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Digital Transformation: A look at how the customer journey is set to evolve

Amidst the tempest of business disruption, digital transformation has become a necessary imperative for business continuity and sustainability. The very ebb and flow of how organizations approach customer interactions has changed drastically, today. Making sense of the changing consumer behaviour patterns across geographies and delivering hyper-personalized experiences has stirred up the status quo for digital engagement.

To build a dynamic and sustainable enterprise, organizations must figure out key elements of the customer journey jigsaw puzzle. Garnering insights into the underlying mechanisms of consistent and fulfilling customer experiences across platforms will be the key to sustainable success in the new normal. “The pandemic has really shifted the customer expectation paradigm. From PwC India’s perspective, many of these changes are expected to remain a part of the new normal. The shifting consumer behaviour patterns as well as how organizations interact with consumers shall remain, even post-pandemic. It comes as no surprise that several changes in the approach towards business are necessary.  A focus on constant innovation and value-engineering has also become a business necessity. The emphasis for organizations today is to be more nimble, agile, and customer-centric,” asserts Somick Goswami, Partner, PwC India Consulting, speaking at The Economic Times Live Webinar Series on Building a dynamic and sustainable digital enterprise: Enabling the digital customer experience journey, powered by Tata Communications.

The nature of the technological play is shaping the changing consumer paradigms. Consequently, business models too have undergone a drastic shift in the new normal in order to cater to the changing business dynamics. Rajnish Kumar, Head Digital and Direct to Consumer, ITC Limited, observes, “The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for the changes in consumer behaviour that we see today. Not only have the market dynamics changed but also business models. It is a cause and effect relationship where consumers are forced to take the digital route for their purchases. It’s not only the approach towards commerce that is changing but also the product categories being purchased. “

Understanding the digital delivery aspects and modes of fulfilment can aid organizations in pivoting their digital transformation initiatives better.  Digital delivery refers to information that is sent between electronic devices such as mobile phones, PCs, iPads, and other devices. Essentially, digital delivery enables information to be exchanged back and forth between multiple employees via various devices. “IT is usually strategized with the technology and the digital delivery aspects. The ROI is left to the business team.  Initially, projections pertaining to the volumes that companies are looking forward to in the digital ecosystem are made by specific departments that look after the digital aspects. This is followed with a business campaign and a blueprint to achieve specific business goals by these departments. At the end of day, the ownership is shared between various departments. However, on the technological front, the performance of the application, customer segmentation, and customer acquisition aspects are emphasized upon,” says  Amit Saxena, Deputy Chief Technology Officer Digital Banking, State Bank of India, Global I.T. Centre.

Undoubtedly, business fundamentals too, have changed in many ways. Organizations have been forced to adapt to these sweeping changes across the board with novel digital transformation initiatives.  Being pushed out of their comfort zones is something that organizations today have embraced. Manish Gaur, Head IT, Patanjali, observes, “The pandemic has led to a shift in the perceptions of the management, employees, and even the various stakeholders in the organization. After discussions with retailers and suppliers, we realized that we were not able to meet the customer demand for various products in specific zones. Therefore, we came up with an app that allowed customers in these zones to place orders. The changing geographical demand has led to a shift in supply chain protocols across organizations.  A persistent focus of supply chain management today, for most organizations, has been to reduce lead times and ensure the best possible customer experience.”

Amidst the accelerated transformation imperative, digital assets too, are evolving.  This has sparked a whole new dimension of possibilities in the online space.  “Bajaj Housing Financing has been focused on increasing the digital outreach to its customer and staff. Today, customers can not only check their eligibility but also get a sanction letter online. Sales staff can also file a case online using the mobile app.  The focus, at present, is on digital convenience. Bajaj Housing Finance uses advanced technologies like OCR and AI/ML among others to help significantly reduce the time required for loan disbursals and approvals,” says Anurag Jain, Chief – Information Technology (CIO & CTO), Bajaj Housing Finance.

The disruption that we see today across organizations is also a unique opportunity. Organizations are required to flip the script while addressing the business disruption. Peter Quinlan, Vice President, UCC Product Management, Tata Communications, says, “Experimentation and trial and business case building were compressed into 12 months of execution because it was necessary.  Many clients, who discovered new digital business models, have come to appreciate that the digital experience itself becomes the brand. Despite the present challenges, there are huge opportunities for innovation, for trying new business models and stitching together different elements of customer experience in this new digital world. These changes can possibly yield a better customer experience than what was possible in the pre-pandemic world.”

It is expected that many of these trends shall remain and define the near future. The nature of the present future shocks has acted as a catalyst for delivering an optimal digital customer experience.

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