Emphasize data security and privacy. — Nothing negatively impacts customer experience like the misuse or mishandling of customer data. It is important to not only go above and beyond when it comes to securing customer data and achieving compliance and regulation policies, but to also be honest and transparent with your customers in terms of the personal data you are collecting, how it is being stored and used, and how customers can access their data.
As part of my series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anand Janefalkar, Founder & CEO, UJET.
Anand Janefalkar is focused on leading UJET into its next stage of growth by providing the tools and technology businesses need to create an immersive, engaging, and one-of-a-kind customer experience. Prior to UJET, Anand held key roles at both Motorola and Jawbone, as well as serving as a technical advisor for various startups in the Bay Area. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics from Mumbai University and a Master of Science in Telecommunications from Southern Methodist University.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Having worked on transformational products in mobile, cloud, and hardware, I was able to gather a unique perspective on the impact that smartphones and mobile technology can have. The foundation for UJET came after numerous frustrating support experiences. It became clear that leveraging web and smartphone technology would not only create a better experience for customers, but elevate customer support’s impact and value within the enterprise.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I don’t know if this is considered a funny mistake, but one of the first lessons or takeaways that I learned was as a founder and entrepreneur, do not try to follow in the footsteps of others, carve your own path. When starting a company, it is easy to try and recreate business models, hiring strategies, and more of previous successful founders. I discovered that authenticity is everything and your own passion, inspiration, and organizational innovation is what will take you the furthest.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
It goes without saying that I and UJET would not be where we are without my wife. The emotional support and willingness to go all-in with me on not only starting a company, but disrupting an industry has made all the difference.
Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?
Customer experience is increasingly becoming the way for consumers to distinguish one brand and product from another. With a hyper-competitive and overly saturated market, the product and feature differentiation from one brand to the next is becoming less and less clear. The impact of this is that customers are looking at things like service and experience as key factors when deciding which products to purchase and which brands to recommend.
We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?
Customer experience has traditionally been viewed solely through the lens of post-sale support, and in many cases, has been seen as an afterthought and lacked the investments that pre-sale departments like sales, product, and marketing have been given.
However, customer experience has evolved into viewing the entire customer journey, both pre and post sales as an opportunity to generate repeat business, bring in new customers, and build brand loyalty.
Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?
More competition has certainly fast tracked the need for companies to improve their customer experience, but more so than that with the smartphone, customer interactions have dramatically evolved.
Today, interactions occur over numerous channels and involve multiple types of multimedia being sent to one another. The way we interact with one another today involves calling, texting, sending photos, videos, screenshots, and more sometimes all within the same conversation. Customers are now wanting to take that same peer-to-peer digital experience and replicate it with the brands they love.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
One of our key differentiators is our implementation time and our ability to have our customers onboarded and up and running in minimal and record time. For example, we’ve had customers fully implemented and using UJET in less than a week, whereas some of our competitors can take months.
It is important to not only sell your product, but sell your services as well. We’ve found that no matter how innovative your product or technology may be, if the set up process is long and the user experience is complicated, the ability to wow customers is compromised.
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
Because of our ability to have customers up and running so quickly we’ve not only seen the scope of our work with current customers continue to grow, but we’ve seen very few customers decide that the UJET experience is not for them and go with another customer service provider.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a founder or CEO should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Know your customer and the problem you’re solving.
Having great technology or a great product is always key, but it can only take you so far. It is critical to have the ability to view your business and its products through the lens of the customer. What problems are you solving? Is it easy for customers to understand your product or service?
2. Hire and build your team with user experience in mind.
Customer support impacts nearly everyone worldwide. It’s not restricted to certain demographics, ethnicities, etc. Everyone is inherently a customer. I always knew that building my team would need to be a reflection of the impact the company was hoping to make and the experience we were hoping to create. If I succeeded in doing that, everything else would fall into place. Our platform and culture is able to exemplify consumerization of the enterprise rather than just use it as a tagline.
3. Make customer experience a company-wide responsibility.
The responsibility of creating a great customer experience doesn’t just fall on your customer-facing teams. Install customer experience-related KPI’s across all your departments and teams in order to ensure that products and features are being built, marketed, and sold all with the customer and their experiences in mind.
4. Balancing resources for the present and the future.
It goes without saying that making sure you have enough time, people, and resources in place to properly handle and curate the best experience possible for current customers goes without saying. However, it is arguably equally as important to make sure you have resources dedicated to focusing on what comes next. Being forward-thinking, keeping an eye on industry trends, emerging technologies, and how they can be implemented to enhance your customer experience is critical to gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage.
5. Emphasize data security and privacy.
Nothing negatively impacts customer experience like the misuse or mishandling of customer data. It is important to not only go above and beyond when it comes to securing customer data and achieving compliance and regulation policies, but to also be honest and transparent with your customers in terms of the personal data you are collecting, how it is being stored and used, and how customers can access their data.
Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?
The best way to ensure that customers share their wow experience with others is to ensure that a wow experience is more than just a one-time thing. Great customer service and loyal customers don’t come with just one amazing experience. It comes with providing consistent experiences that go above and beyond customers’ expectations.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Making education, particularly STEM education accessible to everyone. I’ve seen first-hand how the access to education can create inspiration, fuel innovation, break down barriers, and change lives.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/anandjanefalkar/
Twitter — @UJETco
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!