The Chinese proverb “a man without a smiling face must not open a shop” has an embedded message on the importance of customer experience (CX) and its impact on business. And, in today’s steady rise of the customer-centric environment, it has become more relevant as brands are compelled to deliver the best CX across different platforms. That is why, CIOs and CTOs are looking for solutions that can raise the bar of their customer satisfaction.
“In the past, there were many point solutions. But what have changed is that customer wants to come to businesses from any of the channel be it online, email, chat or phone – so, you have to provide equally good experiences on the all the channels. Second, company collects tons of data. They should use those data to improve their services and customer experiences. Today’s technology like AI or machine learning can help them do that,” said Kuntal Shah, Director – Sales Engineering India & SAARC, Avaya.
According to Raj Khemani, IT Lead, India Sub Continent, GlaxoSmithKline, customer and consumer are different. For his organisation customer is the retail outlet because they sell to them but it is actually the consumption that drives the sales. Khemani breaks consumer experience and customer experience in two different categories. He said, “Customer needs to be serviced and consumer needs to have a good experience.”
“From consumer experience perspective companies need to move beyond social media engagements. Companies should focus on innovative ways to connect and once connected, they should look at the ways to convert the engagement into real purchase,” said Khemani.
Agreeing with the views of Khemani, Anand Ruhela, Head – IT, Kwality Limited said that there are three key aspects of an engagement with customers. He breaks these three aspects into before engagement, on engagement and after engagement. Highlighting these he said, “Before a customer engage with us, we need to provide them all information. This could be done by digital marketing. Second, we need to provide different methods to engage with us. It could be anything from a mobile application to a phone call. Third, once they are engaged, it is really important to meet customer requirement and deadline.” One of the key challenge to CX, he said, “Nobody likes delay, so it should be avoided.”
Om Prakash Singh, Asst. Vice President – Corporate (IT), JTEKT, whose company deals with B2B business in automobile industry said his all customers are OEMs and his company does not drive marketing as it is done by customers themselves. “Despite that our main work is to align with them, as we are second layer of the chain, if demand goes from X unit to Y, we need to be in align to meet it,” said Singh.
Singh said one of the biggest challenge is meet the scale. “If demand is going from X to Y – how do I scale and help my customers.” In addition, he explained that 10 year back the lit time to launch of a car was 3-4 years but now within a 6-8 months, company has new version and all the launch has some innovation, so within this short time, you have to make those innovation. As the supplier how you do that – “this is the challenge,” he said.
On the question of keys of customer delight, he said that today certain things are guaranteed in customers mind like quality and on time delivery. So capturing the latent requirements of the customer and come out with some solutions and offering for him that can really improve customer experience and take business to a different level.
According to Mayank Bhargava, VP& CIO, DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance, insurance is a segment where least amount of technology has gone. He said that it is an untapped market. “There is lot of need and potential for technology intervention. Typically insurance industry follow the banking industry, so whatever the banking industry experienced five year back, now we are experiencing it,” said Bhargava adding that the rate of change has accelerated.
On technology that can dominate, he said, “IoT is likely to improve the risk assessment, leading to passing of benefit to the customers, also it could be used as a tool for customer engagement.”
Bhargava asserted that currently insurance industry is very dry. “You buy a policy and absolutely there is no reason why you would engage with insurance company until and unless you need to settle the claim. But companies are now trying means for increasing meaningful engagement with customer. Which is where technology can play important role. Mobility with IoT can overhaul the engagement process,” he added.
Agreeing with Bhargava, Amit Saini, Head – IT, Columbia Asia said that patient are also demanding quick report. He informed that few month back his organisation launched a website and mobile application for providing details to the customer. “They are able to use those application for checking report, booking appointments and for other engagement,” he said.
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