It’s no secret that we live in an increasingly digitised world. As consumers amass an ever-expanding suite of digital devices to organise their personal and professional lives, they expect to be able to access any product or service whenever they want it, wherever they are, and from whichever device they choose. Furthermore, they demand an immediate response to any query around the clock, any day of the week.
It is now crucial for organisations to invest in digital technologies and products to keep up with the demands of the “always-connected” customer. Digital solutions that allow them to respond more quickly and deliver a better customer experience are more important than ever in order to remain competitive.
The digital transformation and COVID-19
IDC predicts that by 2025, 75% of the world’s population will interact with data every day, and each connected person will have at least one data interaction every 18 seconds. This digital transformation - the integration of technology, or intelligent data, into everything we do - is bringing about enormous change in the way businesses operate and interact with their customers.
IDC’s research shows that two-thirds of the CEOs of Global 2000 companies had planned to improve the customer experience by shifting their focus from traditional, online strategies to more modern digital strategies by the end of 2020. While COVID-19 has certainly shaken things up, it seems unlikely to have a significant impact on the pace of digital investment. PwC’s recent CFO Pulse survey revealed that while 52% of US companies plan to cut or defer investments because of COVID-19, just 9% of survey respondents will make those cuts in digital transformation.
In fact, the pandemic has driven many customer-facing companies to bring forward their plans for digital transformation. While consumers had already been increasingly migrating online over the past few years, COVID-19 has fuelled even greater growth in the number of consumers seeking to do their shopping and other business over the internet. To accommodate this demand, and to help rebuild revenue streams, many companies have sought to incorporate a greater digital component into new products, services and distribution channels.
According to PwC’s survey, 65% of customer-facing businesses - and 53% of businesses in all sectors - believe that these new ways of serving customers will improve the company performance and viability over the long term.
Customer experience - set to become the number one brand differentiator in 2020 and beyond - is a key driver of a business’ decision to implement a digital transformation strategy. And the more companies digitise their business to facilitate better customer experiences, the more consumers raise their expectations.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, natural language recognition and virtual and augmented reality have already shown great potential to improve customer experience and engagement. More and more organisations are choosing to interact with their customers via voice interfaces and chatbots, and as the technology improves, these applications will be able to conduct seamless customer service interactions at any time - day or night.
Forrester Research envisages a future in which virtual and augmented reality will become the new normal, and any business not utilising it will struggle to remain competitive. Customer service agents will be able to project their presence into consumers’ worlds and a consumer will be able to simply hold a mobile device over an account statement to see FAQs and account information on their screen. McKinsey sees a world in which digital channels become the primary - and perhaps only - customer-engagement model, and automated processes become a primary driver of productivity.
Digital solutions and outsourcing
The outsourcing industry is leading the way in the adoption of digital solutions, particularly the use of AI, machine learning and automation. With the customer of today demanding the availability of immediate, 24/7 online support, the use of applications such as natural language recognition and chatbots in contact centres is becoming a must for businesses to remain competitive.
Find out more about how outsourcing companies in the Philippines are disrupting the tech industry - and enabling organisations to reimagine and completely transform the way they service their clients and do business, click here.