Peter Drucker once said: "The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said," and we are so into it. Living in a world where digitalization and AI are changing almost every environment, is not always easy to keep the human face. We at CloudTalk are trying to minimize the loss of human elements because we know that customers still want to feel appreciated and heard. We are beyond happy to share this approach with other companies, like Vantage Circle.
Join the little chat with us and Vantage Circle about how pandemic and current trends are shaping the HR industry, what drives them forward and how they deal with negative feedback. Thank you, Himashree Hazarika, (Corporate Communication & Outreach Manager), we have enjoyed it!
Can you tell us more about Vantage Circle? What is your unique approach, and what do you stand for as a brand?
Vantage Circle, as you know, is a Global Employee Engagement Platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver easy-to-use and effective employee engagement solutions to HR.
We started the company in the year 2011. But back then, it was only an employee benefits platform that offered corporate deals for employees. Over the years, we launched more HR solutions that can help companies provide the best employee experience.
Our unique approach lies in our beliefs which allowed us to build products keeping the employees’ perspective in mind. As we know, the need for employee recognition is critical in today’s digital world. We understand that it is an inherent human need to be appreciated, validated, and understood.
This idea helped us develop Vantage Rewards, the rewards and recognition solution that allows work cultures to build a healthy work relationship by building camaraderie with peer-to-peer social recognition and rewarding employees’ accomplishments. In the same way, Vantage Fit, our employee wellness solution, helps employees achieve their fitness goals and improve their overall physical and mental health.
We believe and hustle every day to create better work cultures for companies globally. And this is what we stand for as a brand. To provide an inclusive suite of HR solutions to make work-life easier for all.
Vantage Circle operates in a fast-changing environment. How do you expect the environment to evolve? What trends and threads will affect it next year?
In 2021 and beyond, the need for digitalization of processes will be felt acutely at all levels of any organization, including customer service. Given that customers have grown increasingly comfortable with a digital experience, your new customer care strategy should focus on providing a digitalized experience with the help of tools such as chatbots, CRM platforms, conversational marketing, and more. Having said that, there should not be a loss of human elements because customers still want to feel valued by the company.
Getting new customers can sometimes be a challenge. What is the most significant lesson you've learned in this process? What has affected the way you get new customers the most?
We may be a B2B company, but because we are an employee engagement platform, a large part of our success is dependent on our customers, i.e., corporate employees. We have a customer base of more than 1.8 million employees from 400+ companies in 59+ countries.
However, getting to this milestone was not an easy task. We had our share of ups and downs, but the most important lesson we learned was that customers want someone to talk and relate to. While automation can certainly help companies handle more customers (and in a faster way), people want someone who can empathize and actually listen to their issues.
Despite our platform being AI-based, we went to great lengths to ensure that the human-centric element is not lost.
Our customer service department plays an important role in ensuring that our customers do not feel they are voicing their concerns to avoid. This delicate balance of digital and human factors enabled us to create a seamless user experience while not compromising on our customer experience.
We all know the deal with difficult customers. Can you tell us about the most memorable case and how did you solve it?
There was no single customer who stood out for being especially difficult, but we do experience multiple issues with customers rating our products low on Google Playstore due to something we have no control over.
When some customers encounter a tracking issue or a redirection link that does not work for them, they tend to get frustrated with us. Fortunately, nearly half of these customers become more cooperative once we interact with them positively and actively work with them to solve their queries. If the problem is in fact from our side, we fast-track that query to ensure that it gets solved as soon as possible while keeping in constant contact with the customer to keep them up to date on the situation.
Vantage Circle has become a big brand in the past few years with a venerable number of customers. How do you approach customer service and manage to maintain positive relationships?
When it comes to customer service, one of our main guiding principles is that "no feedback is bad feedback." When we receive positive feedback from customers, we consider it a win and celebrate it as a job well done.
However, when we do receive negative feedback, we use it as a learning opportunity. With negative feedback, we try to communicate with the customer about how we can improve ourselves and make their future experience on our platform better. We are happy to report that in the majority of cases, these customers have changed their feedback to positive.
How do you measure success in your customer service? Which KPIs do you recommend a focus on?
Our customer service's success is calculated from two factors— public and private assessment. When it comes to private assessment, we learn whether or not our customers are satisfied based on the personal feedback and ratings they provide us on Freshworks. When it comes to public recognition, our high Google, Glassdoor, and G2 scores are a direct result of our strong commitment to providing exemplary customer service.
We primarily use Freshworks to track our customer service metrics and KPIs. We actively assess and measure our team's performance, average customer satisfaction scores, rating distribution, unsatisfactory customer interactions, and other metrics.
Recently, we have seen that as important as the marketing presentation is the communication to your employees. How do you handle your internal communication, such as employee engagement or feedback?
We all know how important Internal communication is to any successful business. How employees communicate internally and externally with each other and customers tell a lot about the culture. Strong internal communication leads to a more productive workforce and helps in better problem-solving and decision-making strategies. We, therefore, emphasized building a strong internal communication strategy.
We are a flat hierarchy, and everyone in the company gets to express their perspectives. We have a common group in our communication tool where we all keep our views open. More than that, our Vantage Rewards program helps everyone stay connected and appreciate each other.
In the pandemic, like most of us, we had to go remote too; employees were dispersed in their hometowns. That’s where we understood the true power of having a digital platform where everyone stays aligned. We welcome our new hires on the platform and also celebrate employee birthdays and anniversaries to ensure social validation and open communication. It helps everyone to know each other and keeps a healthy communication streak going.
Also, with Vantage Pulse, we collect employee feedback continuously to understand our employees’ needs and set internal benchmarks to improve our own work culture.
What has the pandemic changed in the way you communicate with your customers and also employees?
Pandemic left most of us with no options but to go remote. Companies were not ready to witness such a massive change in such a short time. Our customers too were facing the same problem. We received 150% more search queries about our platform in the pandemic. HR’s were trying their best to build better communication strategies and keep everyone connected.
The USP of Vantage Rewards played a great role here for both our employees and our customers. People now could socially stay connected in the virtual platform and participate in digital recognition and appreciation. It helped everyone to form a cluster and stay connected.
The immediate change that all of us witnessed is that digitally we can achieve much more than we usually envision. The big conference meet-ups have now changed to zoom meetings.
The pandemic showed how we all could work together efficiently without being present in a physical work environment.
In a high competitive customer-oriented environment, you always need to come up with new and exciting approaches. What is your inspiration, and what drives you forward?
There is no bigger inspiration than knowing your purpose. We want to enable companies of all sizes to deliver a satisfying employee experience and set the standard in the market. This is where we get the energy from. The clear purpose keeps us at our edges and helps us bring better innovation and technology to the market.
Today if you see, the HR market is growing big, it will increase tenfold in the near future. Today a paycheck at the end of the month is not enough. You can only retain your employees when you provide them with the best employee experience.
It can only happen when you take care of their needs, understand their priorities, and give support and build a company culture where they feel comfortable working.
What is, in your opinion, the biggest success Vantage Circle has achieved in the last year?
Vantage Circle has grown a lot in the last year. Fortunately, the pandemic did not hinder us, but rather provided us with numerous opportunities to hire new talent and expand our workforce. We could only manage it because our company has seen tremendous growth since 2020.
Also, recently we have been certified as a ‘Great Place To Work,’ and it was only possible for the beliefs that we have as a company. We practice what we preach and strive to create the best culture for our employees. And we hope to continue to grow and reach new milestones together in the future.