Accelerating digital experiences in times of crisis

Sally Haydon, senior vice president, digital experience at telecommunications company Du discusses the impact of Covid-19 on Middle East brands and how they are adapting

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Adam Jeffs

Ahead of her session at CXN Live: Contact Centers Middle East Sally Haydon, senior vice president, digital experience at United Arab Emirates based telecommunications company Du, speaks with CX Network about the acceleration of digital experiences in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Haydon begins by offering a run-down of her almost 20-year career, which has seen her hold senior CX and digital CX roles across the globe before ending up in her current role in Dubai, where her focus has been the implementation of new, digital channels as well as the improvement of existing ones.

Missed opportunities in digital CX

Haydon offered an example of the biggest missed opportunities in the CX world today, noting that one of the most problematic is that many organizations see digital as an add-on, as opposed to an integral part of the business.

“Digital is often seen as almost a separate organization,” she remarks. “If a customer has a complaint about an interaction through a digital channel and they go to a store, the store will almost treat it like digital is a different company.”

This disparity does not represent the seamless, omnichannel experience that customers expect and can be one of the most difficult experiences to deliver, particularly at a time where customers’ access to interaction channels with brands is so limited as a result of the pandemic.

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How Covid-19 has impacted customer expectations in the Middle East

To begin with, Du experienced an incredible adoption of digital channels. The telecommunications company was inundated with customer contact volume from both a sales and a service perspective. Du was well positioned to respond to this and was quick off the mark with resolutions to alleviate customer frustrations and concerns as explains Haydon.

“We reacted pretty quickly, we were giving customers a lot of offers to help them get set up for home schooling for example,” she notes. “We saw an incredible spike in service, our chatbot volumes went up almost 500 per cent, and we have sustained them.”

Haydon explains that aside from experiencing an increase in sales through chatbots, the increased use of digital channels was also diverting a large amount of traffic from call centers that were operating with reduced staff, due to employees experiencing problems in getting to work in the early days of the pandemic.

Boosting personalization and relevance

Boosting personalization and relevance with digital experiences for customers is a big part of the CX strategy at Du. Haydon explains that customers now expect hyper-personalization and the key implementation challenge is understanding how the data can be collected and applied to ‘moments of truth’ for customers. Du is attempting to do just that and is shifting the service model to be more data-driven and proactively reach out to customers through digital tools.

Haydon explains: “We are using push notifications from our chatbot system that offers all the information a customer can interact with if there is an issue. For example, if a customer is browsing iPhones, the next time they come back to the website the chatbot may let them know that there is an offer and we are seeing great results from this from a net promoter score perspective.”

Current customer expectations are constantly increasing, particularly with regard to digital engagement from contact centers. Customers now have the expectation of real-time support, responses and resolutions from organizations, and Du has been assisted by digital tools to enhance responses with robotic features to enable seamless experiences for customers.

To hear more of Haydon’s insights and advice on digital CX and Covid-19 response, attend Haydon’s session at CXN Live: Contact Centers Middle East.