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Susan Joseph


Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.

Shubharthi Ghosh


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 Thomas


Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.

Moulishree Srivastava


Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.

Avanish Tiwary


Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.

Priyanka Bhatacharya


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 Hegde


Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others. 

Rajesh Nanarpuzha


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.


Dyuti Mittal


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.

Sumakshi Singh


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


Purna Chandra Mahato is an artist based out of Rourkela, India. Trained in painting (fine arts) from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh, Purna has participated in many prestigious exhibitions and artist camps. His paintings explore various aspects of colour, shade, textures, and strokes, while keeping to abstract themes; they strive for a spontaneity that is enjoyable to spectators.

Parul Gupta


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


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


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


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 Jolad


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.

Chandrashekhar Thakur


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

Nimish Vohra


Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.


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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.

Digital technologies are typically visualized as a nerve center of an organization. They are what make the organization function smoothly, and what help business function processes efficient. Sometimes, erroneously, these technologies are directly equated with ERP. This is a myopic view, which limits the transformative potential of ‘digital’. There is an important role for digital technologies in customer service. Gray et al. (2013) term this as an enterprise shift from the ‘center to the edge’ – an organizational understanding that technology is both the organizational backbone, and a tool for meaningful customer interaction. Through this, the intent is to support customers and uncover customer knowledge. For this, the first step in many instances, is the strategic use of social media by the organization. In this article, I focus on the ways and means of using social media effectively for supporting customers.


Employees on social media

Customer interactions, if done ‘right’, offer a goldmine of customer information, and the important possibility of addressing customer complaints before they escalate. Kiron et al. (2013) discuss a real-life case study of a company that uses its employees for managing customer complaints, and for addressing customer questions on social media. Of particular importance in this organization, in terms of operationalization, is a designated ‘chain of command’ which is used for addressing customer inquiries on Facebook. Response times are defined for each link in this chain. If the allocated time is exceeded, the system assigns responsibility to a higher node in the command chain. In addition to increasing customer satisfaction, these customer interactions are designed to drive store visits for the organization, an important revenue-driving measure.

Another specific application of social media use by company employees is pointed out by Agnihotri et al. (2012). The authors mention that salespeople have traditionally focused on cultivating social connections as part of their job requirement. Agnihotri et al. (2012) suggest that a promising alternative could be the use of social media to strengthen buyer-seller relationships. A salesperson specific social media strategy could be supplemented by the use of blogs or content on technical forums that demonstrate salesperson expertise.


Operationalizing a ‘social’ approach

An important question that organizations grapple with while developing a ‘social’ strategy for customer support is – “who in the organization, should be allowed to interact with customers on social media?” Kane (2015) profiles an organization which offers a revealing answer to this question. Through a CMO initiative, and a ‘social’ training exercise, the organization has about 1600 (up from 30 previously) employees directly interacting with customers on social media. As Kane (2015) points out, the organization brand awareness has improved manifold by encouraging employees to use social media for customer interaction, rather than dissuading them by focusing on potential pitfalls.

Another pertinent question pertains to the use of e-channels that need to be chosen for customer interaction. It is a business reality that certain e-channels are more cost-effective for organizations to reach out to customers. However, research by Trampe, Konus, and Verhoef (2014) suggests that customers develop negative feelings, and show active resistance to organization efforts that force customers to use specific channels for interaction. This in turn, could lead to overall customer dissatisfaction with the organization. Voluntary migration, or migration through the use of adequate customer incentives are preferred over forced migration.

Finally, it is important that the effectiveness of social media in supporting customer interaction is measured. Before designing active metrics, an organization should initially focus on improving customers’ social engagement with the organization. Once this process has begun, Lee (2017) mentions the importance of identifying the right toolset for social media analytics, to gather vital feedback from customers.



The scope of digital technologies needs to include customer support. By developing a ‘social’ strategy, and by encouraging employees within the organization to actively engage with customers, customer interactions could become richer. From a CMO viewpoint, the first step is to promote customer interaction through social media. An important factor in this, is to develop an organizational culture which encourages, rather than penalizes customer interaction on social media. Especially for organizations with low brand awareness, this could lead to significant business benefits in the long run.


  1. Agnihotri, R., Kothandaraman, P., Kashyap, R., & Singh, R. (2012). Bringing “social” into sales: The impact of salespeople’s social media use on service behaviors and value creation. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 32(3), 333-348.
  2. Gray, P., El Sawy, O. A., Asper, G., & Thordarson, M. (2013). Realizing Strategic Value Through Center-Edge Digital Transformation in Consumer-Centric Industries. MIS Quarterly Executive, 12 (1).
  3. Kane, G. C. J. (2015). Can You Really Let Employees Loose on Social Media?. MIT Sloan Management Review, 56 (2).
  4. Kiron, D., Palmer, D., Phillips, A. N., & Berkman, R. (2013). Social business: Shifting out of first gear. MIT Sloan Management Review, 55(1).
  5. Lee, I. (2017). Social media analytics for enterprises: Typology, methods, and processes. Business Horizons, 61, 199-210.
  6. Trampe, D., Konuş, U., & Verhoef, P. C. (2014). Customer responses to channel migration strategies toward the e-channel. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 28(4), 257-270.