Paul Writer launches The Rise Of The Modern Marketer,
Video interview series of CXO’s highlighting best practices and trends in the use of technology for marketing.
Director- Group Marketing & Brand
Religare Enterprises Limited
Use of data in giving better customer experience
Data is extremely critical. It is pretty much the nerve centre of anything you do today. There’s so much data from the consumer side and your channel. There’s so much feedback that is available through an omni-channel because every brand today operates in an omni-channel environment. Every touch point, channel and platform throws back data at you.
It’s actually a favourite analogy of mine, data are like footprints on sand. The footprints when you’re walking on sand, essentially are directional. It tells you where to go and whether you are headed in the right direction. But at the end of the day, data cannot tell you once you reach your destination, what is it that you have to do there. So the way we use data is by collating, looking, analysing across cross functional teams which helps us deliver better to the customer or consumer. But at the end of the day, like I’ve said before, the data is directional. Decision making is a function of a lot of other things and not just data. As long as the data gives you what directional approach you want to take, it’s fine. But I don’t think you should be enslaved by data.
In Insurance, there is a lot of patterns available- health and wellness data. Of course it is confidential but that data helps our underwriting team, retention team and wellness team to construct relevant packages and offerings for the insurance customer. Similarly for our loan business as well. There is a lot of data and data points available in terms of a credit history of a particular client. We look at all these data points and that helps us to construct an offering in a much more meaningful fashion for the end consumer.
“The three C’s- customer, colleagues and channel are the three most important pillars in terms of building a brand over a period of time.”
Role of technology from customer & organization point of view
Technology is all pervasive today. At the end of the day, technology is at the heart of everything that we do, both externally and internally because I think the kind of environment that we live in today, the consumers, people who work with us and people who engage with us as a brand place technology as their centre. So we leverage a lot of technology to acquire and engage with customers. Most importantly, in the BFSI context, we also use a lot of technology to engage with our employees and channel partners.
As we call it the three C’s- customer, colleagues and channel are the three most important pillars in terms of building a brand over a period of time. So we leverage technology to reach out to our prospects, acquire new clients, engage with existing customers and engage with our channel partners, i.e, our agents and people who sell us as a brand to the end consumer. Most importantly, the staff and internal colleagues.
We’ve launched a mobile app for empowering our channel partners. The mobile app is for smart phones and everybody today almost carries a smartphone. It essentially empowers them to deliver better to the end consumer. So if you are an end consumer and you want to know what your premium is, rather than that guy trying to fish out some papers and trying to calculate it on the fly, He/she simply refers to his/ her mobile app and that mobile app essentially throws a number back at you. Likewise we use that mobile app as platform or pipe to throw content at them. The content is pushed to keep empowering them from time to time to reach out and engage with the end consumer better.
Incorporate voice of customer into a real-time response
We have a fairly robust listening tools that are available. We manage at an enterprise/ group level where we keep listening to what people are talking about. In particular, about our brand in every context. Then what we do is that we have specified turnaround time. So what we do a sentiment analysis and based on that sentiment analysis we have specific turnaround times. Hypothetically, if there’s a not so positive feedback, i.e, negative feedback about the brand and there is an issue, we immediately take it up with the relevant customer care team/ authorities internally within a specific business and try to resolve that within let’s say, 24 hours. There are examples available and I can quote that there was a person from the media for instance, who happened to be a client. The gentleman is fairly active on social media, specifically Twitter. Without taking any names, he didn’t have a particularly good experience with one of our investment advisors. Obviously, he went on social media and vented his frustrations about the fact that he was upset about the service. Our listening tool immediately caught it, to the extent that it was immediately escalated to me. Based on the sentiment analysis and based on his profile as an individual, the matter was escalated to my level and other senior colleagues within the firm. I took it up personally and called him immediately. Within 20 minutes of getting his tweet we reached out to him and I think that ironed out whatever wrinkles that were there in terms of the relationship between him and us, as a brand. Within 12 hours, the CEO of that particular business flew down from Bombay to Delhi. He met up with that person and attempted to resolve the issue. We also use social sites to do a lot of listening in terms of what the consumer is thinking.
There are trends which are visible on social media because social media really is like a listening post for us. We are seeing a lot of interesting trends and we are actually taking that input in terms of constructing products. In fact, the other thing that we have started doing in our lending business is that we’ve also started using social media data to put into our funnel for underwriting and writing risks when we are actually providing a loan to our customers. So, if let’s say, you approach us for a loan, we not only look at your credit history but also look at history from various other sources including social media which enables us to write that risk a little better. From a task perspective, we are looking at listening and incorporating that across the organization in terms of customer service, product formulation, marketing communication, looking to innovate and bringing to life new ideas in terms of taking them to the market and also, for underwriting and risk management.
Biggest challenge with respect to Marketing Data and Analytics
The challenge is how to really cut through the clutter because, while no data is bad, having too much data is also very bad. If you are not in a position to utilise whatever data is coming your way in a meaningful and constructive manner, which also can be counterproductive. That’s one challenge. I think, you need to think through whatever data is coming your way, analyse it, sieve through it and then utilise it in a meaningful and constructive manner to deliver better value to the consumer and to your internal constituencies.
In an organization or group that is as large as ours, with diverse businesses, data is available in various parcels across various pillars and various pockets in the organization. So some bits of customer data is available with the customer service across customer touchpoints. A lot of data is available with underwriting, let’s say, in case of insurance or risk management in the case of lending and a lot of data is also available with the research team, sales team and marketing team. How do you really put all of this together and construct this big picture which enables you to provide a more meaningful experience to the consumer? So I think the big challenge is how organizations will be in a better position to assimilate all of this data from different touchpoints and cohesively manage this data. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we need an orchestrator within the firm/ organization who can put this big picture together. There are multiple custodian and stakeholders to really work through all of this and orchestrate all of this in terms of creating the big picture and managing it more effectively is again, I think, a big challenge. What we’re doing is that we are actually trying to put together a robust, unified data warehouse at a group or central level and looking at that data and trying to analyse trends. Looking at touchpoints and trying to look at data points which will then be a leverage to seamlessly deliver one Religare experience to some of these clients.
Role of marketer changed with focus on tech and automation
The role of marketers are changing and marketers also realise that for them to grow and add more and more value to business and the organization at large, they need to embrace technology. They need to work at a cross functional level because unlike what is was, let’s say, five or ten years back when they were fundamentally owning the consumer or customer insights. That’s not the only thing that they’re doing. Advertising or creating communication or creating strategies to tackle the consumer is not the only thing that they are doing. They are also doing a host of things to tackle and reach out to the channel partners. They are doing a host of things to key stakeholders and employees. They are also looking at a lot of analytics and evangelising a lot of new technology. They are working seamlessly across business teams, technology teams, analytics teams, product creation, and design and of course, stakeholders at a board level. So, I think the role of marketing is changing. It’s becoming more and more versatile. The good news is that the marketers as an ecosystem in the marketing community seems to understand and recognize this. And people are waking up to this challenge. It is a big challenge because I think as leaders, as people in this ecosystem, we need to really up our game. I think that time has come where people have realized that they don’t have a choice or option but to up their game if they were to play a more broader sort of role in the overall context of an organization.