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EdgeVerve Systems Executive Interview

Sanjay Nambiar, Senior Director and Global Product Head, AssistEdge at EdgeVerve Systems, an Infosys subsidiary, EdgeVerve Systems

Recent surveys have revealed that while the majority of customers (70%) prefer to use self-help, a significant minority (30%) still do not choose to avail themselves of this option. What do you see as the reason behind this hesitance to employ self-service?
We see multiple reasons behind this – one is generation difference, while Gen Y and beyond are used to digital media’s and prefer self-service, many of previous generations still prefer touch-points with the enterprise, be it retail store or on-call support. The other key factor is the experience people get on the self-service first time. If the experience is not good and the customer is unlikely to come back and try self-service again. 

Do you find that customers are now using social media outlets as an important tool to attempt to resolve their issues?
Absolutely. Social media is increasingly being used as an medium to raise issues about products/services. Customers are expecting enterprises to listen to these issues on social media and respond on the same media. 

What steps do organizations need to take to make their self-service options more ‘user- friendly’?
Self-Service is not about dumping some knowledge document on to the customers/users. Instead, it is about understanding the context of customer’s query and provide the most relevant and contextual answer. One step ahead, self-service is also about allowing user to take action themselves – e.g. check balance, do recharge etc. Thus, taking self-service from “query” to “action”.

Consumers become frustrated when they need to be transferred from agent to agent, having to repeat their problem. Can you elaborate on how the AssistEdge cross-channel experience reduces this common obstacle?
AssistEdge is an omni-channel product providing context passing between channels. Thus, if a customer moves from call to chat, the chat agent gets entire context of the customer and the problem. The customer is happy because they don’t have to repeat their problem again and again; the agent and the enterprise is also because its takes lesser time to handle the query. 

There has been a great deal of growth in virtual agent technology. What differentiates your solution?  
1. NLP (Natural Language Processing) and Contextual relevant answers 2. Step-by-step guided workflows – providing interactive action from customer

On average, agents toggle between 12- 15 applications. In what specific ways do integrated agent desktops enable the agent to better serve the customer?
AssistEdge Smart User Environment provides a unified desktop and automation capabilities to the contact center agents. These reduce the agent effort and toggling to get customer specific data significantly. For multiple enterprises, we have improved the agent productivity by over 25%, reducing operational costs by 22%.

How do the interactive text, visual and video capabilities built in to your solution help to improve FCR?
Our product has helped global leaders reduce FCR by up to 25%, we have achieved this by providing the entire customer context and view to agents, providing multi-channel options for customers to reach enterprise and providing audio/video chat options.

Where do you see as the main developments now shaping the future of customer service?
We believe the future is about omni channel customer experience. Customers want best-of-breed experience irrespective of the time and channel. Innovative automations and machine learning algorithms will fuel this experience.

Sanjay Nambiar is a Senior Director and Global Product Head for AssistEdge at EdgeVerve Systems, an Infosys subsidiary. In his current role, he is responsible for the products that focus on the customer service space. Sanjay has two decades of industry experience in multiple verticals, including retail and consumer packaged goods, financial services, telecom and technology. He has significant consumer insights into emerging markets and mobile commerce.

Sanjay has been invited as speaker at INSEAD and NASSCOM several times. He has written articles for research firms, including Leo Burnett, Images Retail and ITPRO. Sanjay holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, from Pune University