Customer Experience as the Centre of a Business’s Endeavour

Today businesses have realised that digital transformation strategies must begin with the customer experience. According to Asia IoT Business Platform’s ASEAN Digital Enterprise Report, 41% of businesses identified improving customer experience or citizen experience as the main objective for exploring/implementing Digital Technology. What are some of the projects ASEAN enterprises are implementing for the customer experience? Has invested in customer experience shown results?

Learning from ASEAN Banks’ Customer Engagement Digital Initiatives

Last month, we conducted an AIBP Focus – a series of discussions held online which brings together a focus group of ASEAN stakeholders to discuss topics related to enterprise technology adoption in the region. Mr. Han Chun Cheng, SVP International of Systems, Oracle mentioned three main priorities for financial institutions when evaluating the returns from technology investments: Efficiency; Time to Market and Customer Experience. Businesses are shifting their investment justification from Cost Savings to Cost to Serve. During this session, Khun Anshera, Head of Intelligent & Customer Insights, from Krungsri Consumer (Thailand) gave an example of how they have built their digital strategy around the customer experience. Their Recommender System Suite leveraged data by combining prediction AI and Geo-insights for a more compelling customer segmentation which resulted in a 4x campaign response rate.

Lockdowns and social distancing measures in Southeast Asia due to the COVID19 virus are also playing a part in accelerating consumer’s adoption of digital banking services, creating a need to manage the digital customer experience. RCBC Bank Philippines was able to quickly adapt and push out digital channels for their customers, resulting in three-digit exponential growth even surging to over 800% on digital consumer adoption before and during the lockdown.

The more that banks offer convenient, fast, and secure digital alternatives to their clients, the more that these institutions drive the latter’s behavior away from physical banks. The use of web and app platforms will soon cease to be a matter of necessity but of preference. Brick-and-mortar bank branches will fall further into obsolescence. Welcome to the era of hi-tech, no-touch yet empathy-filled customer interface.

Said Sir Lito, EVP & Chief Innovation Officer of RCBC Bank (Philippines) in his article published last month.

Read the full summary of the discussion here.

Companies have adopted several technology innovations to enhance the customer experience, including AI, Machine Learning, VR, digital assistants such as chatbots and many more. Making the customer experience the centre of digital transformation efforts forces organizations to address, understand and apprehend all the touchpoints in which they communicate with customers daily.

Virtual agent technology

Dynamic Digital Consumers by AccentureImage Source: Dynamic Digital Consumers by Accenture

A survey about Dynamic Digital Consumers by Accenture mentioned that 84% of respondents said they preferred interacting with computer-based applications rather than human assistant due to their 24/7 availability. In the same survey, 68% of respondents also noted that automated applications were faster to engage, and 64% said they communicated more politely.

As mentioned above, when social distancing measures took hold around the globe, the traditional contact centre suffered heavily, and some had to shut down due to the inability to cope. Businesses across industries received a massive influx of queries, as anxious customers scrambled to cancel travel plans, file for unemployment or renegotiate payments with thousands of other matters. 

In a recent virtual discussion, the Senior Director of NTT Ltd Singapore, Mr Pranay, said that in the past months, the entire customer services operation was very challenging. Nevertheless, the company had been preparing in advance by shifting their outsourcing business to the right sourcing model that included conversational AI as well as automation for their clients. 

Other players such as Genesys and Google are also focusing on personalising the customer experience.

It’s broader than customer service. It’s the entire customer experience, which encompasses any point at which businesses engage with consumers, whether it’s in a marketing, sales or service context. What cloud, AI and machine learning enable is the ability to make every experience unique to each individual. Every consumer wants to feel like they’re the only customer that matters during each interaction with a brand.

Said Mr Barry O’Sullivan, Executive VP & GM of Multicloud Solutions for Genesys in an interview regarding the partnership between the two in Shaping the Future of Contact Center AI.

Meanwhile, last month, ASAPP – the artificial intelligence research-driven company advancing the future of productivity and efficiency in customer experience, announced that it recently completed $185 million in a Series B funding bringing the company’s total funding to $260 million. Founder and CEO of ASAPP, Mr Gustavo Sapoznik mentioned that “Our current focus is in solving customer experience challenges faced by large enterprises, which for decades has been addressed by attempting to deflect customer calls, and has resulted in poor experiences, frustration, and massive amounts of money being spent on this problem. Our approach to cost savings is radically different and focuses on building state-of-the-art capabilities to make agents better and empower them by augmenting and automating their workflows”.

Other companies like MuleSoft, Talkdesk, Vbee are also embracing AI technology to transform contact centres. As businesses realise how digital innovations can transform the traditional contact centre to serve the customers better, the recent pandemic may help to accelerate the decline of the traditional contact centre, a trend that’s been in changing for years. 

“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” — JOHN F. KENNEDY

Successful businesses are moving to digitalise their processes and operations to grow along with their customers quickly. That means they begin their journey with the customer experience as the priority. Digital transformation built around Customer Experience is a constant iteration and leading organisations recognise this. Customers never stay still. And neither should the experiences that businesses provide them. 

If you are interested in sharing your perspective of digital transformation around the customer experience, please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected].

Asia IoT Business Platform

23 June 2020

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