By: Kapil Khandelwal
Nostradamus was wrong in predicting World War 3. It is World War Covid (C is the Third Alphabet). World War A, World War B and now World War C! What is the world fighting against? The spreaders of Covid versus the containment of Covid – or the World unifying against a Covid beast to fight it?
Over the last few weeks as news of the Coronavirus spread and its status as a pandemic in the world has made me think loudly on various issues. These issues are quite dear and close to me as an investor in healthcare and life sciences, artificial intelligence and customer transmigration. It makes me wonder what the world would be during and after this war once the outbreak is over. What would be the new normal and how would the world deal with the post-world war C reparations? I have only witnessed World War B from the movies and stories and what my grand dad spoke to me about real life situations. So I am relating this to World War C.
Current War-like Situation and where are we Heading?
As the news of the first deaths in India which starts our count in the global tally of the World War C victims, my discussions with the Health Ministry officials suggest that India is better off than even some of the western world though very near to the epicenter of the outbreak. Here are a few pointers of how the war-like actions taking place in the world:
First attacks and innocent denials;
Spread from the epicenter to other nations;
Stock piling of artillery (in this case medicines and material) and provisions and building supply lines;
Building the trenches and bunkers for protection and counter attack – quarantine living preparations;
Bans and restrictions – world economy bans and sanctions the free movement of its citizens and materials within and across its borders;
Peace accords with the enemies and all clear bugle and signals to resume a normal new way of life again;
Post World War C reparations – who pays for what damages and inter-nations accords to prevent future wars.
So what’s so Different in World War C this Time?
Information Communications and Technology (ICT) since the World War 2 and now have leapfrogged. Information or misinformation spreads around the world faster than its enemy the Covid can spread. I am informed that this time round ICT industry has even advanced to ensure that ‘Artificial Intelligence’ on its enemy the Covid is fairly wide spread on how to avoid and fight it. Telemedicine and other mediums are now available to the Covid war victims. On a lighter note, a leading porn site in the world has created special free content of porn for the Italians hiding in confinement and isolation to ensure that their basic procreation and biological needs are also met safely in the time of crisis! However the real issue is business continuity.
How will Customer Transmigration Help in Fighting the War on Business Continuity?
Last decade has seen an explosion of mobile and digital economy. It is the payback time to leverage this infrastructure to mobilize business continuity. As staff is asked to work from home in this phase of isolation, how can businesses operate with minimal customer service staff to ensure that service levels and customer satisfaction are not negatively impacted? Our analysis from the Customer Transmigration (CTM) platform indicates that the number of customer touch points with the brands and services have peaked and are on the increase by over 25% to 45% on a per-customer-per-month touch points across physical and digital mediums. This is where customer transmigration kicks in.
Customer transmigration works at three different dimensions.
Transmigration from physical to digital
As further quarantine conditions kick in, customer transmigration to assist in ease of life situations to work out the basic life requirements. With over 700 million smart phones with unlimited data plans, the connectivity is not an issue. It’s ensuring that these customers, about 45% of which are digital natives move into the digital fold. Our analysis on this customer cohort indicates that they use mobile and digital platforms around 5 times in a month to transact. A large majority of these are non-English, vernacular language customers. Ensuring migration in their native language is a big factor in transmigration.
Transmigration from voice to bots
Our analysis of the customer journey management suggests that over 75% of the interactions are in voice in India across the 5 times or more touch points a customer has in a month with their particular brands and services. Moreover, with the staffing challenges, a lot of voice-based interactions will move to digital. Current systems and chat and voice bots in India are not completed equipped to handle the volumes and context of the interactions with the consumers in their native language and are not trained for political and cultural correctness. This is the limiting factor to a large extent
Transmigration from brand aware to brand advocate
The costs borne by various consumer facing sectors in India for branding and customer services vary from 4.8% to 11.6% of cost of sales as per our analysis. Many new age economy companies pass these costs as cost of lifetime value of the customer under customer acquisition costs. However most of the investments in technology do not provide adequate return on investments either as the systems and process are broken or digital transformation initiatives in the past have not yielded the adequate outcomes. Metadata on the consumers are not leveraged in real-time analytics to transmigrate the consumers from a brand aware to converting them to a brand advocate at the point of interaction.
Enterprise Customer Transmigration Maturity
Our analysis from our investment in customer transmigration reveals that most of the enterprises have yet to move to the pinnacle of customer transmigrations on the three dimensions. Given that the head room is available to the enterprises, a clear vision and strategy for this initiative needs to be driven right from the top rather than as a cost reduction through operational initiatives for the cost of operations in the current state of Indian economy.
Post World War C Scenarios
I see two scenarios post the world comes to peace with World War C. It may be status quo and the current ways of business may ensue to build the economy and business back to normal. The alternative scenario is sustaining the current consumer transmigration with investments in sustaining the consumer behavior to a new transmigrated paradigm of doing and conducting customer journey management in the post world war scenario. This may mean completely envisioning the consumer interactions and behavior with the metadata available in real time basis to revert back the consumer behavior to the new status quo. The key benefits would obviously be reduced number of physical and voice interactions and lower costs of lifetime value of the customer in their journeys with the enterprises.
Hope this is an AHA moment for all of us in the peaceful world!
[The author is Director EquNev Capital Pvt Ltd, UnoLigo Solutions Pvt Ltd (India’s First Customer Transmigration Platform) and Managing Partner Toro Finserve LLP (India First Healthcare REIT Fund)]