Unlocking the ROI of CX: Making its Business Case with Hrushi Kulkarni – E119 (mini-series 1/3)

Episode released on: 27. March 2023

Unlocking the Return On Investment of Customer Experience: Making the Business Case with Hrushi Kulkarni (mini-series 1/3) Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had the great opportunity to interview Hrushi Kulkarni

LinkedIn Headline: XM Scientist | ex-CXPA Regional Council Member | CXAD (Dip) | Certified CX Practitioner | Storyteller | Speaker | Trainer | MBA


  • 00:00 Game Start
  • 00:35 Hrushi’s introduction
  • 02:23 Hrushi’s values
  • 03:12 Why is ROI important?
  • 05:09 How to quantify ROI?
  • 09:30 It’s not always about money
  • 12:21 Proving the importance of CX
  • 13:16 Communicating the value
  • 16:04 Collaboration
  • 19:28 How to get the “GO”
  • 24:14 The future
  • 26:11 Book Suggestion
  • 27:21 Contact Details
  • 27:57 Hrushi’s Golden Nugget

and much more

Hrushi’s Contact Details:

His book suggestion:

  • Chief Customer Experience 2.0 by Jeanne Bliss

Hrushi’s Golden Nuggets:

“Deliver on your brand promise to win the trust of your customers” Hrushi Kulkarni on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast

What did we discuss?

Gregorio Uglioni
Ladies and gentleman welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast your host. Greg will have smart discussions with friends, experts and thought leaders on customer experience transformation and leadership. Please follow this podcast on your preferred platform. I am sure you will enjoy the next episode with the guest I selected for you.

Ladies and gentleman. Tonight’s really a big, big pleasure because I have Hrushi Kulkarni together with me. Hi Hrushi, how are you?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Hello all Well, yeah. How about you, Greg?

Gregorio Uglioni
Well, I am thrilled to start there. To start a discussion with you. We are going to discuss about an important topic, ROI in customer experience. I think this is a big, big topic. And this is the first episode of a mini series that I’m going to do on this topic, we will have three episodes on this topic. And I think it’s extremely important nowadays with all what everything is happening in the world. All these changes, business changes, inflation, and so on, that we can really prove the quality but also the return on the investment that of what we are doing. However, before we deep dive in this topic, we would like to learn a bit more about you. And therefore my top player today is Hrushi. And I would like to learn a bit more about you. Could you please introduce yourself?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Absolutely. But I must mention that this is a great topic you have picked up I’m so excited to talk to you. And yes, we will talk at that length. But to introduce me quickly, I come with almost two decades of experience. Maybe I would split my journey as the first 810 years focused on consumer insights. So I was a part of market research, where we will look at everything right from our brand tracking, advertisement, product testing, and a small bit of CX I would say in those years. But post 2010 My focus has more been on the last decade, enhancing customer centricity. So that’s where I am and been working in the markets of India, Singapore and Malaysia. More focused on BFSI a bit of I would say ecommerce and a lot of automobile companies. So just just introducing myself quickly, and I’m great to be on your show.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. Right? Perhaps to learn a bit more about you, which values drive your life?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Well, while us I think the best value that I was exposed to in one of the MNC organization based out of France was integrity, you know, the way I understand this, it’s all about what are you doing either the right way or when nobody is watching you. So I think that’s the value that’s driven me saying that there are no shortcuts, I need to, you know, kind of deliver on what we are working on as I mean, it’s it’s your perspective, right? It’s not about who’s watching you who’s not. So I think integrity is something I’ve benefited in my career for sure.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you. I think this is really, really important. And we are sex professional. It’s also extremely important. But now let’s let’s start talking about return on investment ROI. In customer experience. Why is ROI so important from your point of view?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Well, that’s a very important question. In fact, I will spend two minutes on everybody knows what is ROI, but it’s all about the way I look at it is what is the benefit you get for the investment that you do, right. So the investment could be in terms of dollar euro amount, it could be in terms of effort that you put the time cost, it could be even commuting from point A to point B just to deliver what you had planned. So that’s the investment that you’re looking at now, in terms of return, that’s the benefit that the customer gets, you know, saying that as a customer facing person, I did 123 Did the customer really see value in it? And what was the benefit? So putting it all together, I would say the sewer in CX the ROI is very important, because it’s one going to tell me that the water I’m doing is right to being appreciated by the customer. And secondly, there is more important going to be a kind of tool or metric, which is going to tell me how far away am I from the goal? If there is no such metric or no such mechanism to measure the benefit that the customer gets? I think we are going to be haywire. Yep. So you need to have that in your mind saying all my activities is fine, but how does my customer more possibilities. So I think you made a very important opening question otherwise, very important to drive customer experience.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you, I think what you’re saying it’s totally sense. And perhaps to understand it a bit better, because you started really explaining, well, what is ROI? How can we quantify the ROI? Or how can we quantify the CX improvements that we are doing?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Absolutely, I think unless you don’t measure something, you can’t action on it. And hence, the measure part is very important. I would look at it in terms of two ways. You know, one is, if I were to measure the ROI, one is how much money am I making for my company? So that could be additional revenue? And the other bit is, in terms of let’s see, how much money am I saving? Yeah, so I look at a two separate concept that we take the first one, making money is all about getting new revenue from a new customer, or cross selling upselling to my existing customer base, so that that’s adding additional revenue. So those are the aspects that are taking an example, let’s say I have a 10 million customer base, let’s say I’m into retail, and I’m talking about very b2c example. And I just want to ensure that each customer’s spending $100, I want to look at, let’s say, 70%, retention rates out of those 10 million customers, every year, I have repeat 7 million. Now if I take up a task, saying that I need an additional 2%. So instead of 70, I want a 72% retention rate, I get the 2% increment on that $100 That every customer is spending, so you multiply by number of years, they would be with you. And that’s a big amount. But having said that, this looks great on a whiteboard, or a PowerPoint presentation. But to do this, that’s the benefit to my company, I need to invest. So there is a cost, right? So there is a cost in terms of let’s say, training my front office staff, because they have to move now retention from 70 to 72%. In my example, I need to invest in technology, people processes, I normally look at those three pillars, it is only then that the benefits will start looking at so. So when we are discussing about you know, how do you measure, the first aspect is that I’m making money for my company, I need to jot down all this down. What is it that I’m getting as a benefit back from the customer for which I make some investment upfront? Let me take a different example. Let’s say saving money. Yeah, that’s another thing. I don’t want a leaking bucket in my business. So I want to save some money. What could I do, I could save money by arresting churn, which is ensuring that your customers don’t leave you and go to competition. The other is you could reduce your acquisition cost. Or the third way I look at it as you could reduce your operational or your business costs. So if if I were to again, take one example from this, let’s say to reduce cost, it could be that, let’s say we have a contact center. And yes, Contact Center is in some countries and regions, one of the prime touch point for customers to go back with the query request or a complaint. So if I have a particular staff strength, how can I maybe shift them from a contact center to do it yourself FAQs or a chatbot. Now again, that’s the savings that I would do in terms of the manpower or waiting time involved on the call, which is also emotional, not only always in money, but for that, again, I need to have FAQs in place, I will need to do research to understand what the Chatbot should do. All these are again, investments upfront. So the way I would look at ROI in terms of saving money is again, the benefit that the organization plus customer gets, in terms of the investment that I made. So So to sum up, maybe I took a little time to explain. But if you can make money for your company, or and save money for your company, I think that’s the best metric to look at ROI, in my opinion.

Gregorio Uglioni
And I think what you’re saying is it makes sense because a lot of companies are focusing only on acquisition, but they don’t try to take out cost and I think nowadays it’s also important to understand that exactly what you think there are opportunities also to take out cost from your business using leveraging customer experience discipline, and achieving then then your targets because if you have less cost then you can offer additional profit. Absolutely. I really think det financials are important, as you said, additional revenues by acquisition or retention or reducing costs, but customer experience bring also older values that are a bit more fluffy. If I can say, quality, it’s brand awareness. How can you integrate all these additional benefits into this airway calculation? Oh, well, that’s

Hrushi Kulkarni
a great point. In fact, it’s not only about money, always, I feel, for example, you made a great point in terms of awareness. So if there is a brand, and the customer see that they’re always looking at driving CX keeping ROI in mind, what ultimately happens as a trickle down effect is that there is a good I would say image of the company in the market. And as a result of which, if you were to look at again, going back to a little bit of brand tracking or a brand equity kind of example, your your images better in the market, and hence the when you look at the fundamentals of power of a brand in the minds of the consumer, they have a very positive image, they they are positively disposed towards you. So next time they want to purchase a product, they will think of your brand first. So yes, this is nowhere in the calculation of ROI. But more of, as you rightly said, the fluffy stuff to do with awareness, then there’s a positive awareness that’s built around the rebrand. It could be also that social media is great. In even a developing country, like India, we see that the rate of internet per kind of day being spent is minimal. In the world, we have smartphone good penetration. So what happens is that everybody is connected to internet with a smartphone. And hence you are on social media, you go ahead you talk positive or negative about a brand, there is a general feeling of whether the brand is really doing great. What is the sentiment there? What are the sentiment score in terms of net net positive or minus negative comments. So I think in addition to ROI, awareness, or social media, word of mouth, these become very critical to sustain the value that you’re giving to the customer back,

Gregorio Uglioni
I think we’re, you’re sharing in an important point, because these are direct impact. And I’m not direct impact and what you are seeing it the example of social media, if some customer is really happy about a service or a product and sharing that on social media, and then additional customer are coming to this brand or buying from this brand new to this post. It’s difficult to measure, but it’s something that you can add in your customer experience transformation as additional proof of what of the power of customer experience.

Hrushi Kulkarni
Absolutely. I mean, instead of spending dollars on digital marketing and TV commercials, these customers, as you rightly said, become the brand advocates. And I am going to replace a lot of marketing budget by actually focus on delivering a better CX transformation, I would say. So yep, you made a great point there.

Gregorio Uglioni
And there are companies that are not investing money in marketing, because they have customer, let’s say like fans also speaking about my background, as football or soccer fans, or all the sports fan that are showing the positive word of mouth, and then you don’t need to spend money on marketing because your customer and your employees are doing that are doing that for you. Right. Perhaps from your point of view, and from your long experience, which are the most important KPIs that you can use to communicate with other departments they impact of customer experience?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Well, that’s an amazing question. I think, from my experience, we do look at I mean, the common metrics could be in terms of loyalty. And when when I when I understand loyalty, it could be something like net promoter score or satisfaction. When I talk to departments internally, I have in fact, enhance the scope. And I also look at something more, I think relevant for some touchpoints, which is the customer effort score. So the idea is to understand that how easy or difficult was it to let’s say, make a bill payment with your company? There are some reasons wherein you need the receipt for sure once you make a payment. Was it easy? If not, how much of effort did it take to connect with either a digital channel which is again from where you can download a PDF or you spoke to someone, the entire process is all dependent on I feel the channel. So for a particular channel? It might be that The loyalty aspect is very important. Whereas for other channel, it might be that the effort of involvement from the customer side, the minimal effort, and let’s say a quicker tat, is something that they appreciate. So while you say that, what are the different metrics that we look at, I think customers want something not quicker, but in a promise that so if the TAT is promised us 24 hours, and I get it in 24 hours, great, I’m not even saying that deliver me something in three for us, that’s okay. But but the idea is that depending on whatever we are looking at, whether it is effort, or whether it is time or its loyalty, we cannot have one metric for all, we will need to have a mix and match depending on one, I would say the objective, second is the persona of your customer. And then we are looking at what is the goal that we are trying to achieve there. So I think basis that we can plan, which particular metric would suit where that’s that’s what I strongly feel.

Gregorio Uglioni
I think it’s extremely interesting, because what you’re sharing are different KPIs that you can measure, measure and understand better what is happening outside of the company with with the customer, and then bring it back to, to them to the to the departments to the company, and perhaps also, on this way. How do you think that it’s the best way to communicate, for example, with the finance team, but also with the with the other teams, its marketing? And and then because they often have their targets that they want to achieve? And we as customer experience, professional are trying to pushing water up the hill throughout the complete the complete company, helping every department much they have different setups? What’s your view on that?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Well, I think if you have to push the water up the hill, rather than one individual collaborative effort works. And when I say collaboration, you took a few names about the marketing team or the CRM or finance, I think the best is to link the business are operational data along with the customers experiential data. So if I were to I mean, I quickly spoke on a distinction. So if I were to look at, let’s say, the same thing to communicate internally, let me take an example of churn prediction, you know, so I need to understand from a contact center, let’s say Greg wasn’t happy with the broadband services that he subscribed to, how many times did he call up the call center to complain? That could be one scenario, how the other is that he is? Okay. He is a fence sitter, not that dissatisfied, he did call the contact center, but he did it only once in a year. And that was only because he had a request or a query, not a complaint. Now, these are two different personas so so what I would do is I would take such different, I would say fields, saying number of times you called up a contact center to complain, or you delayed on your bill payment, or you just made it on the last day. Or it could be that have you just subscribed to one product, or you have a bundle of products from the company. That gives me a very good pen and portrait from the business data. Now this data is what marketing has CRM has what they don’t have an what a CX person would have some somebody like you and me would be the customers sentiments coming from a listening post or a feedback mechanism, saying these are their ratings, the reasons why they’re saying that we typically look at LBNL to drivers, what more can we do. So I would take all that data and along with the business data that I explained, and I can tell with great confidence in case someone is giving you a negative rating in the feedback mechanism, this is the reason and look at the number of times they have delayed their payment, or they have called up the contact center to complain. So I’m sure this lady or gentleman is going to, uh, try it in the next three months, we need to go back to some service redressal resolve whatever their issues are, are they going to try it in another three, four months? If we communicate in that language, I think everybody understands what is the task for them, and that the customer is a priority for that particular department. It’s not the Greg’s or Hrushi’s job as a CX person. So I think you need to talk that storytelling language and that does wonder

Gregorio Uglioni
I think you’re touching a queue extremely important topics. One is storytelling, and the other it’s also speaking the language of the other departments, not our customer experience language, because we love to speak about journey management and all the stuff but perhaps all the departments are not fans of customer experience, they wanted to see other results they want to achieve for the results. And therefore it it totally makes sense to sort of discuss and to speak their language and as you said, with with with your example It depends from HDB I mean, what are their goals, you need to understand them. And then and then try to collaborate. But at the end, we have, we see a lot of improvements on the journeys, we have a lot of ideas on the CX transformation, what we should do, we could do and so on, at some point in time you use it or you stay in front of board. And they need to decide, yes, we go with this customer centric transformation or not, perhaps some insights, some best practices on how to get this go, yes, let’s start doing that it’s for a project or for a bigger transformation.

Hrushi Kulkarni
Well, I think in terms of best practices, I would I would look at, you know, one is what is the objective that I have and always looked at in times of DCX transformations, everything cannot be done in one go. So I need to have a phase wise approach. So we are in Jan right now. So I would say, what is it that I need to accomplish an h1 of 23, h2 and maybe spillover to h1? 24. So I normally make my blueprint in those areas saying that what is it that I need to first tackle? It could be that channels which are heavy on transaction, you have lot of customers there? Isn’t that what I need to first look at and understand from again, feedback mechanisms or even analyzing already available social media? What are the issues there? Or is it that I know that there are a lot of complaints coming up on Team number 123, I need to start this. So what I normally do is that, and it’s a continuous process to be very honest, I’m not going to stop after h2 24. It has to go on. Because you need to measure, you need to monitor you need to improve, manage, and again, measure. That’s how I feel one needs to look at it. So in terms of best practices, I would say, fix on your goal. And then kind of empower people because if you don’t empower people, I mean, small example, you calling up a contact center saying I was I was charged by mistake for my credit card. late payment. I didn’t do it late, I did it right on time. There is a call center a who’s not maybe having the kind of empowerment, you get a standard reply, I’ll check this we’ll come back to in 24 hours all my senior will call you. But a contact center be who has the entire CRM one customer view there on the screen, they can see Oh, yes, this customer is right. They haven’t defaulted ever, it was last that last time they paid on the day of payment, but they were well in time, we need to reverse it. And then while the call is happening, they do it they get automated SMS, first time resolution, customer happy, no need of follow up. So I think in terms of as you say, I would look at what are those issues? And how do I cater to it? Case by case. So that’s what best practices I would share.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. I think you’re really splitting in a clear way. Also customer experience strategy, because you know where you are, where he wants to go. And there is a roadmap and you need to take one step after the other and and what you’re saying also going through small initiative to also show and prove that what what what needs to be achieved make what sense. And then you can go to through this journey with the different speeds depending of how many resources are many are big the budget is. And therefore I think you are really useful, really great best practices.

Hrushi Kulkarni
And also to add on just to add on, once you do a faced manner, I mean the topic that we are discussing on the ROI, it gets easy, because you get an early buying of the other departments including your CFO, so if I don’t do something phase manner, that again, gentleman or lady will have to wait for two years till I prove back saying hey, the ROI is actually there. But every six months, you win over your internal stakeholders by showing them in a phased manner. I did this in h1 and h2 and look, I can see the benefit. So sticking to your topic of how ROI is so important and CX I think that also helps, you know, drive the point.

Gregorio Uglioni
It totally makes sense because at the end, can boards want to see short term results, not only long term results? Absolutely. And we know that customer experience is more for for the long term. But I think what you’re sharing out also to get short term results. Perhaps we spoke about how to transform. And now I have one question for you. In we are on the CX goalkeeper podcast in 10 years from now, and we are discussing about customer experience. What’s the topic?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Interesting. I don’t see that coming 10 years from long. First I’ll be happy to reconnect with you on this podcast and I’m sure our listeners will be even more happy to listen to you again. But I think the topic would be that, how do you look at you know, getting a company to the next level of maturity? I think that’s what is going to be. I mean, we are talking right now about listening post about driving a customer centric culture or even I would, I would say you’re not looking at a strategy. I think these are going to be little outdated, we will be actually moving to the next level, saying that, how can we actually anticipate in advance the customer’s needs and expectations and maybe not always cause a customer delight? Because you and me know it’s going to be not financially viable, but at least to an extent that we know we keep them as motivated customers in our system and knows that hostages? I think those are the discussions that would happen. If we were to reconnect after 10 years, saying that, how is it possible that we could use all the data available? Get it into the way I look at it as information, knowledge, and then action labels? So that we anticipate what is it that our customers want in advance? I think, I mean, time will tell when we reconnect, but those are the themes that I foresee.

Gregorio Uglioni
I hope that we reconnect earlier. But yes, I think we can discuss that. This game is coming to an end, this was the first match on ROI customer experience. However, in the extra time, I still have to 2-3 questions for you, in the end. And is there perhaps a book that helped during your career or during your life that you want to suggest to the audience?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Oh, wow. Okay. To share with you, I do read two books every month one fiction, so that I read something other than CX and one for sure a business book are on the book on CX. I think I’ve read a couple of books. But one particular book that I really liked was by Jeanne Bliss , which is on terms of the chief customer, officer 2.0. So she explains very well, some of the strategies, the fi point framework of how you can actually look at building that kind of customer driven revenue growth, you know, so I think that book, that kind of helped me a lot. There are a few, but in the interest of time, I’m just taking one for now.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you, and Roshi. I’m quite sure that people wants to connect with you after this discussion. What’s the best way?

Hrushi Kulkarni
Well, I think I’m connected on LinkedIn. If LinkedIn is some thing that they would be comfortable, then you could just Google for me on us in the search bar, just have Hrushi Kulkarni and that would be the great way I’m quite responsive on LinkedIn. I keep writing some articles or posting something from from I would say thought leaders like you and giving them the due credit. So yep, it’s all there on on my wall.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much. And I really suggest to the audience to follow Hrushi, because it’s really sharing a lot of golden nuggets, not the only one, the one that he will share in the next few minutes. But I think it totally makes sense. Please follow Hrushi. And we are coming to the golden nugget, it’s Hrushi’s golden nugget, it’s something that we discussed are something new that you would like to live to do on it.

Hrushi Kulkarni
Well, I would say some some golden nuggets from my side is that I mean, when you look at CX and I think it kind of correlates very closely with trust. And trust is very important. In fact, some of the research that we have done shows trust like 60% and all other attributes put together is like 18-20 attributes also put together makes it 40% so so building trust with your customers is very important. And it cannot be just by hopping the fact that trust me, but if you are worried to deliver on the brand promise you make every time each time you go back to the customer, or keep them at least in the loop that hey, I promised you something we cannot deliver give us an extra time or some extra leeway. And then we are we are having a workaround some transparency there. So I think my golden nugget is gonna be that to win trust of your customers deliver on your brand promise. That’s how I would put it.

Gregorio Uglioni
Thank you very much for this last piece of wisdom. I’m not allowing myself to commend it because it was Hrushi ‘s golden nugget. The only thing that I want to say is thank you very much for yourtime.

My pleasure, my pleasure.

Hrushi, please stay with me, to the audience we know feedback is a gift. And therefore please share feedback with Hrushi or with me a bit to get your feedback. Thank you very much. Have a nice day. Bye bye.

Hrushi Kulkarni
Thank you, everyone. Thanks, Greg.

Gregorio Uglioni
If you enjoyed this episode, please share the word of mouth. Subscribe it, share it until the next episode. Please don’t forget, we are not in a b2b or b2c business. You’re in a human To Human Environment Thank you

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