As AI Technology Continues To Evolve, IT Is Expected To Drive Even Greater Value For Organizations

Swapnil is the global head of Evalueserve’s Analytics practice. He has more than a decade of experience leading end-to-end design and development of sophisticated analytics solutions across diverse industry segments including BFSI, retail and CPG, industrial goods, logistics and distribution, technology, and life sciences. He joined Evalueserve in 2015 and has grown the practice exponentially in terms of team size, revenue, and geographical presence.

In what ways can we expect CX to transform in 2023?
Businesses are expected to embrace new standards of customer experience to improve their bottom line and retain existing customers. In 2023, immersive CX will be the norm. Companies focusing on delivering great CX will be seen embracing the power of data. New trends indicate a shift from siloed experiences to more nuanced, seamless and immersive ones. Our 2023 CX Trends report, which we released recently indicates that 92 percent of Indian business leaders say optimal CX is one that’s immersive. Alongside that 61 percent of customers globally are excited about experiences that are natural, convenient and fluid. As customers expect businesses to care about their well-being and increase personalization, businesses will need to invest in AI that is more evolved and seamless than existing technologies. Businesses will have to turn to conversational experiences that empower customers and enable flexibility. As customers expect a deeper level of personalization’s, businesses will need to move away from demography-based personalization to a more behavior-oriented strategy. CX is also expected to bring different teams together, increase revenue and drive growth.

Metaverse customer experiences will have a lot of moving parts, especially given how speed and agility becomes a critical driver of CX

Investments that companies made to their CX programs to align with pandemic and post-pandemic behavior have driven positive ROI and laid strong foundations for achieving maturity in delivering memorable experiences. Business leaders are optimistic about their company's future and plan to invest more in areas that keep them competitive and drive maximum impact. CX drives better results, especially in uncertain economic times.

What customers expect from brands amidst the global economic downturn?
Customer expectations continue to rise. Our research shows that customers expect more from the brands they do business with and an 80 percent majority of them say their customer service standards have increased over the past one year. Customers want deeper personalization and for businesses to care about their well being. They want flexibility in interacting with brands in whatever platform they choose, without having to repeat themselves. More importantly, customers expect AI to make their life easier and it’s up to businesses to deliver on these expectations.

Existing CX programs are contributing to negative customer emotions, which are easily avoidable. Bad experiences in their interaction with brands often leave customers dissatisfied and unhappy. If existing CX programs are generating negative emotions in customers, it’s time to change that. In 2023, customers expect brands to cater to their well-being with a more nuanced approach to personalization. Businesses need to change the way they accurately capture and leverage consumer emotions to deliver the optimal experience.

Considering the global economic downturn, businesses will have to tweak their fundamental objectives in 2023. Is it possible to not compromise on CX?

Whether it’s an anticipated recession, supply chain disruptions due to geopolitical conflicts or inflation, businesses are always subject to demand and supply vagaries in the market. Challenges like these will perhaps always be present and the most successful businesses in times of adversity are nimble enough to adapt to change. Roughly three in four Indian businesses say CX will be a much more important priority in the next 12 months, to the extent that 79 percent plan to increase investments into CX technologies in the same time frame.

And all eyes are on investing in customer experience as it is a powerful way for businesses to manage costs, drive revenue and retain customers. It’s at times of economic uncertainty that businesses need to focus on retaining existing customers as getting new ones may seem like an uphill battle with skyrocketing inflation and change in customer spending patterns. And the best route to retention is generating loyalty. Increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent can boost profits by more than 25 percent over time. This is significant, especially in times of upheaval. Businesses need to focus on increasing customer lifetime value (LTV) as it is a great way to boost revenue while managing costs. It’s a cost-effective way to continue to please existing customers rather than acquiring new ones. And the key to achieving great LTV is delivering exceptional CX, with every interaction.

With several global brands such as Walmart dabbling in Metaverse, will it define the future of CX for most businesses?
In 2023, crucially, retail is expected to move into the metaverse. It will bridge the online shopping and brick and-mortar experiences. In the metaverse, retailers can show and advise on their products, and of course concierge deeper, more personalized experiences. On the other hand, for the financial sector, the metaverse could be used for negotiating loans. In this advanced digital economy, the metaverse offers an opportunity to create experiences that we don’t have yet. It’s only natural that customer relationships will also evolve in the metaverse.

Metaverse customer experiences will have a lot of moving parts, especially given how speed and agility become a critical driver of CX. For instance, in online games, businesses must ensure not to disrupt players’ experience. They cannot leave the online experience and go for support elsewhere. Getting in touch with businesses through email will be a long drawn process but messaging would be fast and instantaneous. Gamers are used to speedy resolution of queries and if the experiential bubble bursts, it can be a huge deal breaker in the metaverse.

If users have any questions or problems in their metaverse experiences, it is important that they are resolved as soon as possible. Waiting until a customer goes looking for assistance, especially if they have to leave the metaverse experience to get help, then businesses won’t be making the journey seamless. Businesses need to extend their reach to be where customers are. This would require AI that would be able to handle requests with speed and help customers at the moment they are run into problems.

How will AI be the new normal in delivering immersive CX experiences?
In 2022, we saw many businesses adopting AI to drive better CX. While adopting chatbots was a great choice, customers still feel that AI needs to handle more complex queries, communicate in a conversational way, personalize responses to questions and handle multiple queries at once. What customers want is AI that can handle requests seamlessly, in a conversational way, no matter which platform is in use. Businesses are yet to realize the full potential of AI and this can happen when companies move away from siloed experiences to data-centric ones. 91 percent of business leaders in India are interested in learning about how AI is advancing customer experiences and becoming more natural. Currently, only 35 percent of Indian businesses have invested in AI/bots and 45 percent plan to invest in it in the next 12 months.

AI will be critical in delivering immersive experiences, handling complex interactions and connecting customers to a help center. Immersive experiences ensure customers are flexible that allows them to pick up conversations where they left off on any platform of their choice. Immersive CX leverages context to customer conversations by knowing who the customer is and their relationship with the company. All this is possible with the power of AI. In 2023, businesses need AI that captures key information with every conversation, and passes on the information to the right people so they have the full context they need to create a seamless journey for customers.