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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.
Purna Chandra Mahato
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.
Jessica Lovell is Director of Global Customer Support at Morningstar, a global financial services firm. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Jessica began her career in the financial services industry with Margin Lending in Sydney in 2002. She then worked in operational roles within wealth management and equity trading at full-service broker Ord Minnett and St. George Bank (part of Westpac Banking Group). Within Westpac, she went on to manage services and systems consolidation, and also temporarily worked for the life insurance arm, assisting with change implementation. In 2013, Jessica moved into the Client Service Manager role at Morningstar’s Sydney office and, in 2016, relocated to Chicago as the company’s Director of Support for the Americas. She was promoted to Director of Global Customer Support in 2017 and looks after 160 support professionals located across 11 countries. Jessica has a Bachelors Degree in Business, majoring in Accounting from Charles Sturt University, Australia.
Interviewed by Uma Mageshwari
/ / How has the contact center function evolved in your company over the past few years?
Our company’s contact center function has evolved quite significantly, both in terms of organizational structure and technology, over the past few years. Over the years, we have rolled out a unified CRM system, aligned and clarified functional roles, and globalized our support teams. We also introduced three new channels – communities, case portals and chat – through which customers can interact with us.
/ / What challenges do you face while planning your contact center strategy?
Some of the major challenges are building flexibility in the global workforce in terms of headcount, hours of operation and shift management in order to maintain consistent standards, but also aiming to run as lean as possible to optimize maximum cost efficiencies.
/ / What are the key metrics you track to gauge the performance of your contact center?
While we have a number of metrics that are used to track the performance of the entire operation, customer experience and measures that demonstrate it are key for us. We measure metrics that show our accessibility (service level of 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds or less), our speed and ability to resolve issues (cycle time for resolution of issues and percentage of issues needing assistance outside of the contact center), and customers opinions themselves on the interactions (CSAT and percentage of issues that customers feel are still unresolved).
/ / What is the scope of cloud customer support in this industry?
Huge! There is a need to quickly evolve your support experience to test new channels, processes and styles. Also, for the ever-present need for stability that is required to run clean, uninterrupted voice and data traffic, cloud capabilities are paramount. Outside of customer support, even our own product offerings are amidst a transformation, with two of our major platforms moving onto the cloud. This creates further complexities since we have to use traditional and more modern customer support channels and technologies in tandem.
/ / 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?
Yes, we have. As mentioned above, we have rolled out new channels to make it easier for our customers to reach us and keep our clients engaged with our platforms (that is, make it as frictionless for the client as possible).
Two things come to mind when rolling out a strategy: First, you don’t have to go all-in straight away. Test a couple of segments or regions where you believe there is demand. Partner with companies that allow you to scale up. The second is to keep in mind that omnichannel also means omni-workflow, omni-reporting and omni-workforce management. You need to keep track of these interactions in the same way you would for traditional voice communications so that you can maintain quality, records of experience and workforce impact. This will truly help you assess the effectiveness and decide whether to scale up.
/ / Has AI been introduced in your contact center? If it has, when was it introduced and how exactly has it helped your company?
No, not yet. We are working more towards streamlining our vendor stack, improving the consistency of our customer data collection and maintenance, establishing a knowledge management team and reducing the number of systems our representatives need to use first. AI is definitely part of our strategy in the future. However, I believe AI is mislabeled most of the time; what is mostly being done is still human intelligence and human coding.
/ / Which platform does your contact center currently function on? Why did you choose that platform?
We have several platforms that we use to operate our end-to-end support center programs. We have Avaya as our core telephony system, Salesforce Service Cloud as our key CRM and case management workflow tool, and use Teleopti for workforce management.
Most of the core pieces are legacy platforms that have been in place as part of our company’s unified communications technology stack. However, the more recent additions (for example, Salesforce Service Cloud) have been implemented directly as part of our strategy to unify corporate technology and improve collaboration with our sales and marketing organizations.
/ / What are the most effective ways in which your contact center captures customer feedback?
We are fortunate that we are involved in many programs where clients can provide direct ratings and verbatim comments. Whilst this isn’t always the core business metric, it helps guide our decision-making process. We gain insights on whether something would work or be received well by having a good handle on these metrics and customer opinions.
/ / What are the pain points with respect to delivery in your contact center?
Reliance on the many databases and software programs to execute our many workflows is a major pain point. It’s painful for the workforce, it’s painful on our wallets and it leads to more operational risks in delivering for our clients due to the various dependencies involved.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive the contact center industry in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
Personalization is the differentiator. Your company’s product and service should remain focused on reducing the amount of human intervention needed for a customer or client to happily use and continue to use your offering. However, when a customer or client does contact you, they want you to know who they are and what they need. Remove the pain – this isn’t a new trend, but the importance will grow, as will self-service.
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
Why customer satisfaction is serious business
Scott Gilbert, Senior Director of Global Customer Support, Qumu Corporation
Customer service: An untapped gold mine of VoC insights
Brett Frazer, Head of Customer Service, Sun Basket