back to main menu

S3E01 – Recreating Delightful In-Store Customer Experiences, Online – Shweta Srivastava, Tata Cliq

Duration 33:23

Guest Speaker

Shweta Srivastava

Shweta Srivastava

Head of Customer Experience, Tata Cliq

Industry

E-commerce

Shweta Srivastava is a visionary leader with over 21 years of experience in performing diverse & cross-functional roles in the field of Customer Experience.  As the Head of CS & Customer Experience at Tata Cliq, she plays a key strategic and operational leadership role that is responsible for designing and implementing strategies, to bring the customer to the centre of everything that the organisation does.

We cover:

If you enjoyed this conversation, please subscribe on Apple PodcastGoogle PodcastSpotify or wherever else you listen from. It means a lot, and it helps support the show. 

Transcript

Jude Gerald Lopez

Welcome to the 20 Minute Moat podcast by Verloop.io. I have a very special guest with me today.

We have Shweta Srivastava, who heads customer experience at Tata Cliq, one of India’s finest E-commerce brands. Shweta comes with a lot of experience in the commerce and Internet company space. With over 19 years in the industry, she’s a real thought leader.

And I am really excited to hear what she has to say today. Before we begin, I’d also like, you know, to ask Shweta to give us a little bit of an introduction into her role, her journey, as a thought leader in this particular space.

And also what her role is like at Tata Cliq. So welcome to the show. Very, very happy to have you.

Shweta Srivastava

Thank you.

Pleasure is all mine. Thank you for having me here.

[01:11] Jude Gerald Lopez

Ok, so let’s get right into it.

So first thing, Shweta, what is your role like at Tata Cliq?

I am sure everyone… All of our listeners are aware of the space of the brand, are users of the brand, and are also happy customers of the brand.

So, as head of customer experience, what’s your role like? 

And how do you guys go on creating those, you know, those unique magical customer experiences that keep bringing, you know, keep bringing people back to the platform.

Shweta Srivastava

Yeah, so as head of CS and customer experience at Tata Cliq, I play a strategic and operational leadership role here.

And I am… so I’ll simply put it this way. I am responsible for designing and implementing strategies that bring the customer to the centre of everything the organization does.

So I work with the leadership team cross-functionally.

And, me and my team, we are the voice of the customer for the entire organization.

So, that’s my role, in a nutshell, that I would put in.

So my portfolio involves operations, managing quality of interactions with customers, and also digital CX, benchmarking service experience.

All of that is there. But if I simply put it in,  … yes, we work for the customers. And whatever best is for customers is something that I drive with the leadership team in the organization.

[02:44] Jude Gerald Lopez

Yeah. That’s an interesting, you know, philosophy. You just put forward the voice of the customer.

I mean, for everyone who’s listening. I mean, this is the kind of, like, this is what you need to take notes of.

Like that… the fundamental philosophy that drives customer support where it’s customer-centric. And, I think, that also creates, to a large extent, a very empathetic approach.  You know, with customer queries, and you know, it goes beyond just transactions.

I actually had this second question. You know, I was just thinking about it while you were speaking.

Normally, you know, brands and customers, theoretically and fundamentally have a very transactional relationship. It is you who does this and, you know, I help you get this done.

But how do you, again, get examples of insights from your role at Tata Cliq, how do you go beyond that? How do you turn a transactional relationship with a customer into something more than that?

You know, and create a sense of community?

Shweta Srivastava

Right.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Yeah.

Shweta Srivastava

It’s a very interesting question.  And I feel excited every time somebody asks it, because this is what we believe when we build processes and when we build journeys,   customer journeys at Tata Cliq.

What we aim to do here. Is that we, instead of looking at transactions, so that’s any which ways there, right?

There’s a… there’s an order.

There’s a transaction, if the customer has a query or complaint they will contact us.

That Channel is open. What we work continuously every day is on reducing customer effort.

How do we eliminate the need for customers to contact us? Or eliminate the need for us to, you know, contact customers?

Why can’t we work…You know, and we monitor… say, customer journey end to end?

So we have a process… proactive processes in place. Where we monitor the entire customer journey. 

From the time customers are on our app or site, you know. Looking for the options, placing the order. 

Then, you know, waiting for the order, and then probably, the customer has to return it. Then waiting for the pickup to happen.

Then, you know, waiting for a refund to happen. So this is an entire journey. What we do, we monitor each part of it proactively. So we have technology-driven, you know, solutions. And we also have certain dashboards through which we can monitor.

And we monitor the breaches. This model predicts in advance that, you know, the breach is about to happen and you have to engage with the customer. … In a way, that customer is aware that delivery will be delayed or there will be, you know, certain delays in some of the actions in the journey. 

And we have seen a very good success rate in this model. If you proactively, transparently inform customers that, you know, there is…Your delivery will be delayed by one day, the customer appreciates that.

Rather than, you know, getting in a reactive mode. Where a customer is calling us angry and saying that, you know, I was expecting a delivery today. 

It hasn’t come. So this has helped us in, you know, defining the, you know, this process. 

And it is a kind of magical moment, right, for a customer, when the customer receives a communication.

And all this is the solutions are in such a way that these are non-intrusive. So we do WhatsApp messaging. We do emails, we try to avoid, you know, out calling customers.

Which is…today, when everyone is busy working from home or virtually, you know, trying to manage day-to-day things, calling, getting an outbound call and saying, hey, I am from Tata Cliq and… it is kind of intrusive. So, we have built some solutions 

Jude Gerald Lopez

Yeah.

Shweta Srivastava

Which are like, new-age solutions and customers will just look at the message and say, OK. That’s OK if delivery is one day delayed. So that is something customers appreciate. So yeah, to answer your question, this is how we have been building proactive, predictive models in the customer journey.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Quite a few interesting threads, you know, from your response. One is, it is not just about the end result, which is the customer support part.

It’s also about the product. It’s about the entire journey. Because that way, I feel that, you know, for a customer, you are heightening their experience quality and their expectations.

And when it is reactive, it’s almost always damaged control.

Shweta Srivastava

Yes.

Jude Gerald Lopez

So, something has happened, and now I need to make them happy. But then,  It’s a very interesting  … take. That, you know, you can avoid that situation altogether by just being open.

And you know… I think that also helps a lot when it comes to building that, you know, that kind of trust with the customer. And I’m sure,you know, I’m guessing that, you know, in such cases, with brands that proactively do stuff like this.

Customers are not as angry if there is a slight hiccup. They are willing to, you know 

Shweta Srivastava

Absolutely

Jude Gerald Lopez

There is a…

Shweta Srivastava

Absolutely. Like I said…

Jude Gerald Lopez

There is a bigger relationship involved.

Shweta Srivastava

Absolutely. Like I said,

Shweta Srivastava

So I just want to give one example to make my point. So we have a mall business. So there are two apps for Tata Cliq.

One is for mall business and second is for luxury. 

Jude Gerald Lopez

Ok.

Shweta Srivastava

Where we have all the luxury brands and that is for a different set of customers. And, people who… customers who are buying from Luxury products… luxury apps.

They are the people who are looking for luxury brands like Michael Kors and Armani, and this is a category of HNI customers mostly. So we run a program for them.  Which is a membership program, Luxury Select.

And as part of that program,  we assign our relationship manager to the customer. Now this relationship is a luxury customer.

We have mixed it up with human intervention slightly. 

Jude Gerald Lopez

Ok

Shweta Srivastava

Where this relationship manager is connected with customers and proactively informing about the offers.

Not only about the transactions or orders that customer,  … has with us at this point of time, but also about upcoming offers and what they can avail, etc.

So that has worked very well for us. 

So one is a proactive model, which is seamless.

We are serving customers every minute without the customer knowing about it. So we are doing that in the background.

Second…it’s a mixed approach. Where there’s human intervention also. 

There’s a relationship manager assigned, but that also in a very non intrusive way, and working, you know, towards serving the customer.

And we have very high CSAT rates for both. So our CSAT, the industry standard… Industry standard is 90% plus, or 90… between 90 to 92%, which is the benchmark. 

We are 95% for our mall business, and around 97% plus for our luxury business, so yeah.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Fabulous. I mean,

Shweta Srivastava

So, that’s something that I wanted to just let everyone know.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Yeah, I think, like with this also, customers have a high, you know, expectation. 

Shweta Srivastava

When I shop at Tata Cliq, this is how it’s going to be.

Jude Gerald Lopez

And when you were talking about the whole… the luxury side of things. 

It’s almost like you have successfully recreated an in-store experience but with all the benefits of shopping from home.

And connectivity and the entire ease of access… process. That’s a very interesting customer journey  … to be honest.

Shweta Srivastava

Yes. So 5.5 years back, 6 years back, when we started Tata Cliq, we coined one-word cal… called Phygital.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Phygital?

Shweta Srivastava

Which is physical plus digital. Now it is used by many companies or people who use omni channel as a…, you know, to define that.

But yes, we have… we have been very conscious to be non-intrusive, but at the same time, do not lose the human touch… and wherever customers need, we are present.

So we do not restrict customers in any channel. That is another philosophy that we have. If a customer wants to get in touch with us, all channels are open. We will not restrict…Like there are many brands who will not have their helpline number published on the site.

Or they will just drive you through, you know, through web channels or chat bot or chat… we don’t do that.

We say that we will be present where you are as a customer and we will serve you. Your choice, you want to choose a channel and we will be present there.

Yes, we may have certain strategies to drive certain channels and, you know, increase adoption, etc. But that’s the philosophy that we use.

[11:57] Jude Gerald Lopez

Interesting. I mean, I wanted to ask you, so now that, you know, automation, conversational AI and, you know, bots are… it’s no longer something special.

It’s there everywhere. What’s been the customer response like? Do they still feel the need to talk to a human agent at the end of the day?

Do they still feel like, Ok.I cannot get this problem sorted out in an… in the automated ways of. 

You know, reaching out and doing the whole support process. One, do they still end up at the… you know… end of the human agent?

Or are they still wary to talk a bot?  Do they feel that, ok, this is just a formality that I have to, you know,  go through these few hoops to reach a human agent.

How has the response been for automation in general?

Shweta Srivastava

For us, the response has been great. And why, I think it is also because we are in the e-commerce space.

And our customers are already, you know, net savvy. They are the customers who know how to browse. 

Get things done on the Internet, so they… they are educated ones already.So that makes our job slightly easier, I would say.

With other industries where, you know, people like to visit the store. And touch and feel and then buy things, most of the, you know, work is done already because it’s an e-commerce customer who is coming to us. 

Who likes to be served on his or her own. Which means, I know…browse the site.

I know how to look for prices. I know how to compare prices with other brands.

I will finalize on my own which one I want to buy and I will buy it, yeah.   educated customer. Not like going to a Croma store and then somebody is assisting. 

You know, this is Samsung,  …you buy Samsung or LG. Our customers will come to our store. 

Online store, and will select on its own.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Yeah.

Shweta Srivastava

So, an educated customer already knows about the Internet. How to use it. 

So it’s slightly… it becomes slightly easier for us to drive digital initiatives, customers are evolving, to answer your question. Now customers want to be self-served. This means they don’t want to, you know, spend time talking to an agent, explaining their problem.

Going through that whole ordeal. Waiting for their tickets to be resolved and getting updates. They want everything to be tracked online, right.

It is how they track orders on any other platform. They would like to track it without being disturbed. Or without being… getting into, you know, getting into a conversation with a human.

Having said that, I think we are at a stage right now where we are successfully solving basic and repetitive queries.

Because bot also needs to be trained, right?

Jude Gerald Lopez

Yes.

Shweta Srivastava

So from day one to what we are now, I think, bot has evolved a lot. Now the success rate is better than what used to be earlier.

Customers contacting after bot experience, percentage of those customers is continuously going down, but, bot has to be trained, there are no use cases. There are new scenarios and it is a continuous process.

But I feel that we have reached a place where basic and repetitive queries. What is the return policy? 

When will I get my refund? When will I get my order? All of that, the bot can answer or the customer can go through FAQ’s and get the answers.

For complex queries,   still, the customer wants to talk to a human being. And, you know, state their grievances and,   you know, problems and then get help.

I feel it’s OK, absolutely OK. Because otherwise what will happen?  Bot cannot be trained on all the scenarios, right? 

Jude Gerald Lopez

Exactly.

Shweta Srivastava

There is a limitation. While with Alexa and everything. 

There is a continuous improvement and innovation happening in technology. But, at this point of time, I think the entire industry is at a stage where they are able to successively solve basic and repetitive queries. 

And then the handoff happens from bot to an agent, where there is a complexity involved.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Exactly, I mean, I couldn’t agree more. And, you know, even with higher order skills like, you know, sometimes empathy, it is better for a human agent at that stage to intervene.

And I think this also comes from the hybrid kind of take,  which, Shweta you were mentioning, I was just thinking, you know. This also makes it more sensible that  … human agents can now prioritize what they want to be looking at.

And that can offer a way more advanced and more sensitive and curated response to queries at that stage. And I think that really helps both human agents in prioritizing. And customers when it comes to, you know, getting their work done.

Shweta Srivastava

Totally agree, totally agree. And it works both ways, right? It is in improving the experience as well as there’s a good impact on cost as well. So we can… through technology we can do one time investment and cut down on all these repetitive queries that would reach a contact center.

And then a contact center can focus on complex queries and complaints and give that experience to a customer where service recovery is required. So, yeah.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Oh, yeah, I mean, since we’re talking about this.

I also wanted to sort of deep dive into, you know, what does your customer support and customer operations team, your experience team, what… What do they look like? And for, again, people in the customer support space.

[18:17] Jude Gerald Lopez

Who are working in this particular space and building their own, you know, flavour of customer support for those brands. , what do you look for when you’re building your team? And what should people also, you know, pay attention to?

Shweta Srivastava

Right. I will start with the… with answering the second part of it right?

Jude Gerald Lopez

OK.

Shweta Srivastava

So what do we look for?

We have tenets defined and we revise these tenets every year. When we do our strategy planning for next year.

Right now, we are in the process of doing that. So we have revised our tenets. These are the guidelines which tells us,  … which tells us how, as a team, as a customer experience professional for Tata Cliq, we should take actions.

Or we should behave in a certain way when… when this situation comes. For example, it says…   There’s a one-line in our tenets which says when in doubt, air on the side of the customer.  So, it’s a very clear guideline defined.

If you have the slightest doubt, when you are taking a call on customer resolution, please be on the customer’s side and do everything the customer is asking for. And don’t worry about the back end.

Don’t worry about anything else. So agents are empowered to do that. This greatly helps everyone in the customer support team when they are handling customers day in and out.

Similarly, there are five-six pointers. And this is like a daily dose, and whenever we are confused, we just go back to these tenets and say, OK, guidelines are here and I can do this.

So that is something we look for. You know,  … so this is the second part of the question. And the first part of the question was about the structure and what it looks like.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Yeah.

Shweta Srivastava

So, we don’t call ourselves customer support. We call ourselves a service experience team.

And there are three parts of it. So one is service experience itself, which is digital CX, automation, bots, adoption of bots, and all of that is part of that.

Then we have a team that is continuously doing benchmarking.

Jude Gerald Lopez

OK.

Shweta Srivastava

So there is a framework for benchmarking. Know what your competition is doing.

So they do there is a quarterly and, you know, half-yearly, annually, a framework to it. And, that is happening as part of the service experience.

Then the voice of management… voice of the customer.  So VOC management is something that we do as part of service experience and where an extensive program is being done.

Where are we on NPS? We reach out to and we do service recovery programs.

NPS and CSAT are part of it. So that’s the service experience itself.

Other than that, there are operations, service operations. Which means, that’s a contact center.

It’s QRC management. Where we are catering to customer requests and complaints. And the third most important part of it is service quality.

So this is the team who works on hiring the right kind of people for our team, then training them.

What they need, and then, you know,   monitoring their performance. Be a coach. Give feedback to agents time and again.

And, you know, maintain standards of quality that we have defined for ourselves. So yeah, so, in nutshell these are the 3 sub functions within the service experience team. Service Operations, service quality and the last bit is, yes, service experience itself.

Well, that team does a lot of things around service experience.

[22:12] Jude Gerald Lopez

I mean, you sort of touched upon something I wanted to follow up this question with, and that is  how do you measure the effectiveness of, you know, of all these teams?

And, I mean, CSAT is one, and you know, do these metrics reflect customer sentiment? How do you bridge those gaps between the metrics and customer sentiment?

Shweta Srivastava

Yeah, so both have their own importance, right. The metric is something that is now becoming a hygiene factor.

In order to know that your ops is running up to a certain standard, you monitor certain metrics on an hourly basis.

You monitor certain metrics on a daily basis, certain metrics you only require to know on a weekly basis, so those metrics will remain. Those are reflections of the work done by your team.

Whether we are above targets, below targets, or how we are doing on, you know, various parameters.

Shweta Srivastava

The sentiment is something we have the technology to gauge sentiment also. We have voice analytics, where all the recorded calls are being, you know, churned through NLP where the sentiment scores are published.

We do that as well, but that’s through technology.

Other than that… to answer your question, in terms of sentiment, at Tata Cliq, we have a RCA culture.

Root Cause Analysis.

Jude Gerald Lopez

OK.

Shweta Srivastava

Any escalation that reaches to our chairman or, you know, leadership team, or critical one, right? We do a thorough deep dive. And there are various root causes, RCA mechanisms, we can use.

We go through, you know,  , go through that escalation deeply and to understand why this escalation happened?

What went wrong? And what could we have done to prevent it? 

And what we can do, in the long term, to eradicate it. And it’s a documentation.  We write narratives, we write, like a lengthy 3-4 pages. Or sometimes, it is higher than that.

Documents, and those documents are presented in various forums.

And, actionable that we… that comes out from that… you know, those documents are tracked till it is closed. So proper program management happens. So this is a culture from day one at Tata Cliq.

And, we believe that looking at these escalations in a, you know, in a separate way, in an individual fashion, helps us capture customer sentiments in a better way.

But we will also understand deeply why this customer had to escalate what happened. So that means their grievance has… the sentiment. Or the anger against a brand is so high. We want to tap that customer.

We want to understand the problem and solve it. So that is something that we do. I think, very different from other companies.

[25:26] Jude Gerald Lopez

Interesting,  I wanted to also, you know, just get your thoughts on are there any… I mean, tech is moving at a very, very fast pace.

So, what are the kind of tech trends that people in customer experience should be excited about?

You know, and they’re like, OK, this is what’s going to change the way we imagine and understand support. We have seen that happen, particularly in the last few years with automation becoming the norm, what are your thoughts on that?

Are there like, tech trends that you particularly keep a tab on and, you know, look forward to. 

So that, you know, you can bring it back into customer experience and then, you know, take it a notch up?

Shweta Srivastava

Yes, so there are,  in fact, there are many.  And technology is something that, there are regular, on a consistent basis, innovations happening.

And new technologies are coming, replacing the other one,  I think that will keep happening.

What do we do at Tata Cliq? We follow a lot of reliable research work done by, for example, Gartner or research work done by McKinzey, and we follow the tech trend that they predict.

For example, in our strategy, we will incorporate inputs that these, you know, reliable and prestigious agencies are recommending. And these tech trends, we try to incorporate in our strategy for the next year. 

And then, we’ll put our big bet. So we’ll have our 5-6 big bets for the year. 

Jude Gerald Lopez

Ok.

Shweta Srivastava

How can we get better on this?

What technology can help us get better on this?

Because, I feel, still with voice analytics, speech analytics, you can convert, you know, speech to text and then text to meaningful data. Still, we need to, you know, do some sampling to validate. And, we don’t know if the success rate is good or not, you know,  to a level, so manual intervention is still required.

So we keep a keen eye on technology that will help us improve the success rate on sentiment analysis. 

Jude Gerald Lopez

Correct.

Shweta Srivastava

And that will, I think, will be a  big game-changer.

And the second part is on VOC management.

Like we hear,  we try to listen to customers from all the channels, so  not only the structured ones.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Ok.

Shweta Srivastava 

Which we know that… customer,  we got 10 calls and out of 10 calls, 2 were for X reason, 2 were for Y reason, so that is very structured.

It is logged in the CRM and we can take our reports. We also listen to customers who are talking in their own verbatim.

So unstructured feedback that we get, right? That comes to us through service. Where we give a free text and we ask them to write what they want.

And that free text is also analyzed.

We have an AI/ML driven solution where we analyze and,  … that tool converts it into meaningful data

We are looking for a solution that can give us an integrated approach, where everything can come on one platform and give us one view.

So right now, it is slightly fragmented.

[29:08] Jude Gerald Lopez

OK,  I think I have time for one more question. And that is, you know, this touches on two things. 

One is a retrospective, as in, when you are in Tata Cliq and, you know when you are investing in a conversational AI or an automation platform for customer experience and support. 

What were the things that you looked for?

And, for brands who are listening today, smaller brands or bigger brands, in the same industry particularly, what should they particularly, you know, look for?

I’m sure all these platforms have to be tailor-made for the brand, and it can’t be one-size-fits-all.

But still, what do you look for in these platforms? Like, what are your priorities?

Shweta Srivastava

OK, so you mean brands.

You mean,  the brands listed on our site or you are talking about…

Jude Gerald Lopez

No, e-commerce platforms?

Shweta Srivastava

E-commerce. I understand.

Jude Gerald Lopez

You know, what were your priorities when, you know, when you thought of, OK, this is how automation should be?

Shweta Srivastava

Right, so first of all, as I said, we have a team that does benchmarking.

So we keep our eyes and ears open in terms of what competition is doing. But at the same time, we have a clear philosophy that we are not here to copy anything from…  … from the competition.

We will adopt the best practices, but we will create our own mark as well.

Now, strategy, when we do it, we either say that we will become a benchmark or we will do better than the benchmark. But we also say this will be our differentiator, right? 

For example, on the luxury site, we do not copy any of the competition. It has our own vision, our own way of doing things. 

And that has worked, fortunately, very well for us.

Shweta Srivastava

So I think,  in terms of when we started

So your question was more about automation and when we,  when we look at automation from a competition perspective… Tata Cliq is just six years old in the business, right?

And Amazon and Flipkart. I don’t know I think it’s, slightly longer than a decade

Or maybe more than that, probably, right?  So they have good technology.

I think, in terms of technology, mostly we will be in a catch-up game for some time.

They are a notch above. Some things have worked, we know clearly. Like having then integrated unified CRM …a good tracking mechanism from the customer.

All that automation is something that we have learned from the competition and adopted.

And like I said, we have also created our own mark in certain areas.  Which are very different from other competitions.

Jude Gerald Lopez

Fabulous. And yeah, so, I think, you know, just to sort of before we wind up. The importance of having those tenets written down and having a very, very clear and, you know,  … very focused view on what exactly the philosophy is behind all of these efforts. 

I am, I mean, it’s quite evident that it’s really, really working and  with a brand like Tata Cliq, the experiences are delightful and, you know, customers are more than happy to engage with the brand.

So, with that, you know, thank you so much.

For, you know, taking time off to, come on The Twenty Minute Moat and have this little conversation.

Because it was a fabulous conversation with a lot of insights. And I am sure,  people tuning in and listening to this episode are gonna really, really get a lot of takeaways and really enjoy this little chat.

So thank you so much Shweta.

Shweta Srivastava

Thanks a lot.

I also equally enjoyed the conversation.