Amit Sanyal, Assistant Vice President & Joint Head, Consumer Value Solutions business, Mahindra Comviva shares his views on why Customer Experience Management is becoming increasingly relevant today. Excerpts…
1. Why, in your opinion, has Customer Experience Management come into the limelight?
This refers to the telecom space. From this perspective, one has to look at the current status, peppered with some perspective from recent history. In most countries, the telecom ecosystem, at least the operator sides of the ecosystem moved from being a green-field, land grab opportunity to being fiercely competitive to being ‘mature’ today. The handset was the biggest entry barrier for the user, next came the call rates. Today neither is. Telecom today is a buyer’s market, used to a seller’s one even till a few years back. I am not getting into details of how or why this change happened.
Now that it has, what is the impact?
• The customer has choice and the customer is Aware in the true sense.
• The customer is always ‘connected’ or wants to be always connected
• Choice has its own problems-it creates clutter. The customer has gone through that phase and now wants or rather demands personalization.
• For the operator, it means a shift from deciding what experience it wants its ‘customers’ to get, to finding ways to give a different experience to ‘a customer’
• A demanding customer represents an opportunity. If I can understand each customer, I can also communicate with each customer better. If I can understand the customers’ intent, I can convert that into a purchase of a product from my portfolio of services.
• The best service that a customer expects is NO service. The best customer service for me is if I do not need to call customer service.
A competitive market ensures that call rates / access rates, etc are similar. The only differentiator in the customer’s mind is the Quality of Experience. Does my service provider understand me?
With all these, the erstwhile Customer Experience Management (CEM) paradigm is no longer relevant. Today, the world is moving to CXM where the ‘experience’ part is for each touch point where the customer interacts with the service provider when making or receiving calls / accessing Internet / getting a query, request or complaint placed or resolved or making a purchase of an additional service. Even till recently ‘experience’ used to be interchangeably used with ‘quality’ which then narrowed down to the quality of the network experience only.
Customer Value Management today is the key. Times have changed.
2. What are a few key global CXM practices and can they be replicated here? Why or why not?
While so much is being written and spoken about CEM / CXM, practically this still is in a very nascent stage. There are credible initiatives done globally but you must understand that CEM is not a boxed solution. Things done elsewhere cannot and more appropriately should not be replicated as is. Each geography is different and even within a geography the preferences of customers which an operator has vary greatly with those of another in the same region. It depends heavily on whether an operator has the early mobile adopters or the Gen X or generally class agnostic users as its customers.
The need therefore for an operator is to have a solution from a provider with whom they can work together (and not expect a solution in a box!) to arrive at the best possible CXM use cases suited for the customers it has.
We at Mahindra Comviva do just that. While there are solution boundaries, the final mechanics of what fits best for a particular Operators is worked out together. We believe in long term partnerships and not a typical vendor-customer relation.
3. What are the portfolio’s key pillars? Who will be your target audience?
Let me simplify this…forget about the pillars…what does the solution promise?
• Helps sell more to the same set of customers
• Helps keep customer’s longer on the network
These are two simple promises that form the bed-rock of Comviva’s CXM solution.
Effectively, in granular terms the solution promises a move from–
The above is with a commitment to continuously work with the customer through our Business Consulting services.
There is no typical ‘TG’ for our solutions. This is for all telecom operators who believe that the left of the grid above is something they wouldn’t want to be in, it does not make sense anymore. The promise is not about the ability to increase revenues by X% or Y $, the promise is that if you move to the right-that’s the right way! Customers will be happy, Business will follow.
4. What do you consider your USPs?
We stand by just one credo, ”We understand the Customer, technology is just something we are also good at”. That means –
• Customer Value Management driven by analytics
• Solutions which are designed basis how the customer will use it vis-à-vis how best we can make it
• Features which solve business problems and not which are there to show a list which looks long
• Ability to seamlessly integrate and co-exist with existing systems
• Business Consulting to make things happen-together
5. In your opinion, where does India stand vis a vis developed nations in this respect?
There are three facets to this:
In most emerging markets, the intent and environment are in the right direction. However, while there is a market need to move towards the ideal-N = 1 CXM, the ability of most players to do this by themselves is limited. This is where specialist CXM solution providers come into the play so that Ability does not be a limitation anymore.
6. Are operators managing to provide an optimal CXM experience? Why or why not?
I am afraid not, but there is definitely an intent but limited by ability as I said before.
As a customer, I have directly or indirectly shared everything that my service provider can use to understand me better. The operator has everything that is required. The missing piece is that ‘intermediate layer’ which helps makes sense of this data. Everyone today speaks of Big Data, it’s not how much data you have, how frequently you can refresh it or how fast you can process it; it’s all about making Sense of that data and using that for customized and real-time marketing to drive customer experience. Most operators are not there yet.