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Exploring the future of CX: Vonage’s Sunny Rao delves into the essential role of emerging CX trends

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Azunta Gaviola

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2 months ago

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With the current industry shifts in the customer experience landscape, it’s no surprise that integrated interactions with artificial intelligence are at the forefront of redefining how businesses communicate with and respond to customers.

However, while these trends signify emerging opportunities for businesses or enterprises, it’s also crucial to understand their purpose, significance, and influence in terms of fostering the growth of the customer engagement dynamics within which they operate. 

For UpTech Media’s first exclusive interview, we spoke with Sunny Rao, senior vice president of global sales API at Vonage, to learn more about the contemporary demands of customer experience in the Asia-Pacific region and the key importance of these emerging trends, which individuals are now actively engaging with through various channels.

Confronting the barriers of tech-driven customer experience

For Rao, the transition to tech-driven approaches in customer experience has been a challenging aspect for the Asia Pacific region due to its diverse backgrounds. This implies the region’s struggle in adapting CX trends, enabling the region to face both challenges and opportunities. 

In particular, he said, “APAC is characterised by diverse cultures, languages, and business practices. Adapting CX approaches to cater to this diversity can be challenging, requiring tailored strategies and localised content.”

He also stated that among these challenges consist of the inadequate internet connectivity in rural areas of the region, constraining the scope of these initiatives concerning customer experience.  

“Major cities in Asia Pacific boast advanced technology infrastructure, but rural areas may lack reliable internet connectivity and access to cloud-based services, limiting the reach of CX initiatives,” Rao explained.

“Brands themselves may not have a good grasp on customer expectations from these rural cohorts to tailor the most appropriate experiences,” he added.  

In terms of opportunities, Rao further emphasised the advantage of increasing digital adoption, serving as an opportunity for businesses to utilise in providing a streamlined customer experience. 

“The region is experiencing rapid digital transformation, with increasing internet penetration, smartphone adoption, social media, digital payments, and e-commerce activity. This presents an opportunity for businesses to leverage cloud communications to engage with customers across multiple digital channels to deliver seamless CX through mobile apps, messaging platforms, branded voice, and SMS,” he further explained. 

Additionally, Rao also underscored the importance of global leaders in achieving industry goals in cloud communications and customer experience. He notes, “With their expertise, they offer immense potential for companies to innovate and scale their CX initiatives. By leveraging cloud communications technologies effectively, businesses can enhance customer engagement, improve operational efficiency, and drive revenue growth.” 

“Moreover, success in Asia Pacific can serve as a blueprint for expanding into other markets globally, further solidifying the region’s importance in achieving industry goals,” Rao added. 

Reshaping the communication dynamics for enhanced CX

In advancing the dynamics of communication between businesses and customers, Rao pointed out three important aspects to consider, which include (1) personalised experiences; (2) communication channels; and (3) immediate assistance and resolutions to cater to the needs of the customers. 

According to him, the first revolves around nurturing personalised experiences for customers. Specifically, he explains, “Firstly, customers expect tailored experiences that cater to their individual preferences and needs. Advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence enable businesses to gather and analyse customer data effectively, allowing for personalised recommendations, communication, and product offerings.”

The second, on the other hand, relates to the adoption of communication channels. In this regard, Rao elaborated on how contemporary communication channels influence seamless interactions with customers.

“Secondly, with communication channels such as social media, chatbots, email, and mobile apps, customers expect seamless interactions across various touchpoints. Integration of these channels in the right context and in the flow of the user experience while maintaining consistent messaging and service quality across them is crucial for enhancing the customer experience.

Lastly, he also reminded the need to understand why customers increasingly expect immediate assistance and resolutions to their queries or issues.

“Customers increasingly expect support with immediate assistance and resolutions to their queries or issues. The increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI) in various customer interactions, including chatbots, voiced-based AI, and virtual assistants, enables businesses to provide real-time support, enhance responsiveness, and reduce customer wait times,” he said. 

About this, he mentioned that Zendesk’s findings indicate that around 41% of consumers say synthetic agents will change how they purchase from brands in the future, and this figure is increasing to 43% for voice-based AI. He further noted that their usage becomes second nature when these capabilities can already assist customers in their interactions contextually and proactively.

These advancements, according to Rao, drive and nurture customer experience growth within the tech landscape by enhancing efficiency. With automation and AI-driven solutions streamlining communication processes, he further emphasised that this would enable businesses to manage inquiries more efficiently and effectively.

“By meeting or exceeding customer expectations for communication and responsiveness, businesses can foster greater customer satisfaction, leading to increased loyalty, positive word-of-mouth, and repeat business,” Rao further explained.

Meeting the dynamic market requirements as the core of aligning with industry trends

When asked about the importance of aligning with the current industry needs, Rao outlined four important points, emphasising the pivotal role of meeting customers’ evolving demands. 

Amongst the points mentioned, he highlighted the significance of prioritising customers at the core of business operations.

“In today’s competitive landscape, customers expect personalised experiences, seamless communication channels, and immediate responsiveness. By adopting these changes, businesses can enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, ultimately driving long-term growth and success.”

Second, he further added the necessity for businesses to adopt contemporary tech strategies given the ongoing digital transformation across industries. 

“The ongoing digital transformation across industries underscores the need for businesses to embrace cloud communications, AI-driven technologies, and omnichannel strategies. These changes enable businesses to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and stay competitive in an increasingly fast-changing world. 

The third aspect, on the other hand, pertains to the adoption of flexible communications and solutions and its role in addressing the market’s needs. 

“By adopting flexible communication solutions, businesses can respond quickly to changing market conditions, customer demands, and competitive threats. This agility enables businesses to stay ahead of the curve, capitalise on emerging opportunities, serve a highly diverse set of customer cohorts cost-effectively, and mitigate risks effectively.”

Rao concluded these points by emphasising why businesses should remain ahead of the trends and changes in the current tech landscape. 

He stated, “Lastly, businesses must adopt and foster these changes in 2024 to stay competitive, meet evolving customer expectations, and drive sustainable growth in an increasingly dynamic and interconnected world.” 

Discover the current trends in business communication based on over 473 billion interactions. Download the free report here to stay ahead of the curve in messaging trends!
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