‘Combine digital and human touch to enhance business services’

‘Combine digital and human touch to enhance business services’

Rajendra Deshpande, CIO, Teleperformance Digital Integrated Business Services, discusses building fruitful relationships with customers.

Leveraging AI and RPA for customer interactions save a lot of time. Organisations must use that time to provide the much required human touch to ensure more meaningful customer engagements says Rajendra Deshpande, CIO, Teleperformance Digital Integrated Business Services, in this exclusive interaction with CIO Dialogues.

You were part of the transition when Intelenet merged with Teleperformance. How has the merger helped Teleperformance’s business as a whole?
The acquisition of Intelenet has been named one of the top three deals in the M&A space. The merger has enabled the combined entity in India, known as Teleperformance Digital Integrated Business Services, to offer high tech-high touch integrated solutions to our clients. This has also helped optimise operational efficiency, and reduce operational costs, all whilst delivering superlative customer experience. One of the main positives to come from the merger is that it has brought together a large workforce of experts in many different fields. Teleperformance now has a combined workforce of more than 200 highly skilled data scientists, business and process consultants, which has provided global expertise and bolstered our capabilities across many verticals. This has also enabled us to combine both digital and human touch together to deliver enhanced business services. In addition to this, we have been able to bring in a large, experienced team of digital transformation experts and CX consultants, which has further enhanced TP group’s high-tech proposition. Through the merger we have been able to expand our global client base, which operate within the telecommunications, technology, consumer electronics, travel and hospitality, financial services, healthcare, media, insurance, public sector, retail, e-commerce and energy sectors. Finally, the acquisition has allowed Teleperformance to get a firm footprint in India and the Middle East and has contributed to the geographical scale of Teleperformance. Through a larger client base and acquiring almost 400 facilities it has allowed us to gain a competitive edge within the industry.

Mergers and acquisitions always require different IT infrastructures to be integrated. How challenging was integrating Intelenet’s IT systems with those of Teleperformance?
Change is always challenging; however, we are one family now and the feeling of oneness irons away all technical creases. We have constantly focussed on the best practices from both teams and integrated IT infrastructure in the most cost optimal manner.

Teleperformance now has access to Digital Experience Centres, which provide rich and engaging experiences to our customers, co-workers and business partners. The centres allow them to see our end-to-end capabilities in a granular way, and enable us to showcase our AI and RPA capabilities.

RPA seems to be one of your company’s key offerings. Which industry verticals are driving the demand for RPA and why?
The banking and financial sector is one of our main industry verticals that is driving the demand for RPA. In fact, 35 per cent of TP DIB’s revenues come from banking and financial services. The sector itself has seen a large amount of disruption in recent years, as traditional banks and financial institutions are beginning to drive business transformation in order to stay on top in an increasingly competitive landscape.

One specific RPA solution that Teleperformance offers is the lending suite, which explicitly focuses on the mortgage lending lifecycle. The lending suite, which is comprised of 13 separate bots, has been built to streamline the entire lifecycle of the mortgage journey. Through its innovative design thinking, combined with the expertise of mortgages over the last 12 plus years, the solution is able reduce the mortgage processing time by 40 per cent and reduce costs by 50 per cent. All these benefits from the RPA powered bots means that Teleperformance’s clients can generate mortgages for customers in just 30 minutes, compared to weeks.

While digital transformation is right at the top of the agenda for most companies, legacy seems to be slowing down many of them. What is a cost-effective and painless way for them to go digital?
Digital transformation is a journey of discovery and it’s not a smooth sail. The journey is never ending. To make the journey cost effective organisations must follow the 3Rs:

  • Re-skill / upskill the workforce
  • Reequip the workforce with new toolkits
  • and Reboot the mindset to embrace change and learn new technology

Organisations must create cross-functional teams to deliver high tech projects, usually a combination of Ops, Tech, Process Excellence, Analytics / Data Scientists. Along with cross-functional teams, organisations require a ‘Top Down Cultural Mindset Change’ and at TP DIBS this change in mindset is driven right from our CEO.

What are enterprises missing out on today from a customer engagement standpoint? What can they do to enhance customer experience?
As businesses begin to digitally transform, streamline processes and become more efficient, one area of focus is customer retention, where businesses are having to compete with disrupters for a share of the market. At Teleperformance customer service is built into our DNA and our culture has always been ‘customer first’ across all operations. Enriching the customers’ overall experience throughout every touch point of their journey lies at the heart of building fruitful relationships with them. Despite living in a digital age, customers still value in-person experience.

One area of business transformation where customer service is being drastically improved is through the use of chatbot services. Chatbots are beginning to emerge as the preferred solution to dealing with customer queries, and engage with customers digitally. They also provide customers with real time 24/7 communication throughout all their customers’ pain points. To put this into perspective, in the banking and financial sector over 17 per cent of banking customers have interacted through chat within the last year.

However, businesses can’t rely on technology itself to deliver stellar customer service. Instead it is about combining technology with human interaction, to further enhance the customer’s digital journey. Despite living in a digital age, customers still value in-person experience. The use of AI and RPA is helping solve the rational parts of customer requests, however human and emotional intelligence helps to ‘trust repair’ and ensure loyalty to a brand.

When retaining or gaining brand loyalty it is essential to understand that every interaction matters, and that human interactions are not just cognitive, but social and emotional. As consumers begin to require enhanced service levels, it is essential that business leaders use the time saved by using AI to assist in customer service requests, to leverage the added value of the human touch.