbots into their engagement channels by 2020 (https://gtnr.it/3qZdezH), an exponential increase from two years earlier.
Through AI chatbots, customers receive a more personalized approach from companies in their dealings, with longer periods of availability, and companies can identify behavior patterns and preferences and collect information to improve their products. Chatbots are also a time-saving resource for employees, giving them more time and energy for other tasks, increasing satisfaction levels.
The power of mobile connectivity
No longer a device for making and receiving calls, mobile phones accounted for more than half of all web traffic globally in the first quarter of 2021 (https://bit.ly/3JT2zit). A considerable part of the world’s population interacts with the Internet through a mobile device, which creates the need to innovate and expand the offer of services on them.
Kenya itself is home to Africa’s biggest mobile platform success story, M-PESA, which revolutionized mobile banking and dramatically improved financial inclusion across the continent. Beyond banking and retail, most other sectors have also embraced mobile platforms to deliver quality products and services to customers, implementing solutions that digitize traditional processes and improve convenience.
Through mobile devices, companies can introduce innovative solutions, such as contactless payment methods, online registration processes and, indeed, chat channels. They need to adopt proactive strategies to engage with customers and adopt technology that takes full advantage of mobile capacity. After all, when it comes to creating the path of least resistance, today’s technology has it in the bag.
Looking ahead, these technologies will converge to create a digital economic and logistics ecosystem built on the backbone of mobile connectivity. With expanded connectivity, there is the potential for far-reaching business opportunities and the means to tap into previously unreachable consumer groups. Success will lie in finding unified solutions that integrate as many features and services as possible, recognizing each touch point as a business opportunity and supporting the entire customer journey in a seamless, data-driven, and proactive manner.
If you want to create more meaningful connections with your customers, we are here to help. From providing ongoing omnichannel support to harnessing the power of mobile marketing, CM.com is the business partner you need for richer, more personalized customer experiences that last. Visit www.CM.com/en-ke/.
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