Going out to a restaurant for team lunches, catching a new movie for ‘First Day, First Show’; going to watch a cricket match at a stadium, watching your favourite singer perform at a concert; attending a bustling business expo in a convention centre…These experiences were all missed in 2020 and 2021. Such large gatherings will surely return to our lives at some point, but we do not know when.
The pandemic has broken the paradigm of customer contact. Multiple lockdowns that extended for several weeks have triggered a kind of ultimatum for businesses: Go digital or be forgotten. Companies are being forced to change the way they do business. Digital transformation is the need of the hour, as it is the only way can follow Covid management norms effectively while carrying on with our work.
Simply put, digital transformation is the use of various digital technologies to drive the different areas of business. This has resulted in fundamental changes in how business entities operate and the value they deliver to the customers. It is changing the way a business interacts with its customer, with the thrust being on how a customer can be provided with a consistent experience, whenever and wherever they need it.
For a B2B Sales team, customer interactions have changed from in-person meetings to digital meetings. Through virtual exhibitions, meetings, presentations and so on, companies are ensuring that the customer’s experience is enriching and fruitful.
Today, customers expect relevant content in relation to what they are doing anytime, anywhere, and in the format and on the device of their choice. In order to keep up with the new, ‘always-connected’ customer, businesses must embrace new technologies to deliver a value-added customer experience.
Take the case of digital exhibitions. We have gone from packed expo halls, where we used to exhibit our capabilities, product lines and upcoming innovations to the virtual exhibitions on a laptop/phone. This is by far the biggest experience transformation the customer has observed. The digitisation of such events is being applauded. The customer can now attend the exhibition, exchange business cards, learn about new products, listen to industry leaders and a lot more - from the comfort of his/her home.
At L&T Valves, discussions with vendors and customers over digital platforms are a part of everyday business. A major digital move that is being slowly accepted by the industry is remote/virtual inspections. We have been offering our valves for inspection remotely through latest augmented reality technology and other virtual modes. We have been successful in implementing remote inspections and getting clearances from many customers, including national defence, aerospace and power organisations. As we look and move ahead towards the future, we will develop more strategies around this ‘new normal’ to ensure that the customer is always given the best possible experience.