How the pandemic disrupted the customer engagement landscape in India


The need to integrate cloud technology into customer engagement and make the process more efficient and empathetic was already a challenge for Indian businesses when the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way industries operate. The unique challenges presented by global bottlenecks have forced companies to rethink their customer engagement models almost overnight.

Faced with a complete inability to have face-to-face interactions with their customers and even their employees, industries ranging from education to BFSI have made the vital decision to embrace cloud-based customer engagement platforms.

Against that backdrop, here are some of the major pandemic-induced disruptions that have changed the business communications landscape for the foreseeable future.

1. Move to the cloud to ensure business continuity

Multiple blockages nationwide have made desk phones and on-site communications systems obsolete. The office as a workspace has ceased to exist. Businesses large and small wanted to establish a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for their customer communication and the move to the cloud offered a perfect solution.

With the integration of cloud-based platforms, businesses now have the power of AI-powered automation and analytics. This transformation unlocked more benefits than just enabling connectivity and good call quality.

Technologies have enabled them to address important challenges such as consumer disengagement and the continuing ineffectiveness of the traditional “one size fits all” approach to consumer engagement.

Today, machine learning and big data are increasingly helping businesses create personalized experiences in all aspects of consumer interaction, from onboarding to conflict resolution.

2. The rise of new communication channels

When traditional forms of doing business were made impractical, demanding businesses extended their reach across several new digital channels – including social media, WhatsApp, and videos – to effectively engage their target audiences. NBFCs and BFSI actors, for example, have focused on delivering enhanced customer experiences for contact centers beyond the legacy contact center by working with remote ready call centers, applications messaging, co-browsing and KYC video solutions.

The healthcare and education industries have also adopted voice and video solutions after March 2020. The healthcare industry has seen an increase in use cases like telemedicine for safe medical consultations and follow-ups.

Companies in the education sector have used voice as a medium to facilitate seamless communication between students and teachers and between parents and teachers with a simple one-click call on the apps. Automated calls and texts were sent as reminders and notifications for class times and exams.

3. Centralized customer data for an integrated engagement experience

While the shift to a multi-channel approach to communication was already underway, the pandemic highlighted an associated challenge that could no longer be ignored: the problem of disconnected interaction data from different channels.

This not only resulted in a lack of personalization, but also led to broken customer experiences while taking the form of annoying spam, duplicated communication, and repeated calls from different teams operating on different customer data.

Meeting this challenge was imperative as the digital transformations brought about by the pandemic have given customers endless choices. Now, they can not only choose their preferred mode of engagement, but also easily rule out companies responsible for unwanted experiences.

It’s become more important than ever for businesses to deliver personalized, on-demand, and holistic customer experiences.

Therefore, companies began to build consumer data platforms that not only document all interactions with a consumer, but also combine disparate data sets with the individual’s transaction data.

Indeed, companies are increasingly looking to take advantage of unified customer profiles based on past interactions to accurately identify not only a customer’s preferred mode of communication, but also their stated needs, preferences and sensitivities.

Armed with this information, businesses across industries engage with their target audiences with the right messages on the right channel at the right time.

4.Customer data privacy concerns come to the fore

The most crucial aspect of building cloud-based customer engagement platforms is maintaining data privacy. Banks, for example, have taken several measures to address issues related to the lack of in-person interactions, such as providing agents with customer information through apps compatible with mobile devices and enabling features like KYC video. .

BFSI organizations of all stripes collect large swathes of sensitive data, and any breach of privacy can expose them to legal ramifications and a clear decline in consumer confidence.

To meet these challenges, organizations are increasingly putting in place a rigorous security framework and using technologies such as number masking, app-to-app calling, and next-generation authentication solutions to protect themselves and themselves. protect their customers from threats such as unethical hacks or even scammers. employees leave with sensitive customer information.

5. Conversational AI: the piece that completed the customer engagement puzzle

Companies are increasingly using smart robots to further revolutionize customer engagement. While the technology has been around for a while, it is increasingly being modified to improve efficiency using big data and NLP.

Modern chatbots come with “live take-over” capabilities that allow a seamless transition to human support whenever needed. The automation enabled by these chatbots is also essential to meet the growing ‘self-service’ preference of the modern consumer who increasingly shows a preference for problem solving without having to call customer support lines or agents.

These qualities make chatbots an essential addition for any business. Financial institutions are already integrating conversational AI chatbots into their engagement processes to provide around-the-clock customer support, seamlessly respond to repetitive and minor consumer queries, and even improve the turnaround time for customer requests. credit card and loan.

At the same time, companies are leveraging AI-enabled IVR bots to monitor communication and call quality along with sentiment analysis and agent coaching. For clients who prefer their agents to appear informed and insightful, AI can pull together the relevant information – historical and in real time – and display it onscreen for the agent’s benefit, enabling them to resolve issues. tickets and / or sell faster.

Companies are also recognizing the potential of AI-powered chatbots to monitor and automate personalized customer experiences at scale by strategically combining technology with data analytics.

Although still young, this technology is already playing a central role in optimizing communication between sectors.

The World Health Organization, for example, has deployed a chatbot on its website to keep affected citizens informed about the spread of COVID-19 and its symptoms.

Governments and hospitals were also inspired by their page. Hospitals, in particular, are using chatbots to reduce the load on already overcrowded call centers while implementing interactive symptom-checking processes to reduce the volume of cases that could unnecessarily clutter emergency care centers.

The last word: the future of engagement revolves around superior interoperability

Ultimately, businesses must recognize that the pandemic has triggered a distinct shift in consumer priorities and preferences. In the new normal of the post-COVID-19 world, product and price alone no longer play the determining role in consumer choices. Instead, their loyalty will depend on brands who can engage them transparently and empathetically, while respecting their privacy.

To achieve this, superior interoperability has become the expectation of an ideal engagement platform for businesses of all sizes. The idea is to seamlessly switch between different mediums based on customer preferences to maximize reach, connectivity and engagement.

Companies that succeed in embracing these changes and transforming their engagement processes accordingly will become industry leaders in the long run.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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