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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.
Ryan Kam is Chief Marketing Officer of Five9, a software company that provides cloud contact center solutions for enterprises. Ryan is responsible for the stewardship of the Five9 brand and all aspects of marketing. He is a passionate marketing leader who has elevated some of tech’s most storied brands, growing and managing industry-leading and award-winning marketing teams. Prior to joining Five9 in 2018, Ryan was Chief Creative/Digital Officer at AppDynamics, where he rebranded the company and created a compelling corporate narrative that contributed to a successful IPO roadshow. He also held a variety of creative and digital marketing roles at Salesforce, where he served as lead creative for salesforce.com, creative director of the Dreamforce user conference and headed the digital marketing team. Earlier in his career, Ryan served in associate creative director roles at a variety of digital agencies.
Interviewed by Uma Mageshwari
/ / What challenges do enterprises face while planning their contact center strategy?
Enterprises across industries can face a number of challenges if they don’t have the proper mindset or technological approach to drive their overall contact center strategy. Often, the experience a CMO wants to provide and what the customer is actually getting are two very different things. In order to align the two, executives need to understand that the contact center doesn’t sit in isolation. It’s at the heart of a holistic strategy that creates the customer experience from end-to-end.
There is also a technology challenge. There’s a reason more of the enterprise ecosystem is moving to the cloud, and it’s important to think about why. The cloud enables executives to be agile and focus on what’s really going on in their business, as opposed to their technology. In particular, by moving the contact center to the cloud, CMOs can spend more time thinking about building relationships with customers through the contact center, instead of the hardware that enables it.
Additionally, enterprises need to understand that the contact center is about building a relationship beyond the experience, and their strategy needs to allow them to do that at scale, on a channel that’s most convenient for the customer.
/ / What are the key metrics that enterprises track to gauge the performance of their contact centers?
Traditional metrics, when we think about the contact center, tend to be handling time and sentiment post-call. However, both can be misleading. For example, did the agent just get through the call quickly and not actually help the customer? Is sentiment only gauging what the agent thinks? For these reasons, emotional quotient (EQ) has become a major factor. For years, technology has distracted us from EQ – we can answer more questions with technology and build a bigger button to do it, but ultimately, how a customer feels after an engagement is the most important measure of success. Emotion, happiness and loyalty should all be metrics at the forefront of any contact center strategy.
/ / What are the key areas enterprises need to focus on while implementing an omnichannel approach in their contact centers?
The main purpose of an omnichannel approach is to connect with your customers where they want to engage with you. It’s not about making all the channels equal. Instead, it’s about focusing on customer expectations. For instance, if your customer is not going to use chat, why have it? Or, if 89% of your base is going to use voice, then that channel should be supported by heavy investment.
While having an omnichannel approach is important, the key to its success is ensuring that channels aren’t siloed. To build a relationship with the customer, touchpoints made through chat, email, phone or anywhere else should be continuous and frictionless. If you know who a customer is over email and they contact you again via text, you should know who they are and what they’ve needed in the past. A disruption within the end-to-end experience is what your customers will notice most.
/ / How does AI help contact centers?
The way our company thinks about AI, it still requires human participation. We talk about algorithms with prejudice and training them based on abstractions because these machines are just ingesting data. We think it works best when you’re able to have that data work with humans to provide a better experience. AI should be able to help agents to focus on the relationship. It should make technology invisible and make humans better at what they’re already good at. AI that helps to deliver information and gather context empowers the agent to focus on what the customer is doing and how to deliver a positive experience.
AI is only possible because we’ve unlocked more data, which is made possible by the shift to the cloud. AI helps us look at that data faster, sometimes even in real-time. Today, everyone is trying to get closer to the customer – it’s all about “zero distance.” But the ultimate goal is to be predictive, and AI will help companies get there.
/ / What are the most effective ways in which your contact center captures customer feedback?
Our contact center has 24/7 service, and because we have an open platform, feedback is not just narrowed down to our solution. We have APIs into multiple solutions, which creates a continuous feedback loop of optimization. We not only take feedback but also give it.
Beyond that, what really differentiates us is a white-glove experience. We’ve found that one of the most effective ways to capture feedback is being right there with customers, spending days in their shoes. It ends up being more of a partnership than a feedback loop. We’re there on-site with customers as a strategic partner.
/ / What are the pain points with respect to delivery in your contact center?
Since our company’s software is in the cloud and can be easily deployed, our clients can move fast if they want to. But sometimes that can be a pain point for them. Since they have to manage people, processes and technology, sometimes they’re not quite ready as fast as we are. But we help manage them through it.
A key point, however, is that although we provide cloud-based contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions, we are on-site with our customers and provide guidance and management of the implementation every step of the way. This is a big differentiator for our company and really mitigates any customer pain points.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive the contact center industry in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
Today, there are thousands of business applications that can help you manage and run your business. But not only are they siloed as tools, they are also siloed internally. There’s no knowledge exchange that takes place. As the digital transformation continues to adopt cloud-enabled technologies, executives need to take a step back to understand what truly drives their businesses.
For Five9, we need to understand the questions our partners need answers to in order to drive their businesses and then help them develop strategies to support solutions that will be meaningful for those businesses. It’s about clarity of vision, and that should start with what the customer needs.
With the power of the cloud, we can begin to understand what the customer is saying in real-time and then marry this information with business applications that are already running. This will enable businesses to leverage the voices of their customers to fundamentally change how they view their products and the customers themselves.
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
Customer service: An untapped gold mine of VoC insights
Brett Frazer, Head of Customer Service, Sun Basket