The secret to wooing mobile-first customers is self-service. Here’s why

In an engaging fireside chat during Freshworks’ RE:SOLVE summit, startup leaders deep-dive into how brands can woo the mobile-first customer and how the pandemic has spawned a massive shift towards digital solutions for ensuring seamless customer experiences.
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The COVID-19 pandemic changed not just the way businesses are run, but also the way their customers behave. It impacted the way customers spend their money and the kind of service they expect from their favourite brands.

Forced to sit at home, these customers took to online solutions to meet their daily needs. While businesses were happy to comply, having a plan ready to deal with the massive surge in demand was a tough job.

In the battle of brands, there were many who lost the plot and then there were others like Dunzo who rose to the challenge by innovating at scale.

The quick commerce startup turned the crisis into an opportunity by focusing on customer service to drive retention and leveraging innovative solutions with the help of technology partners like Freshworks.

In the first fireside chat of Freshworks’ RE:SOLVE summit, Dunzo’s Chief Customer Officer Vidyanand Krishnan and Freshworks’ Chief Customer Officer Pradeep Rathinam shared their insights on the nuances of mobile-first customer service, their experience of thriving despite the pandemic, the learnings it left them with and much more.

The summit featured a series of engaging panel discussions and insightful workshops revolving around how businesses can unlock growth with technology-driven customer experience strategies.

Here are the key takeaways from the discussion:

The secret sauce in Dunzo's recipe for success

Vidyanand talked extensively about how the startup's focus on customer retention has helped it brave some tough times. For starters, the company has a great value proposition in place, wherein it ensures that when a customer places an order, it is executed in a seamless and defect-free manner. "In case there are any issues, we ensure that our customers get exceptionally good service. That’s where the Freshworks team comes into the picture as it provides us a platform to effectively serve the customer,” he added.

Vidyanand even let the audience in on a trade secret that is oiling the wheels of Dunzo’s phenomenal growth journey. "The secret sauce behind Dunzo's success is that we take every customer's feedback very seriously, so that the next customer doesn't encounter the same issue," he said.

Omnichannel customer services to show the way

Pradeep observed that omnichannel customer services are likely to rule the future of customer service, with social channels being the leader of the pack. "At Freshworks, around 97 percent of our customers are using three channels or more. Hence, going omnichannel is the strategic advice we give to businesses as a route to pursue," he added.

Talking about how he is seeing a huge surge in live chat volumes due to its 24x7 availability, Pradeep said that most people, especially millennials, aren't used to waiting on a phone line and are more likely to send their questions on chat for quicker answers.

A better alternative for uniform queries, live chat also ensures an efficiency gain as queries are answered in seconds and not minutes.

At the same time, Pradeep advised brands to not ignore phone-based service and leverage the channel for urgent and mission-critical queries. "With phone calls, you can build deeper connections and answer more complex queries that can help you win the customer’s loyalty. "

Why artificial intelligence is a smart choice

The panellists shared their insights about how automation and new-age technologies, especially artificial intelligence (AI), are reinventing customer service while enabling higher customer satisfaction and retention.

Vidyanand said that given how a fast response time can be a growth driver for customer satisfaction, AI chatbots can be extremely effective in responding to customer queries and resolving their grievances. "We are leveraging innovation while keeping the customer at the centre, which not only drives customer satisfaction, but also helps us scale. Currently, around 60 percent of Dunzo's customer queries are being answered by chatbots," explained Vidyanand.

But he had a caveat. "We do assess if a certain query can be addressed by a chatbot with the same effectiveness as an agent, so that we don't overdo it," he added.

The best service is no service

Quoting the famous words of Bill Price, the first Global VP of Customer Service at Amazon, Pradeep said that the best service is no service. “If your customers can find what they want without having to contact you, that's the best form of customer service that they can get. We are seeing a massive shift towards self-service today. Agents don't want to be doing redundant jobs and answering redundant queries, which is prompting more companies to start adopting automation,” he explained.

Pradeep also noted that AI has gradually become a core capability for customer service agents and is adding to their efficiency. "In fact, it is doing away with the perception of customer service being a cost centre."

Dwelling on his team's learnings during the pandemic, Vidyanand said that he is seeing more customers giving online solutions a try and that is helping Dunzo boost its level of service as it learns more about their expectations.

"It's difficult to say what the next six months would look like, so I believe that the best way to go ahead is to serve one customer at a time," says Vidyanand.

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