Customer communication saw a major shift in 2016 when communication away from being just one facet of business and manifested into a primary monetisation model. Companies like Uber built entire service ecosystems on the strength of its communication infrastructure alone. This trend is rapidly spreading to businesses in other verticals as well as making the customer an all-powerful piece of the puzzle. Gathering from trends in the past year, 2017 calls for a renewed attention to the aspect of customer interaction and engagement. Here are some of the things we believe will be game changers this year.
Experience will be key to customer stickiness: If there’s anything the customer gets more of today, it is choice. The customer is also equipped with the power to inform himself of his choices, making customer loyalty an increasingly harder asset to keep. A close substitute is “customer stickiness”. Thankfully, positive customer experience enhances stickiness greatly, which is directly affected by customer interaction.
An American Express survey established that 78 per cent of people do not complete transactions only due to poor customer experience. Also, with a mobile phone number acting as a default unique identifier, spam and privacy compromise will contribute as negative factors to a customer’s fabric of experience. Tech innovations in customer communication can play an important role in safeguarding customer privacy and presenting only relevant and timely information that truly helps. Cloud telephony has a large part to play here.
The looming cashless economy will be fuelled by telecom: India is moving towards a cashless economy. We are already seeing major strides in that direction through initiatives like Digital India, UPI, direct bank transfer and many more. A digital village in Gujarat has moved towards being cashless with SMS-based money transfers. These innovations are only possible because of the rapid changes in technology. A few years ago, no one could fathom possibly transferring money with a missed call. Mobiles have already reached places where data and digital money have not. If you’re looking to create an impact in rural India, start innovating with phone calls.
Chatbots aren’t as close as they appear: We have all been hearing about chatbots taking over from humans, especially for customer support. Products like Allo are showing great potential in terms of combining AI and chatbots. Chatbots can do a lot of things but they come with their own limitations. They cannot be expected to solve customer problems. While implementing bots, understand these constraints and use them in a way that does not add to the customer’s frustration. Allowing people to talk to a real person will also help you solve the problem faster.
A Harris Interactive survey clearly indicates that it is paramount that customers reach a live person within two minutes or less — and if not accomplished, it leads to seriously unhappy customers. The survey also established that 75 per cent of the customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent.
IoT will be larger than the internet you know: This will be the year to see some fantastic innovations in the space of IoT.
Telecommunication will be the key to power these innovations. It is hard to imagine what hundreds of billions of devices connected to each other can do. Factors like the LoRa (long-range wireless data telemetry) network are already accelerating the pace of growth of IoT.