Sean Narayanan, Chief Executive Officer at Apexon explains how immersive customer experience is becoming a key differentiator for brands.
As consumer habits and preferences keep changing, it’s clear that the experience brands offer is what sets them apart. Studies have proved that eight out of 10 customers and businesses agreed that the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services. More brands are now leveraging digital technology to integrate personalized experiences across touch-points for greater customer appeal. A global report finds that around 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments when it comes to digital experience. Providing a seamless customer experience has become a key focus for industries such as BFSI, Healthcare and Government as it not only helps improve end user satisfaction, but also reduces time dependencies on employees.
In a recent interaction with CXOToday, Sean Narayanan, Chief Executive Officer at Apexon (previously Technosoft Corp) explains how immersive experiences are becoming a key differentiator for brands that want to stand out from the competition and strengthen customer loyalty.
How effectively can brands create immersive customer experiences? Which technologies according to you are driving CX efforts?
Customer Interactions today are in many cases, digital-first and it is imperative to provide immersive experiences to create a positive emotional connection to the brand. In fact, one can argue that brands don’t create customer experience, but it’s the customer experience that builds the brand. An immersive experience can happen via a web or mobile app, through a natural language interface like a speech bot, or through video or image and text analytics to understand customer needs better. Organizations that use these methods will enable multi-sensory customer experiences that will drive customer loyalty and advocacy, and lead to competitive differentiation. With the help of solutions that cater to analytics, insights, and visualization, we can enhance human experiences and build disruptive solutions.
We have seen many brands adopt a Cloud-native and mobile-first approach when designing systems that drive customer interactions. These systems effectively use the insights created from exabytes of data from customer interactions across different channels and touch-points, to transform customer relationships. Brands can now drive engagement by personalizing customer messaging and loyalty programs, smart recommendations based on customer behavior, and live chat.Advances in data science and Machine Learning enable new ways for automation, driving a better experience for both the business and the customer. Apexon is working towards embedding the idea of ‘human-first digital’ among companies. The idea behind this concept is to focus on people first and develop user-friendly solutions which benefit both the business and the customer.
What is the importance of a seamless digital experience especially in the post-Covid era?
The pandemic has accelerated adoption of emerging technologies, and fundamentally reshaped how brands interact with customers. Customer experiences may be entirely digital, or omni-channel. It is important to understand changing customer behaviors and each digital interaction with a customer is an opportunity to create a more immersive experience. Customers now can demand a more personalized, unified, and connected experience in their customer journeys. For example, online and mobile banking can make the relationship between a bank and its customer seamless, with the customer choosing the channel of delivery, whether through a physical branch, contact center, or through a digital interface.
They will also be connected through regular updates and notifications via the mobile app. In the case of healthcare providers, hospitals, emergency medical services firms etc., the shift from traditional or manual processes to digital solutions is having a fundamental impact on patient care helped easing the process of patient data retrieval, improved revenue cycle time, and higher operational efficiencies. By providing a seamless digital experience to both patients and physicians, they can easily access appointments, medical records, manage medication and medical adherence reminders, create virtual medical appointments, and provide all day support lines.
The pandemic has forced businesses to focus on delivering a seamless digital experience, irrespective of the industry sector or the size of the business. These changes are here to stay and can be further improved upon in the coming years by using extended reality experiences like augmented or virtual reality.
In which sectors do you see digital experience becoming a key priority? Can you give 1-2 recent examples?
While digital experience needs to be a priority in all businesses, we do see great benefits from digital customer experiences in Banking & Finance, Healthcare, and e-commerce in general. Banking now is highly personalized due to analytics, and this personalization can now be delivered at scale. Services are easily accessible (mobile apps), customer support is better (live assistance through chatbots and conversational AI), and customer interaction is more frequent through notifications and advisory services. Over the last year alone, one of the most common requests we have received is to create a mobile approach. With remote working scenarios, insurance firms and investment banks sought mobile enablement for their services.
Healthcare interactions, similarly, are also highly personalized. Patients can now experience reduced wait times, easier insurance verification, higher transparency, and higher data security of their patient records, all thanks to digital technology. The pandemic has also forced providers to redesign their care-delivery model, with virtual appointments, and enabled cost reduction, improved patient outcomes, and satisfaction.
Has rebranding to Apexon helped the company with better brand visibility and client acquisition?
We went through a reboot and a successful rebranding in 2021, as part of our strategy to hyper focus on partnering with our clients and help them navigate the constantly changing technology landscape. When we re-branded, we were able to convey our expertise and capabilities in digital experience, analytics and AI and cloud delivery. Through the rebranding exercise, we have also sharpened our employee focus to have a design-thinking and consulting mindset, to enable them to better solve customer problems and provide creative solutions. In the past year, we came across companies with specific business problems that required tailored digital solutions. In fact, 90% of Apexon’s growth can be attributed to when our client has approached us with a problem that cannot be resolved by readily available solutions. It requires tailoring a solution to meet needs and we don’t necessarily have a ‘canned’ solution. However, our approach to solve the problem plays a significant role in acquiring and retaining clients. For example, Apexon experience and analytics studios bring in technical expertise for all the customer needs, from various professional backgrounds. And this plays a significant role when a client approaches a problem. This problem-solving mechanism has helped both the business and customers to a great extent.
Apexon has grown at about 18% over the last year. What is driving its growth?
Our strong working relationships with our clients and our approach to solving customer problems helped in accelerating our growth. Recently, we increased our employee count by 25% and we now have over 5000 employees, of which 4000 are living and working in India. They contribute significantly to our revenue growth and towards our target to become a $500 Mn company by 2025.
How do you differentiate yourself from other digital companies in today’s time?
Unlike other digital companies, we focus on the human-first approach. We do not provide digital experience just for the sake of it. This means applying intelligent and experiential solutions to empower people. By partnering with us and using our capabilities in experience, analytics, AI, and cloud, our clients can propel growth and better navigate the constantly changing technology landscape. At Apexon, we have a combination of technology and consultant experts. Our team of designers, architects, analysts, data experience professionals, domain professionals, etc. make up small teams of 7-9 people who work closely with our customers to help them reach their digital goals, through our expertise in enabling digital experience through cloud and analytics. Today, we need talent that, while understanding the technology, is also equipped to diagnose, assess, and recommend solutions to effectively resolveour customers’ problems.
What is the company’s future roadmap in the next one year?
We aim to continue being an innovation-led partner for our customers by providing them great digital experiences. In order to provide innovative solutions and digital experiences, we will continue to seek talent who understand the technology and its business applications. With the help of training sessions, we will inculcate creative problem solving and a consulting frame of mind in all our new hires. We will also accelerate our organic growth, as well as expand into new verticals and geographies. We will also ensure to be a great place to work with the best talent to serve our customers with our delivery excellence. In 2022, we want to continue our transformation journey to becoming an innovation-led partner for our customers. With the help of Digital Experience, Analytics, and Cloud solutions, we will accelerate our growth, while also expanding to adjacent verticals, technologies, and geographies.