Hi Anupam, tell us about yourself and your background.
I have a total of 16 years of experience in the software industry. I worked as a coder for the initial 7 years of my career in companies like Microsoft, Motorola & Cadence and now for the last 7 years, as a product manager. I’ve been lucky that I have worked on a variety of applications such as desktop, web and mobile applications. In the process, I’ve used a range of technologies from C/C++, Win32 APIs/MFCs to Python/Java, search engines, machine learning, RESTful APIs and UI/UX.
How did you start working in the customer experience space?
When I joined Cadence 7 years ago, my first task was to improve the UI and performance of the portal as it had a lot of complaints in this area. I worked on UI/UX and the search engine and the portal improved a lot in look and feel. However, as we iterated, interacted with more and more customers, analyzed usage data, we realized it’s the customer delight that matters in the end. We started working on every single feature from the customers’ point of view and how a feature improved a user’s overall experience with our platform, and consequently with Cadence.
Can you tell us a little bit about your current role?
I’m looking after Cadence’s customer learning and support platform which consists of a web portal, a mobile app and RESTful APIs. Cadence’s customers access the portal to learn about Cadence technologies through courses, trainings, videos, troubleshooting information, product manuals, and get support from expert support engineers. As a PM, my job is to improve the portal by bringing new features/product or the use of new technologies such as AI/ML to help customers learn and use Cadence products efficiently.
How can companies better listen and understand their customer base?
One of my mentors once told me that one complaining user represents hundreds more who just chose not to complain. So, I would say, never ignore a complaint from a user.
Open channels for interaction with your users as your next feature often lies in those interactions. This channel could be a blog/forum, reviews, in-person or online demos of new features.
What are some companies that you think are doing an excellent job at customer experience, and why?
We are living in times where a lot of devices/products/services (from same or different companies) are integrated together to provide a wholesome experience to users. Google in my opinion does a great job at customer experience and a lot of their products are seamlessly integrated. I’m glad that many small companies and start-ups are paying great attention to customer experience nowadays. One such company is Indian unicorn Zomato, which is working to solve your hunger efficiently in a very creative way which delights customers.
Many companies are currently undergoing digital transformation processes – what are your tips on a successful digital transformation?
In the process of digital transformation, a lot of things will be converted from manual to digital mode and a lot of existing or new digital services/products will be integrated. Products in isolation may provide great experience but when they are integrated, they pose a great challenge to users if not integrated properly.
Haven’t you ever come across two products from same company which look different, work differently and sometimes don’t even work together? For example, a lot of banking institutions have products for daily banking, insurance, loans, and stock market but a lot of them have different user ids.
I think companies should focus on the tasks of users more than the segmentation of services/products. A transaction may involve use of two or more products/services, and all such services/products should be integrated to allow users to complete the transaction smoothly.
All new digitalized products/services should match the UI/UX of existing products to take the learning load off from users and build trust while using new services.
I would also like companies to be proactive in predicting users’ needs proactively and serving before a user asks for it, that is what delights users the most. For example, recommendations are crucial in modern systems as they save a lot of effort on the users’ part.
What are some CX solutions or tools that you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
Customer experience is more towards understanding the tasks of users and click stream analysis is one such thing which lets you analyze the usage patterns of users. No specific tool per se, but I think tools like Google analytics, Tableau, Power BI, Adobe Experience Cloud can provide good analysis and insights into your users.
Did you read any interesting books this past summer that you’d like to recommend?
There are two books I recently read, and I wish I could have read them earlier.
- The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman.
It’s a classical text for design. It just opens your horizons to viewing things differently and to notice the subtleness of design. I think it’s a must read for everyone irrespective of profession or stage of career.
- Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder.
It’s an awesome book. It doesn’t only help learn business model generation but also about instilling creativity and innovation in business models.
What is your favorite CX metric?
Positive feedback, customer satisfaction, and referrals. For me, customer experience means how delighted our users are with our services/products and are they happy enough to refer our offering within their circle (be it work or social).