Amritsar, NFAPost: As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hit hard across the world, consumers are putting a high price on health factors when interacting with organizations.
To reduce the risk of infection, people are anxious to minimize physical contact and maximize contactless interactions. A recent study by information technology giant Capgemini has found that over 82 % of Indian consumers will prefer touchless interaction during the Covid-19 and 48% of Indians will prefer touch less interactions post Covid pandemic.
The company had in April surveyed 4,800 consumers and over 950 executives from 12 major economies on re-designing consumer experiences. The major economies included were China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Brazil.
According to Capgemini’s research, on an overall basis, 77% of consumers expect to increase their use of touchless technologies to avoid interactions that require physical contact, and even when the pandemic is over, 62% expect to increase their use, demonstrating that this is a trend with longevity.
“Touchless interfaces have become integral to the customer experience in a health-and-safety conscious world,” Capgemini said.
According to the study, in some countries, there is a predicted waning of enthusiasm for contactless once the pandemic is behind us. “However, this perhaps just reflects the difference between today’s heightened sense of anxiety and how consumers will behave in a world where health-and-safety concerns are more balanced against other needs.”
The four key consumer trends noted by the study:
- Touchless interfaces have become integral to the customer experience in a health-and-safety conscious world
- The pandemic is offering a unique opportunity to accelerate the use of voice-based interfaces in physical settings
- The pandemic has caused an upsurge in the adoption of facial recognition technologies
- Mobile-based contactless transactions, such as retail-store self-checkouts that use mobile apps, are likely to gain ground as consumers try to avoid any interfaces that are shared.
Consumers have begun adopting social distancing and sanitary practices as new and potentially permanent norms in their lives. They have grown increasingly cautious of touching shared interfaces and objects foreign to them. This has led to a strong preference towards touchless practices in their interactions with different business sectors. This means organizations must reassess their customer experience, with a focus on emerging technologies such as vocal interfaces, facial recognition, and mobile-based applications.
Organizations also recognize the need for touchless interactions and expect them to be a trend that continues post-COVID. About 73% believe that consumer appetite for non-touch practices including online transactions will remain even in a world where the pandemic is behind us. Financial services organizations are particularly strong proponents of this trend. Consumers’ fears of virus transmissions via cash, and concerns over interactions involving physical bank branches, have a role to play in this, the study said.
Some of the companies have already started taking note of the same change in preferences. Tesla, for example, offers a contactless car delivery scheme that minimises customer contact with the car maker’s employees.
Some of the key highlights for India:
- Over 82 % of Indian consumers will prefer touch less interaction during the Covid-19 and 48% of Indians will prefer touchless interactions post Covid pandemic
- 84 % of Indian consumers especially in the age group of 41-50 years will prefer touchless interactions during the Covid pandemic while 48% of Indian consumers in the age group of 41 – 50 years will continue to prefer touchless interactions post – covid pandemic.
- In India 65% of consumers will prefer to use voice –based interface during Covid; while 64% of Indian consumers will prefer to use voice-based interface post covid
- For instance, Jio, a major India-based telecom player, found that voice is often the preferred interface for first-time mobile data users. Strong natural language processing capabilities will be key to winning over those people who are offline or digitally excluded
- In a post-COVID world, privacy would again be of primary concern to consumers. 41 % of Indian consumers in the age group of 41-50 will prefer facial recognition for authentication at shops/banks/contact centers/government offices to avoid human interactions and touchscreens during the covid pandemic while 37 % of Indian consumers in the age group of 41-50 will prefer facial recognition for authentication at shops/banks/contact centers/government offices to avoid human interactions and touchscreens after the covid pandemic
- In India, Kotak Mahindra bank began offering customers the option to log-in with the Apple-based Face ID feature as early as 2018. HSBC has also subsequently introduced the same approach for its corporate customers
- 38% of Indian retailers believe that consumers will avoid visiting the store if facial recognition is used while 67% of Indian consumers would not visit the store if facial recognition is used on them
- Almost 55% of Indian consumers in the age group of 31-40 will prefer to use mobile apps at shops/banks/contact centers /government offices to avoid human interactions and touchscreens during the covid-19 pandemic while 51 % of Indian consumers in the age group of 31-40 will prefer to use mobile apps at shops/banks/contact centers /government offices to avoid human interactions and touchscreens post covid-19 pandemic
- Almost 90% of Indian consumers are comfortable using their mobile phones for payments especially for in-store purchases
- For instance, Volvo Cars India and BMW India have initiated contactless programs that allow customers to book car services online from the nearest dealership through mobile websites and third-party applications
Some of the key Global Highlights:
- Globally over 77% of consumers will prefer touch less interaction during the pandemic and post pandemic over 62% of consumers will prefer touchless interactions post –covid. while 90% of Chinese consumers prefer touchless interactions during Covid and likewise 58% of Chinese consumers will prefer touchless interactions post-covid
- Organizations recognize the significance of non-touch-based interactions and believe that non-touch practices will stay post the covid outbreak Insurance sector will lead overall in adopting non-touch based interaction at 81% followed by Banking at 79%
- The pandemic offers a unique opportunity to accelerate the use of voice-based interfaces in physical places – globally over 59% of consumers prefer to use voice-based interface during pandemic while over 36% of consumers globally will use voice-based interface post covid. Australian consumers lead in adoption of Voice-based interface with 77% of Australian consumers preferring to adopt voice-based interface during covid and 85% of Australian consumers adopting voice-based interface post-Covid
- The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an upsurge in the adoption of facial recognition technologies: 52% of the global consumers prefer facial recognition for authentication during Covid-19 pandemic while 39% of the global consumers will prefer facial recognition for authentication
- Perception mismatch between retailers and consumers on use of facial recognition: Globally 23% of retailers believe that consumers will avoid visiting the store if facial recognition is used while 59% of global consumers would not visit the store if facial recognition is used.
- Mobile apps are helping organizations deliver contactless experiences during the pandemic
- Contactless vehicle purchases and deliveries. Contactless technologies are gaining ground in the automotive sector as well, with several companies removing the touch-based aspects of the buying and servicing process.