This episode features guest Amit RG, Founder and CEO of Richpanel, a platform helping eCommerce companies scale and integrate their customer support services.
Discover how Richpanel has modeled Amazon to bring productized customer service to their direct to customer clients.
Did you know a customer that contacts customer service is 4X more likely to become a dissatisfied customer vs a satisfied customer? Listen to discover how you can avoid creating dissatisfied customers through your customer service.
Listen as Amit shares one of his favorite success stories of how one of their clients used Richpanel to reduce agent handled contacts by 50% despite substantial growth.
Episode Action Items:
If you are a B-to-C company looking to productize your customer service, visit www.richpanel.com and you can watch videos or signup for a free trial.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:02
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count podcast. This is your host, Andy Splichal. We are happy to welcome this week's guest to discuss today's topic, which is why you should automate your customer service. Today's guest is the founder and CEO of Richpanel, a platform helping ecommerce companies scale and integrate their customers' port services. A big welcome to Amit RG. Hi, Amit.
Amit RG 1:12
Hey Andy, how are you?
Andy Splichal 1:16
Great. Well, thank you for joining us today.
Amit RG 1:18
Absolutely. Glad to be here.
Andy Splichal 1:21
You know, I'm curious. So you have been able to grow Richpanel now to 1500 clients in that 18 months since launching, so there seems to be a proof of concept going on. So let me ask you, what problem did you see stores having, and how is which panel solving that problem.
Amit RG 1:41
It's interesting that you mentioned, you know, we have a proof of concept. But in reality, the proof of concept was Amazon. So what he really liked I personally liked about Amazon's business model is how one customer can go on purchasing for months without having to contact their customer service. Because you know, every problem that I run into whether it is changing my shipping address, or doing a return or an exchange, I can just log into the Amazon App and do it from the My Account section. So that's, that's one of the reasons that I keep coming back to Amazon. And that seems to be like the popular opinion. Because they have productized customer service, you know, not not even automated because I think automated automation chatbot is like very rudimentary, they've made customer service and all these scenarios, a part of the product, so we internally call it like productizing customer service. So we saw this as an opportunity to do it for other direct to consumer brands.
Andy Splichal 2:40
You know, I gotta say, I too like that kind of self service, customer service in that way. But on the other hand, a lot of times, you know, I'm calling somebody, and you get those automated phone calls. And the first thing I'm doing is saying, operator, correct, I'm not even going through their list, I want to speak to a person. So I guess how did you overcome that? With these automated features?
Amit RG 3:08
Actually, you know, we actually believe Andy, like the best customer service is no service. So when you when you said that, you know, you were trying to reach someone and you said, Operator, do you remember the last time you contact a customer service? What was it about?
Andy Splichal 3:22
You know, it was a problem with the internet or something like that, that I'm calling the internet company and an automated comes on. And I don't even want to waste my time with automated so I'm, I'm asking for a person,
Amit RG 3:33
which is, which is absolutely fair. And what what we think and believe is like, you know, you only contact customer service when something breaks, like in this case, you know, your internet broke down, and you had to contact customer service, right. So the only time that you end up calling customers customer services, you know, if something breaks, or the app doesn't do what you expect it to do. So if you can, if you're going to have a product where all of this just works like out of the box, and you never have to contact them, that's, that's the kind of company people want to do business with. So in some cases, I understand that it can't be avoided. But in many cases, like, you know, I've I barely I call everything from Uber Eats. Like I order a lot. But one thing that I really love about the app is they've automated everything from like, you know, if I get the wrong item, or if items are missing, they you know, place a replacement order without having, you know, without really me waiting on the line or, you know, going through the IVR it's built inside the product. So that's that's kind of what we're doing. And in fact, so go ahead, Andy.
Andy Splichal 4:38
No, I'm just gonna so what are the different services that you can automate for your clients?
Amit RG 4:43
You know, generally speaking, you know, 70 to 80% of the queries in any business that repetetive especially if you're able to like if you're, if you're if you have like good analytics around it, you will be able to see like, hey, the 70 - 80% is repetitive and it wants one even able to like automate and prioritize those 70 to 80%, we can also create a good experience for the agents behind the scenes, because they're not handling these repetitive questions. And they don't have to put you through the, through these boring IVR questions that you just mentioned, right? Where you're just, you know, shouting for the operator. Because, you know, the call volumes significantly reduced once you implement a solution like, Richpanel. So the 10 - 20% of the calls that are flowing through the call center, they're like genuine queries about like, product questions or you know, sales related questions which you want to handle, and which are very unique in their own way.
Andy Splichal 5:38
So is this customer service? Is this been done over the telephone? Is it be done in online? How? How's it been? How are you answering these questions?
Amit RG 5:49
Good question. So as of now we support, you know, your website and application that those are the main channels where the product really shines, where we can offer cell service. So that's like, the website of the merchant is where, where the magic really happens. We do support other channels. Like we do support social media, Instagram, DMS, comments, Facebook, we support SMS, we support phone calls, WhatsApp, email, all of those channels. But the magic really is when when the customers are reaching out to the merchants on their website or their mobile app, because that's where the we are able to unlock those cell service features.
Andy Splichal 6:27
So I would think that the main questions are probably about the same across for different ecommerce companies. When did my orders ship? When's it going to get there? How do I return? What what are some of the main questions that you guys answer with your service?
Amit RG 6:43
Actually, you answered them, Andy, those are, those are the typical ones, the new answers in every business will differ, like some businesses will offer like a 14 day refund, someone will say like you can exchange up to 30 days. So those are the things that you will configure using a platform like Richpanel, and you can you know, you can go like couple of steps further where you can say, you know, for all my customers, I'm going to allow a return for up to 30 days. But for people like Andy that have bought like more than $1,000 from me, you know, I'll, you know, the self service portal will automatically recognize them, and extend the you know, exchange window for up to like, 60 days for such people. So you can design flows like those. But apart from that, we've also seen people automating, like, you know, change my shipping address, or I forgot to add an item, I forgot to apply a coupon code, or when is this item going to come back in stock? What else? What else? Yeah, you know, I want to remove an item. And then you have to like, you know, recalculate the coupon, the shipping cost, everything adds those kinds of like order related, or order edits, and questions can be automated.
Andy Splichal 7:49
So have you been able to measure the customer satisfaction level of your clients using this automated feature?
Amit RG 7:59
Oh, I Yeah, absolutely. So this was actually before we got in the business, we did like a lot of validation around it. And contrary to the popular belief, I was, I was, I should say, I was surprised to hear the number Andy. But then when I reflected on it, I wasn't so surprised. So, you know, a customer that contacts customer service agent is four times likely to turn into a disloyal customer than a loyal customer. Real is often and by gartner. Yeah. If you think about it, you're already pissed off, right? That your internet went down, and you have to stay online? Or stay on hold, trying to get hold of these people versus the best services just work right? It might not be a great example. But look at zoom, right? We're doing this podcast, over zoom. Have you ever contacted their customer service? Probably not. So, you know, those are the kinds of services that we tend to love, where everything just works. And that's the kind of experience we are creating for other merchants where they are, you know, doing analysis around where people contact you, and cannot contact be avoided? Can that contact be productized? Right? Does that make sense?
Andy Splichal 9:09
Yeah, no, it does. And I mean, you know, ideally, everybody's products would be great. But in reality, especially ecommerce companies shipping stuff stuff to get lost in the mail, so to no fault even of the merchant. So I'm sure that you have upset customers, especially this time during the holidays. So how have you found that the customer satisfaction has been with the automated system?
Amit RG 9:40
It's very high. Relatively, right. So because because what usually happens here, and if you if you think about it, like I'll tell you a situation right, when when anyone joins Richpanel as an employee, right, or as a team member, one of the first exercises that we give them is that you have to replicate the entire Amazon experience on rich panel product, like whatever Amazon has done, you know, create that same experience for a demo store. And, you know, do an analysis like what all were you able to do using Richpanel? What all were you not able to do. So very recently, you know, one of my colleagues, he was given an exercise to do this for Uber. And one of the things that he realized is that Uber is also automated, like losing a item, like losing a valuable item inside one of their cabs is automated. So if you if you get out of an Uber, and you say, like, Oh, I lost my watch in site, what they do is before before, you know, even someone from the customer support team intervenes, they first will arrange a conference call between you and the driver, right. And if the driver can confirm that the item is left, they will, you know, they will leave the driver for everything else, and they will book a reverse trip back to you, you obviously have to pay for that trip. But that's that's, that's productized. So if you think about it, what is it? What is the support agent doing once once that person is intervening, right? She's She's, she's doing a bunch of activities, she's getting hold of a few people. She's going into a couple of systems to, you know, make to resolve your query. Can that be automated? That's that's how we think about it. Right?
Andy Splichal 11:17
Are you? Is there any protection on Amazon's customer service system? You said, you want to do everything on Amazon? I mean, I guess I'm just thinking, you know, they had a patent on their one click for ecommerce for like 10 years that expired. So now everybody's doing it. But do they have any sort of protection on their customer service system?
Amit RG 11:41
Probably yes, or probably not, I don't know. And I'm just getting over simplifying when I say that we're trying to do it like Amazon, in all reality, and it might sound a little snobbish, but we have much better than Amazon, when it comes to the technology. So we, we we fell in love with the concept that you don't have to contact customer service. But we've really taken that technology and taken it to the next level now. So it's it's different in its own way.
Andy Splichal 12:07
Okay. Now, on your website, it says that you free up customer service reps to concentrate on sales. But usually those are different positions. Aren't you really just eliminating some customer service rep positions by doing this?
Amit RG 12:21
Hmm, that's a good question. So it? So to answer the first part of your questions, no, they're not different people. Because, you know, in a direct to consumer business, when the average order value is around, like $100 - 200 is the same people, they usually don't have sales reps. But what they do have is that the support reps can answer some basic questions or objections that you may have, at the time of the checkout. Right. That's, that's what they can do. And ideally, that's what you want your people to be spending all that time at. Moreover, you know, Andy, what we're seeing is that with this massive growth, right, people, we speak with a lot of agents and they're more happier at their jobs, because they're not having to like come to their office and you know, answer, same repetative questions 50 times in a day, they're now having like, one on one interactions, they're now having meaningful conversations with their customers, so they are happier at their jobs. The way that we see that the future of customer service will evolve, is you're going to need fewer but more empowered agents, agents that have the authority agents that are subject matter experts and agents can, you know, do stuff for you, instead of just saying like, Okay, let me check that with ABC, or, you know, can I place your call on hold? While it's finally read like a bunch of FAQs and come back to you, you know, agents should expect to be in the headquarters or have access to the headquarters, be able to do things be able to move things around, because by the time the customer here, Andy is reaching out to you things have already escalated. Right? So give them the benefit of the doubt. You know, don't read out FAQs, don't give them the same policy bullshit, which Andy must have already read. And you know, really be in a position to resolve that question at this time. So that's how we see it.
Andy Splichal 14:09
Right. So let me ask how did you develop the technology behind Richpanel?
Amit RG 14:16
When you say, how did you develop the technology? What What do you mean?
Andy Splichal 14:20
Well, I guess what's powering it? What? Is it just scripts? Is it? I mean, how does it, how does it work?
Amit RG 14:30
So it's basic code, like we wrote everything that there is we have a very complex architecture, but yeah, it's just like any other software that you use on the Internet, like, you know, if you're using Amazon, Uber, they're just like, a bunch of code that people have written and, you know, develop apps around it.
Andy Splichal 14:46
And then and then there's a list of questions. That's typical, and then you can add other ones on a per client basis or
Amit RG 14:54
Correct, correct. And we don't even call it like questions because questions, questions they not that they are very rudimentary, like somebody's asking a question and then you answer it. We call them like flows, because they really like flows and scenarios where it's, it's, it's like a decision tree where someone, a customer is coming on the website, trying to do certain things. And there are lots of like algorithms or calculations that go in the background based on company's policies, and then comes back to the customer with very dynamic flows that are relevant to them. For example, you know, when you log into the app versus I log into the app, we're going to see like two very different widgets, right, which is what we embed on the merchants website. So you are going to see a very different experience based on your past orders based on your behaviors versus I'm going to see like very different scenarios. So first time customer is going to see more about the company, you know, what's the backstory, objection handling, customer testimonials, things like that, versus a customer that is coming for the second or the third time is going to see something on the lines of like, okay, how do I subscribe, or I want to move the subscription around, I want to skip a subscription, I want to change the flavor, in my order, things like that. So that's how the flows also evolve?
Andy Splichal 16:11
And how do you get the data from the customer into the flow? You know, the order numbers, the track, you know, that kind of specific information that a customer would want to know.
Amit RG 16:25
Good question. So all of that is coming through the 30 plus integrations we have. So integrate with the likes of like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce. On the cart side, you can also integrate your customer cart, custom cart if you have one. And then we integrate with like a bunch of Ecommerce apps, like you know, whether it's loop returns, recharge, you know, air calls, teleconnect, I'm forgetting a few. But you know, we integrate with like, 30 or so such old apps.
Andy Splichal 16:52
So which ecommerce platforms do you guys currently integrate with?
Amit RG 16:57
Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, you get like native integrations, like out of the box. But we also have like a ton of customers that use our API's and connect the custom got platform to the channel.
Andy Splichal 17:08
So if you're a Shopify customer, and you're using the Shopify tracking, where you're entering the information and stuff into Shopify, then you pull, you can just pull it right out of there.
Amit RG 17:19
That is correct. Yeah. Even if you even if you use external systems, like you know, off the ship or, you know, ShipStation, or, you know, NetSuite, all of that is integrated.
Andy Splichal 17:30
Now, where do you see ecommerce going in a post COVID world as we are getting into 2022?
Amit RG 17:39
I think I think Andy whatever has happened has already happened. I don't think that COVID did anything, I think it just accelerated what was already about to happen, right? You know, ecommerce would have any, which is taken this course, it might have taken like four or five more years for it to happen here. I know that that's everyone has been obsessing over, you know, how old is going to change post COVID, I think we have already seen it. And that's, you know, 2021 was like the baseline. That's like, you know, the new baseline of whatever has been reset. The another interesting thing, which surprised a lot of people is that 2021 was like habit changing. So I don't see it dipping back to pre COVID levels at all. In fact, this is 2021 is like the new baseline and ecommerce is going to be like, you know, growing on top of the baseline that we have today, that's what I feel.
Andy Splichal 18:36
Now, do you have a favorite success story of one of your clients, you could share?
Amit RG 18:40
Favorite success stories? We have several. But let if I have to pick one, I think, you know, it would be like the proteinworks.com. They're a London based company, but they are they sell into like 12 or 14 such countries. When they moved over to Richpanel, you know, they were they were on a very popular much much bigger competitor of ours. And when they moved over to the channel, they wanted to provide this cell service to in 14 languages across their, you know, 14 countries that they serve in, and we've been able to like, you know, reduce the agent handle contracts by 50%, which is, which is something worth celebrating. So despite them growing substantially during these COVID times, they didn't have to hire more people, the existing people that they have are more happier, the CSAT ratings are at an all time high. And most importantly, their repeat order rates have increased significantly since moving to Richpanel.
Andy Splichal 19:41
So what about are there any challenges that you've been struggling with on getting results to your clients with this automated customer service?
Amit RG 19:49
Oh, several, you know, because because it also means that you know, driving adoption, so it means that we have to educate our customers on how to to drive more and more customers towards cell service, because the potential is unleashed when people are coming on the website or resolve these things like today, Amazon is not going to respond to you, if you tweet them on Twitter, right? Most of the times, they will, they will say, Okay, go to the app, and you should be able to do A, B, and C because they are driving that behavior. So that's the same thing that merchants using Richpanel need to do, they need to suppress the other channels, and they need to move more people towards here. And they they soon realize that, hey, our customers are actually happy doing that. So that's, that's like, one of the most common things that we encounter. Secondary, some of these people are coming from traditional tools like a HelpScout, or a Zendesk for a first test. And they are just uploading the, you know, FAQs, the way it is on the Richpanel, and we're like, no, no, you're using it wrong. That's, that's, that's like beating the purpose of it. You know, you cannot, you cannot, you cannot, you know, take take a jet and then try to drive it on the road, you need to fly it. So those are the kinds of challenges that we face. And we are trying to like handle it by making the product education more stronger, and giving customers you know, more and more customer success support.
Andy Splichal 21:10
Now, one of my favorite questions that I ask in every episode is, personally, are there any business books out there that you can attribute to your journey as an entrepreneur?
Amit RG 21:21
Several, but if I have to pick a couple, I would say, you know, Zero to One, by Peter Thiel is, is one of my favorites. By far. And which which else, which has, I think, I think I also like Hard Things About Hard Things, which is something that all startup founders seem to like, but I also like that one.
Andy Splichal 21:44
Now, how are you guys standing out from your competitors? You had mentioned you have several larger competitors? How are how are you delivering a better experience for your customers.
Amit RG 21:56
So again, we always say like, you know, even when we raised the round from Sequoia, we were always very clear that you cannot really expect your customers or you cannot expect your clients to leave a competing product, just because you're too expensive, you have to be 10x better even to stand a chance to move or stand a chance to win in the game. And that's that's kind of what we're doing. We're trying to solve for the same problem, but in a radically different way, which is, you know, we don't believe in hiring like hundreds of agents, giving them like a helpdesk or a ticketing software to solve for this. You know, we believe in like empowering, or making these products much stronger. So customers are able to self resolve. Customers are delighted when they get a resolution in 30 seconds. And then they come back, because because they have they get that peace of mind. So are you solving the same problem, but in a very, very different way? No more agents, you know, no more helpdesk and ticketing systems. It's more a productized customer service. And it's about, you know, converting customer service into a revenue channel into a retention channel.
Andy Splichal 23:06
And how do customers pay you? Is it a billing subscription? Is it per flow? Is it, how does that work?
Amit RG 23:16
It's actually based on the number of resolutions that the platform delivers today. So how much how much can we automate for you or how many of your customers will be able to delight with this exceptionally fast experience? So that's, that's its usage based.
Andy Splichal 23:33
And who is the perfect client for your service? That person that if they're listening right now should definitely take a look at Richpanel,
Amit RG 23:41
Any B2C company wanting to get serious about retention and they spend a lot of money on acquisition, it's very important to also have your repeat order and control. Any B2C merchant out there, which is on Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce would be a potential fit for Richpanel.
Andy Splichal 23:59
And how can an interested listener, learn more about working with you?
Amit RG 24:04
The best thing is to go on richpanel.com www.richpanel.com. And you can you can you know, watch our videos, you can take a product tour, you can sign up for a free trial, and you can even speak to one of the sales reps if you wish to.
Andy Splichal 24:21
But it's been great. Is there anything else that you would like to add before we wrap it up today?
Amit RG 24:25
I think that's all Andy. Thanks again for having me. And asking me these questions. Enjoy. I enjoyed speaking with you.
Andy Splichal 24:33
All right. Well, thank you for joining us today, Amit. For listeners. Remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts. Leave an honest review. And if you're looking for more information regarding Richpanel or connecting with Amit, you will find the links in the show notes below. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business, check out our all new podcasts Resource Center available at www.makeeachclickcount.com. We've compiled all different past guests by show topics and include each of their contact information. In case you would like more information on any service I've discussed or in a previous episode. That's it for today. Remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.