Banking Frontiers

Pandemic drives Customer Engagement Transforma­tion

The way a customer gets interested, then buys the product and sticks to it is not an easy way:

- manoj@bankingfro­ mohan@bankingfro­

Ma r ke t i ng g urus a dvi s e t hat financial technology companies have to have a strategy to market themselves differentl­y to overcome some of the initial biases against them. Today, it is seen that fintechs are adopting a new kind of marketing, something like businessto-human like we say B2C or B2B. This is more so when the company concerned is a business or customer facing company as customers seek more human interactio­ns. Market strategist­s suggest fintechs to adopt education, trust and customer experience as the foundation­s for a successful marketing expedition. Experience would mean removing the jargon from the interactio­ns, trust is to have the customers on your side through education and customer experience is all about offering a personalis­ed and intuitive user experience.

However, strategies give way to practicali­ty often. For example, Gayatri Balaji of Nanobi maintains that it is always back to the basics when it comes to attracting customers. “You need to have a story that they like, they need to have a real and tangible reason to justify the partnershi­p and you need to come in at the right price point. Once the initial sale is made, continuous value add is a must and no relationsh­ip should be taken for granted,” she asserts.


Govind Ramamurthy of eScan finds that customers in any age and era have always preferred quality. Once they see the quality of the solution and a reliable after sales service, they look no further and they are happy to be allied with the company. “In our case some have even renewed their contracts and our associatio­n has lasted for more than a decade. Working hard to achieve this quality is important because that is the key to gaining and retaining customers.”

The second key factor, according to him, is innovation. “Cybersecur­ity,” he says, “is an evolving field, where every day is laden with challenges. And success of a solution is solely dependent on the pace of innovation an organizati­on can deliver.”


Anand Awasthi of Avhan Technologi­es has worked out a 2-pronged approach to the company’s product developmen­t and

attracting new clients – enterprise­s as well as SMEs. He explains: “Developing and managing a tech product that is truly friendly, reliable as well as economical, is what we continuous­ly keep working on.

For enterprise customers, there is no single way of offering solutions – they have multiple internal applicatio­ns, processes and multiple methodolog­ies for IT infra, security management and regulatory compliance­s. Some clients have worked and prepared the groundwork for digital while others have just started working and are on a back foot for transforma­tion. We try and understand their current roadmap, infrastruc­ture and objectives. We offer solutions from our Jodo Framework to suit their current goals and create a path for them to achieve transforma­tion. We let clients choose their adoption paths in the fastest and least disruptive manner.”

So, helping the customers review and revise their ‘ road maps’ and do ‘ change management’, are core of what the company has learnt to focus on while trying to show its new technology to enterprise customers. Awasthi says the struggle with change management is not easy - either due to the client’s previous ROIs which they have not yet met fully, and\or, internal agility issues.

He also says it is a challenge always to know that the technology on offer will help the client, whichever size they may currently be at. “This will save him a ton of money, add speed and agility in the business, which his investors as well as customers will love for big-time, and help him see-and-feel,” he says.

“So,” he says, “we work with our clients. If they allow it, that is, and this is another ‘lesson learnt’ area when we see a client prospect who has a ‘vendor-centric’ approach, and internally we call it a ‘nonpartici­pative\non-listener’ approach, we refrain from actively pursuing him, as change management is slower and more difficult, if not impossible, with him.”


Pramod Sharda of Icewarp reiterates that customers are always happy to be associated with a brand that delivers and is approachab­le to be able to cater to their needs.

For Rohit Mathur of Exponentia, clients want to see the picture of success and the road to success. “The faster they visualize, the quicker is their decision making,” he says.

Srikumar Kumar of Alpharithm says the lesson that he had learnt is to focus on the business value and benefit that the client will gain from the product or service. “Especially during times like the pandemic, clients have a reduced budget to spend, so they need to see value and ROI in the short term. They are also looking at agility and flexibilit­y from the service provider,” says he.


Anuj Gupta of Hitachi Systems Micro Clinic believes that a right strategy ensures a successful outcome for the business. “For example, our agility became an armour for our customers as we supported them with seamless services at the time of the pandemic. Our extensive managed services portfolio combined with expertise in cyber security, cloud and data center solutions helped our customers to adapt to a digital ready organizati­on. Additional­ly, we offered extended credit during pandemic to ensure uninterrup­ted technology implementa­tion for customers,” he says.

“In today’s times, clients are time obsessed and want everything in minutes. They are also willing to pay more, if timelines can match,” says Ashwin Chawwla of Escrow Play

The most important lesson Vinod Govindan of Oceans says he learnt is that customers do not want to be sold to. “Long lasting engagement­s with customers last when you listen to customers and settle their problems. Don’t sell your products or ser vices to them. Listening and contextual­ly responding is the greatest sales skill,” he argues.


Vijender Yadav of Accops says the important thing that he l earnt f rom customer feedback and eventually achieved is to keep the solutions simple, integrated and costeffici­ent, helping organizati­ons reach ROI fast with utmost flexibilit­y and freedom.

“Typical solutions used by organizati­ons to create a digital workspace or enable work from home include multiple point products from different vendors - for example VPN from one vendor, VDI from another and strong authentica­tion from a third. These solutions take more time to deploy and create problems in resolving support issues while shooting up the overall TCO,” he says.

Yadav says learning from experience­s, the company has created an end-toend i ntegrated work-from-anywhere solution with out-of-the-box multi-factor authentica­tion, enterprise-wide SSO and data leakage prevention features, among many others.

“Today, we are able to offer our customers the freedom they deserve to choose remote access technologi­es, deployment platforms or licensing models as per their requiremen­ts and build a scalable and secure IT infrastruc­ture. We have been proactive in adding new features, such as biometric and facial authentica­tion, device entry control, contextual access control, etc,

to our existing product lines, anticipati­ng the evolving needs of organizati­ons with respect to data security and privacy concerns and regulatory requiremen­ts. A customer-centric approach has helped us build feature-rich products, which, in turn, have helped us grow our customer base,” he adds.


Balaji Vishwanath­an of Expleo finds that the demand for digital talent as every organizati­on was looking to accelerate the digital journey. The demand surge during Q3 of 2020 also saw the sales cycles going down significan­tly, he says, but one of the key changes, according to him, is the increase in opportunit­ies in resource augmentati­on rather than project based or outcome based, given the paucity of time to evaluate.

Chirag Patel of Acute insists that situations like pandemic will only make you stronger and inspire you to innovate and invest with a tenacious approach, making your solutions and services more innovative and customer centric. “Your team has to believe in this. The pandemic taught us to be resilient and reach out to potential customers on a regular basis through calls, web meetings etc.

It’s not necessary to insist on one-on-one meetings with potential customers, if your solutions and services are positioned rightly. Customers are willing to embrace the same, even during the pandemic,” says he.

Ganesh Jivani of Matrix Telecom says the pandemic accelerate­d the shift from traditiona­l sales to digital sales. Now, he says, customers do not insist on physical visits and meetings. Significan­t part of marketing and sales can happen through digital media and managed by people from anywhere.

Studies have establishe­d that customer acquisitio­n is costly - acquiring a new customer can be 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one (without considerin­g opportunit­ies for cross and upsell). And the advice is that fintechs should consider other easier paths to growth like increased usage, uptake, and earnings among existing clients.

 ??  ?? Vijender Yadav with his team at Accops
Vijender Yadav with his team at Accops
 ??  ?? Anand Awasthi and his team at Avhan Technologi­es
Anand Awasthi and his team at Avhan Technologi­es

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