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Yes, to come straight the point, one has to feel it intrinsically and be conscious of the feeling. Today, I will talk about what exactly is Client Servicing and are we tending to lose its essence.

Being involved with almost all departments of a corporate set up , start-ups and having worked in individual capacity, in big teams, small teams, collaborating, firefighting, brainstorming, I realized that there are two essential things that evolved in this process. One is ‘adaptability’ to various environments and mindsets , second is ‘communication’ with both internal and external stakeholders. Deep down, we all know and recognize that the concept is one of the most key elements for any business and the best part, the conscious effort to indulge helps make one evolve as a better human being as well

In daily lives, talks, panel discussions, we usually refrain from talking about this simple subject- Client Support| Customer Support| Customer Service – whatever term we relate to. Why do we talk about it less? Well, I believe one - we probably don’t want to talk about it because it does not actually have an algorithm. And yes, the thought that how do we measure it? What KPI’s do we put? How do we improve it? And second - because it may be something that is taken for granted

What is it?

My experience says – Customer service is understanding and memorizing of all your business relationships to the extent that you can anticipate the stimulus vs response gap, the thin line between a followup and irritating followup along with the ability to withhold sending good morning messages every morning but not missing to drop in a ‘hello, hope you are doing well’ on important dates and casually in between without any business objective till the moment that will come when a conversation has better chances of converting. I do not believe in good or bad memory. If we really want to remember something, we do find a methodology. It’s the effort that lacks to keep the thread intact at all times, in all times zones. Well, that’s why laptops and mobiles were invented in the first place – to keep connected where we want and where we should.

And since it’s Kali-Yug, so in the process if it entails you to sell something – thumb rule- don’t sell- just be assertive and bring in the reason (a) why is the timing right to invest (b) what problem we will aim to solve (c) here is the reason why they should (d) ‘Main Hoon Na’

I have come across client servicing representatives who at times closed a deal just on the basis of the trust, right questions and convincing without sounding that you are trying to convince,

How can we get better at it?

Again, don’t try to define the next level. Feel the next level. It is a ‘high’ getting to know the pulse of your clients. How to speak with each one of them, how to engage each one of them, how to build trust , when and where to empathize, how to articulate yet speak from the heart, that even if they are not able to take your call, they will ensure they call you back. The next level is - think hospitality and observe carefully. Be an observer. Whenever I go out to hotels, restaurants of any kind, I get to learn each time. Allow me to share two restaurant experiences in brief.

A famous Chinese joint in Delhi. One thing I noticed apart from extremely well presented food and courteous staff, the one staff who was allocated to my table, he was at such a comfortable distance and not staring but making sure, he exactly knew when to come with a pleasant smile and ask what I wanted and what he could do better to serve. This happened 3 times, flawlessly where I did not need to signal him to come to my table. What went good? To me, he is an observer, someone who takes waiting on tables from the heart and someone who has trained himself to understand the pulse of various customers. Second experience- an Italian joint in San Diego, this person comes and greets me in an exuberant yet graceful way, engaging me in a conversation whole three minutes till he found me the table of my choice, not before he took me around the restaurant for a quick tour. In the process he asked me some 4 to 5 questions which I realized later was to understand me more in those minutes, make me feel at home and make me want to expect more on next level service that I was about to experience. That’s daring and then he comes and talks me confidently into freezing down on 3 options (he knew my taste buds during that initial conversation. I ordered one but asked him if they could customize the dish slightly. He told me with a beam on his face which was something like – Indeed, it would be good for our kitchen to have the opportunity to customize this dish for you in whatever way you may want. He nailed it .

How do we measure it?

That’s the deal. A process of 360 degree feedback internally and externally. The world of servicing is building relationships so deep and it should be deep. If there is any expectation to be built here, it is this – what can I do to make this relationship better and last longer and longer. The fact is actual businesses may not happen every day (except the share market), either ways it works on trust and takes bit of time as it is a process, however it is entirely up to the individual how fast one wants to weave this. Making your Network Your NetWorth is the mantra.

Where to draw the line?

This gets tricky, however, not very difficult. First -don’t get into personal space or lives unless your client lets you get into it. Second - respect the time, not go talking on and on. Third – You will only be able to do the second point well you have clarity of thought along with punctuation marks in your mind along with the pace at which you speak. Fourth- Soft skills- primary of these skills is one basic, that is first ask if it is a convenient time to speak, or how much time you are meaning to take on the call. Fixing up prior is usually better wherever possible. Fifth – Summarize the discussion so that both parties are clear . I have seen many people prefer leaving items open ended may be because of some fear factor. But my take- close, close, close conversations. Ideally, knowing your shot

Is this for everyone and anyone?

This is for anyone who wants to indulge in it. However, not for everyone. Solution providers and people with little bit of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder have better chances of imbibing.

Today, we do not see any industry that this concept has not touched or imbibed upon. Maruti, Microsoft are great examples and many more in different verticals. In very large setups a department is definitely required, however, in the essence of the concept I see it as Feel. Unless one feels this, one can’t discover and evolve in this. It begins by developing your own Unique Relationship Proposition (URP rather than USP)

Clarity of Thought, Direction, Pace and Agility is a lethal combination

As Steve Jobs maintains – Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. So, one should stay coachable, have a solution driven approach and be ready to work like a ‘commando’ or collaborate with people wherever it may be required. That’s because client servicing is not just about a term that is used- if done right, it has tremendous potential to build business around the centripetal force of Return on Relationship. As someone said - Nothing worth having comes easy. Have patience and keep working towards it honestly.

If you have any such great stories, examples of real customer service experience, please do share with me on twitter @ankurnow

And to everyone going through any struggle or pain right now, keep your head up with a smile. You will grow through it.

 

Written by Ankoor Dasguupta, Vice President for Marketing, Brand Solutions and Special Projects at SHEROES Brand Solutions and Special Projects.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tactic that targets consumers where they already spend much of their time: social media. Globally speaking, Instagram is the primary platform for many influencer-brand campaigns, but it's hardly the only one.

Take China, for example. Most of the major international social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, are banned by the government. That means that the country's influencers hold court on local services, of which Weibo and WeChat are the most popular.

And in the DACH region—which includes Austria, Germany and Switzerland—Instagram and YouTube are neck and neck, at least in terms of influencer marketing spending. According to Goldmedia data, sponsored content on the two platforms accounted for 34% and 31% of total influencer revenues in 2017, respectively.

Spending figures don't always tell the whole story. While Goldmedia took into account both monetary and nonmonetary compensation, such as product gifting, influencers may charge a premium for a post on a certain platform, which could inflate its share of spending.

But those findings make sense when looking at where consumers in the region follow influencers. According to a March 2018 survey by M Science for Wavemaker, social media users in Germany were just as likely to follow an influencer on YouTube as they were Instagram, each cited by 73% of respondents. Roughly half said they followed influencers on Facebook.

That said, the importance of Instagram for influencer campaigns is rising in nearly every market worldwide.

In a February 2018 survey by influencer marketing agency Activate, 88.9% of worldwide influencers said they were using Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns more than they did one year ago. Excluding posts on their feeds, Instagram Stories was the most popular tactic used for sponsored campaigns.

Instagram's rising popularity for influencer campaigns goes hand in hand with the platform's strong user growth, as marketers tend to go where their customers are.

India is one example of that. According to our latest forecast, the number of Instagram users in the country grew by an explosive 123% in 2017—the fastest growth rate worldwide. So it's no surprise that 78% of influencers in India cited Instagram as the platform that would rise in importance for influencer marketing this year, according to a December 2017 survey from influencer marketing agency Buzzoka.

Overall, we expect the number of worldwide Instagram users to rise by 18.4% to 714.4 million in 2018. Sweden will have the highest Instagram user penetration rate in the world, at 68.9% of social network users, followed by Indonesia (62.8%) and Norway (57.7%).

In the latest episode of "Behind the Numbers," eMarketer's Jasmine Enberg and Debra Aho Williamson provide an overview of the global state of influencer marketing, including spending, top platforms and the role of influencers in the path to purchase. "Behind the Numbers" is sponsored by Mower.

Influencer marketing is a powerful tactic that targets consumers where they already spend much of their time: social media. Globally speaking, Instagram is the primary platform for many influencer-brand campaigns, but it's hardly the only one.

Take China, for example. Most of the major international social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, are banned by the government. That means that the country's influencers hold court on local services, of which Weibo and WeChat are the most popular.

And in the DACH region—which includes Austria, Germany and Switzerland—Instagram and YouTube are neck and neck, at least in terms of influencer marketing spending. According to Goldmedia data, sponsored content on the two platforms accounted for 34% and 31% of total influencer revenues in 2017, respectively.

Spending figures don't always tell the whole story. While Goldmedia took into account both monetary and nonmonetary compensation, such as product gifting, influencers may charge a premium for a post on a certain platform, which could inflate its share of spending.

But those findings make sense when looking at where consumers in the region follow influencers. According to a March 2018 survey by M Science for Wavemaker, social media users in Germany were just as likely to follow an influencer on YouTube as they were Instagram, each cited by 73% of respondents. Roughly half said they followed influencers on Facebook.

That said, the importance of Instagram for influencer campaigns is rising in nearly every market worldwide.

In a February 2018 survey by influencer marketing agency Activate, 88.9% of worldwide influencers said they were using Instagram for influencer marketing campaigns more than they did one year ago. Excluding posts on their feeds, Instagram Stories was the most popular tactic used for sponsored campaigns.

Instagram's rising popularity for influencer campaigns goes hand in hand with the platform's strong user growth, as marketers tend to go where their customers are.

India is one example of that. According to our latest forecast, the number of Instagram users in the country grew by an explosive 123% in 2017—the fastest growth rate worldwide. So it's no surprise that 78% of influencers in India cited Instagram as the platform that would rise in importance for influencer marketing this year, according to a December 2017 survey from influencer marketing agency Buzzoka.

Overall, we expect the number of worldwide Instagram users to rise by 18.4% to 714.4 million in 2018. Sweden will have the highest Instagram user penetration rate in the world, at 68.9% of social network users, followed by Indonesia (62.8%) and Norway (57.7%).

In the latest episode of "Behind the Numbers," eMarketer's Jasmine Enberg and Debra Aho Williamson provide an overview of the global state of influencer marketing, including spending, top platforms and the role of influencers in the path to purchase. "Behind the Numbers" is sponsored by Mower.

The India Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) will induct advertising doyen Sam Balsara into its Hall of Fame at the sixth edition of the IAA Leadership Awards on 27th July.

Says IAA President Ramesh Narayan “the Hall of Fame is the biggest honor that the IAA bestows in India. It is reserved for someone who has not just built and run a great company, but has gone beyond the call of duty and made a significant contribution to the industry as a whole.

Sam is so much more than Madison Communications. He has been President of the Advertising Agencies Association of India, The Advertising Club and the IAA. He has also been Chairman Audit Bureau of Circulations and Advertising Standards Council of India. And he has brought great respect to every office he held.

Having had the pleasure of working closely with him at the AAAI and the IAA I am delighted with this wonderful choice.

This will definitely act as an inspiration for others in the industry”.

In its sixth year now, the others inducted into the IAA Hall of Fame are Pradeep Guha, Ramesh Narayan, I Venkat, Bharat Patel and Srinivasan Swamy.

This induction will be done at a glittering ceremony on 27th July at which the IAA Leadership Awards would also be presented.

Consumers increasingly depend on technology and say it has positively impacted their lives

The digital opportunity is becoming more evident in India with every day that passes. Indians are actively adopting digital services and technologies as part of their day-to-day lifestyles. According to the new “State of Digital Lifestyles” report from Limelight Networks (Nasdaq: LLNW), a global leader in digital content delivery, almost two-thirds of Indian consumers surveyed say they could not go a single day without their mobile phones, with Indian consumers ranking second, after Malaysia, for being the most addicted to their digital devices.

Respondents in ten countries were asked how they interact with digital media and the impact of technology in their lives. Interestingly, when asked how long they could part from their favorite digital devices, 66 percent of Indian users claimed they would not be able to stop using their mobile phone for even one day. In comparison, the global average of users unwilling to separate from their mobile phones stands at 48 percent. Laptop and desktop computers were the second most integral digital technology for Indian users, with 45 percent of respondents reporting that they could not go without them for even a day, which is highest in the survey and 12 percent more than the global average of 33 percent.

It is evident that Indian users are readily embracing this digital wave, with 93 per cent of Indian respondents acknowledging that digital technology has positively impacted their lives. On the other hand, Japanese and German respondents believed this change to be the lowest with only 11 percent and 25 percent of them reporting digital technology to have had a significant impact in their lifestyles. Indians also are the most optimistic about the impact of technology on their lives globally.

Additional insights from the report include:

Entertainment has gone digital: India has the highest level of engagement across all types of online digital content. This includes 78 percent downloading or streaming music at least once a week, the highest rate among the surveyed countries. Indian respondents also displayed higher inclination to downloading movies and watching them offline, which is 12 percent higher than the global average.

The use of digital devices for fitness is a growing trend: As the curtains drew on International Yoga Day, it was evident that Indians are highly concerned about their health. The survey reported that India had the highest adoption of health and fitness trackers, with 35 percent of Indian respondents owning trackers like Fitbit, Garmin, or Apple Watch, while 33 percent were planning to buy one within the next six months.

Security is a top concern when using internet-connected devices. Nearly half (45 percent) of global consumers are concerned about the privacy of data collected by digital assistants, and 42 percent worry about security and potential hacking into the devices. This apprehension over security, however, was one of the lowest amongst Indian respondents (36 percent).

Commenting on the survey, Gaurav Malik, Country Head, India at Limelight Networks said, “India has made remarkable progress in terms of digital adoption. One of the key takeaways from the survey has been that the Indian users are clearly more willing to adopt digital products and services and make it a part of their day-to-day lives. This is a positive sign for all stakeholders, including market players, consumers, and the government, as it leads to a win-win proposition for everyone and will boost the productivity of the nation as the digital adoption increases.


Executive Summary

As internet speeds have increased and smartphones have become an integral part of everyday life, there has been an explosion of digital content and devices on which to consume it. Consumers can now easily access music, movies, TV shows, books, magazines and newspapers whenever and wherever they want. Internet-connected digital assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod also make it easier than ever to access information and entertainment as well as automate tasks around the home. Digital devices and online content have become an integral part of our daily lives. However, they create new challenges and frustrations.

Consumers have embraced the flexibility and easy access to online music, with 60 percent accessing it weekly. Streaming is now the most popular way listeners enjoy digital music, with 53 percent streaming music online and 39 percent downloading music to listen offline. Only 8 percent still purchase audio CDs. Although there are many devices available for listening to streaming music, mobile phones are the most popular device, particularly for younger listeners.

The popularity of online video also continues to grow, with more than half of people watching online movies and TV shows each week. More than 61 percent of viewers stream video online while 31 percent download it for offline viewing. And when it comes to newspapers and magazines, readers have gone digital. More than 57 percent of people prefer to read newspapers and magazines online compared to just 25 percent who purchase physical copies.

Although consumers enjoy the easy access to online digital content, it does not come without its frustrations. More than 88 percent of consumers find the process of accessing digital content challenging. 37 percent cited content stopping playback and rebuffering as a frustration that disrupts their enjoyment of online digital content.

Consumers want the easy access to online digital content, but they aren’t eager to pay for it. Less than 50 percent will pay for movies, TV shows and music if it is not available online for free. Only 39 percent will pay to download apps to their phones, and less than a third will pay to read online newspapers and magazines.

Internet-connected digital assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod have become increasingly popular. More than 19 percent of people currently own one of the devices and an additional 21 percent plan to purchase one in the next six months. However, many consumers are not ready to trust the devices to perform
everyday tasks. Only 35 percent of people would definitely trust a digital assistant to provide general information such as the weather and news, and only 22 percent definitely trust it to perform home automation. Most consumers (80 percent) are concerned about the use of internet-connected devices with more than 40 percent citing security and hacking into devices as well as privacy concerns about data collected by the devices

The State of Digital Lifestyles report is based on responses from 5,000 consumers in France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States age 18 and older who had downloaded software or streamed online video or music during the last month.

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