A webinar on ‘Driving Digital Transformation and Experiences in The COVID-19 scenario’ - powered by LiveMint and Zendesk threw some useful insights on the need for embracing digital transformation for surviving the changing consumer preferences.
In March 2020, when the world found itself in the middle of a pandemic, humankind had an inkling that lives would change. However, as months passed by and the spread of the virus showed no signs of abating, it became clear that the ‘new normal’ was here to stay.
While the full-extent of the economic impact will continue unfolding in the near future, it is clear that digital technologies have emerged as the beacon light for businesses and will play a catalyst in their recovery from the impacts of this unprecedented crisis. Not only are digital tools going to ensure that businesses continue to provide services with minimal disruption but they will also play a crucial role in maintaining employee productivity and impact customer experiences.
A webinar on Driving Digital Transformation and Experiences in The COVID-19 scenario - powered by LiveMint and Zendesk threw some useful insights on the need for embracing digital transformation for surviving the changing consumer preferences. The webinar was moderated by Abhijit Ahaskar, Assistant Editor, Technology, Mint.
Srikanth Iyer, Co-founder and CEO of HomeLane advocates the usage of technology that aligns with the shift in consumer behavior and implementing delivery models that mitigates the risk of infections for customers. He says, “Interior decoration projects are big ticket purchases for consumers. They want to look and feel the things which they will be buying for their homes because it’s a once in a lifetime thing. We have had a platform called Spacecraft where clients can get virtual designing services with a designer. The platform makes a soft copy of the floor plan and creates an instantaneous 3D view for clients. They can also see the change in prices as per the changes they make in the design. All this ensures transparency sp that clients know how their homes will look and what they are paying for. Although the platform has been there for three years, only 6% of our customers would avail virtual services. Now that number has jumped to 86%."
Even though the government has lifted the lockdown restrictions and economic activities have been resuscitated, the skyrocketing caseload in India will continue to make consumers anxious of stepping out of their homes in the coming months. Consequently, customers will want to be served at their doorstep and the onus will be on businesses to find out innovative ways to interact with customers and to stay abreast of their needs.
Ganjendra Jangid, Co-founder and CMO of Cars24 narrates how the start-up has been keeping up with the demands of customers amidst these choppy waters. He says, “The process of the customers discovering cars was happening online even in the pre-COVID era and after that all the action would happen at the dealership points which has stopped. Now customers want the dealership process at their doorsteps and virtually. Our representatives are going to the homes of sellers for inspection and taking cars to the buyers. We have also stopped the process of physical collection of documents. Customers can either send it to us on WhatsApp or upload it on the app. Another aspect where we tapped into the power of technology was to help our dealers and partners to tackle the problem of excess inventory and liquidity crunch. We created a marketplace on our existing platform for our dealers to buy and sell cars amongst themselves."
Although the digital wave will be a determinant in whether businesses are able to flourish in the coming months, blindly embracing random technological tools can be counterproductive. K T Prasad, MD & RVP, India and SAARC, Zendesk says, “COVID-19 has undoubtedly accelerated the digital transformation journey for many businesses across the board. Customers are also increasingly shifting to personal messaging platforms like WhatsApp to engage with businesses, according to our Benchmark Snapshot data collected from over 23,000 of our customers worldwide. As a result, businesses that have taken an omnichannel approach to their customer experience have been able to adapt quicker during this period. Ultimately, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of having good CX, which in turn builds brand loyalty in the long run. After all, happy customers become great advocates for a brand."
Customer and employee experience are two sides of the same coin and by embracing the right technology businesses can rapidly adapt themselves to the evolving consumer behavior and working methods. Pulkit Jain, Co-founder & Product Head of Vedantu narrates, “The anxiety of students has heightened because of shifting exam dates and the lockdown. We provide a service that is human-driven. The pandemic forced us to revamp our products, systems, processes to continue ensuring quality while eliminating human touch points. That was very stressful for the team. We conducted town hall every fortnight to keep their morale boosted. We also devised a way to ensure that there were no meetings held for a few hours every day during which employees could take a break."
Besides technology, another important resource that businesses will have to stock up on is empathy. Lives of customers and employees alike have been turned upside down and until the light at the end of the tunnel becomes visible, businesses will have to help both groups of people in rebuilding their lives.
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