Though there is a limited scope for one-size-fits-all approach to the transformational journey embarked upon by different business entities within organizations globally; there are a few set agendas that should be observed during the Transformational Process. Some of these schemas for an enhanced digital customer experience, are highlighted in sequential order of criticality to business imperatives along with its consequential technological implications across the APAC region –
- Agile and scalable infrastructure (Network transformation with SDN and NFVs) – Organizations are rapidly shifting to virtualized computing environments (virtualized customer premise equipment – vCPEs) from traditional proprietary customer premise equipment (CPEs). This infrastructure includes VNFs enabled through a decoupled and centralised software defined control layer (SDN). Correspondingly, this architecture allows significant reduction in CAPEX and OPEX for most modern organizations with dynamic computing resource requirements.
- Implication in APAC – The region has witnessed a rapid surge in network traffic with smartphone penetration increasing to about 40% of the population. The smartphone market surpassed the traditional feature phone market in 2014, and by 2020, more than 80% of the mobile subscribers in the region, are projected to own smartphones (with overall mobile phone user penetration expanding to about 60%). These trends showcase the necessity for communication service providers (CSPs) and enterprises in the region to seek support of managed network service providers for hybrid cloud deployments, software defined (SDx) architecture, and corresponding virtual network functions (VNFs). This enables the CSPs and enterprises to incorporate digital platforms with visualization dashboards, powered by advanced analytical business intelligence tools for optimal operations of the virtualized environment/software defined paradigm and thereby offer better digital customer experience.
- Enhanced customer support (omni-channel customer engagement CRM platforms with real-time customer support through chatbots and automated ticketing systems for faster resolution turn-around time of complex customer service requests) – Well-informed real-time customer service and faster resolution results in customers’ delight and reduced churn rate. Additionally, as effective omni-channel strategy cannot be built in silos, essentially enhanced enterprise collaboration tools with consistency in messages conveyed across channels are crucial, for seamless process and information flow across functional groups responsible for servicing/executing the entire client request process. Moreover, it is imperative that organizations incorporate self-service tools (with intuitive dashboards and user-friendly navigation) in their digital transformational journey, which empowers the end users to resolve their own queries and make data-driven decisions instead of intuition. This flexibility usually mitigates the uncertainty over concerns related to data security and privacy, with inbuilt metrics for data governance.
- Implications in APAC – It is evident that most of the leading companies in the region will have superior customer experience platforms within the next decade, with more than 90% of the CXOs of major organizations contemplating a significant enhancement in the overall customer experience delivered by the end of 2018. Though, it is an incredible journey that most organizations in the region have embarked upon; however, it is necessary to understand the intricacies of the transformational process, and it is even more critical to analyze and justifiably acknowledge the current business scenario, without “jumping the guns”!
- Digital Services – Identifying customer preferences to provide personalized recommendations and diversified new services beyond the peripherals of existing competition, thereby manifesting customer delight. The emerging new digital services are particularly related to digital payments and OTT services such as Internet TV, VoIP, and video conferencing. These services enable features including high-speed content delivery, player customization, and transcoding services to ensure the seamless online video experience. Additionally, it allows enterprises to create new revenue streams by exploring unique ways of monetizing content and offering enhanced consumer experience though social-network engagement.
- Implications in APAC – Most of the customers in the APAC region look for easy to use and one-stop applications for number of functionalities, that are complemented with good support service. A number of integrated applications (especially e-commerce apps) have emerged, that do pretty much everything in one place including standard messaging, voice and video calls (that most social apps offer), to booking tickets for travel and entertainment, or ordering food and other items. These applications are supported by various support platforms including real-time tracking of service requests, self-service analytics, query handling tools, and virtual assistants for real time support. Additionally, backend support executives also provide personal touch in critical issues with prioritized service tickets raised by virtual assistants (Note: some organizations are working on natural language generation (NLG) coupled with machine learning to automate this process as well). These services require an organized and cohesive operational ingenuity, derived from customer intelligence.
Digital Platforms such as WeChat (developed by Tencent), Paytm, Tapzo (now a part of Amazon Pay; (note: Amazon ranks among the top 5 companies in terms of customer experience globally)) are few of the initiatives that are transforming the digital e-commerce sector in the region. Several organisations in the region, starting from telecom operators to pharmaceutical companies use these personalised and interactive platforms to reach out to the end consumers. However, it is essential that the platform providers take care of the data privacy and integrity of the customers in this move towards digital experience. Organisations such as the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) keep a close watch on the privacy policies of these platforms to take care of the non-disclosure clauses and thereby enhance secured usage of these platforms.
- Process Transformation – Most modern organizations have initiated a holistic transformation to the workflows creating agile purpose-driven workforce along with streamlined functional workflows assigned only for specific repetitive processes. These repetitive processes essentially need to be automated with well-organized process automation roadmap to avoid bottlenecks within the overall workflows. Successful implementation of process automation can unfurl new revenue streams and reduce operational delays in error-prone mundane processes, while the extra resource time available can be channelized towards more productive functions as well as potential revenue streams from diversified new services.
- Implications in APAC – Process transformation through RPA is a buzzword across organizations in the region. Though, there is no conclusive indication of extensive job losses that RPA may splurge; however, it is evident that repetitive tasks will be automated to create newer job opportunities that require different skillsets. As RPA is a process that cannot be implemented without prior indulgence in systematic planning and piloting of some of the processes while still in operation, it is apparently conclusive that large scale training and manifestation of existing workforce be taken into perspective. This will enable organizations and their workforce to be prepared for the transformational journey while capturing new grounds in terms of business expansion for potential new revenue streams. It is estimated that by 2022, in India, three major sectors including financial services, telecom, and healthcare could witness about 4 million new jobs, replacing some of the existing ones!
Thus, the agendas discussed above, must be carefully addressed for organisations to effectively enhance their overall digital customer experience. More so, it must be also be noted, that each organisation has different positions in this digital roadmap, and hence it is critical that the strategy formulation for their transformation be carefully evaluated, keeping a close eye on the flip side induced by cyber threats which is inherently associated with any digital journey.
– Shiladitya Chaterji,