Pandemic drives Customer Engagement Transformation
The way a customer gets interested, then buys the product and sticks to it is not an easy way:
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.
QUALITY IS SUPREME
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.”
BRAND IS OF VALUE
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.
SIMPLE, INTEGRATED, COST-EFFICIENT
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.