Cus­tomer en­gage­ment

To deal with the de­mand for tai­lored one-to-one cus­tomer/com­pany con­ver­sa­tions, busi­nesses are us­ing AI. By 2020, Gart­ner pre­dicts that 85% of cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tions will be han­dled this way.* In­creas­ingly, com­pa­nies are ex­per­i­ment­ing new ways to en­gage th

The Smart Manager - - Contents - RATI SHETTY IS CO-FOUNDER AND CHIEF PROD­UCT OF­FI­CER OF BANKBAZAAR.COM

Busi­nesses need to adapt to the chang­ing dy­nam­ics of cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions, says Rati Shetty, BankBazaar.com.

There is a pop­u­lar quote—about the na­ture of how cen­tral a cus­tomer is to any busi­ness— mak­ing the rounds in the cus­tomer ser­vice world for years. It reads, “A cus­tomer is the most im­por­tant vis­i­tor on our premises. He is not de­pen­dent on us. We are de­pen­dent on him. He is not an in­ter­rup­tion of our work. He is the pur­pose of it. He is not an out­sider of our busi­ness. He is part of it. We are not do­ing him a favour by serv­ing him. He is do­ing us a favour by giv­ing us the op­por­tu­nity to do so.”

This has been com­monly at­trib­uted to Ma­hatma Gandhi. Grow­ing up in the years be­fore ecom­merce was even dreamt of as a phe­nom­e­non, I re­mem­ber see­ing the quote along with a pic­ture of Gand­hiji adorn­ing the walls of in­nu­mer­able lo­cal stores. In­deed ‘the cus­tomer is al­ways right’, or ‘cus­tomer is king!’ was usu­ally the ace up the cus­tomer’s sleeve that stopped any de­bate dead in its tracks. With both par­ties lay­ing down their cud­gels, the ar­gu­ment was usu­ally set­tled am­i­ca­bly in the cus­tomer’s fa­vor.

Not a whole lot has changed since then, and yet, ev­ery­thing has. What used to be ac­cept­able and sat­is­fac­tory in cus­tomer ser­vice un­til a few years ago does not make the cut to­day. It is a fast-paced dig­i­tal world with the rules of cus­tomer en­gage­ment rapidly chang­ing and cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions vault­ing ever higher.

En­ter the mo­bile phone and its world of in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion. In hec­tic life­styles punc­tu­ated by tex­ting, tweet­ing, post­ing live up­dates, and high-speed in­ter­net

con­nec­tiv­ity, there is no place for slug­gish or sub­par ser­vice. If a cus­tomer’s ex­pec­ta­tions are not met some­where, there is no dearth of other places they can take their busi­ness to.

Re­mem­ber the time when an air­line ticket cost an arm and a leg, was pro­cured af­ter a long wait in a queue, and usu­ally con­sisted of a thick book­let of papers? That is if you were lucky enough to reach the counter be­fore their 5pm clos­ing time. Not any­more. Now you are ready to fly af­ter just a few taps on your mo­bile phone with zero hu­man in­ter­ac­tion, buoy­ant in the be­lief that you bagged the best deal af­ter com­par­ing all the avail­able op­tions.

Tech­nol­ogy has raised the bar for cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in every pos­si­ble way. Ev­ery­thing is ac­ces­si­ble 24x7, from any­where in the world. The cus­tomer is in to­tal con­trol of where the in­ter­ac­tion hap­pens. Ter­ri­ble web­site in­ter­face? Non-re­spon­sive, mo­bile-un­friendly de­sign? Poof! You have lost your cus­tomer be­cause they clicked the lit­tle ‘x’ on the page and left.

The cus­tomer wants the best and they want it now. Busi­nesses have no choice but to be primed to de­liver. The cus­tomer to­day ex­pects to be able to in­ter­act with your busi­ness across all mo­bile-ac­ces­si­ble chan­nels, in­clud­ing voice, SMS, in­stant mes­sag­ing, chat, so­cial, web­sites, and mo­bile apps.

There is a dis­tinct shift from cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence to ‘cus­tomer con­ve­nience’. This may not be new, but there is an ever-in­creas­ing pres­sure to im­prove re­sponse times com­bined with easy ac­ces­si­bil­ity and avail­abil­ity of om­nichan­nel so­lu­tions, which puts con­ve­nience at the helm of cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

The cus­tomer of to­day is smart, in­formed, and more self-re­liant than ever. They would like to do it them­selves. At BankBazaar, we are see­ing this to be true—the per­cent­age of cus­tomers opt­ing for the pa­per­less ap­pli­ca­tion process which al­lows them to com­plete and self-sub­mit their ap­pli­ca­tions us­ing eKYC is over 60%. The pref­er­ence for and adop­tion of pa­per­less, in­stant-ap­proval fi­nan­cial prod­ucts is more than ev­i­dent. The sheer del­uge of peo­ple seek­ing in­for­ma­tion and the right in­for­ma­tion is ev­i­denced by our stream of SEO traf­fic.

Peo­ple want to find the in­for­ma­tion they seek on­line,

en­abling them to ed­u­cate them­selves, and find suit­able so­lu­tions for them­selves. It is im­por­tant to pro­vide easy ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and light­ning-quick as­sis­tance when ques­tions or prob­lems are raised. Ed­u­cate your cus­tomers about your prod­ucts and ser­vices and you will earn their loy­alty and in­spire pos­i­tive rec­om­men­da­tions.

So­cial me­dia is a crit­i­cal chan­nel for com­pa­nies to com­mu­ni­cate with their au­di­ence. Stud­ies show that 66% of global cus­tomers ex­pect a so­cial me­dia re­sponse within 24 hours, while 56% have a more pos­i­tive and fa­vor­able view of those brands and or­ga­ni­za­tions that re­spond to and in­ter­act with them via so­cial me­dia. Be­ing so­cial mat­ters to­day like never be­fore.

That brings us to con­tent and the im­por­tance of per­son­al­iza­tion be­ing thrown into this cus­tomer-care mix. Vanilla-canned re­sponses are nearly passé. With the de­mand for quicker, ac­cu­rate, and per­son­al­ized re­sponses, there is a need for dy­namic-canned re­sponses cou­pled with knowl­edge base in­te­gra­tions, and even ma­chine learn­ing.

AI—where a sys­tem learns and dy­nam­i­cally takes de­ci­sions—could be the new trend in ad­dress­ing cus­tomers’ ex­pec­ta­tions in real time but it is not as wide­spread as au­to­ma­tion (the per­for­mance of set tasks with­out hu­man in­ter­ven­tion). So while the world of busi­ness is not quite ready to place ev­ery­thing in the hands of bots now, AI is the next log­i­cal trend we will see when it comes to ad­dress­ing cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions.

Evolv­ing cus­tomer be­hav­ior and con­sumer de­mands are a given among the myr­iad chal­lenges posed by the com­plex per­sonal fi­nance land­scape. En­abling our cus­tomers to ac­cess the right fi­nan­cial prod­ucts in­stantly,

Tech­nol­ogy has raised the bar for cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in every pos­si­ble way. Ev­ery­thing is ac­ces­si­ble 24x7, from any­where in the world.

trans­par­ently, and pain­lessly is at the core of ev­ery­thing we do at BankBazaar. This is an ex­cit­ing trans­for­ma­tive time for our in­dus­try, for reg­u­la­tion and reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties, and for con­sumerism; and through it all, the cus­tomer will al­ways re­main the undis­puted king.

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