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Hospitality and Tourism, the Next Frontier for “Video” Experiences

Hospitality and tourism, like other retail establishments, have been deeply impacted by the ongoing pandemic, with thousands and more losing their primary livelihood.

Recently, I took a flight (after a long hiatus). And stayed at a hotel. Different establishments and airports offered different experiences. One had a thermal scanning followed by holding up the boarding pass for verification. The other had me take off the mask momentarily for identity verification. A hotel staff asked me to email them my ID while I was standing at the check-in counter.

Bottomline—identity checks are important. And frustrating.

Hospitality and tourism, like other retail establishments, have been deeply impacted by the ongoing pandemic, with thousands and more losing their primary livelihood. These sectors have been adversely affected due to their high-touch, high capital-expenditure and inventory-driven model. And the falling footfalls.

Across most companies, 2020 is the year, most employees did not avail their full quota of leaves. Reasonwhere will we go? Even so, it would be cavalier to say that people have lost their desire to be out and about.

In fact, they are exploring novel ways to do whatever can be done safely—ordering food (instead of dining out), video-conferencing (instead of physical meetings), online learning (instead of physical classrooms), digital banking (instead of branch banking), and so on. Offices have implemented rotas and safety measures to bring staff back to the workplace, in a staggered manner. There are surveys that discuss how people want to come back to the workplace, for instance.

All this makes us wonder if it is time that customer-onboarding and check-in processes evolved in these industries. Just as banks use Video based KYC identification (Video KYC) and video interactions for personal discussion (PD), perhaps customer-interaction heavy industries, like retail, hospitality, travel and food services, should adopt these too.

For instance, it would be easy to set up auto-check-in kiosks at airports that link identity and ticket information together to issue boarding passes—with provisions for agent assistance (over video) if required. The security apparatus can maintain a safe distance while keeping us safe.

Similarly, it could be quite easy for restaurant guests to interact with the chef or the server/waiter from a distance over an assisted video conversation (to complement the QR-based ordering menus that have popped up recently).

Hotels could also decentralize the check-in process through auto-identity verification (with booking reference number) and video-based assistance consoles for support during a stay.

Conducting such a video-driven digital transformation would impact the ecosystem along four key pillars:

  • Personal experiences: It will allow us to return to a sense of normalcy faster. Videos help humanize a digital interaction that often seems impersonal.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The centralized (video-driven) support model creates efficiencies that reduces the operational cost for these establishments, against the popular belief that modernization is expensive.
  • Safety measures: It helps people stay safe in the current time and context, with or without the vaccines.
  • Organizational efficiency: The organization of customer data will eventually lead to reduced data entry errors, better personalization, better business practices, and better customer strategies.

Video embedded experiences are a great reminder of what works for us as humanity. Deeply personal and empathetic experiences that can be human, while being designed in a digital first manner—with all the efficiencies of data-driven execution, and the warmth of “service with a smile” —are something that we all look forward to.

As one of the fastest evolving industries, hospitality and tourism should also ride the digital transformation wave, and start adopting “Video”—Video-based onboarding, Video KYCPersonal Discussion, Concierge Support, Assessment—as the normative model of customer engagement in a socially distanced world.

These industries thrive on creating amazing customer experiences, and video is one of the most potent tools available during the pandemic to reach out and create a-ha moments.

This is a website blog post. Read the original article here at: https://hospitality.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/speaking-heads/hospitality-and-tourism-the-next-frontier-for-video-experiences/80005507

(Amit Das is the Founder and CEO of Think360.ai, the parent company that launched Kwik.ID)

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Stay Connected With Video

We’d begin to tell you about how the tech-driven world has taken on the traditional one, but you already know it. Now, in a socially distant world, not only have businesses taken to tech, but they are making the switch from audio to video to add the in-person feel. From digital loan disbursal to onboarding customers with the best Video KYC tools and updated Video KYC techniques within minutes, everything now happens over video, which clearly means that video channels and video conferencing tools are soon going to be the new norm in organisations. To aid seamless conversations between you and your customers, plugging in an optimal video infrastructure is the need of the hour, because here’s all that a good video conferencing tool has to offer.

  • Free Product Demo: Let’s face it, no matter how much you interact over video with a potential customer, at the end of the day it is your product that’s doing the talking. Fortunately, with video conferencing you can showcase your product too. With the media sharing option, you can choose to share a product demo video right there, right then, with the customer. Or better still, show the functionality of the product, LIVE, so you could even resolve whatever doubts your customer may have about the product.
  • Service call: Selling your product isn’t all you need to do. As a trustworthy brand, you’re expected to provide after-sales services to your customers. With a video service call, you can follow up with customers and ask them for product feedback that helps your brand improve. In case a customer is facing an issue with the product they may also request a service call and the agent can resolve the problem in real-time over video.
  • Context aware content delivery: Helping your customer is great, but showing that you understand their interests and cater to their needs is even better. Using real-time data and analytics you can gather information about your potential customer, right from their previous interaction with your company, their interests, to their location. These insights help you understand and deal better with your customers.
  • CRM Integration: Your CRM isn’t only essential for communicating with customers, but it should also create alignment and streamline communication within your company. Everything from your calendar and emails to your social media platforms and data collection tools can be integrated to ensure that your organisation does quick business with a seamless process.
  • Intelligent routing: Customer service calls are queued based on the product, customer priority, language, location and more to provide an optimal user experience. For instance, if you study the location and spot someone in a weaker network area, you can answer their call sooner before they lose connectivity completely. This feature also shares a wait time with the customer, so that waiting endlessly doesn’t hamper their productivity.
  • Screen sharing: When you’re working as a team you maybe full of ideas that you want to share but can’t verbally explain. The great thing about video conferencing is its screen sharing feature and interactive whiteboard options that not only allow you to share your idea, but let team members brainstorm together as well, while allowing for quick decision making. This feature makes collaborations easy in the socially distant digital age.
  • Chat option: In the event that there is a technical glitch or a language barrier between the agent and potential customer, the chat feature makes it easier for them to interact quickly while being face-to-face as well. Many customers may shy away from asking questions directly but maybe more comfortable using the chat option.
  • In-person interaction: The entire point of a video conferencing tool is to feel like you’re dealing in the offline world even when online, and video aids in doing just that. Regardless of distance, you can enjoy a seamless, productive meeting or collaboration, as you did in your own office space.

Bottom line is, if you’re looking at pushing the envelope for your business and speeding it up, video is a tool that’s here to stay and you should definitely consider investing in it when the time is right.

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Insights into the Future of Digital Business

The pandemic has irreversibly changed the way we work. “Phygital” seems to be the current scenario and digital the future. Many businesses, however, had already shifted from offline to online processes long before the pandemic while the last six months have witnessed only online transactions and dealings.

Organisations have also revised their business priorities as they strive to find new solutions to accelerate the business pace and find long-term success. Traditional face-to-face methods have been replaced by tools like online wallets, e-commerce business, Video KYC for banks and insurance firms, AI-led instructions and more.

Organisations will soon start building their digital platforms while utilising advanced analytics with greater intensity. For example, DBS Bank understood the need to do more for its customers and adopted a RED mantra: Respectful, Easy to deal with, and Dependable. This involved tech-driven processes because they strongly believe that making banking joyful should involve making the ‘banking’ part, invisible.

Here’s how the country is paving the path for digital business growth.

Digitising Sales and Customer Processes

Businesses have begun to consider digital tools and processes, especially for selling a product and meeting customer process requirements. Companies are adopting and implementing a host of applications, digital payment methods, self-service platforms, digital documentation, onboarding and electronic signatures to ensure that internal operations, income and revenue continue to flow. Even the smallest of businesses have taken to digital to keep the customer inflow intact, by adopting the latest AI technology and tools like face recognition and biometric signatures, and they don’t seem to be going back to their traditional ways anytime soon.

The finance industry, including banks, NBFCs, fintech, insurance and many others now choose online processes to make business easier for customers, including opening an account through video KYC. Customers no longer need to visit the branch to complete all the formalities and fill out extensive forms. Video KYC speeds up the process ensuring they are onboarded in just two minutes!

Digital Marketing to Customers

The way companies market their products is also evolving rapidly. Given that industry gatherings have shut down, B2B companies like Slack and Zendesk have adopted new ways to engage customers via their digital video advertising strategy and generated new business leads. Digital content, especially ads directed via social media platforms need to be data-driven, personalised and displayed to the right customers for a continued boost of sales and marketing. This can also help improve efficiency and ROI.

Empowering Employees with the Right Tools

To ensure that employees reach their maximum potential in these times, it is imperative for companies to adopt technology that makes operations and processes easier and more efficient. Employees need to be educated about the latest technologies and trained on how to deal with new clientele, digitally, for maximum customer satisfaction.

For example, Kwik.ID, our Video KYC tool is enabled with customer queueing facility to reduce customer repetition. The analytics dashboard helps agents manage their time more efficiently. Finally, the Neuro Linguistic Programming software ensures agents understand and guide customers better, and (instantly) resolve their issues.

Using the Cloud for storage of enterprise applications, planning and management, workforce management, billing and many others, not only provides easier employee access to technology but also helps manage cybersecurity better as everything is housed together. It is also important for organisations to have all the documentation and customer data in one place—no matter where the agent or employee is, data can always be accessed remotely and work needn’t stop. At Think Analytics, we recommend working on-the-go, which our video KYC tool enables, by storing all the data in one place.

In the coming months, online tools like digital banking, e-wallets and video KYC can significantly benefit investors, insurance companies and agents, banked and unbanked sectors, non-banking entities and many others. While these tools boost business, they also help battle slow-moving business owing to the COVID crisis while ensuring that work continues seamlessly from anywhere across the globe.

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PFRDA Allows Onboarding Subscribers via Video KYC (V-CIP)

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) permitted its intermediaries on October 6 to use Video based Customer Identification Process (V-CIP) for new onboarding and/or account withdrawals by National Pension System (NPS) subscribers. PFRDA’s announcement comes on the heels of IRDAI allowing life and general insurers to leverage video KYC facility, to vet customer credentials for new customer onboarding. Earlier this year, the RBI had amended the KYC norms, thereby allowing all banks and lending institutions to use V-CIP. Not to forget that most NPS distributors are regulated by the SEBI and RBI, who had already approved video based KYC. It is not surprising that  PFRDA has followed suit.

The need and benefits are many, some obvious, and some not so much.

Why was the VCIP process required?

PFRDA which regulates NPS has been constantly introducing new methods of subscriber authentication and various modes of KYC to make the overall process seamless and subscriber friendly. It has already announced a slew of measures like offline Aadhaar based onboarding, third-party reliance for KYC, OTP/ eSign based onboarding and e-exit for eNPS Subscribers.

Still, NPS subscribers were facing many challenges. For instance, they had to be present for in-person verification at the POP (Points of Physical Presence) which resulted in a delay in the process of withdrawal as well as exit. Video-Based Customer Identification Process (VCIP) will do away with the requirement of compulsory physical presence. 

VCIP allows for remote/ at-home opening of NPS account

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone into their homes, the turnaround time for onboarding processes has gone up significantly. Residential buildings have multiple rules around allowing visitors, for instance, which adds to further inconvenience and friction.

VCIP, apart from making the overall process paperless and instantaneous, also helps subscribers avail NPS services without being physically present at the POPs. The truly remote and secure nature of VCIP allows for better customer experience

Cost-effective vis-a-vis Physical KYC

Video KYC is as much about speed as it is about cost effectiveness. Processes can be designed for minimal steps (UI) and great User experience (UX). Opting for digital video identification solutions also brings down the cost compared to physical KYC. Additionally, a single agent delivers 15-20x productivity of an in-field agent. If the average cost of physical KYC of the customer would cost Rs 200, the video-based process cost will come down to 10-20 percent of the entire cost over the medium to long term.

VCIP reduces dependency on third party service providers and facilitates 2 mins onboarding process

The traditional KYC process can often take 10-15 days as there are were too many steps, entities, and checks and balances involved. On the other hand, a direct two-way audio video communication between the customer and authorized agent of the regulated entity can be established, thereby eliminating the dependency on any third party. One can complete KYC and onboarding through VCIP in a single video call, powered by intelligent queuing and experience management algorithms, as it will be a direct interaction between the customer and the representative. The humanisation of digital channels creates seamless, empathy and higher conversion rates. Well designed journeys can be executed in less than 2 minutes

Video KYC makes life easier for intermediaries as well

As per the the new guidelines, Points of Presence (PoPs) registered with PFRDA, must adhere to the V-CIP guidelines, issued by regulators for performing NPS related activities. By doing this the PFRDA intermediaries will not have any extra burden due to the introduction of the VCIP facility.

Technologists often speculate about the next wave of customer engagement. Video, with the decreasing cost of bandwidth and increasing adoption of internet based communication (such as Whatsapp Videos, Tik-Tok, Zoom, etc.), is the next big of driving customer interactions, and will increasingly be used by businesses to drive B2C interactions. The introduction of VCIP across products will also drive positive impact  in financial inclusion initiatives; bringing people who were hitherto unable to avail financial services due to geographical and access challenges, time constraints or cost factor, into the mainstream.