By Vishal Barapatre, CTO at In2IT Technologies
Digitisation has revolutionised the way businesses operate, with new entrants into all markets disrupting traditional enterprises through entirely innovative models. Mobile applications have become the new way of the world. Customers are no longer willing to wait, visit a physical premises to interact with a business, or even often pick up the phone to talk to someone. In addition, businesses are increasingly moving online, and today’s customer demands a seamless experience regardless of the means of their interaction. The need for a new customer experience is driving digital disruption, and businesses that cannot keep up will eventually become irrelevant and redundant.
In the beginning days bricks and mortar era, customers received a personal experience from businesses by going to their premises and interacting with people. As the world became more and more commercialised, this personal touch became lost. However, as technology has evolved and customer demand has changed, disruptive businesses are now able to offer this same level of customisation and personalisation in a new way. Using online and mobile applications with a host of rich features has given customers more choice than ever.
Technology is now a crucial business enabler. You need to have the right technology in place to enable your business to continue to function, never mind to be competitive and thrive. The basics need to be in place to ensure customers are able to reach you and interact – if your website or application crashes or even takes too long to load, your potential customers will find somewhere else to take their business and will likely never return. Ultimately it is the digital experience and innovation that will define whether your customer stays or goes.
Analytics, once the key to an enhanced customer experience, is simply no longer sufficient. Now, businesses must make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Machine Learning on top of analytics to keep up with customer demand. The new customer experience is all about delivering relevant, innovative products and services faster, more easily, and with a personal touch.
AI, for example, helps businesses to better understand and predict customer behaviour, rather than reacting to it after the fact. Using historical data and extrapolating based on past behaviours and similar customers, AI can potentially predict what the customer would purchase. This then can speed up the procurement process by suggesting a product to the customer, rather than making them search for it. Predictive ability can also ensure that experiences are tailored to the needs of the customer, rather than offering products and services that are irrelevant. This enhances the experience and improves the likelihood of your customers bringing repeat business.
Digital disruption is being driven almost entirely by the need to deliver an enhanced and modernised customer experience. Applications need to be built that are engaging and incorporate technologies that can make cognitive decisions that will be beneficial to the customer. It is not just about being able to understand the experiences that customers want but rather to incorporate technologies that can make decisions to ensure that these experiences are created, and expectations are met. Organisations need to understand the customer and the type of experiences that will satisfy them, delight them, and cause them to keep bring their business back.