Pradeep Chopra, CEO at Digital Vidya: Over the years, Customer experience has transformed from backstage customer support and brought itself to the limelight. With a highly competitive market that focusses on customer loyalty has further persuaded and focused many companies to develop their customer experience. With the emergence of digital technologies, customers have also been modifying their behaviour and this shift in consumer behaviour has accelerated the pace of customer experience. In this interview, I spoke with Pranav Kumar to know the emergence of Customer Experience and how to optimally use this concept to nurture growth.
Pranav has over 23 years of experience in sales, marketing and customer experience. After doing his bachelor degree in Journalism and an MBA with specialisation in marketing, he joined Cipla, a top Indian pharmaceutical company as a management trainee. 4 years later, he joined Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and become part of the steep growth trajectory there in sales and marketing. He then shifted to ‘customer engagement’ function in Dr Reddy’s in 2007. He was heading CRM & customer experience function for India chronic business there. He along with some other experience professionals started a consulting firm ‘Praakamya’ in November 2018. Praakamya CX Designers have been helping healthcare organisations, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies and startups to grow faster by deploying customer-centric approach, customer-need driven innovation, culture, processes and customer experience technology.
How did you get involved in Customer Experience and what led you to become the expert you are today?
Pranav Kumar: Customer Experience was at a very nascent stage in India when I got exposed to this practice as a part of my role in Dr Reddy’s. I got connected with the global professional body ‘Customer Experience Professional Association’ (CXPA) during this time. Soon took the membership and actively participated in the promotion of customer experience professional practices, more focussed in the healthcare domain.
I led projects in customer centricity and got the opportunity to work with many global experts. I am highly influenced by Peter Fader Professor of Marketing, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on customer ‘lifetime value’ (CLV) and customer centricity. The kind of value and possibilities I see in customer experience is immense for business differentiation, particular at this stage of the economy, called ‘Experience Economy’. This fascinated me to pursue it further, deeper and deeper.
Every business is going online nowadays. What in your opinion is the key to having a premium Customer Experience Online?
Pranav Kumar: Each individual customer is being exposed to enormous communications through multiple media, every day during his/her wakeful state. This has 3 implications for every marketing organisation. No. 1, you CAN’T BE ABSENT where your customer is often spending time i.e. mobile. No. 2, You should NOT be adding to the message bombardment chaos & noise a customer is facing from all sides in all media. No. 3, you MUST be memorable, convenient to deal with, and appreciative to your customer.
This three statements might look paradoxical to some people. To win the customer’s heart, this is needed. Working on Customer Experience makes it happen, each time, everywhere in the entire customer journey. These are simple keys to what you called premium customer experience online (or offline for that matter).
Can you describe the three most critical mistakes made by Online Businesses related to Customer Experience?
(i) Too Many Messages at a time: stickiness of any message, potential customer changes to a mere surfer.
(ii) Product / Service Obsessed: Lack of empathy to customers perspective, loose repeat customer.
(iii) Sophistication: Customer explores to easier option.
What is the best way in which we can rate Customer Experience? Some people consider it to be based on Net Promoter Score or NPS? What is your opinion?
Pranav Kumar: There are at least 16 metrics to measure customer experience. Those are
1. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
2. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
3. Up-Sell and Cross-Sell Rate
4. Conversion Rate
5. Average Order Value (AOV)
6. Average Revenue per Customer (ARPC)
7. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
8. Customer Churn Rate
9. Customer Retention Rate
10. Customer Effort Score (CES)
11. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
12. Net Emotion Score (NES)
13. Problem Resolution Time (PRT)
14. First Response Time (FRT)
15. Cost per Interaction / Activity
16. First Contact Resolution (FCR).
Each one has some merit and some limitation. NPS is widely used as it is simpler to execute yet give a good idea about customer experience level in brief. However, you need to deploy specific metrics to measure a particular aspect of customer experience.
What are the challenges that Online Businesses & Entrepreneurs face while trying to amplify Customer Experience?
Pranav Kumar: In my experience talking with startups and online business entrepreneurs, I found they usually have limited visibility of full customers’ perspective. Their idea of the customer is just around their product or service offerings. Many were found cognitively muted on customers’ world beyond online. You need to remember that you are dealing with a human which is a social being. Many times online marketers are not able to get a real feel of customers. They often ignore the ‘low extreme’ users. Solving their usage problem can open up altogether different possibilities, which has phenomenal potential business impact.
What changes would you recommend to companies which if implemented can create a more holistic Customer Experience?
Pranav Kumar: There need to be many changes to implement a holistic customer experience. First and foremost is a customer-centric culture in the team and organisation. Management should appreciate the long term business value of ‘customer equity’ and disseminate it to the all cross function team. Reward and recognised should be based on the improvement in customer experience metrics, not just sale. Right voice of customer (VoC) tools and procedures need to be deployed and many many more.
Share a few words about your 3 favourite Online Customer Experience Case Studies.
(i) Case Study 1- Airbnb
The whole business is made based on the customer experience. The discovery that people want to live as local while miles away in a real cultural setting has been building a lot of value to all stakeholders.
(ii) Case Study 2 Amazon
A great company, that was obsessed with customer experience. Created many time higher value for stakeholders than competitors. Amazon Prime changed again the way video/audio content get consumed.
(iii) Case Study 3 Netflix
Giving a survival threat to cable and DTH industry.
How important is it to consider Customer Experience in creating a Digital Marketing Strategy?
Pranav Kumar: In digital marketing, what matters the most to the prospects in ‘the EXPERIENCE’. As there is no ‘man to man’ interaction here, the digital customer experience plays a greater role on whether a prospect will progress to the customer then client or switch to others digital or physical competitor. If your business customer interaction is hybrid i.e. ‘ PHYSITAL’, It becomes furthermore critical to talk to a customer in a harmonised way, in unison across the channel and entire customer journey landscape.
Do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today? Why?
Pranav Kumar: I don’t think learning digital marketing is an option anymore. You have to.
(i) For Entrepreneurs, digital marketing is an emerging complementary and competitive route to reach out and engage your customers. Conventional marketing can’t give individualised experience to a particular customer all the time. Digital marketing can. In a highly appreciated book ‘Future of Competition’ Prof. C K Prahlad, the no.1 management thinker of his time in the world advocates N=1 approach to each customer. This is possible only deploying digital marketing. Digital marketing can rapidly accelerate your growth curve and enable to reach the wider market faster.
(ii) For Professionals, digital marketing training gives a career enrichment and sometimes even transformation. It enhances your capacity to appreciate and impact business.
(iii) For Students: There was a time, fresh job seekers used to write a line in CV ‘computer literate & know Microsoft office’ to get qualified for the job. It is getting replaced with ‘digital marketing expert‘. It is good even if you are not seeking a marketing major. It will help you in your personal branding irrespective of your function and understanding of all communication possibilities.
What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in the Digital Marketing industry?
Pranav Kumar: Don’t rush through the only concept. Make your hand dirty. Like any skill, you need to practice, practice and practice to get skilled. To be an expert, you need to get the guidance of an expert.
How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2019?
Pranav Kumar: You rightly said. Digital marketing is evolving. It is yet to be manifested adequately. India is a country of multi-languages and numerous dialect. Most sections of society are not able to read English. Actually, a vast population is communicating using dialect can’t read or write. On the other hand, almost entire geography and populations are getting covered with the mobile network. In this context, I see video/audio content in local dialect as the last mile reach medium.
My top 3 digital marketing trends to emerge in 2019 are-
(i) video/audio content
(ii) mobile-first approach
(iii) AI driven individualisation of message and usage pattern.
Bots need to get evolved more to be able to give real customer experience.
Would you like to share a few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?
Pranav Kumar: Digital Vidya is doing great work in building digital marketing capability across the globe for the last 9 years. Its approach to deploying practising professionals to train digital marketing aspirants is the best part of the curriculum.
Are you inspired by the opportunity of Digital Marketing? Start your journey by attending our upcoming orientation session on Digital Marketing for Career & Business Growth. It’s online and Free :).