Customer Experience Redefined: A Whole New Realm of Technology-backed Human Experience like no Other

Rhonita Patnaik
Bengaluru, India, Nov 1, 2022:

Exotel is an emerging market’s leading full-stack customer engagement platform comprised of suite of communication APIs, omnichannel contact centre (Ameyo) and conversational AI platform (Cogno AI) in the cloud.

Shivakumar Ganesan, co-founder and CEO of Exotel, talks about driving a seamless customer experience by deploying technology and bespoke offerings.

Evolution of customer communication behaviour 

According to Ganesan, as many aspects of our everyday interactions turn virtual, customer expectations are at an all-time high. 

“Customers expect businesses to find them where they are ensured easy engagement, and deliver bespoke solutions. AI and chatbots are able to match some of these expectations by providing round-the-clock consumer support. Any company that takes customer service seriously cannot afford to ignore the use of AI anymore. 

This technology not only allows organisations to resolve basic queries quickly, freeing up human resources for more complex tasks, but also learns and adapts to customer preferences so that it can better anticipate customer needs and provide more personalised responses.” He adds that with the right AI technology in place, organisations can reduce operational costs, increase efficiency and improve customer experience. 

“Many studies have shown that consumers prefer chatbots due to their 24/7 availability and quick resolution responses. consumer satisfaction is directly related to the experience they have with the company and AI can be used to constantly improve it.” 

Defining customer experience and talking about the shift in this domain, Ganesan notes that Exotel is well-aware of the power customer experience can play in differentiating a brand and building loyalty towards it. “For us, customer experience is something that goes beyond the superficial impressions a brand lays out for consumers. 

We see it as a more holistic experience that includes a customer’s cognitive, emotional and sensory perceptions, which they experience through their entire journey with a brand. Right from mulling a potential product or service through their interactions and post-purchase service. 

At Exotel, we have taken the interaction a step further with the help of bot technology. We help brands personalize their conversations with consumers by integrating telephony setups with CRM tools.” 

He reiterates that Exotel’s integrations allow human agents to get complete automated information about the customer, while making or receiving a call. This allows them to tailor conversations for faster resolution. It also enables customers to see agents as experts who genuinely care enough to remember past conversations, thereby lending a positive, customer-centric image of your business.

Employee experience and innovation driving customer experience

Ganesan believes that employee experience and innovation both play very critical roles in ensuring happy and satisfied customers. To this he says: “Today more than the product of service, consumers value how a brand treats them. Hence, in my view, customer service can make or break loyalties for customers. To make customers feel valued and heard I believe the organizational culture needs to reflect that. 

An employee who feels valued and happy will tend to be more engaged and invested in the company’s vision and goal and will intuitively ensure a happier customer experience. The same stands true for innovation. Positive employee engagement automatically fosters a more creative and innovative spirit as it empowers employees to unleash their creativity without fear. At Exotel, we firmly believe in cultivating these values across the organisation.”   

AI-enabled customer engagement becoming the norm and its impact 

According to the co-founder and CEO, Exotel initially started as a communications platform offering a suite of cloud-based voice and messaging APIs to facilitate customer communications. 

“While other players in the industry offered similar solutions, Exotel eventually expanded its capabilities through a merger with Ameyo (an omnichannel contact centre provider) and through acquiring Cogno AI (a conversation AI platform featuring chatbots, live chat and co browsing functions), to become the biggest and only full-stack customer engagement platform in emerging markets. 

Through Ameyo, Exotel can now help businesses go remote with its virtual contact solutions, thereby streamlining their customer service, support and collection processes. Cogno AI, on the other hand, enables users of the Exotel platform to monitor customer sentiments and provide zero contact resolution. Exotel now powers over 40 million engagements daily for over 6,000 companies in India, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa.” 

Business benefits to organisations

Bringing in the benefits of conversational artificial intelligence (AIs), Ganesan says that as the name suggests, these are a set of technologies that allow conversational interactions between humans and computers. These AIs employ deep tech machine learning to talk with consumers in a most natural and personalised manner. “This helps organisations to interact with users using artificial intelligence, messaging apps, and speech recognition, to offer bespoke experiences that also use past interaction history to offer more personalised solutions and engagements.

“Conversational AI ability can thus offer major business benefits like boosting productivity, resolving repetitive issues quickly, faster and improved solutions, and overall a more involved customer engagement, thereby growing brand loyalty. Undoubtedly, chatbots today have some limitations like gauging changes in human emotion, language sensitivity, responding to complex queries, and such. 

We do appreciate that as the tech stands now, companies who find the right synergy and balance between human and AI interactions, tend to perform better than companies which depend exclusively on just one solution.” He goes on to add that with deep tech and machine learning, chatbots are becoming more intuitive and gearing towards simulating human-like conversations. 

Partnering with WhatsApp

Elucidating about the recent partnership with WhatsApp, Ganesan quips that they are very excited about the partnership. He goes on to say: “This will further enhance our Chatbot services for customers offering intelligent responses to their queries round the clock. We hope to programme the WhatsApp chatbot to communicate in 100+ languages and thus help brands to communicate in customer’s preferred language. 

Keeping WhatsApp as a customer engagement channel will help businesses to deliver a quality CX, drive more sales through a personalised two-way communication and also help businesses understand customer expectations.”

He added that the idea of bringing in WhatsApp is to have the customers engage more with the brand. Since it has over 95 per cent read rate when compared to an SMS. “It’s definitely the smarter choice. Also, the focus here is we want to have WhatsApp work in sync with all other channels that the brand is using to communicate with the customer. 

For example, if a customer is talking to the brand on WhatsApp and switches to a call to get connected to a call center agent, he/she should still have complete visibility into the customer’s WhatsApp conversation before addressing the customer. This seamless integration of channels is what will provide an unbroken experience to the customers.” 

With so much into play, Exotel is looking to open an office in the UAW by the end of 2022. 

This office will act as a local headquarter for the Middle East and will aid Exotel’s expansion into other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. “We already have a decade of experience evangelizing the future of customer engagement tech in these growing markets. Having worked in 64+ countries and across industries, we want to share our learnings with organizations in the Middle East to help them elevate customer experience. 

We look to partner with Customer Experience industry bodies. By this, we want to build an awareness amongst all community members on how to improve CX and how communication can play a key role in driving business growth and customer retention.” He concludes by saying that the overall vision of the organisation remains the same — to be a single platform that businesses can lean on to communicate to customers. 

About Exotel

Exotel is the emerging market’s leading customer conversation platform and business-focused virtual telecom operator. Exotel has also recently received a virtual telecom operator license in India to offer cost-effective end-to-end VoIP telephony services, making the company a 100% compliant cloud calling operator. Exotel was founded in 2011 and has an impressive cloud-based product suite that drives 70+ million conversations every day for more than 7000 businesses in India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Today, the omnichannel contact center, communication API suite, and conversational AI platform from Exotel help some of the fastest- growing businesses in emerging countries manage their customer engagement.

Exotel has won The ET StartUp Awards 2022 under the Comeback Kid category.

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