AI-powered chatbots are increasingly emerging as the tool of choice for brands looking to offer personalized, round-the-clock, self-service support to customers.

By Mr. Shivakumar Ganesan

In 2020, 50% of organizations had shifted to the cloud to simplify operations, streamline workflows, and achieve customer goals. Likewise, one-fourth of all Asia-Pacific businesses had invested in the cloud to conserve data and reduce network intrusions in their new digital workspaces. Since then, cloud adoption has only grown, with the global cloud computing market projected to reach USD 832.1 billion by 2025.

Against this backdrop, here’s looking at the top five cloud-based trends that will dominate the business communications landscape in 2022. 

1. Cloud-based engagement solutions will enable the hybrid workforce  

According to JLL’s Workers Preference Barometer for India, while 79% of employees want WFH, 75% want to work out of the office at least once a week. To accommodate the growing preference for hybrid work modules, companies are switching to cloud systems to allow their teams to securely and effectively work from different locations and devices. 

Why? Because a robust cloud system empowers enterprises to rapidly, conveniently, and optimally scale their operations at the point of need – which is a major characteristic of the hybrid system. Moreover, cloud computing platforms are 40 times more cost-effective than legacy IT systems. Therefore, the coming year will see cloud technology enabling smooth and seamless coordination between customer support, sales, and relationship management teams as they service a large customer base both remotely and from the office. 

2. Automating and personalizing customer conversations to accelerate growth

Today, all businesses are vying for the customer’s attention in a hyper-competitive marketplace. To stand out without alienating the customer, new-age brands must adopt a strategic approach to engage the customers over the right channel, with the right message, at the right time. Market research has found that 64% of modern customers expect personalized, contextualized engagements while 67% prefer self-service over speaking to company representatives. 

AI-powered chatbots are increasingly emerging as the tool of choice for brands looking to offer personalized, round-the-clock, self-service support to customers. Equipped with machine learning and data analytics capabilities, AI-powered chatbots can look into customers’ purchase histories, analyse customer sentiments, and store unique clusters of information on cloud-based services. These unique insights allow brands to deliver swift, timely, and consistent customer satisfaction. These benefits will lead more businesses to integrate chatbots into their engagement strategy this year.

3. 2022 will be the year of centralized engagement

A 2020 report revealed that 78% of customers expected to have consistent interactions with brands, with over half (59%) admitting to experiencing disconnected communication as if they are engaging with different departments and not one company. This is worrying from a business standpoint as unsatisfactory experiences can lead to low customer loyalty, reduced sales, and unfavourable brand reputation.

In 2022, forward-minded brands will implement centralized solutions to streamline their communications and deliver unified customer experiences. Businesses will leverage CDPs (Customer Data Platforms), cloud-based CRM telephony, helpdesk telephony, and custom API telephony integrations to extract data from traditional information silos across storage environments and use it to streamline all customer interactions. 

4. More enterprises will use identity solutions to communicate transparently 

One in every three Indian customers received a sales-related spam call this year, taking the country to the fourth most affected in fraud and spam calls. As a result, customers have either minimized or completely stopped picking up calls from companies that lack verified caller IDs. 

To avoid such instances, businesses will use smart caller IDs and IP messaging solutions for calls and messages. Equipped to help new customers identify the brand logo, name, and the purpose of the call, these services make for a must-have for any company looking to build better customer relationships based on trust in the coming year.

5. More organizations will adopt new-age solutions for swifter engagements

With the third wave anticipated to hit its peak next month, the brand-customer engagement will continue to take place primarily on digital platforms. However, businesses will also need to offset the digital fatigue that has been building over the past two years by delivering more interactive, immersive, and streamlined experiences to their customers. This need will drive the adoption of new-age communication solutions such as video chat, RCS messaging, and app-to-app calling, as brands enable real-time interactions and swifter query resolution with minimal cost overheads.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, businesses worldwide have switched to digital platforms, revamped their modules to accommodate new work settings, and tapped into new channels to improve customer interactions. In 2022, the key will be to streamline these varied tasks through cloud-based solutions and make both in-house and online engagements more consistent, transparent, and sustainable.

Co-Founder and CEO, Exotel

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