Even though 2020 was very challenging due to the pandemic, it opened doors for new opportunities and innovation for the consumer durable industry. The first few months of lockdown were more challenging than the latter half of the year and proved to be favorable for those who could adjust to the evolving market realities. Once the unlocking started, it created new demands which led to the emergence of new product innovations. Customer centricity became the foremost priority as the white goods industry innovated new technologies for purification and sanitization, which are inevitable in the new normal.

Many industries have been impacted badly due to the pandemic but, it would be safe to say that the consumer durables industry is showing growth trends from a long-term perspective. According to a report, the home appliances and consumer electronics industry, (not including mobile handsets), is expected to increase by 50 lacs i.e Rs 1.5 lakh crore by 2025, from the present Rs 1 lakh crore. The reasons for the same could be more stable disposable incomes, rural electrification,  more than ever focus on work from home policies, and the government’s plans to offer production-linked incentives (PLI) to establish more and more manufacturing plants in India. With such potential growth opportunity, the industry and the brands are required to keep an extremely close watch on ever-evolving consumer needs, to drive their product innovations, and truly thrive in the post-pandemic world among their competition.

Here are the key consumer durable industry trends that are likely to be witnessed in post-pandemic world:

Trend#1  Innovating Healthcare features within the products

Post pandemic consumers have become health conscious more than ever and want the technology to empower them for that. According to Deloitte, the venture funding for health technology innovators has nearly doubled in 2020 as compared to 2019.

Connected health monitoring devices that help to track the number of vital signs such as:

  1. Heart rate
  2. Blood pressure
  3. Body temperature
  4. Hydration level

The pandemic created an acceleration of funding for innovators with alternative forms of care delivery, such as remote monitoring and virtual health. Virtual health is here to stay and will continue post-pandemic as well, but industry decision-makers will need to find a way to maintain its current speed as in-person visits resume.

Trend#2 Increase in need for automation within products

The lockdown had many people without housemaids which lead them to take care of household chores on their own and managing offices from home at the same time. There was a substantial increase in the amount of time spent on household chores, which led to eating precious time that can rather be spent with family, or on self-development or professional activities. Now consumers are more inclined to invest in automated, technologically superior products that can ease their lives. Product categories such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, dishwashers will see a spike in demand as people aim to become more self-reliant and look for more convenience. Products that provide storage facilities like refrigerators will continue to have more demand as people now look for more storage and less frequent purchase. Cooling products like ACs, Air coolers, Air purifiers will have increased demand as more people would need cooling in multiple rooms, as they continue to work from home.

Brands should consider that the fact that though energy consumption is bound to increase, the consumer will have an eye on energy-efficient products.

Trend#3 Increased Demand for better conferencing Technology

This pandemic has changed work perception across the world and remote work is here to stay. Gone are the days when hiring talents were restricted to geographical constraints. But the only way this kind of setup can work long-term successfully is with uninterrupted conferencing technology. When you can communicate consistently and easily without any interruption, distance doesn’t matter. In the business world, the technologies or the brands that will impact our lives the most, in the next year and coming years will be those that will empower and enable people to shift and adjust to the new work-life balance.

Trend#4 Affordability will play a major role

This pandemic led to many people losing their jobs and pay cuts which happened across all industries and many are still suffering due to the same. Hence consumer durable industries brands will have to focus on cost innovation so that they develop products that offer quality products at an affordable price. In the coming years, we believe consumers will look at value for money products, which are need-based primarily, with quality as a key aspect.

Trend#5 Gaming consoles added joy in pandemic life

Boredom grapples everyone during lockdown where people are restricted to indoors. The major source of entertainment was TV and mobile and the quest for more options was created. Naturally, people got inclined towards old gaming favorites and companies responded with smart twists to old devices and even some new releases in the gaming arena. Gaming devices like the Nintendo Switch console were the most obvious source and have been in huge demand since the beginning of the pandemic. We expect to see a continued focus on great gaming experiences in the coming years as well.

Trend#6 “Make in India” products to gain power

The government has been encouraging to “Make in India”, and has launched several schemes to promote the same. It is believed that this movement will continue to gain further momentum. Indian brands should be independent for the future since consumers too have shown an affinity towards homegrown products.

Trend#7  Technology malfunctions provide CX insights

In a CX report 2021, it was found that malfunctioning technology was one main source of anger in the consumer technology industry. There was a lot of negative conversation around tech brands due to cracked smartphone screens, defective smartwatches, crashing applications, and from this, the other brands can get lessons on how to make their customer experience delightful. Only those brands who will make their customers feel heard along with technological advancements will have an advantage over the competition post-pandemic.

Trend#8  Holding Online and offline presence

The Pandemic may have transformed the buying process from offline to online, but particularly in the white goods industry, there will always remain the need for touch and feel. Post pandemic offline buying experience will again see a considerable boost and hence brands need to strike a balance in the growth of their offline and online presence. They should have an Omni-channel ecosystem for ensuring a smooth buying experience for its consumers whether offline or online.

Trend#9 Innovative Home-centric products are in high demand

According to Google Trends, the search for ‘virtual assistant’ has hit a five-year high recently. Nobody knew what was coming in 2019 and lockdown made us realize how important the perfect home setup is. There has been an ever-increasing rise in demand for innovations ranging from kitchen gadgets that make your life easier to at-home health solutions. Many companies have showcased new home products equipped with artificial intelligence technology, including automated sanitization and cleaning robots at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. In the coming years, we can expect to see more home innovations like this on the market. Demand will continue to rise as consumers are still adapting to the post-Covid world and look for ways to make their life easier.

Trend#10  Shift to alternative, economical and eco-friendly resources

A large percent of Indian households still do not have access to electricity, internet, and neither the capacity to pay high electricity bills. So, the brands should try to create future systems based on alternative resources to cover these markets also and Eco-friendly products should definitely be targeted for the same.

Brands are increasingly focusing to become more customer-centric and elevate customer experience to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value.  Consumer Durable goods companies that provide high value and complex products face unique challenges.

Here are 10 Best practices to deliver customer support excellence in the consumer durable goods industry.

1. Ease of access to relevant knowledge

Easy access to an integrated knowledge base with support will help reduce the cost of support delivery and helps the customers find faster and relevant answers. Centralized access to all sources of knowledge which includes service manuals, technical solutions, troubleshooting, operator manuals, service bulletins, training videos, and documents will help customers and even contact center agents find answers to their questions in no time. You should aid simple google search and smart match of related help topics based on input on support requests to drive better use of the knowledge resources. In case you allow agents to escalate a support incident to add a new technical solution to the knowledge library, it will make it an invaluable asset over time.

2. Go Omnichannel and Digital

Calling to wait in line and having to navigate the maze of multiple IVR options is outdated. Digital channels lower the overall costs for companies and are in fact preferred by most customers because of ease of access, time savings, and convenience. Brands are now expected to provide consistent support and service experience across many channels including web, mobile, email, and chat.

3. Should have a 360-degree view of the product and the customer

Brands should enable a combined view of all transactions related to the product and customer including registrations, product configuration, service plan entitlements, warranty, support requests, inspections, warranty claims, service orders, and service campaigns. This will allow agents to understand customer needs better and provide a more apt solution to address those needs. You may also facilitate the complete view by aggregating information captured from all customer service and support processes that touch the customer.

4. Consolidated support systems

Brands should have consolidated support systems across regions, functional areas, and support channels. If they having a unified system for technical support, parts, service, warranty, and sales, it will help reduce the cost of support systems and provide a full picture of all customer support needs. A consolidated support software in Cloud is a good alternative that will result in rapid deployment and lower upfront investment. A Single support platform, a portal, and a mobile app for end customers, field service technicians, and channel partners will leverage enterprise-wide resources worldwide to provide a consistent and seamless customer service experience.

5. Integrated Support Fulfillment

Fulfilling a support request for consumer durable goods often requires a follow-up action in the field, or a different department, or an independent dealer or service network. Brands need to integrate support with parts, warranty, orders, field service dispatch, and scheduling to deliver a unified customer experience. The integrated support and service will remove duplicate data entry and boost visibility to activities in the field. Today’s customers expect seamless and unified integration and workflow across silos instead of being handed off to different groups or departments. It is critical for brands to deliver a connected customer experience across these internal silos and disconnected systems to win customers for a lifetime.

6. Use of mobile and IoT to help to troubleshoot

Various product support issues can be identified and resolved faster by capturing pictures or video from universally available cameras on mobile devices. Brands should leverage IoT for remote diagnosis and collecting information directly from the connected products. They should try to minimize product downtime by leveraging the accurate and timely information collected from the field. Apart from fast diagnosis, the information will help dispatch the right technician and deliver the needed parts to repair the product.

7. Study customer support data to improve product quality and operational performance

Brands should use insights gained from support data, to better their products and services by helping to fix the problems at the source. Repeat issues can be prevented by using support data to identify emerging quality problems early and taking necessary actions. Brands can activate rapid response teams to address problems when new products are introduced to the market. Study on customer complaints and their feedback also helps to identify and fix operational performance issues within the company or channel partners.

8. Use Voice of the Customer to Boost Customer Experience

Brands should establish VoC process to gather customer feedback on resolutions and performance of their customer support agents. Such VoC to be integrated with Customer Experience metrics to improve overall customer satisfaction. Systematic and timely analysis of the existing customer service and support processes and focus on continuous improvement will lead to product and customer support excellence.

9. Convert Contact Center to Customer Engagement Centers

Call centers are increasingly getting transformed into contact centers and now it is time for contact centers to evolve to become centers of customer engagement. Brands can leverage push notifications and SMS in addition to emails, to provide proactive alerts, notifications, and timely information. This will keep your customers engaged and improve their perceptions of responsiveness. Additional revenue generation options can be generated by keeping customer contact information accurate, registering their products, and offering related services or accessories. When customers are continuously engaged with Brands, it results in customer loyalty, referrals, and advocacy. As customers rely more and more on product ratings and word-of-mouth on social networks, good product support will reduce the cost of customer acquisition and retention.

10. Enable Self-Service for customers

Brands should enable customers to find answers to support inquiries fast and at any time by providing easy and intuitive self-service options on various channels.  This will also reduce your call volume as most customers today prefer self-service. Since the mobile device has now become the primary and foremost channel of communication, having a mobile application or a mobile-friendly responsive website will help your customers access the information they need on any device of their choice readily available.

DialDesk has been able to create customizable and CX focussed customer support solutions for many clients in Consumer Durables Industry. In case you wish to know more, contact our sales team @ 9643303884

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