Automobiles, consumer goods and banking services like many other industries were faced with challenges of the COVID19 pandemic and its effect on the economy. In response, these industries particularly have accelerated their adoption of new-age technologies like AI, automation, Cloud computing and all facets of big data analytics.
Global investments in the digitization of customer-centricity are booming in the BFSI sectors, where an estimated $40 billion is projected to be spent on digital customer experience management by 2024. Similarly, FMCG and automobile sectors are also aiming to investment roughly $45 billion and $82 billion to fuel the digitization transition by 2024, respectively. This steep surge in digital adoption is, in part, driven by the push towards omnipresent convenience. The pandemic has pushed to operate online with an increased need to deliver personalized experiences that can be designed for many reasons including customer-retention.
Convenience and speedy service being core elements of customer experience, many banks in India have adopted innovative customer experience mechanisms. For example, Axis Bank, among others, uses Amazon’s Alexa as an interface for customers to make account and credit card inquiries, make cheque book orders and carry out transactions. By the sixth week of Axis Bank adopting digitization measures (including a customized bot ‘AXAA’), its customer experience scores shot up from 67 percent to 75 percent. NBFSI companies have pushed harder on Online reputation Management (ORM) and social/Digital care. This allows banks to further personalize the user experience and ensure customer-centricity across its processes.
While e-commerce flourished during the pandemic, FMCG brands in terms of retail were among the hardest hit sectors. Social distancing and lockdowns transformed people’s consumption patterns to primarily-online exchanges, where ‘videos, vernacular content and views’ are important components of success. With the bulk of commercial activity moving online, FMCG businesses turned to social media monitoring to track trends and stay relevant. Adopting social listening and big data analytics among other technological solutions enabled real-time customer insights to manage SKUs and supply. Hindustan Unilever gained a fair bit of traction by entering the fast-paced digital market during the pandemic, as retailers with hundreds of thousands of contactless orders placed via their app. Similar tactics were employed at scale with dining companies, which made the switch to digital and automated services for orders and deliveries.
Automotive brands like Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and the like, are embracing the ‘phygital’ era, where online platforms and AR/VR tools are being used in sales strategy. Volvo enabled a complete online purchase of cars in India. Tata Motors also launched a successful e-commerce platform ‘Click To Drive’, which led to 40 percent of their customers making their purchases via digital methods. The initial consultation in the buyer’s experience is replaced with interactive informative material on digital platforms. The physical visit to a dealership, a considerable investment of a buyer’s time, was taken over by virtual visits that give the ultimate flexibility of time to a customer. With AR- and VR-enabled vehicle demonstrations, key aspects of a vehicle’s features and design – internally and externally – can be showcased so a buyer experiences a virtual test-drive service, from the comfort of their home.
Brands can become digitally omnipresent
Tech-driven solutions in the ever-changing landscape of customer experience has been accelerated by the surge in digitization during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adopting measures for the improved digital customer experience has visibly transformed the personalization of services in these key sectors. A modern consumer is fast-paced and expects brands to speedily deliver information and support. With the right technological solutions, adaptive strategies and insights, brands can arm themselves with the means to become digitally omnipresent.
(Shubhi Agarwal is Co-Founder and COO, Locobuzz-unified customer experience platform)
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