Hi Hasnain, tell us about yourself and your background.
I did my undergraduate majoring in finance with an ambition to become an investment banker; however, certain turns of events took place and I ended up in digital technology and advertising, which is where I have been since 2013. During this time, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few global giants like Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline & Tetra Pak, as well as local powerhouses like HBL. In 2015, I started my post graduate degree program from the Institute of Business Management and secured a gold medal after achieving the highest GPA in my graduating batch.
During my tenures on the agency side, I have worked as a client servicing professional throughout which has helped me understand the business models of our clients as well and that ultimately led me to my current position at Falcon-i Private Limited as a Marketing & Customer Experience Manager.
I have always been blessed with a curios mind and in my spare time I am mostly glued to my phone either browsing through YouTube on topics such as history, linguistics and technology or flipping through a Wikipedia article about something I recently learned about. I am also a screen junkie and my love for technology goes beyond anything.
How did you first start working in the CX space?
Unofficially, I started out in the CX space right from the beginning of my career while I was employed as an Assistant Account Manager at a digital marketing agency. I continued as a client servicing professional for the better part of the next 7 years throughout which ensuring optimal client experience was always at the top of my mind.
Officially, I was appointed as a joint Marketing & Customer Experience Manager at my current employer is February 2021. Initially, I had joined as a Marketing Manager with my employer looking for a different incumbent for the CX role, however, once I saw how well the nature of the work suited my own set of skills I immediately took the initiative of asking for the role for myself and after an onboarding process I was offered the role.
What are some of the common misunderstandings related to customer experience?
The most common misconception that I have seen is confusing customer support for customer experience. I think customer experience for a brand is equal to user experience for a website/mobile app where just having a good deal is not enough for a customer to buy your product. Similarly, just providing adequate support to your customers might not be sometimes enough, especially if your customer has to maneuver through a painstaking process in order to obtain the required customer support.
Additionally, I also think that establishing the optimum customer experience without actually consulting your customer is foolish. Many people conceptualize an ideal framework for the right customer experience based on their own knowledge and experience, however, what I have found is that we always need to listen to our customers in order to be able to help them in the right way.
Have you seen any interesting new trends in eCommerce this year?
I think small businesses has rapidly increased their pace of adopting digital commerce as an alternative model of doing business. Obviously, most of this has been fueled by the on going pandemic, however, what’s encouraging is that customers are following suite and have started to prefer online shopping rather than physical visits for items like groceries, medicine, personal care products etc.
Locally, many business have invested in an active WhatsApp for Business presence in order to engage shoppers and going as far as processing orders to chats on WhatsApp which shows how important as a channel it can be to the future of online commerce.
eCommerce boomed in 2020, and consumers started leaving more product reviews online. How can we make the most out of this momentum?
Online sellers should definitely take advantage of the valuable insights received through these customer reviews and work on improving their product and service experience. At time, we become too comfortable in the light of rising profits and don’t realize that sustaining profitability is more difficult than achieving it.
What are some CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
I am currently focusing on formulating an internal framework for measuring customer experience at my company. Since this is a relatively new space for us, we haven’t yet explored in depth what options are available.
So many things changed in 2020. While some things are going to return to “normal,” what are new trends and habits you think will stay with us in the long term?
I think online payments will only get stronger with time, specially with the increase in adoption for solutions like mobile wallets and QR payments. I also think that online delivery services will become more widely adopted as more and more companies start offering them and delivery solutions become more cost effective and efficient.
I also think that remote working will eventually be converted to a hybrid working model where in a week a few days would be allocated to remote working and remaining for office work.
Do you believe focus groups are still relevant in the era of eCommerce? Why?
I think we are some way off from saying that Focus Group will start become irrelevant solely based on the quality on insights that you can extract from them. Experiences and reviews shared during these sessions at times are the most valuable information that you can get from your customers.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
I think a lot of people would choose NPS, but my vote will always go to Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). Ultimately a satisfied customer is the best ROI you can get for your investment in providing a great customer experience.