As a specialist in building technologies for customer interaction management, it would be easy for Mumbai-based Avhan Technologies to drown itself in technical specifications and jargon. But the two-and-a-half-year old company - which has a wide spectrum of clients in banking, telecom, entertainment and media, besides having a strategic tie-up with OgilvyOne Worldwide - knows precisely the bane and boon of technology. "The basic idea of Avhan," explains Anand Awasthi, CEO of the company, "is to humanise the technology of communication. Customer interactions are going to be in large numbers and technology is critical to automate those interactions."
What Awasthi is hinting at is the effective management of customer interactions, which according to him are of two types - inbound and outbound. "Inbound is when the customer calls up to fulfill a certain need or requirement - be it product information, location or purchase details while outbound is when the company calls up the consumer," states Awasthi.
Inbound calls can be sub-divided into customer-initiated calls, which are an indirect result of advertising and allied communication, and company-initiated customer calls, that is, when the organisation is keen to know about the consumer and his preferences. "The second type of inbound calls is primarily aimed at directing the sales effort in the right areas so that the organisation can reap better results."
Typically, company-initiated customer calls stem from a number of activities - during contests, promotions, launch of a product or service and even while evaluating the efficiency of advertising, though according to Awasthi, the latter is never put into use. "The idea here is to generate a database as well as analyse consumer behaviour," he says.
Thus, what would ideally take six to eight weeks if conventional methods are followed (especially in the case of contests and promotions), has been simplified and above all, automated.
Explains Sudha Chandrasekhar, director - operations, Avhan Technologies, "When Mid Day approached us last year, the task at hand was to manage their call-centre service, Hello Mid Day. The management wanted to popularise the number (24900000) since ad revenues depend on the number of callers calling in."
The surefire strategy of "pulling in" callers was to provide cricket scores, give information on horoscope and organise contests - all aimed at popularising the number so that people called up as often as possible. Using this opportunity, Mid Day simultaneously proceeded to familiarise callers with the range of services available at Hello Mid Day including bookings for classifieds ads, news and allied information apart from the basic service of providing Mumbai-specific telephone numbers.
These services had to be automated and managed, which is where Avhan stepped in. "We provided Mid Day with an Interactive Voice Response system or IVR, which could help call-centre executives perform their tasks better. Besides, messaging was built into the PC, which has made life easier for the executives and supervisors apart from building a bond with customers since the executive is aware of what the consumer wants," she adds.
In the case of WIN 94.6, the radio station promoted by Millennium Broadcast in Mumbai, the task at hand was to "identify whether music (dominant offering on the station) was being heard by the target audience". The station had approached Avhan last year to help it map its audience profile apart from providing a ready database of callers who would call in for request dedications or respond to contest and promos on the station.
WIN 94.6 was also keen to increase the number of advertisers on the station by getting a grip on its target audience. "The only revenue stream available to a radio station is advertising and WIN 94.6 was keen to get more advertisers," states Chandrasekhar.
Avhan set about the task by providing WIN with an IVR. Once the listener called, the IVR would set into motion and throw up different options. The database generated was quickly captured and the entire process was automated. "The IVR really helped WIN because not only were they able to get a grip on their audience but radio jockeys could eliminate crank callers, which is a recurring phenomenon with radio stations."
For a Cartoon Network project, executed during its early days, Avhan was entrusted with the job of managing a four-city promo with enthusiastic kids as callers. "This project was a fun assignment where we managed the exercise across Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore with relative ease and satisfaction. The promo was intended to popularise the channel among its target audience and kids were invited to call in and leave a message about their favourite characters. The exercise was so successful that we had kids calling late into the night beginning early morning, and the promo ran for six months across the four cities," she adds.
For KBC (Kaun Banega Crorepati), the project Chandrasekhar rates as the most innovative, Avhan had the voice of Amitabh Bachchan pre-recorded as part of a telemarketing exercise initiated to arrest falling viewership. "We had executed this project in 2001 when the TVR of KBC was falling," states Chandrasekhar. "The task was to excite interest among viewers and get them to watch the programme."
Areas were identified in the metros of Mumbai and Delhi where the exercise was conducted, and calls were made regularly between 8.00 pm and10.00 pm with the objective of infusing life into the show. "People were overwhelmed when they received a call in Amitabh Bachchan's voice not realising that it was a dialer doing the job," she states.
As many as 24 calls were made per minute and the whole of Mumbai and Delhi was mapped in the process. "The exercise was very successful and the TVR of the show improved," she adds. © 2003 agencyfaqs!