Sunday, 15 October 2017

Digital in the Age of Customer !!

Today’s customers are like a King. They are in the driver’s seat, with the power of the internet and social media tools creating tons of information. With the strong influence of smartphones, all the information is at their fingertips.

We are living in interesting times of Industry 4.0. Consumers are now on the cusp of a hyper-personalized era with fundamental changes in terms of choice, consumption, ownership and overall experience of products and services.

This is called “Age of the Customer”.

Digital technologies and customer focus are going hand-in-hand.  New channels, new devices, new service providers have changed our lives.

Look around and you’ll see that digital transformation is so omnipresent that it has touched nearly every industry.

Gone are the days of the 90s, when we used to rewind tapes before returning them to Blockbuster, as they have been replaced by Netflix, iPod, Spotify and their online streaming platform.

As Steve Jobs once said – You have got to start with Customer experience and work backward to the technology. He created a product like iPhone that evoked the needs & wants of the target market. Blackberry was the leader then with QWERTY keyboard. Nobody knew we will need a touchscreen phone until he made us realize what we are deprived of.

Every business began before the Internet, now faces the same challenge, how to transform to compete in a digital economy?

Creating customer value and building long-term relationships are even more challenging in a digital world as customers are well-informed, expect more, trust their friends, have millions of choices and more important have a voice which can be heard by mass.

Your understanding of your customers' context will make, or break, your ability to succeed at a customer's moment of need. Thankfully, your customers now create and leave behind digital footprints through their activity across all their touchpoints, such as websites, mobile apps, store visits, and phone calls.

All the successful digital firms like Nestle, Starbucks, Walmart, Coca-Cola, and Walgreens use this data to respond, based on context and develop deeper insights about their customers by applying analytics.

Here are top 4 ways to businesses are improving the customer experience:

1.  Hyper-personalization – make them feel unique, focus on each individual journey
2.  Seize the moment of truth – act in real time to impact each and every interaction with customer
3.  Empower employees – get your employees in the game so they can go extra mile to drive customer behavior
4.  Continuous improvement – get all the departments to pass the customer information while interacting with customer

Amazon, Nike, Zappos, Apple, Starbucks and Walt Disney are the top brands, based on the customer experience they are providing in this age of the customer.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

How Robotic Process Automation helping Digital Age

Digital has brought in so many technological advances to this age and one of them is Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

A simple definition of RPA is, automation of business processes across the enterprise using software robots. Any repetitive task which requires some decision making is an ideal candidate for RPA. Automation has become an integral part of Digital Transformation. Implementing these software robots to perform routine business processes and eliminate inefficiencies is the key for business leaders.

Today’s organizations often need to execute millions of repetitive and time-intensive business processes each day. Using RPA they can automate administrative functions such as customer address changes, registrations and other high-volume tasks and transactions. This helps avoids human errors & also allows employees to spend more time & focus on customer-related functions for better customer experience.

RPA is well suited for processes that are clearly defined, repeatable and rules-based. Any company that uses workforce on a large scale for general knowledge process work, where people are performing high-volume, high transactional process functions, will boost their capabilities and save money and time with RPA software.

Process automation can expedite back-office tasks in finance, procurement, supply chain management, accounting, customer service and human resources, including data entry, purchase order issuing, a creation of online access credentials.

By adding the cognitive computing power of Natural language processing, speech recognition, and machine learning, businesses can achieve high-end tasks which require human interventions.

Automation of front-end operations typically involves chatbots or conversational agents. RPA can provide answers to employees or customers in natural language rather than in software code. This can help to conserve resources for large call centers and for customer interaction centers.

As RPA brings more technologically-advanced solutions to businesses around the world, they bring a multitude of benefits as below.

·       Increased Speed: routine tasks are carried out swiftly by RPA without any intervention, thereby faster time to resolution
·       Reduced labor costs due to software robots than humans
·       Enhanced employee experience: since repetitive tasks as taken care by RPA, employees can spend quality time for strategic work and enjoy their work life
·       Higher quality: better consistency & accuracy due to minimized variations and better customer service
·       Enhanced insights: by automating the data collected and applying Big Data analytics for improved efficiency
·       Scalability: robotic workforce can be scaled to any level required

BPO industry is the most benefited sector due to RPA. Insurance, Banking industries use RPA for KYC, claims processing, policy admin, statement reconciliation, credit card application processing etc.

Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, UiPath & Verint are some of the few top vendors in the market today.


Be ready for RPA storm coming in near future with the addition of artificial intelligence capabilities. 

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Digital Transformation in Restaurants and Food industry

Digital disruption is omnipresent, get on board or get thrown off the track.

Digital is no longer a purview of only Banking, Insurance, Healthcare or Retail. The Restaurant industry is having pressure from multiple directions. 

Today’s consumer expects fresh food, whether it is in season or not, with an exotic dining experience.

Successful restaurants recognize that the easy path to their customers' stomachs begins in their minds. They need to grab customer's attention and entice them with a memorable experience in order to trigger repeat visits.

Here are some of the applications of Digital disruption in the restaurants & food service industry:
·       Digital Signage to deliver eye-catching graphics to engage customers the moment they walk through the door
·       Online reservations using mobile app & flexibility of customization of menu as per customer taste
·       Chatbots: Restaurants are using virtual assistants to respond to customer inquiries and to process and customize customer orders. Taco Bell, Pizza hut have adopted chatbots to automate ordering process from a social media platform.
·       Robots – Restaurants are using AI-driven robots to increase capacity and speed of food preparation and delivery.
·       Recommendation engines – Developers are designing applications which use AI to help consumers choose meals & suggest foods based on their eating preferences.
·       Wi-Fi enabled dining spaces for truly engaging customer experience
·       Kiosks – Restaurants are integrating AI-driven self-service Kiosks to reduce customer waiting time and enhance the customer ordering experience.
·       Pay by phone and flexible paying options
·       Loyalty programs based on frequent visit
·       Digital supply chains to accurate demand forecasting, inventory optimization, and cost reduction.

Restaurants generate vast quantities of data through software that controls everything from scheduling food delivery and shift staffing to taking reservations to managing vendors and inventory to paying bills

Today almost every consumer is making dining decision on their smartphone.  They have tried new menu item based on the mobile ad.  Mobile payments have become the norm now in this industry. Customers would like to order quick meals via mobile and want to use mobile payments.

McDonald’s was the first store to accept Apple Pay.

Starbucks is a leader in digital transformation. Using more than 50mm Facebook fans & over 15mm Instagram followers at their disposal they mastered the social media engagement. First, they created an app to pay for coffee and food in their restaurants. Then they added the loyalty program, starting to craft hyper-personalized offers and experiences for their 24-hour connected customers. The company also developed new digital services to be enjoyed in their physical stores, achieving a highly praised omnichannel approach.

Pizza Hut has started an order and payment-enabled pepper robot. Customers can now have a personalized ordering, reduce wait time for carryout, and have a fun with the frictionless user experience.

TGI Fridays, Wendy’s and other big names have all adopted digital technology to lure their customers.

OpenTable, GrubHub, and Zomato are some of the latest apps showcasing nearby restaurants with high-quality pics, presenting a menu with exotic pictures, price, ratings etc. you can also get offers, deals instantly.

The digital technology available to restaurants has streamlined the lives of restaurant owners much like smartphones have bettered our daily lives.

Digital has entered the restaurants and food industry through the front door and brings many exciting trends.

As consumers expect Apple to come up with a new iPhone every year that makes the earlier model obsolete, similarly they want fresh ways of serving food with fantastic dining experience which is made possible by Digital disruption.

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