UJET Executive Interview
Anand Janefalkar, CEO, UJET
While UJET was founded on a simple premise, it is one that continues to gain traction in a world where customer support is more closely tied to a business’ brand and reputation than ever before. The guiding principle of the San Francisco-based cloud contact center software supplier is that the customer support experience needs to be exceptional for everyone involved: customers, agents, and supervisors. According to Founder and CEO, Anand Janefalkar, everyone on the UJET team from the top down -- including designers, developers and technology specialists--- is brought on board to contribute to the company’s singular commitment to innovation in smartphone-era customer support on the web, phone, and mobile apps.
UJET is coming off a record performance, having announced year-to-year sales growth of over 500% at the beginning of 2019, demonstrating continued market strength and leadership in IoT and connected devices, retail, financial tech, and on-demand services. Janefalkar noted that the company “continues to partner with new-for-us-partners in category-leading brands.” He is not surprised that most of these brands are setting the course in how their support needs to continue to evolve with cloud-native, mobile-first and customer-centric service capabilities, with an emphasis on providing what he calls a “hyper-personalized” focus.
“There are a few layers to the process,” he said. “If you look at a lot of services, they are accessed truly through mobile…and these are not just the newer ones. For example, if you look at mobile banking, I don’t remember the last time I had to actually enter a bank. I can now log in with my fingerprint, take a photo of a check and send it to mobile deposit. But if something goes wrong---perhaps a stop payment – I need to go to support, which takes me outside the app environment. If I have changed my phone number, they have no idea who is calling. Sometimes, even if there have been no changes, the banking system does not have the most updated snapshot of a customer’s account. Whereas our solution, being very mobile- and web-centric, as well as having the API key exchanges even on the IVR—allows a banking institution to not only pull the necessary information from the back end but get the most accurate snapshot of a customer’s account from the front end.”
“The mobile experience has to go beyond the quick and easy…eliminating wrong information and missed information. Mobile is now the primary origin point of conversations, and some brands have failed to recognize that,” said Janefalkar. “It’s archaic to make the differentiation of having chat only available on the full desktop site and not on the mobile one, but some still do that. What seems to have happened in many cases is that the support budget that impacts contact centers has remained with the operations team and the mobile and web budgets stayed with the marketing team, which has created a disconnect. What we strive to do after the first meeting with a client is make sure that stakeholders from both teams attend subsequent meetings to show them service doesn’t have to be a firefight after the fact. When product or marketing is introducing a new feature or changing the website and people start calling in because something isn’t working right, it’s critical that the support team be given visibility to what is going on to not only be aware of any potential problems but keep them from escalating.”
“We find when both teams sit down together, it often generates an ‘aha’ moment where they see that this is how they can set things up optimally in terms of staffing, in what are the peak hours, and how to normalize the traffic as it comes in. But most important, they can plan on how best to handle the inquiries that are coming from the new origination point.”
Janefalkar acknowledges that agents really have a tough job. “Most of the time when people are initiating a support conversation, they’re either anxious, frustrated or wanting to yell at somebody. But they are also giving the business to retain them as a customer. In that scenario, to identify, verify, empathize, diagnose and ultimately fix the issue is a monumental task. I think that most companies have given up on the generic script reading because that frustrates the customer even more. We believe that having an automated, reliable way of obtaining accurate data—both visually and contextually—is the toolkit we provide and that is the reason we are experiencing the success we have achieved.”
He noted that some customers had previously had solutions that had strong tracking tools and QA processes for supervisors but were deficient on the front end in in meeting customers on the channels on which they wished to communicate. Others did not offer a good agent experience in that they may had knowledge bases in place, but front-end personnel had to toggle though different screens to find the information they needed or collect knowledge from different sources to maintain context. “What we focus on is meeting the needs of the customer in real time. We meet the customer on the channel of their choice, ensure session continuity, enable channel continuity and channel steering: we firmly that the urgency and complexity of the issue should dictate the channel experience as opposed to the other way around. This way, people who simply want to change their password can be steered to a web page that makes it easy to self-serve but still have the option of getting assistance when they need it. Our aim is to provide journeys that flow seamlessly between the three personas: the end user, the agent that is servicing the query and the manager or supervisor who requires detailed tools to measure the metrics of the experience. Supervisory personnel need to know the time to resolution, and whether it is indeed a first contact resolution or if the customer needs to be transferred. Those are the elements with which we see many companies struggling but having a platform that truly concentrates on real time is what we find contributes to success.”
After being founded in 2015, UJET launched SOC2 Type II security and HIPAA compliance within 30 months, which Janefalkar believes is “some type of record.” Their initial success was focused around the device IoT vertical which he calls “an exploding sector,” one where his hardware background and understanding of engineering issues translated into making the often-tricky transition to technical service a process that required far less effort. They are also seeing growth in on-demand delivery businesses and the heavily regulated finance field while gradually gaining ground with traditional enterprise companies. The solution is CRM-agnostic and integrates easily with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamic and Zendesk and can also be adapted to homegrown CRMs. In addition, UJET enables businesses to leverage CRM capabilities in real time.
What truly sets UJET apart? “The smartphone has opened a new world of communication and sharing where people communicate visually and contextually and the use of sensor data, including location which we utilize on a daily basis,” noted Janefalkar. “This why support can be so frustrating. You’ve probably never met a person who is excited about clearing their afternoon to speak with customer support. While consumers are now extremely digitally acquainted, that sense is lacking in most platforms. Many solutions that claim to be cloud merely put a cloud wrapper on on-premise architecture. These systems do not connect with native cloud or mobile first systems. That is the biggest point of differentiation, along with being able to communicate both visually and contextually, no matter what the channel. People want to take a picture and be able to show the rep what is wrong or share their screen. This makes for a delightful experience for not only the customer and the agent, but the supervisor and the supporting back-end people, who can actually see the information they need to make the right decision.”