In good times or bad times, the customer is still king. With the fiercely competitive business environment in any customer-facing sector or industry, enterprises have to think fast and think innovatively. For a while now, companies have begun adopting advanced technology tools and strategies to bring in efficiency and customization that can deliver customer delight. From integrating chatbots to smoothening the discovery to purchase journey and new customer acquisition to redefining customer engagement, automated solutions have begun to effectively take over tasks that were done by human resources, freeing up this precious talent to be used more productively.
While digital natives have begun their journeys on a foundation of technology, legacy businesses too have commenced their transition towards digital goals in recent times. The pace of these missions has accelerated during the past one and a half year, powered by the exigencies of the pandemic. As social distancing norms have changed mind sets and service and sales ecosystem dynamics, technology has played a pivotal role in helping both large and small businesses in myriad ways - from ensuring business continuity to serving customers in the new normal.
To uncover a better understanding of how technology has been reinventing customer journeys and what innovation have been driving customer acquisition in the new normal, Forbes India Insights hosted a webinar themed ‘Decoding the Future of Customer Support’. Powered by Verloop.io, a company that is passionate about building technology for customer support teams that enables them to deliver delightful support experiences, this event brought together movers and shakers from various customer-facing sectors and industries to share their insights on how technology is transforming customer support.
The panellists comprised Manan Khurma, Founder and CEO, Cuemath; Greg Moran, CEO and Co-founder, ZoomCar; Ankit Mehrotra, CEO, Dineout and Siddharth Sharma, CMO - APAC, SEA & MENA, Verloop.io. Moderated by Manu Balachandran, they shared how technology has been able to deliver greater value to the companies they represent, through various strategies, technologies and frameworks, and where they envision current trends in the customer technology space heading in these competitive and challenging times.
Greg Moran shared how ZoomCar was using technology to serve customers better. “On the physical side of the business, from the process of cleaning the cars to digital training to handle customers, ZoomCar India went through a big change,” he recounted. “Where customer support is concerned, we have built a real time feedback loop that helps the customer save cost.” He went on to highlight the importance of a real-time feedback loop that ties back into the driver’s performance and how using a gamified approach has enabled the company to keep improving its delivery.
In a very different segment, which has been severely impacted by the ongoing pandemic, technology has gone from being a good-to-have to becoming a must-have for restaurateurs. Ankit Mehrotra from Dineout explained, “Restaurants typically spend a lot of money on marketing across various platforms, both online and offline, to attract customers. Now with the pandemic, they realise that one major source of data is their own customers and they have begun to target this base by announcing offers, promo codes and the like, through SMS, to kick start the entire process of getting consumers back.” His company has also moved from a call-centre to automated chatbot-assisted customer support systems after the pandemic struck. “We have been able to strengthen our internal systems too, with bots,” he said. Overall, he observed that with reverse migration, growth is expected in Tier 2 cities as there is a massive tech adoption in those geographies. “We believe the next six months will be great for restaurateurs in tier 2 cities.”
In the edu-tech space, Manan Khurma of Cuemath underlined the importance of technology in various verticals. “Where the learning experience is concerned, technologies like AI and machine learning are extremely important because they help us personalize the delivery of our curriculum to each student, so that the difficulty levels are calibrated to each student’s learning journey. We’re also building systems that automatically track the quality of the class through sentiment analysis and language analysis and other metrics. There's huge scope for these automated technologies to do things that humans cannot do at scale.”
When it comes to using technology in customer acquisition funnels, he observed, “We've been doing a lot of work on using automated chatbots for acquisition and the results have been quite promising. However, we believe that a combination of automated tools and the human element will lead to higher gains.” He was also more inclined to a mixed approach, saying, “Parents' acceptance of online learning is at an all-time high. We have used automated bots and have seen good success with them. Yet, offline learning will come back, so at Cuemath, we are looking at an omnipresent approach. We believe a combination of technology and human involvement will see better results.”
Siddharth Sharma of Verloop.io suggested that support is one of the main areas where companies use tools to engage with customers and AI accelerates that engagement. As the discussion moved on, he offered his broad perspective on the use of technology in furthering the customer-facing goals of a business, concluding, “Customer support is now going to get the attention that it deserves across all segments and a lot of brands now have a blank canvas to play with. Accordingly, they can decide how to build their support experiences in terms of whether it will be a mix of human element and technology.” The pages slugged ‘Brand Connect’ are equivalent to advertisements and are not written and produced by Forbes India journalists.