Marketing Featured Global

Infobip appoints Ben Lewis as VP of marketing and growth

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Global cloud communications platform Infobip has appointed Ben Lewis as its new vice president of marketing and growth. In his new role, he will be leading Infobip’s global marketing and growth function and will be responsible for increasing the firm’s market share and brand awareness to meet its growth targets.

In addition, he will ensure Infobip is positioned as a full-stack omnichannel communications platform for every platform.

Overseeing a global team, Ben has significant experience in global omnichannel communications. He was previously the VP of strategic commercial Innovation at Infobip. Before Infobip, Ben was the director of revenue operations at U.S. messaging company OpenMarket. 

Acquired by Infobip in 2020, Ben joined OpenMarket from a tech start-up in 2016. Following the acquisition of OpenMarket, Ben managed the transition of the sales and accounts teams, working closely with Infobip’s executive team.

Speaking on his new role, he said, “Having worked with Infobip and its executive team since its acquisition of OpenMarket, I’ve seen first-hand the breadth and depth of its people. Infobip has been hugely successful to date, and it has strong relationships with customers such as Microsoft and Adobe and partners like CRM platform HubSpot and workflow platform ServiceNow.”

He added, “With a more agile and collaborative approach, we can enhance that success and ensure Infobip achieves ambitious profitable growth. I’m looking forward to working with colleagues to ensure customers understand how our full stack communications infrastructure is so powerful that other providers run their platforms on it.”

Meanwhile, Ivan Ostojić, chief business officer at Infobip, commented, “Infobip is focused on profitable growth, and the marketing and growth team is critical to our success. But to achieve that success, every team worldwide must be aligned and focused on the same objective. Combining the marketing and growth teams under Ben’s new leadership unifies our end-to-end go-to-market functions from strategy to campaigns. Now everyone is focused on how they can help our customers succeed and, by doing so, how we can achieve ambitious profitable growth.”

He added, “Ben is an exceptional marketing leader with vast industry experience. What’s more, having been with the firm for some time [who] understands our business inside out. At Infobip, we’re committed to developing our people, helping them perform at their best and make the step up, which Ben exemplifies with this new appointment.”

Platforms Featured Global

Infobip collaborates with Microsoft to enhance digital communications offering

Croatia – Global cloud communications company Infobip has collaborated with Microsoft to enhance their digital communications offering among businesses. This is done through integrating Infobip’s SMS and WhatsApp channels with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales.

Businesses using Dynamics 365 Sales can now use Infobip to build personalised customer communication campaigns using text messages and benefit from WhatApp’s enhanced features such as graphics and video capabilities. 

This also includes sending personalised coupons to existing or potential customers to increase sales, collecting customer feedback to improve products and services, and sending bespoke event, appointment, or payment due date reminders. 

Data from a single-view dashboard means users of Dynamics 365 Sales can have a complete view of customer communications across these new channels, where they can see sent and delivered message reports. 

Veselin Vuković, VP of strategic partnership at Infobip, said: “The evolution of our collaboration with Microsoft demonstrates our commitment to ensure businesses can communicate with their customers using their preferred channel. In doing so, we help improve the customer experience, enhance loyalty, and ultimately boost sales.  We’re delighted to be a Microsoft partner and our new integration will make it easier for customers to make use of our global reach and rich channel mix.”

Meanwhile, Vincenzo Esposito, general manager for Central & Eastern Europe at Microsoft, commented, “Companies like Infobip add value by integrating their solutions with Microsoft Dynamics 365. This ensures that businesses, no matter where they are or their channel preferences, can harness the benefits of digital transformation. Together we are enabling omnichannel communication to deliver impactful business solutions.”

Azure customers will also have the option to use existing Azure credits, as part of the Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment (MACC) program, to access Infobip’s cloud contact center solution Conversations. Through this agreement, businesses can engage customers, partners, and sellers through existing Microsoft procurement relationships, while benefiting from Microsoft’s trusted expertise and its partner ecosystem. 

Main Feature Technology APAC

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager

Customer experience is founded on customer expectations. Marketing leaders must understand the evolving expectations that consumers have of their interactions with brands – this includes customer experience and support that, hopefully, meets their needs but ideally delivers above and beyond these expectations. 

As the pandemic turns endemic, delivering a consistently excellent customer experience is by no means an easy feat. Safety measures to protect our health and well-being have created a next normal for marketers. In fact, brand and marketing decision-makers need to constantly calibrate and innovate how they deliver on their brand’s promise and keep an engaged audience base.

The silver lining is that this scenario provides a real case for rolling out genuine omnichannel customer delivery and engagement models – something that has, for far too long, been relegated to the back burner for many brands. By setting new goals for customer service standards, relooking operational processes, and investing in technology solutions, strengthening consumer connections is possible even in a time when change abounds and reliability is imperative.

As such, we’ve seen customer experience agents take on multiple and increasingly important roles: from technicians and consultative sellers to today’s need for them to be empathetic community managers.

Not just a touch-feely bonus: The importance of empathy today

A recent McKinsey study reported that businesses that have empathy towards the customer will have a net positive benefit on their bottom line. Among 170 publicly traded companies examined, the top 10 with outstanding empathy ratings outperformed the bottom 10 by two times on the stock market.

Today’s environment has led to general expectations of a certain level of emotional empathy, no matter who we are interacting with. And brands are not spared – digital empathy and human empathy have taken on a new urgency.

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager

Brands now have to understand audience emotions, their feelings, and thoughts, their pressures, their desired digital and real-world experiences, and even anticipate future reactions. Empathetic brands that are using this period to rethink, reinvent, and leapfrog will most certainly be developing evolved blueprints for the entire pre-, during, and post-transaction customer journey as a result. At the frontlines of the customer journey – the shape-shifting customer experience agent, who must now play multiple roles.

Technology as an ironic accelerator for empathy

Some may think empathy and technology don’t go together. In fact, technology can help customer experience agents manage their hybrid roles and fulfill the need to be empathetic community managers. By combining proactive support with increased automation, brands can provide personalized support engagement at scale, without sacrificing empathy.

By centralizing omnichannel communications with customers, organizations can upgrade and reinvent the role of customer experience agents. For example, with the ability to manage communication over Instagram and other social media channels through industry-leading contact-center-as-a-solution services available in the market today, customer experience agents have the ability to become community management extraordinaires. Empowering agents with 360-degree customer profiles and full conversation histories all in one place will allow them to unlock valuable insights and provide fast and personalized customer support.

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager

Unlocking the power of social media messaging for customer support is more important than ever as we consider these stats from data from global cloud communications platform, Infobip: 70% of people globally expect to message businesses for customer service questions, and 64% would rather message than call a business.

As agents and representatives help transform customer interactions from being transactional to becoming more involved, these experiences are likely to be highly engaged, emotionally charged, and mission-critical for loyalty and retention. Consumers will also in turn anticipate that agents demonstrate they understand their problems and provide relevant reassurance.

This points to agents needing to be able to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and build quick rapport. This doesn’t just affect formats that provide visual and verbal cues – it also applies to digital channels such as chat, email, and social media, where agents cannot be certain of the tone of the conversation.

AI is maturing and here to help

While human empathy is natural, artificial empathy must be learned based on the data collected within the rules or framework set up by a human. This is where technology like artificial intelligence (AI) can come into play. AI that analyzes incoming messages and highlights factors like sentiment, helps prepare agents to respond accordingly.

Thanks to natural language processing (NLP), we can communicate with chatbots using human speech. NLP is an area of AI that helps chatbots understand the way your customers communicate.In other words, it means enabling machines, like chatbots, to communicate the way humans would. 

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager

An NLP chatbot is an AI chatbot that uses natural language processing, based on deep learning, to better identify a customer’s intent and therefore provide more valuable support. 

From the customer’s point of view, NLP helps them feel understood. From a brand’s point of view, these chatbots elevate customer support, create helpful dialogue, and capture insights into your customers’ goals and challenges. This lets you build a brand voice while simultaneously providing a customer-centric approach. 

Chatbots provide instant answers. And when boosted by NLP, they’ll quickly understand customer questions to respond faster than humans can. In addition to text, these chatbots can enhance the natural conversation experience by sharing helpful images (product images), videos (how-to videos, product explainers), map locations (store or service center finders), and more. These lightning-quick responses help build customer trust and positively impact customer satisfaction as well as retention rates. 

How the pandemic transformed the customer experience agent into empathetic community manager
Malaysian Insurance company Gibraltar BSN launched GINA in 2019

Take for example Gibraltar BSN, a Malaysian life insurance company offering life and medical insurance along with saving and investment plans. The insurer had concerns that too many customers in Malaysia had not received important and sensitive documents sent through the post, especially during the pandemic. The company also wanted to optimize its contact center in a way that would allow them to engage customers using modern digital channels but still provide a critical level of empathy during a sensitive time.

By deploying AI-powered NLP chatbots, Gibraltar BSN facilitated the creation of its automated chatbot – GINA. With GINA handling simple customer service inquiries, human agents can help clients with more complex inquiries and offer a more personalized approach. Gibraltar BSN saw a 40% reduction in cost for delivering e-policies after rolling out this transformation.

Harnessing the full potential of the customer experience function

With the right level of support given to customer experience agents, the potential for businesses to exceed consumer expectations in a digital world is limitless. Today, customer experience, service, and support – an oft-neglected function – have the aid of readily available technology to bring another dimension of brand success.

For marketing leaders, working with CX is about quickly adapting to and adopting emerging technologies for their benefit. Be one of the first businesses to leapfrog and handle messaging at scale on social media, connect to new customers, and strengthen relationships with existing ones.

This article is written by Viven Ang, regional manager for APAC at Infobip.
Technology Featured APAC

CPaaS Infobip adds Instagram messaging to portfolio of channels

Singapore – Global communications company Infobip has added Instagram messaging as a channel in its Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) offering, broadening the ways businesses are able to provide customer support.

Through its solutions, Infobip empowers consumer-facing businesses by providing a unified and simple workspace for customer support agents to engage and talk with customers on a variety of channels such as email, chat apps, live chat, and video calls, among others in social media. 

Instagram messaging is the newest addition to its portfolio of channels. The messenger API for Instagram is now available specifically on ‘Conversations’, Infobip’s contact center-as-a-solution service, which the tech provider said will result in the need for fewer calls to a contact center, thus, a more seamless and improved customer experience. 

“We are delighted that Infobip is launching Instagram Messenger in their contact center solution. The Messenger API for Instagram is now available for all developers who make it possible for brands to improve and enhance messaging experiences with customers,” said Vivien Ang, Infobip’s regional manager for APAC.

Infobip said that through the new capability, businesses will be able to handle messaging at scale on Instagram. 

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has seen a meteoric rise in active users making it one of the top social networks worldwide and which in turn has made it a key strategic communications tool for enterprises and institutions.

Ang adds, “It is clear that customers want to use their preferred channel of communication to connect with businesses and service providers. In fact, many customers today primarily choose to interact with brands through social media for everything from ordering food, requesting rides, making retail purchases right through to some elements of banking, and this same fast and simple capability can be brought to the contact center.”