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A Deep Dive into Technology and AI with CX Expert Arun Chowdhury

As customer expectations continue to rise, businesses are turning to technology as a powerful enabler to enhance their customer experience (CX) strategies. In this exclusive interview with Mr. Arun Chowdhury, let's explore how technology and AI empower businesses to deliver highly personalized, seamless, and proactive customer experiences. Arun Chowdhury is a renowned CX strategist and thought leader who has left an indelible mark across diverse industries like lending, consumer durables, e-commerce, and edtech. As a mentor and advisor, he shares his invaluable insights on customer-centric strategies, harnessing technology's power to gain a competitive edge and building sustainable businesses prioritizing customer delight.

08 April 2024 | Reading Time: 03:30 min

CX-Net Representative: Mr. Chowdhury, could you begin by sharing how companies conceptualize and implement their omnichannel customer experience strategy?

Arun Chowdhury: Most companies target and limit the omnichannel experience to customer support or post-sales support only via the integration of various channels to provide, viz., for only support associates. However, some companies have now started embracing this at the acquisition stage itself, thereby leading to better viz. all around for the entire customer journey and not just post-disbursement onwards.

CX-Net Representative: In what ways do data analytics and AI play a pivotal role in shaping the omnichannel strategy?

Arun Chowdhury: Companies mostly use AI at the acquisition stage, tying up a user's digital footprint and behavior w.r.t a specific product basis browsing or usage history, demographics, and personality profile. Use case mostly for sales purposes, filtering out unwanted leads and leaving only hot/eligible leads. Also, AI is used differently across different industries; for e-commerce or retail businesses, the use case is mostly to filter out reviews and USPs of products on the platform and tap into the customer psyche for building traction and increasing sales. For example, provide insights to place a product on the homepage window, judge its placing on the website, add or remove deals, price point adjustments, or provide buying recommendations to specific user segments, etc. For BFSI, it could be risk profiling, coverage and price of the premium, tailoring a specific investment product or creating a basket for investors with a specific return %, Algo-based triggers to buy/sell equities, etc.

CX-Net Representative: How do companies leverage customer data to personalize experiences across various touchpoints?

Arun Chowdhury: Companies are still chasing personalization or hyper-personalisation, but broadly, it is still the traditional touch points that one leverages. I would say it's more to tap customer behavior segment-wise, for instance, send notifications, guide users to complete the journey where the propensity of the sale is higher, put out offer notifications to specific user bases for better conversions, or use self-serve channels to manage scale.

CX-Net Representative: What are some of the biggest challenges you face in integrating various channels, and how do you overcome them?

Arun Chowdhury: Well, for starters, the acquisition and the post-servicing platforms are mostly different, so uniformity of customer data and their touch points/interaction are never uniformly presented. For example, customers trying to make online payments or docs uploaded at the time of acquisition are always on different applications, making the servicing difficult or non-uniform. Integration is mostly a hassle or not real-time, but one tries to make it real-time by using some sort of intermediate data lake to provide uniformity at best, such as integrating core systems to One-CRM via intermediatory systems. Similarly, customer identifiers, esp. on social media, are tough to identify, so posting 1st instance, capturing the same, and pushing it back to the customer profile helps 2nd instance onward.

CX-Net Representative: Can you share any specific instances where your omnichannel approach has significantly enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty?

Arun Chowdhury: Yes, in the past, integrating all customer touch points with a holistic view of customer footprint has been able to obtain the customer 360-degree view, with more proactive servicing leading to better NPS, more referrals, and cross-sell opportunities.

CX-Net Representative: Looking ahead, what are some emerging trends or innovations in AI and data analytics that you believe will further transform the omnichannel customer experience?

Arun Chowdhury: AI tends to bring in the much-needed hyper-personalization for companies to tailor-make offerings to customers or at least have a better-guided target segment, leading to efficient use of resources for customer servicing. It leads to fewer repeats, lesser churn, and higher CSAT. More so, companies are trying to make the servicing 'zero touch' to manage scale. Leveraging WhatsApp adoption and creating more real-time servicing are on the go.

CX-Net Representative: How do companies address ethical considerations and data privacy concerns when using AI and analytics to improve customer experience?

Arun Chowdhury: Most companies take data privacy and data breaches seriously, as data is the soul of the business, especially with the rise of tech, and adverse impacts can affect brand reputation. Most organizations across industries are using the latest tech to protect customer data and using high-end encryptions to help achieve the same. Hence, most of the data is only limited to view at the backend, and user roles are defined to view limited data as per requirement.

CX-Net Representative: What metrics or KPIs do companies use to measure the success of their omnichannel strategies, particularly in terms of AI and data analytics?

Arun Chowdhury: Login rates, application completion rates, drop rates, conversion rates, and cancellation rates. From a customer experience point of view, CES, NPS/CSAT.

CX-Net Representative: How does customer feedback inform the continual evolution of your omnichannel strategy?

Arun Chowdhury: Top Call/Connect drivers and NPS drivers lead to close-looping and structural looping, which in turn leads to continuous improvements. Overall journey evolution eventually leads to tying up all the critical M.o.Ts, which forms the implementation of the enhanced omnichannel experience.

CX-Net Representative: What advice would you give to other organizations looking to enhance their customer experience through omnichannel strategies and integrating AI and data analytics?

Arun Chowdhury: AI and ML are emerging technologies, and merely implementing or adopting an AI tool won't be effective until there is ample data and an actual use case to solve. For an organization looking forward to providing an omnichannel experience:

  1. It has to know its customer type and the proper persona of its customers
  2. The touchpoints they want their customer to use, or their customers already use
  3. The holistic view (outside-in) of their customer journey (CJM) identifies the gaps in the entire journey
  4. Tie up the whole process to ensure a seamless handhold of the customer via data points, visibility of the customer footprint at the back end, and flexible systems to cross over channels to ensure the fulfillment of customers' needs
  5. Finally, go for AI/ML to automate processes using data to enhance efficiency, leading to a differentiated experience

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