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CX Trends 2021: Here’s how businesses are winning Customer Experience moments

5 minutes read

In the pandemic era and the subsequent lockdowns around the country, in-person customer experience seems like a far-fetched dream for most of us who have made our homes into our offices, our beds, or living rooms into our conference rooms, and vice versa.  

While brands across the globe are building processes for the new normal, where the virtual world continues to gain popularity, even as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, with a third wave expected to hit soon enough. 

The last 18 months since the pandemic struck have taught a crucial lesson to every business and marketeer by disrupting set notions and practices. The key to a thriving business in questionable times like these is to understand the importance of customer experience and travel up the graph from a good to a great one, in order to sustain oneself. Simultaneously, it’s important to workaround forecasts in a volatile setting for every business type to ensure preparedness.  

What began as a global healthcare crisis also led to a significant transition into a digital-friendly world. From work-from-home setups to e-commerce, getting food home delivered, and more, customers are more online than ever before, leading to a rise in digitally-savvy professionals driving and engaging in better CX.

If you are investing in CX, where do you begin?

According to research conducted by Gartner, companies that successfully implement customer experience projects begin by focusing on how they collect and analyze customer feedback.

Despite these turbulent times for people and businesses, customer expectations have seen an upward graph and so providing a top-notch customer experience is a challenge everyone is trying to meet in order to retain their loyal customer base. 

PwC, through their future of CX report, surveyed 15,000 consumers and found that 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions. 

Whether you use surveys, web forms, or Net Promoter Score (NPS) programs, read through customer comments, suggestions, and opinions to see what they expect from you. Then, invest in those projects to meet their expectations.

Read on for trends we are seeing and expect to see in 2021: 

CX Trend 1: Going digital for customer interaction in the pandemic era: 

The shift to digital that has been aided manifold amid the pandemic, has seen consumer behavior move on for all services including e-commerce, finance, healthcare, wellness, and more. Forrester has predicted that 2021 will see digital customer service interactions increase by 40%.

According to Gartner, the new normal makes it mandatory for the service industry especially to transition to a “digital-first” strategy, thereby enabling improved customer interactions via proactive engagements on messaging platforms. By the year 2025, 80% of customer service organizations are expected to abandon native mobile apps in favor of messaging platforms for a more seamless customer experience.

Even at the workplace, a digital transition means conferences and seminars move to Zoom conferences (and other related apps) and webinars. The year 2020 also made way for a paradigm shift in the Ed-Tech space when educational models have moved online and full-time courses too are being held on the web. 

All Images Courtesy: zendesk.co.uk/CX Trends report 

CX Trend 2: The rise and stay of contactless service in the new normal: 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact both customers and organizations, it has instead generated a shift to a contactless approach as the best alternative of providing a service without person-to-person contact. According to a survey by IDC, over 36% of manufacturers said that their service or product installation will now have a contactless approach. The survey also predicts that by 2021, 65% of organizations will have shifted to a digital-first approach through automated ‎operations and ‎contactless experiences. However, it is also imperative that technicians, as well as customers, are safe amid this transition which might also see an increased implementation of the latest technologies and capabilities including artificial intelligence and augmented reality, and mixed reality for optimized service. 

This prediction by IDC also aligns with Forrester’s 2021 prediction that says that consumers will continue to prefer digital interactions and customer service, to keep themselves safe.

CX Trend 3: Emotive technology and why there’s a noticeable rise:  

The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown also led to an all-time high of reported mental health problems, which were largely said to have been triggered by social media. It is thus a need-based search for a solution to overcome issues such as these which also benefit consumers and businesses. 

According to Harvard Business Review, “When companies connect with customers’ emotions, the payoff can be huge.” The ability to generate positive emotions in a customer and leaving a good lasting impression is called brand intimacy which helps brands drive conversions and customer loyalty. 

In the present day, companies are dealing with a lot more data amassed from their customers which helps them figure out what their customers are feeling through the use of facial recognition, movement data, health data like heart rate and blood pressure, social media behavior, and more. 

One of the ways that this immense power on a customer’s lifestyle choices can be used for a good cause like being able to tackle mental health struggles including anxiety and depression, emotional health crisis, and more. 

Microsoft now plans to embed Teams with a series of “wellness” tools to address these crisis situations that will help monitor emotional health, mental health and provide necessary tips and tricks. Other apps including Wysa, Headspace, Calm and more help with a chat to help you feel at ease, extend therapist support when needed, and also provide guided meditation sessions to help keep your mind calm. High-stress levels and anxiety are also known to reduce immunity levels, which in turn might increase vulnerability to other health issues, and open up the unfortunate possibilities for other lifestyle disorders including hypertension and diabetes. 

CX Trend 4: Empathy, a core element in CX: 

Empathy has emerged as a core organizational capability in the year 2020 and so empathetic customer support is now imperative for customer service in 2021. According to Forrester, organizations must recognize the needs of their customers both physically and emotionally, to provide better empathetic customer support and experience. This metric has skyrocketed as consumers around the world have been adjusting to the pandemic, lockdown, and the new normal. 

A recent report published by Gartner predicts that by 2025, customers will engage a freelance customer service expert to address 75% of their customer service needs. Steven Petruk, President, Global Outsourcing Division at CGS, shares, “Amid the challenges of the pandemic, customer care centers have all but done away with any metrics around call duration and are actively encouraging agents to spend more time on the phone with clients. While empathy has not been an operational performance metric in the past, it absolutely is the prime area of focus now and will continue to be. In an effort to measure empathy, many companies are adding empathy-specific questions to their post-call surveys.” 

With an ever-changing business landscape, more so amid the second wave of the pandemic and a probable third wave expected soon, companies globally have an opportunity to re-strategize and plan their roadmap as a short-term goal depending on what might work best for them in the present situation, with the flexibility to rehash their MO every few months or annually. 

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Enhancing digital patient experience with healthcare chatbots

5 minutes read

Chatbots are fast emerging at the forefront of user engagement across industries. In 2021, healthcare is undoubtedly being touted as one of the most important industries due to the noticeable surge in demand amid the pandemic and its subsequent waves. The Global Healthcare Chatbots Market is expected to exceed over US$ 314.63 Million by 2024 at a CAGR of 20.58%.

Chatbots are being seen as those with high potential to revolutionize healthcare. They act as the perfect support system to agents on the floor by providing the first-step resolution to the customer, in terms of understanding intent and need, boost efficiency, and also improve the accuracy of symptom detection and ailment identification, preventive care, feedback procedures, claim filing and processing and more.

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital tools in healthcare, most commonly chatbots, rose to the forefront of healthcare solutions. Providence St. Joseph Health, Mass General Brigham, Care Health Insurance (formerly Religare), and several other notable names built and rolled out artificial intelligence-based chatbots to help with diagnostics at the first stage before a human-human virtual contact, especially while differentiating between possible COVID-19 cases and other ailments. The CDC also hosts an AI-driven chatbot on its website to help screen for coronavirus infections. Similarly, the World Health Organization (WHO) partnered with a messaging app named Ratuken Viber, to develop an interactive chatbot for accurate information about COVID-19 in multiple languages. This allowed WHO to reach up to 1 billion people located anywhere in the world, at any time of the day, in their respective native languages.

For Care Health Insurance, Mantra Labs deployed their Conversational AI Chatbot with AR-based virtual support, called Hitee, trained to converse in multiple languages. This led to 10X interactions over the previous basic chatbot; 5X more conversions through Vanilla Web Experience; Drop-in Customer Queries over Voice Support by 20% among other benefits.

Artificial Intelligence’s role in the healthcare industry has been growing strength by strength over the years. According to the global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, AI spending in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries is expected to increase from $463 million in 2019 to more than $2 billion over the next 5 years, healthtechmagazine.net has reported. 

Speaking of key features available on a healthcare chatbot, Anonymity; Monitoring; Personalization; collecting Physical vitals (including oxygenation, heart rhythm, body temperature) via mobile sensors; monitoring patient behavior via facial recognition; Real-time interaction; and Scalability, feature top of the list. 

However, while covering the wide gamut of a healthcare bot’s capabilities, it is trained on the following factors to come in handy on a business or human-need basis. Read on: 

Remote, Virtual Consults 

Chatbots were seen surging exponentially in the year 2016, however, the year 2020 and onwards brought back the possibility of adding on to healthcare bot capabilities as people continued to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Chatbots work as the frontline customer support for Quick Symptom Assessment where the intent is understood and a patient’s queries are answered, including connection with an agent for follow-up service, Booking an Appointment with doctors, and more. 

Mental Health Therapy

Even though anxiety, depression, and other mental health-related disorders and their subsequent awareness have been the talk around the world, even before the pandemic hit, the pandemic year, once again could be attributed to increased use of bots to seek support or a conversation to work through their anxiety and more amid trying times. The popular apps, Woebot and Wysa, both gained popularity and recognition during the previous months as a go-to Wellness Advisor. 

An AI Wellness Advisor can also take the form of a chatbot that sends regular reminders on meal and water consumption timings, nutrition charts including requisite consultation with nutritionists, lifestyle advice, and more. 

Patient Health Monitoring via wearables 

Wearable technologies like wearable heart monitors, Bluetooth-enabled scales, glucose monitors, skin patches, shoes, belts, or maternity care trackers promise to redefine assessment of health behaviors in a non-invasive manner and helps acquire, transmit, process, and store patient data, thereby making it a breeze for clinicians to retrieve it as and when they need it.

Remote patient monitoring devices also enable patients to share updates on their vitals and their environment from the convenience and comfort of home, a feature that’s gained higher popularity amid the pandemic.

A healthcare chatbot for healthcare has the capability to check existing insurance coverage, help file claims and track the status of claims. 

What’s in store for the future of chatbots in Healthcare? 

The three main areas where healthcare chatbots can be particularly useful include timely health diagnostics, patient engagement outside medical facilities, and mental health care. 

According to Gartner, conversational AI will supersede cloud and mobile as the most important imperative for the next ten years. 

“For AI to succeed in healthcare over the long-term, consumer comfort and confidence should be front and center. Leveraging AI behind the scenes or in supporting roles could collectively ease us into understanding its value without risking alienation,” reads a May 2021 Forbes article titled, The Doctor Is In: Three Predictions For The Future Of AI In Healthcare. 

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