February 16, 2021

Industries across the board – including retail, finance, manufacturing, and healthcare – are continuing to feel the ripple effects of COVID-19. The pandemic has fast-tracked digital engagement for industries as demands continue to be challenged as the majority of the world transitions to a new virtual reality.

As organizations release new business models and updated platforms, customer experiences are subsequently being enhanced by various elements, like machine learning and automation. Meanwhile, other businesses are diving deep into hyper-personalized experiences with the ongoing increase of internet of things (IoT) devices.

Virtual engagement channels have fully embraced digitalization to meet high demands while still delivering unmatched customer experiences. With new technologies continually being developed, the digital transformation of customer experiences we’ve seen throughout the pandemic is likely only the start of the changes to come.

But how will enterprises adapt in real time? The answer exists in the cloud.

Meeting high demands and surpassing challenges

As lockdowns took place all around the world, companies needed to shift their priorities in order to maintain excellent customer service as individuals found themselves relying on digital services more than ever before. Some organizations solely focused on ways to increase customized interactions, while others worked diligently to meet its promise of faster delivery times. No matter the reasoning, brands took an honest look at their infrastructure and made appropriate changes.

Digital-first industries streamlined their back-end operations and focused on creating meaningful interactions with their customers. For example, the retail industry and businesses – big and small – will face a number of unique challenges this holiday season. With notable shopping-centered holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales being expanded from days to weeks, increased e-commerce capabilities and faster delivery times will play a critical role for online shoppers and could be the defining reason behind which company a customer goes with.

Establishing a cloud-based infrastructure will allow these companies to scale alongside this and other demands at a moment’s notice. Through cloud-based sales and service efforts, customer service representatives will have full visibility into customer portfolios for each interaction, in addition to a suite of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven tools that remove many of the mundane manual tasks that take up unnecessary time. Supply chain leaders will be able to accurately forecast and plan against shifts in demand throughout the season with that same visibility. Integrated omnichannel commerce will allow for seamless, secure transactions no matter what. All of this is enabled by the cloud.

The future of customer experiences

The advancement of technology pre-pandemic had already made an impressive impact on how business and organizations interact with their customers. More companies were already moving toward integrating a hybrid chatbot-human advisor service, sending out robots to make local deliveries and finding new ways to leverage user behavior data. These capabilities will continue to prove its worth as industries begin to depend on virtual experiences even further.

These changes will not only affect customers, but also the organization’s employees. With the increased adoption of technology, companies will subsequently implement employee experience platforms to streamline staff training and make effective use of resources – all while simultaneously closing potential skills gaps.

Cloud-based workforce management solutions will provide team leaders with the tools needed to understand the pain points of their teams, address these concerns head-on, accurately staff against forecasting and demand and more. Furthermore, this cloud-based integration allows for workforce management to be seamlessly integrated into the other cloud-based platforms that the teams leverage. For service agents, those that are leveraging a cloud customer relationship management (CRM) platform will be able to have streamlined workforce management benefits that are tailored to the individual needs and activity of the service agent – based on data from the CRM.

While some companies are slightly more resistant to embracing new technology, those that choose to adopt cloud-centric strategies will have the opportunity to create even better experiences for customers during this unique time. As organizations and businesses continue to be affected by the pandemic, those changes put in place will only continue to grow and expand into other aspects of customer experiences.

Gopinathan Krishnaswami is the Global Head of the software segment in the HiTech Business Unit at Tata Consultancy Services. He oversees sales and delivery, builds global strategic infrastructure partnerships and go-to-market strategies, and drives joint offerings and business to customers in the software segment. Gopi has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, spanning business and IT strategy, IT and infrastructure services, and customer and partner relationship management. Besides, he brings extensive experience in strategic planning, business development, alliance management, team building and leadership, communication, innovation, and delivery excellence. Gopi lives in the Bay Area, California and has an engineering degree from the University of Madras, Chennai, India.

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