Hi Ankit, tell us about yourself and your background?
I come from a background of Chartered Accountants. In fact, I am the third CA in my family and hence have an entrepreneurial mindset towards things. I have been working from a very young age and hence have had a chance to establish 3 companies around the cloud accounting space. All these three, that is MMC Convert, MMC Books, and MMC Receipt aim at making various aspects of bookkeeping and accounting that much easier. With these companies, we also have some exclusive tie-ups with Intuit, Xero, Freshbooks, and Freeagent.
I am married to Shanu, a computer science engineer, so the aforementioned companies had a lot of insights from an expert that is my wife. In my years of working as an entrepreneur and a Chartered Accountant, I have also had a chance to become a Forbes Business Council Member and also a member of the Entrepreneur Organization.
In order to give back to the society that has given me this much, I also co-founded an NGO called “Arth Sangini”. This organization works towards uplifting women of the lower-income groups and aims at making them financially literate.
How can brands better utilize consumer reviews
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
Consumer reviews are super important for a business to improve and serve its customers better. In my years of experience as an entrepreneur, I have learned the best way to utilize them is to take the negative reviews in stride and treat them with utmost priority. This is because not-so-satisfied customers can be your best growth catalyst.
To further add new product functionality, an online feature request option should be provided to the existing customers.
Every review positive or negative is important, which is why the brands will need to make sure that they are properly acknowledged and responded so that the customer feels heard.
In your POV – What is the ultimate checklist for a good customer experience strategy?
A speedy and feel-good UI and UX of a brand’s website. To ensure more intuitiveness, one must also provide multiple avenues on the website for the customer to reach out. These include call back requests, contact forms, live chat, or voice/video support.
What makes for a solid customer experience is also the response time from customer care. The average response time should not be more than 60 minutes, they should be prompt and quick to take a new request and solve old ones. You can also go one step further to ensure special focus on the product delivery timeline and keep on providing regular updates on the status of an order or an issue. Combining all of them makes for a pretty impenetrable customer experience strategy.
All of the above points should ensure we have a repeating customer in our hands, positive reviews from them, and referral by existing customers to the prospects. This will go in ensuring longer lifetime value of the product.
How much has the role of customer experience changed in the social distancing era – what role digital transformation has in this crisis?
In the era where everyone is practicing strict social distancing, providing a personalized experience to a customer is very important. The digital transformation, while has made this challenging, it is still attainable to provide for an experience that revolves around the user. To ensure a brand achieves the apt level of personalization digitally, things like a trial, return and exchange of a product should be more streamlined and easy to access by the customer.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
2020 as a year was full of many challenges, but also a lot of values and teachings to be had. One of the major things I learned was to focus more on brand visibility on social media channels like Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, even for traditional businesses. This uncertain era also made me aware of how important and beneficial is to invest in some tech stocks.
Moreover, the importance of MicroEconomics was also a highlight of what I learned. As I figured, many people still don’t know what it is. Also, I realized the difference a dedicated and lean team can make to your business. Lastly but still important, I realized how important it is to keep your overhead expenses in check at all times.
2020 was the year of webinars and online events; what was your favorite one?
Like many people in 2020, I also found myself engrossed in many interesting webinars and online events that keep happening. However, I really found myself hooked to the “Pivot” podcast by Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. Scott Galloway is one of the most forthcoming and thought-provoking authors of recent times. I would highly recommend it.
It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future. How should Executives gear up to the changing times?
I am going to share what I have learned and refined my experience to be while working from home. You should create a dedicated space in your home for an office to work out of. Secondly, fix a routine that helps balance and separate personal and office time. One thing I learned that I want more people to realize that not all conversations require a Zoom meeting and phone calls. Text messages are the way to go for these.
Also, I realized the value of “Staycations”, which provide the best of both worlds. These should be promoted and encouraged more for a mindful lifestyle.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
With my background and experience, I would say it is the “Repeating Customers” Metric. This is my choice because like I mentioned in my previous answers, customers should be at the front and center of everything you create. What customers come back and are loyal to a brand showcase how good a job you’ve actually done.