In the Know: Jagrit Malhorta Answers 5 Questions On the Future of Customer Experience
April 3, 2020
We asked Jagrit Malhorta our European Managing Director all “the things” around the customer experience management industry.
Here’s his take:
1. What do you believe are the key ingredients for a brand to engage successfully with their customers?
Based on the work I have seen our clients perform in this area of engaging successfully with their customers, I believe it comes down to building a connection with consumers through authenticity, creativity and responsiveness. I have observed our clients do a lot of work to make sure that their engagement with customers isn’t formulaic, doesn’t appear repetitive, monotonous or scripted, but instead has character, allowing the agents to be themselves and express themselves (within certain guidelines). This extends to our clients and their agents being creative—looking for new ways to create that special bond with their consumers (more on this in my last answer below). And finally, the authenticity and creativity will only be effective if they are backed with efficiency, ensuring that consumers are responded to in a timeframe and manner that meets their expectations. All the character, expression and creative ideas will be wasted if the responsiveness is lacking.
2. As an industry insider what are you most excited about concerning innovation in the field?
What excites me most about the work we do is the shift in focus and emphasis on serving consumers through social media, messaging and other digital channels rather than just marketing to them. I have often said that one crisis averted using social media is more valuable than a million ads served up to consumers, and truly believe that customer service through digital channels is a “nobler” use of these emerging technologies and platforms. The pace of innovation of customer service through digital channels over the past 3 to 5 years has been exciting to watch, whether that be through AI, automation and bots, the constant growth in the number and types of channels and the new possibilities that come with each new channel. Many brands are still in their first iteration of digital customer service, so there is great potential for them to continue enhancing their work by taking advantage of all that innovation.
3. During this time of crisis, what are you seeing for Clarabridge customers and CX professionals as they navigate assisting their customers?
Three aspects really stand out to me about the current COVID-19 crisis based on work we have done with over a hundred clients focused on the crisis:
Now more than ever, companies and brands need to know what consumers are feeling—their emotions and sentiment—and their reasons for contacting the companies—their intent, so that the brands are best equipped to help their customers in these challenging times.
Crisis Management capabilities really need to be integrated into broader customer service capabilities so that agents on the front-lines are as prepared as they possibly can be, to know what they need to do differently in these challenging times, and to be able to react effectively to changing customer communication patterns.
As contact centers around the globe are being shut down, and agents are required to work from home, digital customer care will be the preferred approach due to the greater challenges with setting up the infrastructure for voice calls from homes. The ability to ramp up digital care capabilities rapidly across multiple contact centers / markets / countries is going to be critical.
4. Name that trend: Can you share what industry trend you are most excited about at the moment as well as what’s hot but probably not worth the hype?
The potential of messaging apps, like WhatsApp, and their ability to enable groups of individuals to not just stay in touch but collaborate to solve issues has been really impressive to me. About a year ago, an old college friend of mine got on our class WhatsApp group asking for help—his father had been in an accident in a different city from where my friend lived. He had received a call about the accident and been told that his father had been taken to a local hospital but had no idea what the name of the hospital was. It was amazing to see the group mobilize and within 30 minutes, through different connections and communications, one of our group members was not only able to find out which hospital but also that our friend’s father was in stable condition. I just remember thinking to myself about how none of that would have been possible without an app like WhatsApp, and how much worse things could have been without such a capability. To answer the second part of the question, while I believe bots have immense potential and definitely deserve the hype, I fear that the hype has been excessive and led to unrealistic expectations. Because of this, I have seen our clients invest in different bot technologies only to struggle to realize the originally perceived potential. I am biased 😊, but I like the more “grounded” approach to bots that Clarabridge Engage has taken with Flows, enabling our clients to implement automations with relative ease, to drive efficiency and improved customer experience, and this shows in the rapid adoption of Flows that we are seeing with our customers.
5. Tell us the most rewarding interaction you have ever had with a brand on social and why it has stuck with you.
Here, I would prefer not to write about one of my own interactions, but instead talk about the “Surprise & Delight” initiatives of one of our clients, a large restaurant chain. I remember hearing this story from the Social Media Manager of the chain—they realized that one of their customers that they were engaged with on social media was going to be celebrating his birthday at one of their restaurants. When the customer asked to pay his bill after his birthday dinner, not only was he told that the meal was free, but was also presented with a couple of tickets to a football match of his favorite team. Such “Surprise & Delight” initiatives of our clients keep bringing a smile to my face.
Jagrit Malhotra is the Managing Director with global responsibility for Clarabridge Engage and ownership of our CX Analytics solution in EMEA. With over 20 years’ experience in analytics, customer experience and social media management, Jagrit has played leadership roles spanning sales, business development, strategic planning and consulting services. Follow Jagrit on Twitter @CB_Engage.