Governments throughout the world have implemented stay-at-home policies to reduce contact among people in hopes of limiting the spread of COVID-19. These unprecedented moves have disrupted normal business and uncovered weaknesses in business operations including the technology solutions that support them.
Despite its setbacks, this pandemic occurred during a time when there was already a growing trend toward virtual transactions. Many of us have been able to quickly embrace existing telework solutions and cloud services that have allowed us to adapt to extended work-from-home requirements.
Soon, we will start to return to “normal,” but the impacts of this emergency will endure. Some business functions will return to the prior state quickly, but others will continue to be challenged by the gradual easing of restrictions. Even after this crisis subsides, we will be forced to acknowledge the reality that another pandemic or similar disruption could happen again.
In the short term, we need to start planning for the challenges of serving our customers with quality while caring for employees with compassion. For the long term, we must invest in extending capabilities that support decision making and digital transactions. To meet this challenge, we will need to reimagine how we operate and embrace technology to extend our capabilities to perform digital transactions. Businesses can meet these technological challenges with six strategies to enable responsive customer service in times of change.
- Digital Transformation – Many organizations learned that they need digital options for serving customers, contact-less payment and delivery systems, as well as improved customer service capabilities. Digital transformation should be used to modernize technologies, improve customer experiences, and redefine business models. Leveraging technologies such as automation, mobility, and data analytics, organizations can recalibrate operational processes to increase the speed and accuracy of new virtual service channels.
- Application Modernization – The shortage of skillsets to support and modify legacy applications caused widespread problems in delivering financial aid to citizens. The same problems undoubtedly affected commercial organizations as they scrambled to implement digital options. For these reasons, or to gain new competitive advantages, many business applications will need to be upgraded and significantly enhanced. Applications must be modernized to enable new digital transformation strategies and further exploit cloud services—services which allow for easy adjustment to changing compute workloads while incorporating new features and capabilities.
- Data Analytics – Discovering how to leverage information for fact-based, data-driven decisions and business outcomes is becoming a fundamental requirement for digital transformation. Unleash the power of your data through monitoring, reporting, and decision-making with real-time data to respond to immediate business needs in a dynamic environment. Data analytics allows businesses to understand patterns and trends, perform root cause and predictive analysis, evaluate effectiveness, and identify anomalies to update processes and mitigate risks.
- Cloud Services – Empowering the remote workforce will continue to be a critical component of operations and business continuity plans. Cloud services help achieve these goals and enhance workforce productivity while working remotely. At the same time, cloud services enable businesses to manage extreme surges or drops in demand, manage risk, deploy instant innovation, and optimize computing costs. Organizations should continue to leverage the resources of cloud to deploy instant innovation through new cloud-native solutions. Cloud can also power their digital transformation and application modernization strategies.
- RPA/AI – Business should accelerate existing automation investments. Robotic process automation and artificial intelligence can be used to mitigate the impact of systems disruption, free up human resource capacity, and streamline workforce management. Through these technologies, companies can automate high-volume tasks, gain insights and assistance on tasks that cannot be completely automated, and allow their employees to focus on high-touch activities.
- Contact Center – Contact centers quickly became overwhelmed as customers began using digital channels when business closed or were otherwise unable to serve customers. Modern contact center solutions allow organizations to quickly adapt to new workforce needs by either allowing them to quickly add capacity or enable remote operations. Businesses should also continue to integrate the adoption of new digital channels and implement digital assistant technologies that aid self-service options or otherwise deflect calls away from contact center representatives.
Reevaluate your business plans today. The one you had at the beginning of the year probably did not account for the impact of a global pandemic. The forced embrace of virtual capabilities for working, learning, and transacting business are likely here to stay. Organizations will need flexible plans that allow them to adapt quickly by implementing new strategies to enable responsive customer service.
If you need help planning, developing or implementing these strategies, our professionals are here to support you every step of the way. From initial assessments and roadmaps, to implementation, we are committed to quality solutions and maintaining strong partnerships.
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