Customer never on the back seat

and November 28, 2016

Comprehending ever-evolving customer needs, empowering employees, and constant innovation have led BookMyShow’s customer service culture. For example, they  changed the ticketing process at the box office based on customer feedback. They introduced a technology that helped their executives directly scan the barcode and print the ticket as opposed to the earlier method of the ticketing executive typing in the booking ID. This resulted in siginifcant time reduction. Anil Makhija and Komal Chainani tell us more about the company’s unwavering focus on the customer.


There are the two touchpoints for BookMyShow customers—the contact center that deals with calls, emails, live chats, and social [media]interactions, and the events team that takes care of all the experiences, interactions, and transactions with the customer on ground. Both these divisions work closely together, so that the mindset and the customer service philosophy is uniform across the board. Our overall customer service philosophy is: we spread out messages to the entire company, from the contact center and the events team so that all our employees speak the same language when they interact with a customer.


the four Es

There are four Es that we broadly follow:
01 to understand customer Expectations

02  provide customers a good Experience
03 understand the Emotions of the customer

04 leave an Everlasting impression on them.

When we interact with customers through chat, telephone, or at the venue itself, we try to understand their emotions, be it anger, happiness, or delight—and try to deal with it in a customized fashion. We encourage our contact center employees to ensure that the customers’ issues are resolved and the last interaction ends on a happy note. All ecommerce businesses need to adhere to the four Es to build lasting relationships with their customers and technology is key to this.

The backend technology needs to be robust so that all data required to create a smooth customer experience is accessible on short notice. So if a customer comes to the box office, the executive can easily access his/her background details and customize the interaction.


innovation brings value

Businesses today need to focus on constant innovation to provide seamless service to customers. At BookMyShow, we encourage people to innovate constantly at an individual level and not just at the management level. This is the only way a business will be able to think out of the box and create a good experience. For example, we do not restrict our managers who are answering a call or interacting with customers on the ground to follow any standard script. There are some fundamental standards for greeting customers or for gathering more information. But when it comes to addressing an issue, or giving information, a lot of flexibility is given to the individual. Our managers have the freedom to decide how to innovate, interact, and engage with customers, because we want everyone’s personality to be reflected in their interactions—to avoid it being robotic.


changing customer expectations

Managing changing customer expectations is obviously not an easy task. It takes a lot of internal introspection, external evaluation, and understanding of the emotions of the customer to be able to meet their requirements. Every individual is different and in that sense every single expectation is different. For us, it is a mammoth task since we handle 4,000-5,000 calls a day on average. They can be minor problems, such as a customer being unable to navigate the site as he or she is new to the internet, or it could be a complex payment-related issue. So it is a challenge to stay updated on the expectations, and we have also come up with certain features to keep track of customers’ needs. For instance, we have introduced an immediate response survey which gets the customer’s feedback immediately after a query has been placed. The survey asks basic questions such as whether an issue was resolved, the level of satisfaction, etc. On ground too, we constantly interact with customers without being intrusive or overwhelming. These surveys help us understand both the short- and long-term expectations of our customers. For example, there is a last-minute change and a
road leading to the venue is blocked. We have the mechanism wherein the person on ground can immediately send a message to the contact centre. This ensure an immediate SMS goes out to each and every customer, catering to their immediate expectations.

In addition to these, we have teams that constantly interact with the users, conduct workshops and try to understand customer expectations. Then there are metric tools for understanding how much time users are spending at a certain aspect of the website, where they face bottlenecks, etc. We keep adding features and functionalities that will make a user’s task of transacting or understanding and availing
offers easier.


leveraging social media tools

Today the power of social media platforms has increased significantly; it has become one of the fastest ways to get a response from a brand. Customers no longer choose to communicate via other mediums such as telephone or email, but instead turn to social media platforms. Hence, we have a strong social media team in order to respond quickly to the users. Unlike many brands, we believe in resolving the issue on the social media platform itself. When customers write to us on social media regarding a particular problem, the issue gets resolved within minutes.


empowering employees

We believe happy employees will lead to happy customers, and when you have happy customers they would want to interact with you and use your platform more frequently. But if they are dissatisfied, they will use some other channel however convenient your platform is.

So at BookMyShow, every single employee goes through a five-week intensive training program. It helps them understand the customers, their level of expectations, and what would make them come back.

We also encourage all our new employees to spend a day at the contact centre, or attend an event. So be it a developer, or an engineer, every employee of BookMyShow has the experience of handling the end customers and a basic understanding of their requirements.

Another way by which we empower our employees is by giving them freedom in interacting with the customers. We do not calculate the average handling time of a call. We have given that leverage and we have kept it open for the employee to decide how much time he/she wants to spend with the customer resolving the query. So if the customer wants to speak for 35 minutes and it takes that much time for the advisor to sort the query, so be it. We do not ask them to answer 80 or 100 calls a day. Instead of emphasizing on the number of interactions, we focus on the fact that the customer is satisfied and goes back happy.


building customer loyalty

Our objective is to offer our users an unmatched experience. Even though we are a service provider platform and not organizers of any particular events, we take a lot of ownership in terms of enhancing customer experience—whether it is ticketing, or on-ground experience—seeking feedback and passing it on to the organizers and ensuring they are taken into account. At any event, BookMyShow has the largest on-ground contingent, so customers naturally come to our staff with issues. But there are certain things at a venue that we are not directly responsible for. However, if a customer approaches us with a complaint, we make it a point to look into it and facilitate a solution. Hence, the customer perceives us as a brand that is responsible and always ready to help even though it is not our responsibility, and this in turn builds brand loyalty and trust.

Customer feedbacks have also lead to significant changes in our services and processes. For example, at the contact center if we receive any feedback on any difficulty in the UI/UX or any navigational problems, we immediately look into it, test it ourselves, and if there is a problem change it. We also constantly strive to listen to our customers and implement their suggestions. Recently, we got this suggestion of providing real-time booking pick-up status at the ‘events box office’. So that the customers know how long they will have to wait. We as a brand see great value in this and are thinking of implementing it.


future plans

In the years to come, we are going to build technologies around our experiences and learnings in the last 9-10 years. We are bringing in automation in both our contact centers and on-ground operations. It is going to help answer a lot of questions, quickly resolve problems, and help understand customers better given that the numbers are also growing exponentially. Going forward, we also plan to bring in some amount of self-help mechanism.

On-ground operations involve deployment of a large number of staff. Presently, if a client wants ten of our employees to be present at a certain venue, at times only two are available. This could lead to dissatisfaction among both clients and customers. To avoid such situations, we have come up with a tracking option. We recently experimented with tracking the location of our employees using tags so that deployment reports are available in real time. Instead of blindly following international standards, we have built the technology to suit the Indian environment that differs in terms of human discipline, crowd management, etc. We are optimizing and working with our partners to create technologies that will fit this environment and make our systems more efficient and build more productivity.


(As told to Titash Roy Choudhury)