At Freshdesk, customer happiness has always been our true north and in the 17th edition of our Customer Happiness Tour (CHT), we made a stop at Bangalore on 29 April 2016 to bring together leaders in customer experience in India to discuss why customer experience is a key differentiator in their business.
The day was filled with some great themes. We have some of them detailed below:
Don’t chase growth at the cost of customer happiness.
First up, we had our CEO, Girish, take us back to the basics. “Is it worth chasing growth at the cost of great customer experience?” he asks. “How is customer happiness in direct proportion to repurchase intent?”. According to Girish, if you’re going to build a company with a lasting legacy, build it on the strong foundations of providing great customer experience. Great companies don’t happen without happy customers.
Girish Mathrubootham on chasing customer growth at the cost of customer happiness
Know your customers. Build relationships that last a lifetime.
Next, we had Nandini Vishwanath from Urban Ladder. Urban Ladder has been growing phenomenally and she says, they owe it all to happy customers. Nandini spoke to us about how they have managed to keep up a consistently high NPS score over the last year – attention to detail in design (its form and function), hiring the right kind of talent based on culture fit, employee training and also, their superior support which worked the numbers for them. “Know the people you do business with – your customers – and be invested in your partners’ progress. Make sure they believe and understand your values.” said Nandini.
Nandini Vishwanath on building long-lasting customer relationships
Drive customer-led growth and customer oriented culture in organizations.
Having heard about how Urban Ladder kept their NPS score at par with Amazon and Zappos, our next session involved Yaquta Mandviwala from Bain & Company in a fireside chat with Vinod Muthukrishnan from Cloudcherry Analytics. Yaquta spoke about NPS and how it’s different from other metrics like CSAT. She also covered GE’s adoption of NPS and the employee engagement culture in organizations with a high NPS score. She spoke about a philosophy that she lives by: “1 for yes, 2 for no.” To elaborate, it takes only one person to take a decision if you want to say yes to your customer, but if you want to say no to your customer, always consult with one more person – your immediate superior. This was a strong message to everyone who deals with customers day in and day out. Her top advice to companies while taking an NPS survey was that face-to-face surveys are the best way to get responses.
A fireside chat between Yaquta Mandviwala and Vinod Muthukrishnan on customer-led growth in organizations
Build a customer focused culture – one that has synergy between teams to deliver exceptional customer support.
Our next speaker was K B Nagaraju, from BigBasket, who shared some of the experiences he has had from his company, and their best practices. He stressed on how important it is for everyone in the company to be aligned towards the same goal – customer happiness. Their staff on the forefront, who deliver goods to the customers, are called Customer Experience Executives – they are the first touchpoint for the customer, and their primary aim is to ensure that they give them a great experience. He spoke on how it is important that you go out of your way to set things right, should you fail to deliver on your promise, with examples from BigBasket’s refund policy.
K B Nagaraju on building a customer centric culture
A crisis can happen to any business – big or small. This can be a unique opportunity for a business to truly explore new opportunities and show the world who they really are.
Following this, we brought together SpiceJet, UrbanClap and Swiggy for a panel discussion on how individuals and the company can plan better for crises. This was moderated by Shradha Sharma – Founder and Chief Editor at YourStory Media.
Each of them narrated moments of crises from their past, and how those events made them rethink their strategies. Suhail Vadgaokar from UrbanClap gave us insights into dealing with multiple vendors, and how they tackle potential crisis situations. “It is very important that you ensure that you onboard all vendors,” said Suhail, “… so that they see eye to eye with you on the customer experience that you want to deliver.”
Nandan Reddy, who cofounded Swiggy, elaborated why it’s always a good practice to give yourself some room, should something happen that is outside your control. You can never predict when things could go awry. Being up front that you can’t always be perfect certainly helps in earning your customers’ trust and support when you need it.
Kamal Hingorani from SpiceJet, recalled a story which was an example of how they managed to avert crises. He narrated an incident where they chose to change their course mid-flight when a passenger had a medical emergency. This ultimately ended up saving the passenger’s life. A life-changing incident like this will certainly earn you customer loyalty for life.
Shradha summed it up with her own experience that honesty always helps. If you are honest about what went wrong, and what you plan to do to rectify it, you will not lose your customers’ trust. In fact, they’ll only trust you more, and back you up.
From left: Shradha Sharma, Suhail Vadgaokar, Nandan Reddy and Kamal Hingorani
Every moment of interaction through every channel creates a lasting impact on the customer’s relationship with a brand.
Our next panel discussion brought together Chai Point, Capillary Technologies, Lenskart, and Myntra. The panel was moderated by Thejaswi Udupa of Buildkar.com. The first three panelists spoke about their experiences about interacting with customers on multiple channels – while Myntra played devil’s advocate and explained their stance on moving their business to app-only.
The customer-company relationship has changed.
The panel spoke about how in the past, companies controlled how, when, and where customers interacted with them. Now the tables have turned, and customers are dictating how that relationship develops. Nitesh stressed that it no longer makes sense to look at the customer experience on each channel independently because customers aren’t using just one channel to interact with a company. He even spoke about a customer who walked into their head office to discuss about his progressive glasses!
Diksha and Thejaswi spoke about how the customer experience includes anything and everything that touches your customers. This means that wherever, whenever, and however customers interact with your brand, they’ll be expecting a seamless experience that has the same look and feel, level of service, and consistency. Sriram and Ashwin spoke about how companies need to craft a business strategy and marry that with technology to accommodate seamless omnichannel interaction.
Indeed, identifying the right information and acting on it in real time has become increasingly important. Finally Thejaswi summed it up by saying that every moment of interaction through every channel creates a lasting impact on the customer’s relationship with a brand and that brands need to start investing in omnichannel support at the earliest.
From left: Thejaswi Udupa, Sriram Shankar, Diksha Pande, Ashwin Krishna and Nitesh Chetri
The final session of the day was on the future of customer service, presented by our COO, Nishant Rao. Nishant elaborated on what the future looks like – trends from today which would ultimately be the norm of tomorrow: automation and chat bots, community support, and in-app messaging. A future where the customer is no longer king; a future where the customer is God. And customer service is the God particle.
Nishant Rao on the future of customer service
We started this series of events two years ago with the intention of providing a platform for customer experience leaders to share their insights and learn from their peers. And we are happy to say that we are right on track. The event brought together over a hundred individuals passionate about customer support, a lot of great ideas, exciting food for thought and key insights on how to tackle challenges while providing stellar customer experience. We are inspired by the tremendous response that we’ve received and we are excited about what the future holds. Stay tuned for more!