Written By Ravi Saraogi, Co-founder and President of Uniphore APAC
The future of work is here. Although uncertainties still lie ahead, one thing is clear: businesses need to strive to achieve sustainable and meaningful growth in the post-COVID era. No matter what industry they’re in, organizations have to innovate and transform from inside out with technology at the core, so humanity can thrive together in the new normal.
The business of experience has rapidly evolved over the last few years. In the past, it was simply a matter of customer experience, which offers brands a means to set themselves apart in a saturated market of similar offerings. The pandemic has changed the way we live and work, which has in turn also changed people’s expectations and demands. To adapt and respond to these changes, businesses must understand that the structure of almost everything we do––how and what people buy; how and where they work; how they interact with others––is more interconnected than before.
Tapping into the experience mindset with AI
To prioritize the delivery of exceptional experiences, there has to be a fundamental shift in perspectives and behaviors on what ‘experience’ means. Foregrounded by the global health crisis, the surge in contactless encounters and digital transactions is driving the need for businesses to innovate to stay ahead. Businesses need to look into smarter ways to serve their customers swiftly and safely without compromising their employees’ wellbeing.
As a start, organizations should look into adopting a new artificial intelligence (AI) architecture across critical areas of their business. This includes call centers, sales and marketing, operations, and the supply chain. According to the latest Conversations that Matter podcast, AI investment in these areas, particularly in call center automation, will continue to see an upward trend. Doing so will allow businesses to continually learn from their customers, employees, and everyone else along the consumer journey, creating a robust ecosystem for providing efficient and extraordinary experiences.
To nurture a true experience mindset, the investments must be underlined by a culture of empathy. In other words, organizations should strive to be a listening organization – one that is able to leverage all the qualitative and quantitative information from customers to inform actionable outcomes for business success. New methods and approaches can help businesses gain contextual, data-integrated insights into what their customers really want, picking up on signals through data to understand what people are saying and how they are behaving.
The seamless integration of AI (voice and video) with automation and machine learning will open businesses up to a new realm of possibilities. This yields a rich, unified way to understand and predict what customers are likely to do, and why they are behaving in certain ways based on their needs in different situations. Currently, these possibilities are benefitting the healthcare industry. For instance, using AI and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), healthcare professionals can better understand the day-to-day patterns of the patients they care for to provide better support, thereby encouraging a proactive rather than preventive management of a healthy lifestyle to give people more control.
The focus on driving the experience culture
When organizations enhance their innovation through the integration of new technology, they close the gap between their brand promise and the experiences they deliver to their customers. By changing not just what they say, but also what they do across the board, they create the foundation for a purposeful experience culture that fosters growth and innovation.
In a time when multiple agendas and distractions exist, a singular and distinct experience culture can be extremely powerful for brands, permeating the business ecosystem to bring people together.
For every person in every part of the business to be interconnected and collaborative, organizations have to enable authentic conversations on all levels. Customers today are savvier than ever and can sniff out inauthenticity in seconds. Therefore, to function as one cohesive, customer-obsessed unit, businesses need to revamp their outdated operating models, refocusing from just engaging customers at certain touch points to building engagement throughout the entire customer journey.
Airbnb’s steady success, for example, is the perfect manifestation of its commitment to its mission, which is ‘creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere’, as well as its unrelenting belief in honest, two-way communication both internally and externally.
Human-inspired, future-forward innovation
No matter how technologically advanced we become, there will always be a need for the human touch. Although customer demands will continue to evolve with time, driving innovation around ‘experience’ should not be a tactic that shows up only at specific moments or focused primarily on optimizing touch points. Rather, it is all about creating an authentic 360-degree customer journey anchored in human connections to truly bring your brand to life.