Startup Spotlight: Ramyam Intelligence Lab: Powering Rich Customer Experience
In the past, present or future, customer experience is one thing that a travel company could not / cannot afford to lose. Money spent to retain customers are higher than to get new customers. Companies are working very hard to offer unique solution offerings to enhance customer experience. Few offer a great booking experience, few offer royal hospitality during stay and the list goes on. Assume that you are searching in a travel website for holiday packages to Malaysia, you are searching for 15 minutes and haven’t made any decision. Suddenly, you see a popup that says “Hey, we notice that you were searching for packages to Malaysia, based on your search we identify that you are worried about cost. Book a Malaysia package in next 30 minutes and get 15% discount on price”. Wouldn’t it be awesome? That IS customer experience. Ramyam Intelligence Labs is a company that focusses only on Customer Experience Management (CEM) and their product can achieve real-time scenarios like these. We had the opportunity to chat with Balasubramanyam (CEO), Kiran Lakkapragada (COO) and Niladri Dutta (Sr VP of Sales & Marketing). Read on the interesting interview.
What’s Ramyam’s “enliven CEM” product all about?
It’s an innovative customer experience management platform that helps travel service providers having millions of customers to manage each and every customer’s experience with relevance and context.
Why is this product needed and what problem are you trying to solve in travel industry?
Travel service providers who have huge customer base (be it in millions) and daily customer transactions running into hundreds of millions find it difficult to engage a customer by understanding the context and requirements of each and every customer.
Responsiveness to traveller issues and needs has become increasingly important to most travel companies. Majority of large customer driven organizations maintain a team of customer service personnel. This team may include booking specialists who can assist customers in their upgrade / modification scenarios, payment specialists who assist customers in their cancellation refund amounts. Currently there is no solution that provides the implementation of actionable best business practices to provide better customer interaction.
What makes your product unique?
Currently there is no holistic solution that addresses customer engagement considering the customer’s present context, past booking patterns as well as the market dynamics for each and every customer. Ours is the only product in the market that goes beyond traditional business intelligence and provides Real-time Actionability along with analytics.
Our product philosophy is that every customer can be viewed from three dimensions:
- Who the customer is, their demographics, psychographics, social affinity etc
- Actions that travellers perform on the services of the company, like shopping & booking air tickets from an OTA, making calls from a hotel, subscribing to ancillary services from airline etc
- Interactions that the customers do with the company’s contact center or response to promotions etc
‘enliven CEM’ dynamically creates 3 dimensional profile of each and every customer in real time as the customers are transacting and provide Next Best Actions and Best Business Actions at the touch points in real time and batch modes.
The touch points can be traditional self service platforms like web portals, POS @ hotels/restaurants, contact centers but they can also be emerging platforms like mobile apps, self-service kiosks, digital concierges, digital lounges based on Tablets and Microsoft Surface kind of applications.
What all benefits enterprise gets by implementing enliven CEM?
Primary immediate benefit will be customer loyalty and customer engagement. In the longer run, this means – repeat customers, increased profits, differentiated customer experience, word of mouth publicity that brings in more customers.
When a travel company wants to integrate their in-house systems with enliven CEM, how long will the integration take?
A basic platform with 2-3 usecases can be done in 6-8 weeks. Enterprise implementation can be longer and can take anywhere between 4-6 months.
Do you have enliven CEM on mobile?
Yes, we have mobile apps that are integrated with our enliven CEM platform. As we said earlier, the output of our product is the Next Best Actions and Best Business Actions that we generate towards the touch points, which include mobile apps.
How are travel companies reacting towards the product so far?
At least two leading OTAs and one leading airline are talking to us on various engagements and so far it has been significantly positive. For one of the OTAs, we are revamping their complete online platform based on our engine.
Any info you can share with us on your funding?
We have closed first round of funding in Q4, 2011 to customize the platform for various industries (travel, retail, banking, telecom etc) apart from using the funds for sales and marketing.
What challenges you face now / faced in the past?
Like any other innovative solution, even for us it takes time for us to sell the concept, convince service providers to adopt our platform to manage customer experience. Also, we started in peak of recession. But situation is changing now, slowly travel companies are listening to us and trying out our platform.
Currently CEM space is fragmented. Many companies have started offerings in this area, specifically the business intelligence majors have all started looking into this. IBM with its acquisition of Tealeaf, Oracle with RightNow, point solution vendors in the areas of campaign management have all actively started working in the CEM space.
Why do you think travel companies will buy enliven CEM than building the features on their own?
Our product is an outcome of two years of extensive research and development based on a patent pending technology that embeds analytics and action-ability. While companies can manage customer experience, our platform definitely gives edge to solve their immediate needs but comprehensively manage scenarios that may arise in the future; our platform provides an extensive configuration platform with in built language to create and implement new scenarios on the fly. This justifies investing in a platform like ours than developing on their own.
What is the plan of enliven CEM for next 18 to 24 months?
In the next 2 years, we are planning to enrich our platform with travel industry reference implementations for customer engagement and standardize on the Next Best Actions and Best Business Actions. From the product roadmap standpoint, apart from the existing customer engagement algorithms, we are planning to release prediction algorithms that will be part of the Actionable Revenue Maximization (ARM) platform.
Author: Karthick Prabu