Communication Journey Orchestration for Contextual Engagement

Sachin Seth - Webinar: Communication Journey Orchestration for Contextual Engagement

Sachin Seth

Partner and Digital Fintech Leader

Ernst and Young

Ritesh Varma - Webinar: Communication Journey Orchestration for Contextual Engagement

Ritesh Varma

Global Head, Business Consulting


In this digital-first age, your customers, employees, and other internal and external stakeholders are now connected through a host of social media channels and interact in a digital ecosystem. It is getting imperative for modern organizations, like yours to respond diligently and with the right context.

The Newgen Communication Hub enables the communication journeys to be orchestrated correctly. The Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine integrated to the communications hub platform enables context and speed to be addressed in the communications.

Watch this 30-minute webinar to address your need for customer-centric and personalized communications.

Watch Recording

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Moderator:                        Hello and welcome to this edition of Newgen Pulse. To keep you abreast with the latest market trends and share Newgen’s progress and updates, we bring to you this webinar series exclusively for our esteemed customers. In this digital-first days, your customers, employees, and other internal or external stakeholders are connected through a host of social media channels, where introduction is in a digital ecosystem. It is getting imperative for the modern organization like yours to respond diligently and with the right context.

The Newgen Communication hub enables the communication journeys to be orchestrated correctly. The natural processing or the NLP engine integrated to the Communications Hub platform enables context and speed. Today, we have Mr. Sachin Seth, Partner and Digital FinTech leader at EY, and Ritesh Varma, Global Head Business Consultant at Newgen Software with us.

Hi, Sachin. Sachin is the digital, fintech, and technology transformation thought leader with global experience is passionate about financial inclusion and literacy, and intrapreneurship. He plays as a business coach and mentor. He is an advisor to many CXOs and CEOs and chairpersons. He is an active contributor to South Asia’s leading digital platforms like SBI YONO, [inaudible 00:01:37], to name a few.

We also have Ritesh with us. Ritesh heads the global pre-sales and solution sales for Newgen. He’s the key member of the leadership in the organization and has led and participated in the growth tremendously, I would say. He is a subject matter expert in business, financial services, insurance, shared services, he kind of brings the right mix of technology and applies it to the business. So today, I’m very glad I’m honored to welcome you both over here. And I’m sure our participants, our attendees, our esteemed customers also have a lot to share. And they are going to have a nice time.

I would request everybody to please post your questions on the Q&A window tab over here. And we would have a Q&A session at the end of both the presentations. So, Sachin, would you like to take us on a journey of communication orchestration?

Sachin Seth:                       Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. Thank you so much. I know it was a very generous introduction. For a moment, I felt you’re introducing somebody else. I don’t think I’ve done so much in life to be introduced with such a long introduction. But that’s fine. Thank you so much. I appreciate that. So I’m just putting my slides for the benefit of the audience. So that we are able to have a conversation along with some of the content which I wanted to show. I hope it’s visible. Can you please confirm if my content is visible?

Moderator:                        Yes. Your screen is visible.

Sachin Seth:                       Perfect. Great. So good morning, good afternoon, everyone, in the different parts of the word. And I’m Sachin, I’m part of the EY Consulting, I work across geographies in EY. And my primary area of working is around digital and fintech and also look at the industry convergence of basically financial services, E-commerce, media, telecom industries. So it’s my pleasure to be here and share my thoughts with all of you. Today’s context is about basically looking at how we can have a empathetic conversation or communication with the customer, and how we can create that kind of approach.

So first, let me just share with you my point of view that what approach is typically looked at. Just give me one second, please. I’m just trying to settle between my different screens. Yeah, fair enough. Yeah. So basically talking about that what really happening in the customer communication agenda in the digital age, I thought that we just share with you the perspective what customers have. And then what are the challenges all of us are facing as either marketeers or customer service people or CR or people who are engaging with customer and helping customers sort of become the center point of the organization.

So based on the study which was done by Global Web Index 2021, almost 56% of the customers actually avoid the brands who bombard them with various kinds of messages which are not so relevant, and why I wanted to give you the statistics as a starting point of conversation because there are too many communications happening with the customers and many times it is repetitive, many time it is not contextual, many time it is not usable by the customer. And it is overwhelming for the customer to basically receive so much information and getting lost in the communication, which is over communication and actually miss out the relevant communication, which is important to customer, either to make a decision or get any kind of service right.

So why it happens and what are the challenges, which marketers also face, right? I mean, if you look at this kind of models or communication models, which are going on, I mean, there is obviously a very low ROI. Customer Data is in a mess, I mean, there are very difficult to get the actionable insights, even if you engage with customers, multiple disconnected systems, they don’t talk to each other, marketing platforms are either out of date, very slow, they are not integrated with customer service platforms. And then we have lot of operational challenges, multiple entities involved. And obviously, with regulations in every country being different, it becomes a very, very important aspect to see that how do we comply to the regulations at the same time, have meaningful conversations with the customer, and solve their queries, grievances, et cetera.

On top of it, time and resource, which is one of the most important aspect of any organization, it also becomes overloaded with the tasks, which are not strategic in nature, and which are not really doing any justice to the job, right? I mean, it’s more about repetitive kind of exercise which people are doing just to keep customer engaged, right? So in that context, if you see, there’s a lot can be done in any organization, as far as the customer communication is concerned, engaging with customers concern, and I’ll talk about it more in detail. So what I’ve done is I’ve plotted, what kind of business needs are and what kind of interventions are possible, right? Just to give you some examples that predict and deliver what your prospects and your customers need.

Now that obviously is a very, very powerful sort of statement as far as the customer engagement is concerned. But if you look at it, it is what kind of interventions are required that it should be data-driven, it should be personalized, it should be contextual, right? So that’s one kind of aspect. But if I take some of the other examples that get the holistic view of customers across interaction channels, right, whether it’s a lead, it’s a sales, it’s a service, it’s the affinity group of the customer, how do you get the single view of the customer and the whole cohort of that, and how you are able to basically make a meaning out of that in terms of communication and you are not bombarding the customer with something which is irrelevant to customer and making customer become more negative about your brand. Instead of that, you are trying to basically nudge the customer with the right set of communication and which is helping customer actually utilize this communication to become more loyal to the brand, and basically have the better stickiness, right?

So I think there are many aspects I’ve mentioned here, and all of them are practically self-explanatory in terms of what kind of needs are and what kind of interventions are, right? And obviously, as the topic says, the campaign orchestration, it is one of the key aspect because personalized automated cross-channel campaigns are the key aspect of how do you really get the point across the customers and how you’re able to get the best value for your money and the time value for the customer. Right? Now if I just take it a little bit more deeper into the use case, look at how the 360-degree view happens, how the closed looping happens. I mean, if I just say that whether on a paid video or social media, if you’re running a campaign, obviously, you will try to optimize that campaign before ROI, you will segment it, you will take it to the different channels, different kinds of delivery channels, and then on top of it, you will look at that how that communication is personalized to the particular customers’ segment or one kind of approach, right?

And then you look at the closed looping of that, come back to the data stream or data repository, and then look at that how you update that content, how do you have the different kind of content and that’s where the AB testing and other things comes into picture that maybe with the same message with different content to different way of communicating may have a different results, right? So that’s where the data and the marriage of data between the communication channel comes into picture, right? So again, if you can see, this whole broken into two parts, one is the internal to the organization and one is basically the external to the organization, right, and how this all is coming across as a integrated story. Right?

So with this, I just wanted to, while completing my topic for today and handing over to my next speaker, my colleague speaker from the panel today, Ritesh, before that, I thought I’ll just highlight that when you are looking for such kind of approach, obviously, the key part is that how do you get the strategy right, right? How do you have basically the DIY model for customers so that customers themselves are able to do a lot more and then customer does something by herself or himself, then naturally you get the data from the source, you have more satisfaction of customers, you have a more empowerment of customers, you are able to optimize their spends et cetera. Versus, everything is done by the team or assistant models or RMs or feet on the street and things like that, right?

Coming on the technology side also means when there are multiple plethora solutions going on, but the more number of solutions you have the more it creates a complexity. So I think from solution perspective, also it needs to have a seamless flow of communication and single version of truth across the interactions, right? And the last but not the least, that how do you manage all that after you exclude the implementation, right? You may have insource team, you may have the outsource mechanisms to do it, you may have hybrid to do it, but the objective is that to keep customers engaged in the right manner, how do you really basically bring it all together? And not only just implement the tools How do you really manage and run them also as you move forward, right?

So just concluding my topic for the day, I mean, Newgen and EV, we have partnered, we have been there in the market together with many clients have been in the success, contribution to success and a couple of projects. Recently, also have been done one of them I would like to talk about a global health insurance company wherein we have mapped the complete customer communication journey, whether it is a policy buying or whether it is a transaction or it’s a communication or it’s a renewal or it’s a claims. So everything is seamlessly integrated and customer gets a feel that customer is being looked after personally by the organization and there is a lot of loyalty gets built on top of that, right? So with this, I would like to hand over back to the host and requesting the next speaker to basically talk about from the implementation perspective.

Ritesh Varma:                    Thanks a lot, Sachin. Is my screen visible?

Moderator:                        Yes, your screen is visible.

Sachin Seth:                       You can put it. Yeah.

Ritesh Varma:                    Perfect. So thanks a lot, Sachin, that was really enlightening and in tune with what we are trying to do together. So the main agenda for today is from Newgen’s perspective, as to what Sachin just described was the concept of how people are bringing more trust to the organizations which are having digital channels of communication. In fact, the most critical about whole thing is that better customer service, improving efficiency, driving strong customer relationships and increasing customer satisfaction seems to be the top priority for businesses this financial year. What it also means is that digital customer engagement was up by 14% which basically means that people are interacting with the ecosystem digitally. In fact, it goes up to say that 89% of the customers spend more with companies who can provide digital ways of interacting with them. It also is a highlight that the next generation Gen Z, Gen Y, whatever we call them, is kind of the baby boomers are taking on and digital is becoming the name of the game today.

However, we’ve utilized digital to communicate. Yes. As Sachin was saying that most of these communications are bombardments. We are sending messages, emails, WhatsApp without realizing what the customer has already invested into with the organizations. So in spite of running these things, the customer feels that he is simply being bombarded which does not lead to customer excitement but leads to customer fragment kind of frustration. The customers today are dealing with multiple points of communication, be it the social, be the SMS, InMail, email, WhatsApp, and things like that. So they can be inquiries, which can be related to sending policies, sending letters, sending details on email or checking apps.

They can be marketing service requests, which may be related to promotions, it may be related to branch walk-ins or complaints. And finally, they may be simply related to complaints. Now complaints also can be in various forms and means. They can be a projectile coming to you from Twitter, which may be hampering or doing damage to you and as to be quickly damage controlled. So all of these in a digital format today gets kind of exploded, and you never know when and what can happen with these messages. So the need is to empathize, quickly get back to the customer, respond to him in a personalized way with empathy. And most importantly, build conversations. So instead of communicating one way, you have to build conversations and that’s what we help you to do.

Even the campaigns that you run have to be individualized, they cannot be mass marketing campaigns with a short message, “Please, ignore if already done.” It doesn’t give a good impression of the organization, especially to customers. So most important is the accountability of the communications journey that you actually need to work on. In a lifecycle of a prospect customer, and ultimately a prospect again, there can be various digital journeys that you’re running with the customer, be it in terms of campaigns, certain brand promotions, from upsell, cross-sell, simple information like debit or credit of transactions, remediation for rectifying a correspondence address, persuasion to coerce him to buy more, feedback to send, approvals, betterment, personalization of services. And finally, engagement. So what you can personally do is through each of these journeys of engagement of communication of conversation, try and keeping engaged. And that’s what’s important.

Now trying to keep him engaged doesn’t mean that you need to employ so many call center executives or probably people at the back end, we at Newgen work along this to give you an integrated communications platform. What it basically means that it is a loop which connects the inbound communication, tries to kind of work on it with the data that’s already available in a data warehousing platform or any of those, a CRM, core system, or any of those related to context, individualize it as per the data that you already have, send a communication out to the recipient, who in turn may either respond to it till the point he’s satisfied or probably he can simply kind of do other things related to it.

So the most important thing is to keep him engaged. Finally, whatever cannot be measured, cannot be kind of worked upon, right? So what’s most important is that journeys have to be measured, they have to be recalibrated. There can be various reports that you can get out of the system related to the campaign effectiveness, channel effectiveness, CSAT scores, net promoter scores, and things like that. You can have productivity reports in terms of the number of communication sent via channel, the case ticket volume, exceptions addressed, and things like that. Another view to it can also be in terms of business reports, analytics reports, productivity reports, marketing reports, the tool provides the entire set of reports to be done by yourself.

Getting a cross-section, technical view of the whole thing, at one end you have interaction channels, which may be emails, websites, chats, and others. At the other end, you have data which is already available in core systems CRM, call center, and other systems as well. What we have in the middle is the integrated communications platform, which is a mix of workflows, decision support systems, machine learning analytics, dashboards to give you a comprehensive platform. So it works in tandem with the data that’s already available with you in various systems, work on it through the incoming channels, and give you output, which is contextual and personalized to the interaction channels back again. Let’s look at a journey for policy renewal for life insurance or health insurance, so as to say.

As Sachin was saying, we have to follow certain guidelines of regulators and still work within boundaries. So here, the regulators say that 60 days prior to the policy getting expired, you need to send reminder notices so that the account can be decently funded, for payments to be made. And these reminders have to go at regular intervals so that the customer actually pays. However, we all know that there can be various interruptions in the middle, Murphy law always comes in. So there can be various interruptions, either system generated or customer-generated. Let’s look at how the system handles this.

While doing this, there are various actors who come into the picture who all working for the customer. There’s the IT executive, there’s the marketing team, business team, service team, call center executives all working together in order to make things work. Let’s look at the time-oriented journey, which is the default journey that comes in over here. So renewal notice is sent 60 days prior, it’s a general notice, telling that your policy expires so and so, premium amount is so much. If you want to renew, click this button and it works. 45 days, the tone changes. However, it’s still an email. 30 days, you might want to send him a SMS reminder in tandem to the email that goes out.

Obviously, while doing all this, if the customer has been a paying customer for a while, we take all those analytics from the CRM application and depending on his preference of channel revamp it, so that contextual communication is sent in the right perspective. 15 days prior, you might want to send a WhatsApp as well as an SMS together, you never know what he’s actually looking at. Five days, it can be a call center executive also calling with a WhatsApp message. On the day of expiry, we have a call center executive calling along with them. And finally, from the day of expiry to the lead period or the grace period that’s given, we can have call center executives calling. Ultimately, we all hope that the policy gets renewed, the link is sent for payment, and the policy gets renewed.

However, we all know that it’s not so simple every time. The system trigger-based journeys do kick in. What does it mean that the system automatically identifies that the normal journey has got broken. So this can be in scenarios where the email that was sent initially, at the 60th day, T-60 days got bounced. In such a case, the system automatically traps this bounce, sends a message on the alternate channel or WhatsApp in this case, asking or telling him that the mail bounced. Have you shifted to a new place may be, have you switched jobs maybe. And he, the customer can respond back saying that this is my new email.

The email gets updated into the CRM system and the regular journey continues from there. The second issue can be the payment link has been clicked. However, the payment has not been completed. So in this case, if you look at it, you have to integrate between the portal get a sense of payment not completed from the accounting system and then marry them together to send you a contextual communication, saying that, “Look, Miss Kriti, it is observed that you visited our portal but could not complete the payment. Kindly let us know in case you need any assistance.” Kriti gets back with a message saying, “Thanks for reaching out. I would like to have assistance to complete.”

So if you look at it, it’s not just a one-way communication, it’s trapping the event, sending a contextual message, the customer sends back a message, it’s trapped, and the next level of call center executive is introduced to make the right conversations and policy gets renewed. These are simple examples which are system generated, they can be more critical examples where the customer conversations are also there. And they are more in-depth and involved. Such situations may be simple in terms of customer requesting a reminder, not at regular intervals, but on the closer to the date of expiry. So the customer sends across a message I want to receive reminder, closer to my policy expiry date only. This is sent to the system, the Newgen communication platform, which addresses it with the right response, “We would like to inform you that your request for change of date has been received. We will request how many days before would you like to kind of go about doing it.”

So it’s not a normal conversation. The NLP, the natural language processing engine, tracks this identifies the sentiment, the request, and other things, and then goes about working on it with the right response. Shivam, who’s the customer in this case responds saying that, “I would like to receive reminders five days prior to the premium policy getting expired.” The system is automatically updated and the trigger is sent five days in advance. This is a simple query, and it’s all being taken care of by itself. The second can be more aggravated query where the system or the policyholder requests to discontinue the policy. So in this case, Rhea says, “I want to really discontinue the policy.” The system understands the grudge, identifies that it’s a request for discontinuation says why would you like to discontinue it and probably moves forward from there.

However, Rhea is a restless soul. So she kind of also goes to Twitter and says, “I’m not happy with the Newgen life insurance policy coverages.” So you know that someone is trying to kind of let go of the policy and is not okay with the life insurance policy coverages. So you need to marry the two together and send it for manual persuasion. So the call center executive goes to them, understands the problem, gives discounts, and the Rhea can be coerced into keeping the policy. And she kind of says everything is alright, payment link is shared, and the policy gets renewed. The third can be where the customer seeks inquiries. Most common in today’s times, “Does my premier protect plan cover COVID-19?”

The NLP understand it’s a query, gets to the right response, and sends it back to the customer. Everything handled, policy renewed, everything is alright. So if you look at it, most of these cases would have been intricate involvement with customers in order to make it happen. But here, the NLP-based engine combined with the orchestration journeys worked it out to resolution. We have elaborate batch consolidation reports understanding what is happening at each places, individual performance reports, and other reports that I just mentioned. And let’s not forget the superheroes in the backend. The marketing team is involved in marketing templates finalization, communication tone finalization, channel of choice finalization. The IT executive is working hard to keep the data sources up and live, system up and live running. Service operations team addresses of customer queries, tracking responses. Business team, introducing new products. Call center executives working empathetically with the customer, wherever there are exceptions to make things happen.

This is an interface which shows the entire lifecycle of the customer in terms of the journey as to what happened in which channel, and what was the communication that was sent across. The marketing executive is kind of working on the messaging and other things to be embedded or worked out in the system. There’s a lot of learning that goes in. And this is where the marketing team comes in very, very hard. The NLP engine is trained. And finally, the design of campaign and messaging that goes in over here. That was it from my side, we’d be happy to do a proof of concept along with you in order to understand your messaging better, and take it to the next level. Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot for today. I hope it was insightful.

Moderator:                        Yes. It was a very insightful conversation with you, Ritesh. And I request everybody to quickly post their questions so that our panelists can take them. We do have a few of them. First one going, do you think… Sachin, are you there? I’m not able to see your video.

Sachin Seth:                       Yes, I’m very much there. Yes.

Moderator:                        Hi, Sachin. So one of the questions which we have received, “Do you think customer experience is more important for acquiring customers or for retaining them?”

Sachin Seth:                       Well, I think very, very important question, very valid question. In fact, customer experience is important for both. In fact, I must say that it is a lot more important to retain customers because as there a lot of data points to support that it takes a couple of times more cost to acquire customer than to retain. So one is the cost angle. Second is that if the customer is satisfied, customer builds a loyalty with the organization because of the higher and better retention policies, then naturally customer also increases the Net Promoter Score of the organization. And otherwise, the customer may tend to become dissatisfied, there may be churn of customers. And there could also be converting themselves into a net detractors, rather than promoters, right?

So obviously, retention of customer is hugely important, I must say, is much more important than acquisition. And otherwise, if you’re not having the right strategies to retain customers, it becomes a bottomless pit, wherein every customers you acquire and spend money to acquire the customer, eventually, the customer will exit because you don’t have the right strategies to provide the retention. So absolutely, I think it’s very important. And I must say it’s important for growth, it’s important to acquire new customers also. But definitely, it’s not either of them. It’s both of them, actually.

Moderator:                        Sure. So both of them are important. Ritesh, I think this question would be for you. Is the Newgen solution plug and play, or a lot of customization is needed?

Ritesh Varma:                    Well, I would not call it customizations. But I would call that… See, any such technology is very, very customer-oriented, or probably an organization-oriented at as to what values and ethos does it bring across and what it wants to communicate? So while it’s not plug and play, it requires training as any other solution would, to kind of say what kind of responses that you usually get, and what would you like to communicate with the customer. So this is also dependent on the training that we do along with the marketing team, and the sales team and the business team, in order to kind of configure it as per the messaging that is requested by the organization.

And traditionally it’s not a simple plug-and-play while we do have other models, but it has to be made rich with the organization’s ethos and practices.

Moderator:                        And, Sachin, the next question has been like, “What are the identified pitfalls that can be avoided while implementing this communication journey with the customers?”

Sachin Seth:                       I think that’s very important question. If you look at, obvious pitfalls, one is, I think the foundation layer of the data is very important. I mean, if your data is not correct, or if your data is not clean, or if your data is not taking into account the complete view of the customer from formal or informal sources, definitely that may not result into right communication at the right point of time. That’s one. Second is that, there should be enough emphasis to be given on, do it yourself or assisted journeys because typically wherever customer acts on itself, customer feels more empowered, and customer do things wherein customer is able to provide you the right elements of information, right? So that’s the second point, I must say.

And the third point I would say is that don’t treat it like a pure-play technology project, technology is very important, and choosing the right solution is one of the most important components of the success in this journey. But at the same time, looking at how the solution will integrate with other sources like CRM, KYC, customer service tools, call center, other channels of communication, including WhatsApp and other things. So basically, that’s an equally important aspect, right? So these three things, I would say, are the key to avoid pitfalls as much as possible.

Moderator:                        Sure. Definitely. I hope our customers are actually gaining all these points in this session. So, Ritesh, is the solution available in other languages as well?

Ritesh Varma:                    One of the key considerations once we designed the solution was that while English and Latin simply to be the conversation of choice, we also developed it for other languages like Arabic and others, to go about working on it. So we do have it in other languages as well.

Moderator:                        Okay. Can we send it to voice as well?

Ritesh Varma:                    Yeah, that’s something that we’ve kind of integrated along with Alexa and the services of the likes to go about integrated with the voice as well, so that it becomes a seamless journey and not just restricted to text.

Moderator:                        All right. I have not received any other question. That was all. I think it’s about time. So thank you, all. Thank you, Sachin. Thank you, Ritesh. It was wonderful to have you here. I feel honored that we could conduct such a nice session exclusively for our customers. So thank you. Thank you so much.

Sachin Seth:                       Thanks so much. Wonderful to have everyone. And thank you. Have a good day.

Ritesh Varma:                    Thanks a lot.

Sachin Seth:                       Thank you.

Ritesh Varma:                    Bye-bye.

Moderator:                        Thank you for joining. Have a good day. Bye.