Hi Aakash, tell us about yourself and your background.
I started my career as an intern with a manufacturing company, where I learned to solve business problems related to inventory and supply chain flow. Thereafter, I moved across industries like food supply chain, consulting, retail and currently in FMCG. While being in any industry, my main focus was elevating the experience and satisfaction I can provide to my customer. I am an active thought leader with multiple publications across platforms, the topmost being the whitepaper on ‘Supply Chain Flow’ published on tcs.com. It talks about how the management of supply chain is important for declining customer experience. I have also been recognized as an Under 30 Supply Chain Leader and have been helping businesses manage and streamline their supply chain to provide the best customer experience.
As a supply chain professional, the best customer experience I can provide to my customers is by providing them with visibility into material sourcing, the progress of their orders, and elevating last-mile experience.
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
The biggest misunderstanding about customer experience is ‘No complaints means happy and satisfied customers. No complaints can be due to multiple reasons like:
There is no proper channel to raise issues/feedback
Customers are ignorant and may shift to other companies in future
So, assuming this is one of the biggest hurdle to customer experience.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
I think OTO is one of the interesting company to keep an eye on because of the innovative technology they have developed to measure the emotion behind words. Thereby, it gives a much better understanding of the message from the tone or reactions of the customers.
Among the established ones, I love qualtrics.XM for their wide range of products and solutions for customer experience.
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
Before improving customer loyalty and retention, it’s important to understand what impacts it. In my opinion, it’s the focus you give to customers, whether in the form of personalization, feedback, visibility, etc., which helps build confidence, and hence, loyalty and retention are bound to increase. The focus needs to change from good customer experience to delightful experience. A customer who is ‘Delighted’ is a sure-shot repeat customer. In my view, a company should focus on creating repeat customers who can bring the majority of the business and help open new avenues.
A regular meaningful connect is the easiest thing to do with a customer to improve relationship. Secondly, keeping your customer first in every decision will help get customer confidence, thereby their loyalty. Third, increasing customer touchpoints and frequency of interaction with the customer via text or emails help the brand stay on top of the customers’ minds. Lastly, a better share of dollars from your competitors is always a way to improve retention.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
The measure of a good customer experience is ‘dollars,’ and it comes when more and more customers are using the product or service, and repeated customer percentage is high. The metric which best explains the same is NPS. Net Promoter Score is all about how good my customers are promoting my products/services, directly giving dollar benefits. Moreover, this metric is used by many top companies with good CX like Apple, Airbnb, etc.
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
They say, ’If it’s not on social media, it never happened.
Social media has become an integral part of our lives. Companies are now coming forward in using social media for their marketing activities. Making most of ads and data insights. Also, right now I see brands shift focus from ads to ‘influencers’ for marketing and amplifying their reach.
For example, a travel influencer is more apt for promotion of a hotel. Also the audience of such influencers are also the people who are interested in those areas. So, influencing the prospects with relevant influencers is how companies can use social media. One such company who uses this strategy for promotions is ‘GoPro’ and companies can learn a lot from them. They have used the power of social media to diversify their positioning from being an action camera to an adventure & travel friendly camera.
Social media data can also be used to analyze and get insights into the customer voice about the company’s customer experience. Brands can use it in the best way to reach and influence them.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
I believe AI-based chatbots are really useful for initial part of customer support where the customer queries are repetitive. They help to reduce the customer support effort of companies by more than 80%. But nevertheless, remaining 20% still require human intervention for some decision makings. This percentage will obviously reduce over the next few years but cannot be made ‘zero’.
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
I think “Wonder Woman 1984” is one of the best movies I have seen in the last few days. The reason of the message the movie gives. There is no limit to the ‘wants or wishes’ but it always comes with a trade-off with something else.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
The most relevant CX metric is NPS, but my favorite would be Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) since it helps predict which customer will be more profitable in the entire future relationship.