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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Brett Frazer is Head of Customer Service at Sun Basket, a San Francisco-based healthy meal kit delivery company that was founded in 2014 and has grown rapidly since. At Sun Basket, he leads all aspects of the company’s customer service function and works directly with the organization’s C-suite and senior leaders. He has over 20 years of experience working with multinational organizations and startups to design, build or enhance their customer service processes. Regardless of role, position or organization, the focus and passion of his work has always been to create experiences that not only keep customers coming back but also lead them to recommend others to join them. Prior to joining Sun Basket in 2016, Brett was Director of Client Services at Sutherland Global Services, where he managed accounts for Microsoft and Postmates. Before that, he led Asia Pacific customer service and support organizations for Adobe and Microsoft. Additionally, Brett is a member of the Corporate Advisory Board of Execs In The Know, a global network of customer experience professionals. He also leads the organization’s Gig Economy focus group, which helps companies understand the power of incorporating the passion, knowledge and brand affinity of their existing customers and then leverage these attributes for their customer experience talent pool. A native of New Zealand, Brett has lived and worked in five countries, and is also an international award-winning photographer.
Interviewed by Uma Mageshwari
/ / How has the contact center function evolved in your company over the past few years?
There have been three core elements in the evolution of our contact center:
/ / What challenges do you face while planning your contact center strategy?
The first challenge, as with many organizations, is coordination across our company on what the ideal customer experience is across all touchpoints – our web experience, our food experience and our support experience. Once that is defined, it is then prioritizing the best balance of people and technology-related inputs to achieve that cohesive experience on a budget.
To be effective in the two outcomes above involves assessing your current and future customers’ expectations, the capabilities of your current people and technology infrastructure, as well as the short- and long-term advancements in technology that are expected.
Without this knowledge, it is hard to know what not to commit to, as much as what to. Even then it is hard to always predict every outcome along the way, so it requires the ability to adapt when commitments need to change.
/ / What are the key metrics you track to gauge the performance of your contact center?
There are three basic areas that most KPIs fall under in the contact center space – cost, quality and speed.
As we break these down for Sun Basket for cost, the primary two measures are cost per contact and cost per box sold. Quality has three components – customer satisfaction, agent satisfaction and quality monitoring accuracy. For speed, while we measure our response times across our channels, the single roll-up measurement I focus on is cases per hour per agent.
/ / What is the scope of cloud customer support in this industry?
The big focus on cloud has been the evolution of technology away from perpetual on-premise software deployments and data storage to subscription-based technologies that live in the cloud and are “always on.” This covers customer relationship management (CRM) systems, telephony solutions, quality monitoring/call recording systems, etc.
/ / Have you implemented an omnichannel approach in your contact center yet? What are the key areas you need to focus on while implementing an omnichannel approach?
Omnichannel is a very interesting topic that has a wide scope of meaning in the industry. In the purest sense of the word, we believe it means that if as a customer I start a conversation with a company through a particular channel, say chat, and I then decide to call to complete that conversation, the same “case” that I stated in chat would be presented automatically to the agent who answers my phone call and they can seamlessly pick up where the chat agent finished off.
What we have implemented at Sun Basket is a single CRM system into which all interactions that our customers have with us (across SMS, chat, phone, social and web feeds) are fed. Our agents have access to all the customers’ prior contacts, so that if a customer chooses to change channels within an issue, while a new case would be created in the system, by reading the prior interaction notes, a new agent can pick up and continue assisting that customer with as little friction as possible.
For Sun Basket, we have been lucky in that we are a relatively young organization. So, we have been able to build this integration from scratch. Organizations that have been around for 10-plus years find this harder when trying to integrate new support channels, like messaging, into their legacy systems.
/ / Has AI been introduced in your contact center? If it has, when was it introduced and how exactly has it helped your company?
We began utilizing AI in two capacities in 2018. First, from a customer-facing perspective, we have a chatbot, Sunny B, that helps to automate several common questions that customers have around their membership, deliveries or issues they may experience with the ingredients they receive. We started with a basic option-select bot and we are now in the final stages of rolling out our natural language process capabilities to allow our customers to have regular “conversations” with Sunny B. Once this is successfully in chat, we will extend it to our SMS channel.
On the backend, we have started integrating RPA (robotics process automation) tasks that allow us to automate actions or full cases. In some situations, we have the RPA backend enabling the AI chat functionality on the frontend.
The result of this: providing customers more opportunities to resolve their questions without having to speak to our team members. For our agents, it helps to remove some of the highly repetitive work and lets them focus on the more interesting and complex questions. Both outcomes help us reduce our cost.
/ / Which platform does your contact center currently function on? Why did you choose that platform?
We have three core platforms that we utilize – Genesys PureCloud, Sprout Social and SalesForce ServiceCloud. ServiceCloud is the primary CRM in which all our case data is stored and integrates with our proprietary customer platform. It is also where all our web, email and chat/chatbot cases natively occur. Sprout Social is our tool for managing our interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and for core customer cases, it integrates with ServiceCloud through APIs. PureCloud is our telephony and SMS system, again pushing case data into ServiceCloud through APIs.
We selected ServiceCloud primarily for its capability to easily capture and report on multiple problems in a single case. This is key in providing us with accurate performance data that is fed back to our distribution centers, as well as our Marketing, Product and Kitchen teams. Also, there are many other capabilities natively available within the product, including chat, bot and advanced reporting capabilities. This allows us to keep our product stack linked to a vital few providers.
When we were looking for a telephony provider, we wanted a cloud-based solution, as against an on-premise solution, and one that easily integrated with ServiceCloud. After evaluating a number of different providers, we decided that PureCloud best fit our needs. We reevaluate every year and continue to find that this product matches our requirements.
/ / What are the most effective ways in which your contact center captures customer feedback?
The primary method of capturing customer feedback is through a robust coding system that allows us to identify the reason, sub and sub-sub reason for which each customer had to contact us.
We utilize this information, not only for opportunities to improve the experience other customers run into while dealing with the same or similar problems, but more importantly, as a mechanism to provide feedback to our Marketing, Product, Kitchen and Operations teams. This helps them prioritize customer experience cases to stop or reduce those problems.
/ / What are the pain points with respect to delivery in your contact center?
This is where our post-service surveys come into play. We keep our survey to six questions, including a verbatim option. We then review the verbatim of both high- and low-scoring results, looking for any dissatisfaction that a customer mentions. After that, we categorize them, not only for what we can control within the contact center, but also for issues that are relevant to the other departments. The pain points that are related to our direct customer service control usually relate to the completeness of the solution provided, timeliness of response, personalization (or lack thereof) of the response and the amount of effort a customer believes he/she had to put in for solving the issue.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive the contact center industry in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
While there are many evolving areas in the contact center space, the three key trends that I believe will drive the future are
Building customer relationships in the healthcare tech sector
Marco Armienta, Director of Customer Experience, Valant
Designing your contact center around your most valued asset – your customer
Anthony Daubenmerkl, Vice President of Global Support & Client Success, Thycotic
Delighting customers or meeting expectations: The role of contact centers
Customer contact centers are now playing increasingly larger roles in B2B environments.
Preparing for the call center of the future
David Donatelli, Senior Vice President of Global Customer Support, Fuze
Customer support on a global scale in the financial services industry
Jessica Lovell, Director of Global Customer Support, Morningstar
Why customer satisfaction is serious business
Scott Gilbert, Senior Director of Global Customer Support, Qumu Corporation