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Editor’s Question: What have you learned in business during a year of a global pandemic?

Editor’s Question: What have you learned in business during a year of a global pandemic?

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Sajid Azmi, CEO of Yegertek, explains what he has learned from the last year during a global pandemic.

During the pandemic, as a business with a digital-first approach, we witnessed the true value of digitisation. Over the past year, everyone has jumped on the Digital Transformation bandwagon, adopting cloud-based communication, collaboration and productivity tools. At Yegertek, we have experienced increased demand for CRM software and customer engagement technologies, from companies hoping to strengthen their customer-focused infrastructure and stay nimble. Most businesses are aware that the pandemic will have a lasting impact on consumer sentiment and practices, and that remote working is the new norm. So accelerated digitisation will continue.

The lessons of 2020 are not lost on the retail industry, which is leveraging technology to become more agile, proactive and responsive, in response to disruption. Retailers like Danube are reporting a 200% increase in online sales, and 400% rise in app downloads. Digitisation is helping businesses cater to increasing demand and enhance customer engagement. The increased integration of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail is delivering improved and personalised omnichannel customer experiences, streamlining delivery and empowering innovative loyalty programmes.

Besides the digitisation imperative, the pandemic redefined organisational priorities. Companies began to subscribe to an employee-first approach, in addition to customer-focused strategies. Partly, this was due to the pandemic’s impact on employee health and wellbeing, as well as productivity. Moving forward, more concrete efforts will need to be made, to facilitate transparent communications and create better work-life balance.

In recent years, a new generation of customers has been redefining the standards of service they expect from the businesses they patronise. The influence of this huge demographic is reshaping the retail landscape for those accustomed to legacy customer engagement as well. As a result, retail customers as a whole are putting the onus for better services, responsive omnichannel interactions and exceptional buyer journeys, on the retail industry.

Personalised and targeted offerings, with meaningful holistic benefits as a standard feature, have become the new definition of ‘value’ for customers. And this is where the latest customer engagement technologies come to the fore. Competitive retail businesses are now expected to be able to collect, collate and interpret data across all omnichannel touchpoints to gain a thorough understanding of their customers’ needs and preferences. Doing so effectively requires the adoption of appropriate CRM and customer engagement technologies as a default capability for the retail industry. With time, these heightened customer expectations will continue to rise, requiring even greater personalisation, derived from data-led insights. A new tech-enabled era in customer engagement has become the norm, and it is here to stay.

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