Engaging and retaining customers with Imtiaz Bellary – E51

Released on: 06. December 2021

CX Goalkeeper with Imtiaz Bellary from ENGATI – E51 is about engaging and retaining customers Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had a smart discussion with Imtiaz Bellary

LinkedIn Headliner: Growing Engati

In this episode you will learn about:

  • Engati’s success story: Engaging through automation and intelligence
  • With a customer interactions you can achieve more than only solving customer issues, you can engage with them
  • some real examples on how Engati helped 2 companies
  • Loyalty is built on the long term
  • Two major trends
  • Where Engati will be in 2030

… and much more

His book suggestion:
Good to Great; J. Collins

Imtiaz’s golden nugget:
“Always prioritize long term impact over short term benefits”

How to contact Imtiaz:


Thank you, Imtiaz!

“Always prioritize long term impact over short term benefits” Imtiaz Bellary on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast @getengati @joinengatica

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast

click here to subscribe
my YouTube channel


Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast. Your host, Gregorio Uglioni. Will have small discussion with experts, thought leaders and friends on customer experience, transformation, innovation and leadership. I hope will enjoy the next episode.

Ladies and gentlemen, today’s really, really big, big pleasure, I have Imtiaz with me from Engati. Yes, you understand well from Engati. Engati is on my podcast on my show. I am really, really happy to have you here. Hi, Imtiaz, how are you?

Imtiaz Bellary 0:42
Hi, Gregorio. I’m doing good. How are you today?

Gregorio Uglioni 0:44
Thank you, I am really thrilled to have a discussion with you. And to understand also a bit more about Engati. And therefore I think the next half an hour will be really a blast. But as usual, let’s start first human first therefore Imtiaz, could you please introduce yourself?

Imtiaz Bellary 1:03
Sure. Thank you. Thank you, Gregorio your first of all, for inviting me on this show. It’s a real pleasure to be here. Hello, everyone. My name is Imtiaz and I lead product and customer related engagement for Engati. So I’ve been working with Engati for about three years now. So I spent a lot of time building the product. So I’m pretty happy where it is. And Engati actually stands for engagement, automation, and intelligence. And using engagement, using automation and intelligence. We want to empower businesses to improve their engagement and retention. We’ll talk a little bit more about the customer lifecycle and all that. But I think we also recently won the Codie award for the best artificial intelligence solution. So I think for a product guy like me, it’s a good testament. And I’m pretty happy to be here.

Gregorio Uglioni 1:56
Thank you very much Imitaz. And really, really looking forward to this discussion, perhaps also to understand and to know, know you a bit a bit better, what are the values? What drives you in life?

Imtiaz Bellary 2:09
Yeah, so I think the first thing that drives me in life is the whatever we do, we have to create an impact, I think it has to be whatever we build even so for example, we do have a lot of ideas, in terms of what we want to do and how it could help and so on. Not necessarily every idea has the required resource, and the time and energy to you know, to get it done. But I think, given that, like you said, human first, given that we are putting our minds to it, or energy to something, we have to make sure that it does create an impact. I think that’s the first value that is very important to me as a person. That that’s one. Number two value that is important to me is it’s always be before I which means that if you take your team along and you go along with them, we will go long. Whereas let’s say if you’re just I mean, you yourself can be pretty quick. I know, we’ve spent a lot of time where we are and I can be pretty quick. But but then I’ll be quick, but it may not be long, right? So I think the idea is to go long term, and to create something that is sustainable, has impact and creates value. I think those are probably two key values, that kind of driving.

Gregorio Uglioni 3:31
And I think speaking about long term long term value creation, then we can go to an garty Could you please also introduce angadi for the part of the audience that don’t already know about about Engati

Imtiaz Bellary 3:45
sharp. So Engati, as I mentioned, stands for engaging through automation and intelligence. So we started off in the year 2017. So it’s been close to about four years now. We initially started off as a chatbot system, a chatbot system that would allow businesses to automate engagement over Facebook and web channel. So those were the two channels that we started with. But over time angadi has grown into a kind of a customer experience platform. And our tagline today is reimagine the customer journey. So think of it. So if you as a business are already engaging your customers offline, and but the customer of today has evolved, right? They are not reaching out to you only through one channel or one medium. Yeah, so there they are everywhere, right. So let’s say if you are not taking care of a certain channel, you may actually be getting a lot of negative feedback on the channel which you may not be aware of. This is where NRT comes in, in it allows you to kind of engage with your customers across 15 different channels. So it is web, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram email, we also support video calling. And the two other things is we have aI framework built in, it’s called Essence. So, you can just upload documents and the board gets trained by itself. So, the board allows you to engage your customer over 15 different channels 24/7.

Gregorio Uglioni 5:29
And I think this is something that our customers are expecting, we are always speaking about increasing customer expectation, but nowadays, as you are saying customer want to interact with the company in 24 24/7. And and therefore it makes total sense. You mentioned something also in the discussion 15 different channels, to be honest, most of the company have issues to integrate two channels and not 15. How is it possible?

Imtiaz Bellary 6:04
Yeah, so I think the 15 is just to support different See, some channels are popular in some regions. Like, for example, in the US or North America, Facebook Messenger or Instagram are quite popular WhatsApp, not so much like in the Middle East, WhatsApp and telegram are popular is just to cater to people from different regions. But generally, as a business, I think it’s typically three to four channels that they would kind of heavily engage and kind of at the end of it activate, I don’t think they go beyond four channels. You’re right about that. So but 15 is, is just probably I’m just using my sales pitch.

Gregorio Uglioni 6:49
But it makes total sense because you are touching one one really important topic. It’s about the cultural differences. You mentioned us, you mentioned Middle East, and also thinking about Europe. In Europe, we are using quite a lot. What’s up, and I think you have also a special offer nowadays on WhatsApp integration. Could you please elaborate a bit on that?

Imtiaz Bellary 7:11
Sure. So WhatsApp has become pretty popular these days. I think. Today, WhatsApp is even used by businesses earlier, WhatsApp was a consumer product. But I think now WhatsApp is also being used heavily by businesses to send out notifications to engage for customer support, and stuff like that. So we are a top tier partner of Facebook, for WhatsApp and Instagram. As part of the WhatsApp offering, we are giving a way for any new business that is going to sign up for whatsapp three months for free. So if they sign up for an annual package, they get three months for free. On top of that bonus, if you reach a certain usage target, you get one more month for free.

Gregorio Uglioni 7:59
It’s nice, I think it’s a good offer. But at the end, it’s a collaboration between you and your prospects to find the best way to drive customer through the lifecycle. And I think now we are also coming to the main topic of this discussion. We were discussing about customer experience with engaging customer and retaining customer there, I think the key for businesses is first of all, before speaking about technology, is to understand that customer acquisition is important, but keeping the customer retaining the customer and engaging the existing customers, this is key. What’s your view on that?

Imtiaz Bellary 8:41
Yeah, so so to me, acquisition and retention go hand in hand, I think. So if you retain an existing customer, you don’t have to your CAG goes down, you don’t have to invest more in you know, kind of re acquiring the customer. So I think customer retention is extremely key. And in fact, one of the trends that I see today is these somebody like us, there is a CXO for a customer, right? So there is a CXO role for a customer like CC or Chief Customer Officer, which means there is more and more importance being given to customer experience and customer retention. And the whole idea that I think even people haven’t even businesses, our understanding is that they need to focus a lot more on retaining customers than just acquisition. So yeah, to me, like I said, acquisition and retention are both important but pertaining to retention itself. Providing the right customer experience is important. It’s not just support I think we need to understand. So support is just, hey, if I have an issue then can you solve it for me that What I think traditionally businesses do, but retention is much beyond that, right? You need to understand what are the goals of the customer? Why are they using your product or service? Right? Once you identify the goal, you need to map it to what your product or service can do for them. After you do that, you make sure that you work with them and ensure that you know, they are actually meeting those goals. They are achieving their ROI for the investment that they have made. I think that’s a happy customer. And once a customer is happy, they are I think, definitely retain and they will renew.

Gregorio Uglioni 10:35
I think what you’re saying makes total sense. And this is, let’s say, the official theoretical answer. Now is able in garty, to engage customers. What for example, do you have best practices, or example tangible examples that you can share with us how to do that?

Imtiaz Bellary 10:55
Yeah, so probably what I can do is, I’ll talk to you through through a few examples of how we work with customers. So there is a large insurance company in the Middle East. It’s called Qatar insurance. And what they did do was, so most often in insurance, as you know, we have to renew the insurance periodically, it could be months. In some cases, it could be half yearly, yearly, and so on, so forth, right. So the company was a lot more focused on acquiring new people, and not as much on renewals. So because of which they had heavy drop rates, and not many people were renewing, because they were probably getting a better offer a better premium outside from a different insurance organization. So we worked with Qatar insurance to build an integrated campaign that starts right after the onboard. So for example, where they could create rules to say, after a month, after they have kind of on boarded onto Qatar insurance, there is a survey that is sent out, Hey, how are you doing is everything, okay? I’m doing fine, you need help, and so on and so forth. Then six months down the line, or even monthly, we were sending, like periodically, the bot would notify and you know, give best practices around how to stay safe, and you know, stuff like that keeping them engaged. So if it was health insurance related to health, if it was travel, it was something else, and so on, so forth. And then when it came closer to renewal, you would probably start to engage them with some promotions, to say, Hey, if you renew now we can give you x versus y versus Z, and so on. And all of this was automated completely. And we saw that a lot of people would renew with even 15 days to go. Right. So I think this is a good case study where we took the use case more from a customer support to a customer retention kind of direction, which actually allowed Qatar insurance to kind of close more on renewals. So this this is one example.

Gregorio Uglioni 13:22
I think this is example, I really like it because at the end, and it’s proved also by numbers, it’s cheaper, cheaper to keep customer than then to find new ones. And exactly what you’re saying, I think it’s really a best practice. Because if we look in telecommunications in Europe, in particular, also in Switzerland, where I’m where I’m living, is the companies are always doing these promotions only for new customer, and the existing one needs to continuously change to get also this promotion. And it doesn’t make sense at all. Perhaps Do you have another example that the two that you can share?

Imtiaz Bellary 14:02
Yeah, I’m just trying to think, yeah, so there’s one more example that I would like to take off. Let me pick pick a company that is closer to where I stay. So I stay in Bangalore in India. So we have a home furnishing and home design company called Live space in India. So what they do is, so let’s say people have bought new homes or they want to redo their homes and so on and so forth. In fact, so for them, a lot of what was happening was they had a lot of customers who were happy with them. They were not leveraging them to bring in referrals. I think, in especially in b2c space, I would think of referrals and going back to the going back to the same company as retention and renewing. So we work with them to kind of have the BOC again build out the user journey after the work is completed, and so on and so forth. So while the work was happening, so generally the company takes up to 60 days to complete the work, let’s say redoing the, the entire home or redoing a certain section of the home and all of that, they would use the bot to give periodic updates about what’s happening. So let’s say they were using an in house system where they would upload images or videos of, you know, the progress and stuff like that. So then the bot would kind of engage with the customers to give them updates about it. And after they have kind of even they are done with the work, they would the board would periodically again, hey, do you have any people who you can press or you have a referral discount? Or do you need help with anything else? At home, we are here to help you. So that kind of improved. The bookings, that live space kind of had over a period of time.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:02
Thank you very much. And again, a great example that that adds understanding. Also, our important is to develop to customers. And I think this is the natural question, I would like to ask customers change, develop, I was a student, then I was started working. And now I have a family. How is it? Is it possible to engage with customer on the long term during the lender, the customer lifecycle? Because as said, from a student, I have different needs than as a family father, and what’s your view on that?

Imtiaz Bellary 16:40
Yeah, so generally, I think one thing that I’ve seen is, the needs may change as we grow. But I think the experiences kind of remain, you would want to have similar experiences over time, right. So I think, if you have always had a good experience with a certain brand or a product, during your course of your lifetime, you tend to remember it and kind of set benchmarks around it to say, hey, you know, this is the kind of experience I want. So I think, like they say, Change is constant, but and the goals change. But I think we should still keep in mind that the experience also keeps changing. But as the experience also changes, I think as we grow, and as we evolve, we also are exposed to more channels, or more modes of doing things more competition, that we can definitely leverage and so on, so forth. But I think the with the experience comes loyalty. And once we have a chance to interact with the customer, we should use that to build loyalty in to the customer and you know, kind of build loyalty programs to keep them engaged, and continue them throughout, as you evolve.

Gregorio Uglioni 18:06
Thank you for your answer. And I think it’s at the end, yes, we are human beings that we are evolving. But as a brand, you have a brand proposition. And you should stick to that and cover the needs of the customer in the different stages, based on the fact that I have you on on this podcast on this discussion. And let’s look forward now. It’s it’s it’s time to discuss about future. You mentioned you can integrate 15 channels, I think in few years and then 2025. But it’s not only all about integrating new channels, but it will be also in future new ways of interacting with with customer. Which trends do you foresee?

Imtiaz Bellary 18:53
So one of the trends that I strongly foresee is see firstly, I think one trend that is becoming evident earlier, people thought automation was the solution to everything. And AI was the solution to everything. Although I think right now we are riding the wave at this point. Maybe in five to six years AI will become like a common state everybody will know and how to use it and how to make good use of it. But I think we’ll also get to understand that automation does not solve everything. So is the case even with customer experience. I think it has to be a mix of automation with AI with the human interaction you cannot take away the human interaction. Okay, so I think that is a trend that we become far more evident. I think now we are seeing it but it will become evident over time. And I think we’ll all tend to agree and the brands that we will use the products that we will use will also become this will become a common touch point that both possible. Number two, a trend that I see is I know I spoke about 15 different channels, but I feel in the next five to six years, we will have a need to become channel less. Okay, so right now we are saying omni channel. Okay, so we market NRT as an omni channel chatbot solution, right. But I think over time, it doesn’t matter which channel is the customer coming in from, I think maybe in two to three years, most products will have the ability to do omni channel, where you have the ability to move across channels and stuff like that. Again, here, I think what is key is the ability to provide a similar experience, irrespective of the channel they are coming in. Yeah, so I think this whole focus on Oh, this is hot in this region. And this is hard here, what it says here, all of this will go away, I think those are two key trends that I see.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:00
Thank you very much. And elaborating a bit on the second one omni channel is also evolving to in Opti channel, they optimize the channel for the customer. But at the end, we need we are in business. And we need to look that also from the business side business point of view, it’s quite difficult to offer 15 20 25 different channels. And therefore, it’s better to focus on less channels, but doing it properly than offering all of them and each channel is a completely different experience. And therefore it it makes total sense and also linked to personalisations. At the end. Also, as a human being I am using different channels, most of the time now WhatsApp in Europe in Switzerland, I would like to interact with with the company with WhatsApp, WhatsApp. But if it’s not available, then I use other channels because at the end, I would like to have an experience and based on the fact that if you on this call, now in this discussion, now we close this the our eyes for two seconds. And it’s 2030 it means 10 years from now, what are we discussing about customer experience? What are the main topics that we are discussing?

Imtiaz Bellary 22:19
Yeah, I think in 2030, the main topics I think that people are discussing is about, I think personalization will be the mainstay, I think you are probably taking already you are taking recommendations from Alexa, that you know, hey, you need this versus Y versus Z, right? I think right now we are feeding data into all of these computer systems for them to understand and what we want or how do we think and when do we order? How do we order? What is the preferred mode and all that? I think all of that will become a very normal experience at that point. And it could be possible that automation? Could be I don’t know, there’s also this concept of IoT. So they are IoT enabled devices. Let’s say it could be the microwave at your home, it could be the television, it could be I don’t know the storage unit at your home knows what is the quantity of staples that you have left at home and automatically orders and stuff like that I feel in 2030 and personalization at this level is something that will be pretty fairly common.

Gregorio Uglioni 23:43
Thank you very much. And the question that I need to ask is and where we’ll be Engati in 2030?

Imtiaz Bellary 23:51
Yeah, I hope in 2030, like I said, Engati to me, should be still continuing to focus on building customer experiences. Now, for example, like I mentioned, if the market is evolving into IoT devices, so can we can businesses, you know, enable IoT devices and automation on them, and using intelligence to decide and provide recommendations for consumers and for the IoT devices? I think that’s maybe somewhere that we will be in 10 years.

Gregorio Uglioni 24:27
Thank you Imtiaz and for the people that perhaps are not aware of IoT, its Internet of Things. It’s something like adding as more computer in each device that you have at home, as you mentioned, the microwave or your fridge, and then it makes this device intelligent trackable, understandable and Imtiaz said it’s you can also personalize experiences. I am dreaming of the fridge that it’s creating a plan menu plan for the next week that I don’t need to discuss with my wife, what we are going to have for dinner, but it’s already an optimized suggestion. And now, going back to the human to human interactions, it’s time to get a bit new to know a bit better. Is there for example, a book or a recommendation from your side, a book that helped you during your career.

Imtiaz Bellary 25:24
So I think one of the books that I really liked was there is this book called Good to Great by James C. Collins, why some companies make that leap, and others don’t. This is a book that was given to me when I was pretty young. So I started my career about 14 / 15 years back, as a young engineer, and I just had this fascination to work with business, family, because chatting, there are two ways to create an impact, either work for the government, where you can actually work with people and create an impact or work with businesses that want to create an impact. So and I think I chose the latter. And that’s where I am. And one of my mentors actually gave me this book, which says Good to Great. I think a lot of us, like I also mentioned earlier, a lot of us have a lot of ideas, which potentially all of them can be really good ideas. Right. But what does it take to make a good idea? A great idea, right? And I think this book is pretty informational a does give a process in terms of how you should think how you should attack how to plan for anybody who has not read it, I think it’s extremely good. The book is quite old. I think it was written about 15 to 20 years back, but I think it’s still relevant, because it it touches on the principles as compared to the technology or anything of that sort. So the principles I think, are still relevant even today and will stay relevant. So I think that is a book that I would recommend.

Gregorio Uglioni 27:03
And I can say yes, because I read it. And it’s really a great book. It’s not a good book. It’s a great book, sort of joke by side. And I think it makes total sense that we read this book. And the last question, or the second last question, sorry, is, if somebody would like to contact you, what’s the what’s the best way.

Imtiaz Bellary 27:26
So you could connect with me on LinkedIn. So you can search me, search for me as Imtiaz Ballari. And I think I would show up our Imtiaz / Engati, also, I would show up, or you can also email me at imtiaz @ engati . com. Either way,

Gregorio Uglioni 27:43
thank you. Thank you very much. I will share all this information in the show notes together with a web page of Engati. And the real last question is Imtiaz golden nugget it’s something that we discussed or something new that you would leave to the audience.

Imtiaz Bellary 28:01
Yeah, I think the golden nugget for me always in life, again, like I said, we’ve already discussed is always prioritizing impact and long term impact over short term benefit. Sometimes I think you may have to go through the struggles and you know, you may be going through that trough and it may be hard, but I think you need to stay focused and always stay focused on the long term goal, the vision and put your effort in the right direction, the long term. The long term goal or impact will definitely be the short term benefit.

Gregorio Uglioni 28:35
Thank you very much Imtiaz and as usual, I’m not commenting these questions because it was Imtiaz golden nugget. And the only thing that I can say is thank you very much to you, Imtiaz and to Engatito be part of the CX goalkeeper podcast.

Imtiaz Bellary 28:52
Thank you very much.

Gregorio Uglioni 28:53
And also to the audience. I hope that you enjoyed this discussion as much as I did a fresh view on customer experience on omni channel on customer retention with Imtiaz and Engati. Thank you very much. I wish you a great day. Bye bye. Thank you

if you enjoyed this episode, please share it word of mouth. Subscribe it, share it until the next episode. Please don’t forget, we are not in a b2b or b2c business. We are in a human to human environment. Thank you

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