Wipro Voice: Saurabh Mittal, Global Practice Head Customer Experience and Leader of Business Advisory Services
How do you make your brand unique in a commoditized world?
Customer experience has become "a big differentiator," according to Saurabh Mittal, Global Practice Head Customer Experience and Leader of Business Advisory Services for Wipro. "Believe it or not, the control is going to be in the hand of demanding customers, end consumers, and users of various products and services who are at the center of this revolution," he says.
Customers today are "more digitally savvy," he observes. Today they expect "to interact with brands." They are now "more value conscious." And they are always connected via smartphone apps. "Get ready for a roller-coaster ride as the world changes," he adds.
Woe to a company that provides a negative experience. "Today's consumers are quick to share their experiences," Mittal reports.
The marketplace is already seeing "game-changing innovations like multi-touch interfaces and location-aware mobile applications." In addition, the "phenomenal growth of social media worldwide is changing the landscape of customer engagement," the Wipro executive continues.
Mittal says creating customer loyalty is more than selecting the right price. "It's about how sensitive companies are to their customers' needs," the Wipro executive says.
Today organizations have to lead customer experience transformation if they are going to be successful, in his view. They must design alternative and effective interactions with consumers, employees, and IT users. Moreover, they must optimize their customer intelligence tools and processes using concepts like 360-degree analytics.
The question is: how?
Mistakes to avoid
Mittal says companies tend to make five common mistakes that inhibit their ability to create a great customer experience. They:
- Don't really understand their customers. Mittal says it is crucial to understand customers before taking any action. For example, Mittal suggests companies ask themselves, "What does my brand stand for?" It could be luxury or functional, for example.
- Make the problem tougher than it is. "How to create a great customer experience is a simple problem," he says. While customers behave in complex ways, how companies deal with them is actually simple.
- Refuse to adapt to changes in today's marketplace. "Both the economy and the customers are changing," he points out. But some companies are not reflecting these changes in their products or processes.
- Relegate their customer services to silos. "Customer experience is a philosophy, not a department," he says. "Companies have to energize the entire organization to think about customer experiences."
- Don't educate all levels of employees about the expected customer experience. Mittal says the top executives are determined to deliver the best customer experience, but the store associate is clueless about the philosophy.
"In this era of digital transformation, companies may struggle with these," he observes.
Zappos: a good example of a superior customer experience
Mittal says Zappos, which sells shoes online, provides a great customer experience. Most people want to try on their shoes, which is impossible if you are buying them online. Zappos's policy is to include free shipping with every purchase, no questions asked. If the shoe doesn't fit, just ship it back and Zappos will pick up the postage.
"Customers may pay $5 more per pair, but they are comfortable with that," says the Wipro executive. He says the retailer's processes reflect the needs and concerns of today's consumers. "They have adapted to today's marketplace," he notes. Zappos customers are loyal "because the company lets them be in control."
Wipro's customer experience offering
The first step in Wipro's customer experience offering is to help Wipro clients understand their customers by studying their buying behavior. "We look at their data to help them understand their customers better," he explains. Analytics help Wipro consultants segment the customers and determine the most profitable profile.
Once the client understands its customer, Wipro's consultants help the executives define a customer experience strategy. "We help them define what the customer experience will look like," he continues. Together they produce a road map.
Wipro offerings include:
- CXVenture, which defines the customer experience road map
- I-perience, E-Commerce solution offerings
- All4one, which is about personalization
- Loyalight develops customer loyalty programs
- Coach, a workforce training program
- Marketmine, which defines marketing solutions
- X-channel for cross-channel work
- X-go, X-touch, which is channel specific to mobility solutions
"Interactive relationship marketing and client retention and loyalty create the most effective sales strategy for tomorrow," sums up Mittal.
Lessons from the Outsourcing Journal:
- Customer experience has become a way for brands to differentiate themselves in the marketplace in a commoditized world.
- Customer experience is a philosophy, not a department. It has to permeate the organization from top to bottom and should never be relegated to silos.
- The marketplace is changing, and companies have to change their thinking and processes to adapt.
- Companies have to understand their customers before they can begin to develop a customer experience strategy.
Wipro set up the Council for Industry Research, comprising of domain and technology experts from the organization, to address the needs of customers. It specifically looks at innovative strategies that will help them gain competitive advantage in the market. The Council in collaboration with leading academic institutions and industry bodies studies market trends to equip organizations with insights that facilitate their IT and business strategies. For more information on the Research Council visit www.wipro.com/industryresearch or email [email protected].