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CX Journey to the Customer’s Mind

How are the business evolving around CX? Many such issues were discussed in a roundtable discussion on the key aspects of CX in today’s scenario for BFSI organizations. Edited excerpts:


Aveek Chaudhari, Head – New Digital Initiatives, HDFC Bank
Deepak Joshi, Sr VP, Head – Operations & Technology, Motilal Oswal Wealth Management
Vinod Nair, Head – IT & Digital, HDFC Ergo General Insurance
Gaurav Pathak, Head – Technology, EbixCash
Vincent Zuzarte, Head – Applications, Stock Holding Corporation of India
Deepak Saluja, Head – Marketing, ICICI Securities
Amarnath, Head – Corporate Cards, Bob Financial Solutions
Dr. Rajendran N, Chief Digital Officer, Multi Commodity Exchange of India
Deepak Bhatia, GM-IT, Exim Bank
Saurabh Chandre, Head – CX, Tata Communications
Anurag Mathur, Head Banking & Financial Vertical, Tata Communications
Manoj Agrawal, Group Editor, Banking Frontier (Moderator)

Manoj: What are the contours of today’s customer-centric omnichannel solution to have a unified customer experience?

Deepak Saluja: Pandemic ensured that digital has to be adopted by everyone. In the process, attention is given more to CX so that pain points are removed. Tools and enablers track the customer journey and trigger an alert whenever there is friction. Dedicated technology teams are working to find a solution. In an omnichannel experience, the efficacy of the channel is important and also the experience at the touch point is important. Customer buying has also evolved and become more convoluted. So the brand must be present at every touch point.

Vinod: Technology is the backbone of every industry today. It is a delight to see how technology is improving CX. It can be a bank which allows the same card to be used as a debit or credit card. Taking customer experience to the peak while achieving ROI is the way forward.

Deepak Joshi: We are on the journey of getting completely digital. The simplification of digital in the financial sector has not happened. Non-individual customer experience is not being accounted for, for example, onboarding partners.

Aveek: Given the norms, it is difficult to achieve simplicity on a digital platform for the financial sector. Norms have to be simplified. For better CX, we should look to remove the pain points for the customer, which can be lack of communication.

Vincent: The availability of correct data analytics within the omnichannel solution is important. When these channels communicate with each other, they should point to a single source of truth.

Amarnath: Before going customer-centric omnichannel, all the financial institutions built bank-centric multi-channel. Those who have been able to build agile technology and create omnichannel infrastructure, and also interact with the core banking system, are successful.

Saurabh: We have been talking about business coming to the technology team and IT enabling the business which has led to some silo investments. Would businesses like to invest more in technology and vendors or keep a consolidated view and invest in someone who will improve the overall omnichannel experience?

Aveek: Our bank is more interested in unified solutions. As a large company, we have a large number of stakeholders, business units and a large number of partners. We have to think about consolidation on many aspects on basis of priority. We have started thinking about unified communication, which will further channel into AI-based bot services.

Deepak Saluja: It is the need of the hour to have an integrated omnichannel solution. As capabilities increased and investments started those platform integrations were brought in. Partners in the space will also tell that only a handful of people can deliver these solutions with confidence. Hence, business is left with the question of when to get these integrations done. A robust CDP platform allows the solution.

Vincent: Data can be the same, but applications can be different. Not all providers will be able to give all platforms at the same efficiency. But the solution should be integrative.

Manoj: Is business more demanding that it becomes difficult to deliver simple technological solutions? Or is managing the integration of business and technology a bigger challenge?

Deepak Saluja: It is more to do with the complexity around integration.

Amarnath: I understand that one of the challenges to all institutions is the standardization of messages across various channels. There are agencies and technologies which can be used for this purpose.

Aveek: For B2B, the experience and expectations are different from retail. Most organizations have different platforms for corporates and retail. The challenges in corporate are more from regulations and the model of business.

Manoj: Can we have common or standardized technology for corporate, retail, international etc? How can you optimize?

Vincent: With standardization, cost is reduced and focus increases. It also reduces IT personnel.

Saurabh: If different business units within the organization don’t communicate, then repetition happens. Standardization can be done with a capable platform. Channels are the last mile touch point. What enables the transaction in retail? What is the outcome or what enhances the successful transaction? How do you ensure that various nudges can be transformed into one common conversation?

Dr Rajendran: Single or multiple platforms depend on the usage of the area by the enterprise. Data can be dumped into a single system, but segregation and utilization will be the key.

Vinod: Unless data is churned and put in for the better CX, the collection of data is not useful.

Deepak Saluja: Using data, the touch points should be converged to a relevant CDP. That should understand consumer behavior and react. Data should be distilled for further campaigns and scale whenever needed.

Deepak Bhatia: We are involved in soft lending to sovereign entities where final disbursement is done by our organization. Many governments and departments are involved. With many stakes holders’ lot of data was rolling between the partners. We tried to build a model for simplifying the reporting on a real-time basis.

Gaurav: Another important aspect of a transaction is customer feedback and data security. We have developed a system which enables the customer to feedback which is monitored in real-time. This allows human intervention in case chatbots stops responding.

Manoj: Are these innovations expensive? What cost bottlenecks do you face?

Vinod: When 1 person handles all the queries for new technology it helps in reducing the cost. He is the single point of contact between technology and business who takes the requests and analyses the solutions along with cost-benefit analysis. He also helps in identifying the right vendors.

Manoj: How do organizations choose between start-up and established firms?

Deepak Joshi: We have small vendors who are also capable of providing a good solution. And having said that, cost does not become a bottleneck. Integration with existing legacy systems becomes a bigger bottleneck.

Amarnath: The scaling of business is also an essential part of any organization. The best use cases have been payments banks and small finance banks. Many could not scale up and use their products efficiently. Here cost was not an issue.

Dr. Rajendran: The business plan of the organization will determine whether they want to go with capex or opex. I believe a decision should be taken to migrate from the legacy system. Another bottleneck point would be that agile systems create disruptions in a traditional organization. This also has been the reason for silo solutions which grows unknowingly.

Saurabh: The base need being solution, cost is not a detrimental factor. How and where is more important. My observation from the discussion is that in the customer experience journey, the scalability of solutions plays an important role.

Deepak Bhatia: IT cannot be viewed as a cost centre anymore. It is more of a revenue realization channel.

Saurabh: In one of the case, we found that the cost of the return package is hurting the customer. This increases the operation cost.

Manoj: It is not just technology cost, the people and operations cost also adds to the cost of customer experience?

Aveek: For an organization to invest, the motive is either to get revenue or cost savings. We have found that a customer who uses UPI regularly has 25% more account balance than a non-UPI user.

Manoj: How do you measure customer experience in quantitative terms? What does the board expect?

Amarnath: If a bank introduces a chatbot and in a given time, the calls at the call centre reduce, then the bank has won the CX factor. And the call centre personnel can be utilized for cross-selling products.

Aveek: There is no one way to measure CX. Multiple customers across various products and services need different experiences. Some firms have departments that measure and implement various CX frameworks. We have different scores for the physical and digital customer journey.

Deepak Saluja: Technology enables to have real-time feedback and investing in social listening pays off. Also following the chatter and trends in social space gives a lot of insights and goes as feedback.

Deepak Bhatia: Repeat purchase is phenomenal feedback that can be used for business development.

Dr. Rajendran: Since SMS is a medium used by phishing apps, care should be taken that customers should not be approached for important documents or new apps through SMS.

Manoj: Will Metaverse be a game-changer?

Deepak Saluja: People are talking more about it, but it is in the nascent stages. Voice-enabled services are going to be the next disruption in the customer journey.

Amarnath: Recommendations by customers are potential CX measures.
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