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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.
When entrepreneur and model Kylie Jenner expressed her dissatisfaction with Snapchat’s new redesign in a tweet earlier this February, it wiped out $1.3 billion of Snapchat's market value. “That’s the crazy world we live in,” says Hexaware’s Vice President and Head of Innovation Lab, Immanuel Kingsley. If customers are even a tiny bit unhappy with customer service, they move on. And they don’t necessarily move on alone. Today, it’s all about customer experience. In an interview with Digital CMO, Kingsley talked about how they use technology to make customer experience consistent and personalized.
Interviewed by Moulishree Shrivastava
/ / With the advent of technology, how has the nature of customer support changed over the years?
We live at the crossroads of rapidly changing customer experiences today. Customers want to have a consistent and personalized experience when they interact with a product or service. And they want to connect through various channels. Enterprises have had walk-in facilities; they have had 1-800 dial into customer care centers. With the advent of the Internet there were webpages, followed by self-service portals. When the mobile revolution happened, we moved into SMS. And when smartphones arrived, we also had mobile apps. Now with the disruption in social media, enterprises have their presence on social media to help drive conversations. All this innovation over a period of time has helped and actually shown an increase in revenue with better support. But enterprises still have a continuous challenge with customer retention, growing new customer segments, and managing the ever-growing expectations of the customer.
In the US, NewVoiceMedia reveals that about $62 billion is lost by US businesses each year following bad customer experience. Forrester states that 72% of businesses want to improve their customer experience, and 49% of CMOs indicate that tech management is too slow to meet the needs, and the pressure is basically on the CIO of the organization to replace slow and complex technology with fast and simple solutions.
For us, customer experience is about how you reimagine the customer journey and its touch points by providing better computer-human interactions which are both intuitive and personalized.
/ / What are the major tech practices that Hexaware has adopted to transform customer support for its enterprise customers?
There are multiple things that we do. In the B2C segment, we use the entire landscape of social messaging including the likes of Facebook Messenger and Telegraph. Today, customers and employees want to be engaged in the channel of their choice. It is important that enterprises get into social messaging channels to drive the conversation, deliver information or facilitate transaction. The second segment for us is B2B. Say, a customer logs into a company's self-service page. Can a bot pick up relevant information on the customer? What was the last issue that the customer had logged in for? And did it get resolved? The third segment is B2E (Business to Employee). If you want the organization to be agile in responding to customers, it is important that you automate the back office as well.
We work on smart speakers; on voice assistants for smartphones; and on AI for 1-800 call center numbers. So when you call a 1-800 call center number, can we get a computer to answer your call like a human? Can it understand your context and intent, and give you the right responses? Those are questions that we are trying to resolve.
We are using VR to reduce millions of dollars’ worth of static asset within large OEMs. We are also using social VR and mixed reality to accelerate the sales process of companies and AR to increase lead generation.
Whatever technology you are using for connecting with the customer, the most important aspect you need to focus on is customer experience.
/ / What are some of the challenges that you have faced while adopting new technologies in customer support and service?
There are challenges in every platform. When you are working on an agile project, you need to have consulting expertise. You have to be a full stack developer. You need to have a good amount of expertise in your integration skills; and in your NLP (natural language processing) and ML (machine learning) skills. This is on the left side.
On the right side, the team needs to have a good amount of expertise in the liberal arts as well. There is so much of psychology and linguistics that go into it. These skills are required to humanize bots.
/ / With technology handling a significant number of processes in customer support, is there a need for re-skilling people? Will it also lead to enterprises employing a lesser number of people?
Let's face it, there is a disruption in the industry. More and more bots will definitely take up more and more tasks, and there is a re-skilling happening from an experience standpoint. We are also enabling our teams with new skills like computational linguistics.
There will be a drop in the number of headcounts. It will be a bot and human tango. There will be situations that you can completely automate, and there will be situations where you would need to use a bot and human tango. Let's say you come to my site as a B2B customer. There could be instances where the bot is not trained to answer certain queries. Whenever there is such a deadlock, the bot takes the transcript, sends it to the back-office agent and the agent takes over from the bot and continues the conversation with the user. From a customer perspective, you don't see the transition at all.
/ / What are the major trends in customer support that you see emerging in the future?
Let's take a few steps back and see what some of the customer trends are today.
Messaging apps have surpassed social network. Ten years ago, we didn't even imagine we would be texting to our near and dear ones. It's become more convenient than emails and phone calls.
Let's look at another trend. With smartphones, each customer owns a virtual personal assistant in his pocket, be it Google Now or Apple's Siri. In the Google I/O 2016 conference, Sundar Pichai said 16% of their search comes from voice. We use voice to turn on the lights or play our favorite music. In the US, these devices are moving from living rooms to every other room in the house. There are 59 million smart speakers in the US. Today, smart speakers are the largest selling in the consumer electronic space. Voice is the most powerful, useful, and effective communication medium ever.
So what is the future of engagement? Today enterprises need to provide multi-channel engagement that is powered by AI. The future of experience is messaging, voice, vision, emotion, gesture and touch, all coming together, powered by AI.
Social media: Supporting customers on the ‘edge’
Digital technologies make organizations function smoothly and business function processes efficient.
I think requests via social media are made more out of frustration
Kia Puhm, Head, KIA CX Consulting
Messaging through voice - that’s the trend that I see emerging in the near future
James Waters, Vice President, Customer Service, Booking.com
Top performing companies will use technology to make the human experience better
Ed Powers, Independent CX Consultant
AI-based chatbots are central to transforming CX for next-gen customers
Rajesh Balaji, Global Delivery Leader, Enterprise Application Service, Cognizant
I believe chatbots will be custom-built for different situations
Pradyot Ghate, Associate Vice President and Product Lead, Zomato