The past few years have presented a number of challenges for businesses and consumers in the way they communicate. With face-to-face interactions off the table, video conferencing software and other digital channels have quickly become the norm. At the same time, the way consumers interact with businesses has also changed and organizations have turned to live chat software and direct messaging to better meet the needs of their customers.
Now that many employees have started returning to the office on certain days and working from home on others as part of their organization’s hybrid work initiatives, the software and communication methods they have adopted during the pandemic s are always useful. In fact, many continue to rely on these new technologies and experiences throughout their working day.
To learn more about how the pandemic has improved the global communications landscape, TechRadar Pro spoke with Sunny Rao, senior vice president of global API sales at Vonage.
How has the communications landscape changed over the past year?
The landscape of customer communications has changed dramatically over the past year. Consumers who adopted new and emerging communication channels during the pandemic in 2020 have continued to use these channels this year at an even higher rate.
Our reports on Global Customer Engagement 2020 and 2021 revealed how the pandemic has accelerated the global adoption of new communication channels while increasing the fragmentation of channel preferences.
We found that about half (47%) of consumers globally have increased their use of digital channels to interact with businesses and service providers in the past 12-18 months and 87% plan to maintain or d ” increase this level over the next 6 to 12 months. .
Here in Asia, consumers have also increased their use of digital channels to interact with businesses and service providers since the COVID-19 outbreak – by 52% (retail and e-commerce), 51% ( education), 49% (banking and finance), 46% (health services), 43% (media, games and online dating) and 31% (transport and travel). Over the next 6 to 12 months, 44% will continue to increase their digital engagement with retail and e-commerce service providers, followed by education and banking and financial services (42%), healthcare healthcare (38%), media, online games and dating (36%), and transportation and travel (34%).
Has the move to hybrid work affected adoption of CPaaS?
Remote working has also resulted in a strong preference for digital channels (video, chatbots, messaging apps, etc.) over more traditional channels (mobile voice calls, email). Since January 2020, globally there has been a 300% growth in the number of people who prefer to connect with businesses through video. Three in five consumers around the world are video chatting with a business or service provider more than 18 months ago.
At work, 38% of respondents favor video calls when collaborating with their team or clients on an important project. Digital engagement at work has increased for at least half of respondents in every region. APAC has seen a 65% increase since the start of the pandemic.
What are the main differences between APAC and EMEA regions when it comes to cloud communications?
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market is expected to be worth nearly $ 70 billion by 2028. Europe is expected to experience moderate growth driven by education and health, while APAC is expected to experience moderate growth experience the highest CAGR due to the increased demand for internet based communication services and a boom in cloud services.
Customer preferences for how they like to interact with their service providers have changed in both regions.
Mobile phone calls are the preferred means of communication in both regions. However, in APAC, consumers prefer social channels, including WhatsApp, WeChat, and Line, to landline and VoIP calls when communicating with their service providers. In contrast to this, EMEA consumers have a higher preference for landline and VoIP calls.
From an industry perspective, retail and e-commerce, education and banking and finance have seen the biggest increase in digital engagement since the pandemic in APAC. In EMEA, healthcare saw the largest increase, followed by retail and e-commerce, education, and banking and finance.
Can you tell us a bit more about the recent acquisition of Jumper.ai by Vonage and the company’s move into the conversational commerce space?
Vonage recently acquired Jumper.ai, a Singapore-based leader in omnichannel conversational commerce solutions. The Jumper.ai team will join the Singapore-based Vonage product and engineering group.
With this acquisition, Vonage acquires significant technology and developer-focused talent, as well as conversational commerce expertise, complementing the programmable, flexible and intelligent capabilities of its unique Vonage communications platform and robust portfolio. API.
Conversational commerce is an in-demand retail trend that capitalizes on the growing convergence of shopping and conversations across platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, using the chat feature to create a seamless shopping experience. As social messaging becomes more important to consumers as a fast and direct means of communication, Vonage will integrate Jumper.ai technology to help consumers engage in personal conversations to learn about products and prices and build relationships. trust with retailers.
What role will cloud communications play in a post-pandemic world?
Customer engagement has changed permanently and there will be no turning back to the pre-2020 era.
Even in the post-pandemic world, companies must remain nimble and continue to adapt to changes in the market and to customer expectations. While remote service delivery is critical to the survival of a business today, this capability won’t mean much if the experience isn’t smooth, seamless, and integrated into the applications customers use. already comfortable. Using cloud communications to implement integrated multi-channel communication and improve the customer experience will remain essential.
Organizations that meet consumers through the communication channel of their choice, while limiting frustration, will remain successful in the long run.
How should organizations go about implementing and integrating cloud communications into their business?
Businesses of all sizes and in all industries rely on a wide range of technologies to enable communication and collaboration between employees, customers, suppliers and partners. Finding the right cloud communication solution and its smooth implementation will impact how your team communicates, collaborates, and succeeds.
Businesses need to be clear about why they want to migrate to cloud communications. For most of our customers, the goal was to implement a unified communications solution that combined multiple channels, for a smooth customer experience. When selecting a cloud communication platform, be sure to consider the needs of your business, customers, and employees. If your employees are working remotely, this should also be taken into account.
Cloud communication solutions are generally relatively easy to use, as most people already have some experience of using the cloud in their personal lives. Make sure your employees are fully trained in using your platform, so that their user experience is seamless.
What role will Vonage play in Ericsson’s business once the acquisition closes in the first half of next year?
Upon closing of the transaction, the entire company will become wholly owned by Ericsson. Vonage will continue to operate as is under its current brand.
The combination of Vonage’s customer base and developer community and Ericsson’s deep network expertise, 26,000 R&D specialists and global reach creates opportunities to accelerate autonomous strategies and innovation on the market. This includes accelerating business digitization and the development of advanced APIs made possible by 5G; putting the power of wireless networking and communications within reach of the developer. Such APIs can be applied to help ensure the quality of critical services such as telemedicine, immersive virtual education, and autonomous vehicles, as well as experiential performance benefits in games, augmented and extended reality, via wireless.
Over the longer term, Ericsson aims to deliver valuable benefits to the entire ecosystem – telecom operators, developers and enterprises – by creating a global platform for open network innovation, based on complementary solutions from Ericsson and Vonage.
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