“The past decade saw a shift, where customers are in complete control of conversations of brands and its perceptions. Brands no longer have control over customer conversations in the virtual world,” says Konnect Insights CEO and Founder, Sameer Narkar.
Konnect Insights is an all-in-one customer experience management platform from Prudence Analytics and Software Solution Pvt Ltd., a SaaS product company that offers from social listening and analytics to CRM, publishing, reputation management and more.
The technology-dominated world led by the internet and social media platforms in the past decade has actually empowered customers to express their opinions, views and communicate in the virtual world with a real-world impact. And that’s why, brands, businesses and companies are getting more cautious and attentive to consumers and their voices and feedback ever than before.
In this interview, Konnect Insights CEO and Founder Sameer Narkar spoke to TechHerald about why social listening is imperative for brands and how the Konnect Insights platform helps brands listen to their customer conversations in the virtual world. He also discussed his company’s technology team, roadmap, future plans and overall journey and much more.
Q1. Could you brief us about Konnect Insights and which type of software solutions it provides?
Sameer Narkar: Konnect Insights is an omnichannel customer experience management platform that enables brands to listen to conversations on the web and social media, learn from them, engage with them and act based on these insights. Today, customers are in control of the conversations about brands.
Based on what a brand has been communicating on the web and social media platforms, people will create a perception of a brand. That means brands no longer control what people say, and they express their opinions on digital media platforms and write reviews on sites such as Google, Amazon and Flipkart. And this, in turn, helps us make decisions as buyers too.
For brands, it is imperative to listen to these customer conversations, understand and engage with them and resolve issues, if any. So that’s where, we come in with our solutions to help brands with data from across the web such as blogs, news, consumer forums, review sites, social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
We provide rich data based on what people talking about the brands and help them understand those conversations. And as they engage with the customers, we also guide them on how they can effectively respond to their queries. Our solutions provide detailed insights in terms of how brand fares while responding to customers and against the competition.
We help brands understand whose talking, the geographic locations of those conversations, their sentiments and demographics and even product categories that are being talked about. Also, make them understand the impact of their social media campaign and multiple activities conducted and their outcomes. These are some of the insights that Konnect Insights provides to brands.
Q2. What’s the significance of social listening in organisations, when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) and customer experience (CX)?
Sameer Narkar: Customer care is very important, and there are statistics to prove it as well. According to a McKinsey report, companies that prioritised customer experience saw a 10-15% increase in revenue and a 20% rise in customer satisfaction.
There’s also a survey by vendors that say 40% of consumers start buying from a competitor because they hear about the reputation for excellent customer service. Already, it’s proven that brands are bound to get negative reviews on sites or social media platforms.
But when customers read those reviews and find that the brand hasn’t responded to it, then obviously, they may not buy the product. However, if there was a problem and a resolution was provided, that’s publicly available on the web then customers may go ahead and make a buying decision.
Today, even if people are saying something negative about their experience with a brand, others may draw a perception, simply by reading or hearing about it. And that could trigger huge losses for the company. But if I have a problem with a brand and after writing about it and the brand responds by saying sorry for the inconvenience and would like to solve the problem or will try harder to give you the best customer experience, etc. All that makes a big difference.
So, customer care and a response mechanism for all social media platforms and online web matter a lot because everything comes out in the open here. This is because, in today’s neo-marketing world, where a brand ambassador talks about the brand’s USPs to customers.
But if customers are not listening to brand ambassadors that’s because of the shift that has occurred in the past decade, where brands need to listen to customers as they are in complete control of conversations in the virtual world.
Q3. How big is Konnect Insights’ tech team in terms of handling Machine Learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing?
Sameer Narkar: Our product, is built on various Big Data technologies horizontally scaled with a distributed architecture. As a team, we are a bunch of techies across various departments — Technology, Customer Success, Marketing and Sales. I am a part of the Technology team, where a mix of guys who work on various Big Data technologies at the backend side and others on the user interface and user experience.
In addition, we have a team working on various Machine Learning algorithms, NLP, etc. While we are a lean team, 60% of the team is being technology-oriented and then we have a pretty big Customer Success team. So that’s how our company is made and we are purely into SaaS product offering.
We have 500 customers today, with a team that’s almost hitting the 100 mark. Tomorrow, even if we become a 5000 customer company, we don’t need a lot of headcounts.
Q4. Going into this year, what are your plans for the company in terms of solutions and their scope in the market?
Sameer Narkar: We have a very clear roadmap of what we are doing and where we are heading. In the past one and a half years, we invested our time in marketplace integration with other SaaS products.
We started to offer a solution for Social Listening and ORM (online reputation management) services in our product and eventually, it become a very strong product in terms of Social Analytics and Publishing. In our omnichannel solution, we added emails and more, ensuring that everything could be available on one platform.
The next phase was about building our product with other apps based on clients’ feedback about our dashboards, reporting mechanisms, analytical tools and machine learning algorithms. Customers requested us if we could bring in data from other systems, call centres into Konnect Insights or include integration with chatbots.
And we said, yes, we can do that because once chatbots complete the customer engagement cycle then agents can take over and those tickets can be analysed by Konnect Insights. And that’s how our marketplace has been formulated. Today, our marketplace has integrations with over 3000 apps and various products.
That’s where we came up with this concept of our four pillars of customer experience management, where primarily applications integrate with our products, call centre/chatbots etc. The next pillar involves getting data from social media, emails, inherently, and even offline touchpoints and physical sources, by scanning a QR code.
A fantastic example of this would be our customer – Delhi airport – where visitors can scan a QR code at various touchpoints and provide feedback from ground zero. The third part of the four pillars is analysing and integrating with other CRMs. And the fourth part is going ahead and acting on that data and publishing the content.
So, this has been our journey, where we conceptualized and built our four pillars of customer experience management in the past one and a half years. Going forward, we want to build, on top of this, more integrations and offer Konnect Insights as a central product for brands.
When brands deploy Konnect Insights, this one solution will ensure that all sorts of data will come in and provide insights and analytics in one place. This will enable them to act and respond to customer queries, ensure they are happy and drive future actions based on these insights.
Essentially, what our central product offering is doing for brands is making connections more powerful. A majority of our customers have already gone ahead and implemented other solutions such as omnichannel, customer experience management platforms. We offer beyond social media, online reputation management and social listening.
For our future roadmap, the team will grow in terms of our tech stack led by the marketing and sales team’s growth, as primarily, we are a very product-led growth company. We believe that if we offer the best features, and the best customer journeys through our solutions, our business automatically scales up.
Q5. Is there any predictive element in the Konnect Insights platform?
Sameer Narkar: In fact, we have a module called Konnect Insights Smart Solutions or KISS. It’s an AI-based insight directing what you can do, based on what you have done and what works in the industry. This is a very popular module among most of our customers because it is not just insights into what has happened. The machine tells you what you can do and what will work for you.
So, our KISS offering helps you with these kinds of insights. We don’t remember insights just by looking at charts and pie charts and columns although they are important. But what is important is how you and I consume that information and talk. That’s how Konnect Insights ‘ reports are presented in a very storytelling format.
That’s a key difference because it is not just what has happened but what you can do going forward is very important. And that’s what KISS provides on the predictive side. More from the action side and what we can do as a brand.