Pandemic year 2021: the year of adaptation

TWO years into the pandemic, the past year 2021 has definitely been the year of adaptation.

Organizations and their employees have continuously adapted to practices that will forever change the workplace as we once knew it. Meanwhile, brands have refined their services to ensure a better customer experience.

The customer experience (CX) is very different today than it was two years ago. As we enter another year of life with Covid-19, there are still great uncertainties and inevitable changes in the world of CX.

Gibu Mathew, Vice President and General Manager of Asia-Pacific, Zoho shared with The Manila Times his thoughts on the emerging trends that will shape customer experiences, satisfaction and expectations.

The Manila Times (TMT): How have customer expectations evolved over the past two years with respect to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic?

Gibu Mathew (GMa): Lockdown restrictions have changed the way customers interact with brands. The situation has pushed customers to opt for companies offering better contactless services. While the acceleration of digital transformation has come with the need to physically distance, customers now expect everything to be fast, convenient and online. Customers understand the value of digital better today than they did in the past, which is why they expect advanced digital solutions from the companies they interact with. Consumers also increasingly expect providers to fully comply with government regulations when providing services.

TMT: So far, how have organizations responded to changing customer expectations? Has technology helped organizations cope with change[s] in customer expectations?

GMa: Keeping up with the changing needs of their customers is essential for brands, not only to maintain business in these difficult times, but also to continue to thrive and differentiate themselves from their competitors. According to a 2020 global study by PwC, 66% of consumer market CEOs (CEOs) said improving the end customer experience was their top priority.

With customer interactions increasingly taking place in the digital space, the quality of a brand’s customer experience largely depends on the technology solutions it uses. As such, it is also important for companies to remember to scrutinize the new solutions they will implement, including the various technological components that make them up. It’s all about finding the right valuables that work best with the business and match customer data.

TMT: What will be the new trends that will shape customer experience, satisfaction and expectations?

GMa: In 2022, we expect to see the rise of BizOps (digital transformation of the business plan), the direction of unifying the flow of information from different business functions like sales, marketing and service. customer so that decision-making is not done in silos, for the strategic level. Given the pace at which brands must evolve today, risk and inertia are the two most dangerous elements. By integrating BizOps into the various operations such as marketing, sales or IT, companies will be better placed to formulate informed business decisions that meet customer needs and improve their experience, satisfaction and expectations.

On the consumer side, self-service and more conversational experiences will soon become the norm. Self-service digital experiences are already favored by customers for simple and transactional needs.

Conversational interfaces simplify the customer experience and reduce or avoid the learning curve. Zero UI (user interface) will become the expectation in a few years. Also, trust by design will become a strong expectation of customers and the ultimate goal of brands.

Finally, more brands will also explore personalization to become the area of ​​maximum value. The balance between privacy and usefulness will be tested. It is different in every context and is constantly evolving due to technological and regulatory developments. Personalization will also apply to employee and ecosystem experiences.

TMT: What are the emerging technologies that will help brands improve their interactions with their customers?

GMa: The ideal CX technology integrates AI (artificial intelligence) into its system, rather than adding it on top. Additionally, the core capabilities that organizations should look for in their CX technology are customization, scalability, integration, and security.

Emerging technology today has most of them, but not all four. With Zoho CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Plus, organizations could receive a proficient CX platform that will enable them to optimize and increase the efficiency of workflows spanning various sales, marketing and service functions customer while ensuring that they have these four basic capacities. .

Zoho Corp. is an Indian multinational technology company that manufactures web-based business tools. It is best known for the online office suite offering Zoho.

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