Press Release – The Bharat Connect Marks Its First Anniversary, Quickly Expanding as India’s Only Community Group That Serves the Customer Service Industry

Co-founded by ClearTouch, the organization experienced substantial growth in its first year to more than 600 members, offering numerous industry articles and webinars


CHENNAI, India — (BUSINESS WIRE) — ClearTouch, a pioneering provider of a cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs and financial services companies in India, today celebrates the first year of The Bharat Connect (TBC), India’s only industry community group for call centers, contact centers, BPOs and KPOs. As a founding member and platinum sponsor, ClearTouch, a subsidiary of TCN, Inc., a global contact center technology provider, has helped grow TBC’s membership to more than 600 professionals in its first year.


“We are excited about the value and energy TBC has brought to hundreds of call centers, customer service and customer experience professionals in India,” said Uthaman Bakthikrishnan, executive director of ClearTouch. “We are confident that TBC will continue to make a positive impact on India’s call center industry and look forward to serving this unique community by staying at the forefront of ever-changing industry innovations and trends.”


“We are confident that TBC will continue to make a positive impact on India’s call center industry and look forward to serving this unique community by staying at the forefront of ever-changing industry innovations and trends.” – ClearTouch


TBC was created during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to the increased communication needs of consumers and the high demand for Indian professionals working in the customer service industry. Its aim is to be the voice of the Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) industry, engaging with call centers, customer service departments and customer experience representatives of corporations and outsourcers in India. A creative portal for the customer service community, TBC offers an extensive library of contributed blog posts and hosts online events to help its members network and learn from industry leaders and colleagues.


In the coming months, TBC plans to launch several initiatives for the UCaaS industry, including virtual and in-person events, research reports on latest industry trends and a series of training workshops.


TBC’s membership is free and open to all customer service industry professionals in India. For more information, visit


About The Bharat Connect (TBC)

Established in 2020, The Bharat Connection (TBC) is India’s only industry community group for professionals working at call centers, contact centers, BPOs and KPOs. With more than 600 members, TBC serves as a creative portal that offers an extensive library of blog posts about industry news and trends and regularly hosts online events and webinars. For more information, visit or follow on LinkedIn:


About ClearTouch

ClearTouch is a pioneering provider of a cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs and financial services companies in India. A subsidiary of TCN, Inc., a global contact center technology provider, ClearTouch introduced the first cloud-based contact center platform in India in 2016. ClearTouch combines a deep understanding of the needs of call centers with a unique approach to pricing – no contracts, monthly minimums or maintenance fees – that supports rapid scaling and instant flexibility to changing business needs. ClearTouch’s contact center platform features a holistic set of easy-to-use, automated agent tools and advanced apps for omnichannel communications, workforce engagement, compliance & data management, integration & automation, intelligence, reporting & analytics and collaboration & accessibility. Its suite of compliance tools helps businesses meet the requirements of telemarketing and telecommunications regulations both in India and North America. Trusted by companies of all sizes in the healthcare, insurance, financial services, banking and BPO industries, among others, ClearTouch is headquartered in Chennai and maintains offices in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai. For more information, visit


Source: Business Wire Release.

Focus on the ‘C’ word in Customer Service

I want to bring your attention to two statements that I keep hearing about customer service.


  1. Customers do not have a choice when it comes to customer service.
  2. Customer service is a big-ticket cost item, and we are looking at ways to reduce the cost impact. 

Having been in the customer service industry for close to a decade, I keep thinking, how wrong can these statements be? 


To be successful in business, you need paying customers. Why would you not treat them the way they want to be treated? 


Let us try and answer this question and see how it relates to the two statements.


Customer retention vs. customer acquisition 

It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. It is a well-established fact that 44% of the companies are more focused on customer acquisition, while only 18% focus on retention. 


The reason behind the focus on customer acquisition is that most organizations are sales-driven. The first rule for any business will be to retain customers and build a loyal relationship with them, thereby avoiding high customer acquisition costs. 


Every organization should look at the lifetime value of a customer and base all their customer service decisions on that. 


The critical factor in ensuring customer loyalty and retention is the customer service that you provide. 


Given this, why would you not offer the choice to the customer, or why would you not spend a small portion of your customer acquisition cost in servicing your existing customers. 


Cost of servicing a customer 

The highest cost in customer service is the workforce cost. This is what every organization wants to cut down, and hence they move towards automated customer service options. Therefore, they say that customers don’t have a choice when it comes to customer service. 


Companies have already cut down their workforce by more than 80% in the last ten years. They have replaced the voice agents with IVR, self-service apps, and chatbots.


While this is a welcome move by customer service functions, the fact that the customer does not have an easy choice to reach a voice agent is killing customer satisfaction. 


This has the potential to result in a lot of customer churn. 76% of the customers are always looking to change their service provider, for lack of excellent customer experiences. 


Read more: Personalized Customer Experience




Imagine a situation where you as an organization bucket all your customer service requests in the last year. 


You can quickly identify the ones that self-service apps can address. Let us assume that it amounts to about 40% of your requests. 


You can address a sizeable number of queries using your chatbots. Let us assume that it amounts to about 40% of your requests. 


Your website FAQs and HOWTO videos can address, say, 5% of customer queries. 


Now, you are left with 15% of queries that need to be addressed by your live agents. Sweet, and your live agents can handle this.


Also, there would a segment of your customer base that may not have the necessary knowledge to access self-service apps, chatbots, or websites. They can be provided the choice to reach out to live agents at the first instance.


Wouldn’t this be the holy grail of every customer service function? 

5 reasons why you have to look at the cloud for your contact center

Two-thirds of the contact centers moved to the cloud in the last 12 months. The contact centers moved to the cloud to keep their floors running as a response to the pandemic. 


That being said, the contact centers now have started seeing several other reasons why the cloud makes sense for them.


There are several reasons why cloud would make sense, and the top 5 reasons are: 


1. Flexibility

It allows you to avoid high capital investments for your contact center infrastructure. You are only talking about operational expenses, where you pay by the minute for all of the infrastructure that you use. You pay for your dialer, integrations, telephony, storage, and analytics, all put together by the minute.


Besides, you can scale up and down the number of agents based on your business demands. No infrastructure is lying unutilized with zero sunk costs at any point in time. 


2. Increased uptime

What does cloud bring to uptime issues? You are most likely to host it on a platform like Google Cloud, AWS, or Azure. They have put in all that it takes to make their infrastructure scalable and redundant. All of these are available on a need basis. You can safely assume an uptime of 99.9% and add a redundant carrier to this, and you are good to go. 


Just imagine the customer service that you can provide with close to zero downtime on your offerings.


3. Access to applications and intelligence

Think of a situation where you want to add speech analytics to your contact center and integrate it with your CRM. We are easily talking thousands of dollars as additional investments that might be prohibitively expensive for a mid-sized contact center to procure and maintain. However, we are looking at a few cents extra for every minute of your usage with the cloud offering. 


This would allow your agents to manage every customer conversation better, and the intelligence adds up over a period that will enable you to provide a better and better customer experience.

4. Security and compliance

You name your need, and your cloud provider would most likely have – disaster recovery plans, high visibility of the environment, monitoring logs of cloud activity, identify access management tools, automated services, and encrypting data at all times. 


Imagine the amount of effort and dollars needed to have this infrastructure up and running. All of these are already addressed by your provider. 


What about compliance? 

Your cloud infrastructure comes with compliance like HIPAA, HL7, PCI-DSS, SOC, ISO 27001, SSAE16/ISAE 3402 Type II standards. This makes you call center compliant with most customer compliance requirements as well. Isn’t that a significant advantage? 


5. Reduced reliance on IT

The biggest challenge that traditional contact centers face is that they are far too dependent on IT to set up, maintain, and operate the contact center. There are too many variables associated with internal IT – capabilities, infrastructure availability, and reliability. You can remove all of these unknowns and safely do away with the dependence on IT to operate your contact center.

While the cloud provides all of these advantages, people were initially hesitant to adopt this model. It has taken a pandemic to make people realize the benefits of the cloud.


From here on, I guess there is no looking back for the cloud contact centers platforms. It is only onward and upward, mainly because of the benefits that it offers its customers.

The ubiquitousness of cloud contact centers – the accidental discovery

When the pandemic struck in 2020, all of a sudden, contact centers had to figure out a way to make agents’ work from home. Most on-premise solution providers couldn’t react to that situation, as they wanted at least a few months to come up with a solution to help agents’ work remotely. 


The second option that the contact centers had was to let their agents connect to their on-premise contact centers remotely using their VPN clients. This was expensive for organizations, and it wasn’t working as expected. 


They had to pay for every license, and it was a considerable drag on the bandwidth consumption. Most homes of agents did not have stable broadband connections. This solution was not feasible. 


The only option that the contact centers had was to look at cloud options to be operational immediately. And they chose the cloud options. Two-thirds of the call centers migrated to the cloud once the pandemic set in.  


Once they moved to the cloud contact centers software, they realized that they could massively unlock the business potential.


Some of the values that cloud helped contact centers unlock are:


  1. Better customer engagement – cloud made it easier to invest in social channels, chatbots, or business intelligence platforms 
  2. Flexible scheduling – agents can work from anywhere and flexible timings, allowing organizations to address the needs of customers from various geographies
  3. Analytics-driven strategies – integration with analytics tools help improve agent-customer interactions
  4. Integrations – easy integrations with helpdesk software, CRM, and ERP systems, making better decisions and customer service. It enhances the relationship between the dialer and other tools by easily sharing information across systems. 
  5. Anywhere access – live call monitoring is easier to implement. Calls are recorded, stored, and analyzed, and supervisors can access this intelligence from anywhere to make data-driven decisions
  6. Resource ramping – you can ramp up and down the number of resources with just a click of a button
  7. Reduce implementation timeframes – you can be up and running within 24 to 48 hours, unlike the legacy days
  8. Less barrier to entry – we are talking only about operational expenses and not capital expenses
  9. Performance and security – 99.9% availability of contact centers, with stringent security standards and in-built compliance to industry standards like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and ISO 27001  

These were possible only for enterprise-level contact centers earlier, not for the mid-sized and smaller ones. 


Today, the agents are happier than ever, as it allows them to engage their customers better and have flexible and remote work schedules. 

You pick up the phone! I can reach a real person.

I was honestly surprised that my company, CD Baby, was such a runaway success. But I was even more surprised to find out why, said Derek Sivers. 


CD had lots of powerful, well-funded competitors, but after a few years, they were all but gone, and we dominated our niche of selling independent music. 150,000 musicians, 2 million music-buying customers, $139 million in revenue, $83 million paid directly to musicians. 


What was the secret to CD Baby’s success? Derek adds I never did any marketing. Everyone came by word-of-mouth. But why? 


For years, Derek asked hundreds of clients why they chose CD Baby instead of the alternatives.


Was it the pricing? The features? Nope.


The #1 answer, by far, almost every time someone raved about the company, was this: 


“You pick up the phone! I can reach a real person.”


Their customer service principle has always been, your call gets picked up in the first two rings. 


This was in the year 2014. They continue to do it even today. 


Why wouldn’t other organizations do this? 

Isn’t customer more important than the company? The easiest way by which you can improve customer loyalty and make your customer a brand ambassador is through better customer service. 


Exceptional customer service is a revenue generator. Customer support is the lynchpin in the entire customer journey. Proactive organizations leverage customer service as an opportunity to delight customers and engage them in new, exciting ways. 


Exceptional customer service stories

These are some exceptional customer service stories made available by live agents on call. 


Rackspace – a Rackspace employee, was in the middle of helping a customer through a marathon troubleshooting session when she heard the customer tell a colleague that she was hungry. The support professional put them on hold and ordered her customers a pizza. 

They were still on the phone when it arrived 30 minutes later. The customers were delighted, and the support professional knew that everyone would have fuel to power through until it was resolved. [Source:]

Trader Joe’s – Trader Joe’s has a cult following for a reason. Everyone has a favorite Trader Joe’s customer service story, and here is one of those. 


One day, an 89-year-old man was snowed in at his Pennsylvania home around the holidays. His daughter was concerned about getting him food and called a bunch of stores to see if anyone delivered. 


Trader Joe’s broke their own policy to deliver the gentleman items that fit his low-sodium diet – all free of charge. In fewer than 30 minutes, a Trader Joe’s team member was knocking on the door with a full delivery. [Source:]


Customer service, after all, is a philosophy. Derek Sivers says the things to keep in mind are: 


  1. You can afford to be generous
  2. The customer is more important than the company
  3. Customer service is a profit center
  4. Every interaction is your moment to shine 
  5. Lose every fight 
  6. Rebelliously right the wrongs of the world 

Customer touchpoint effectiveness – what should you measure?

You run a customer service function, and you want to offer the best possible experience to your users. The demography of your users ranges from 18 to 70 years across geographies. 


To address their demands and needs, you have a presence in all the channels – telephone, emails, web, and social. Besides, you have integrated your customer service system with your CRM, ERP, and Accounting. At the click of a button, your agents and intelligent systems have access to all the customer information. 


You need to have the right systems and the right resources to manage and maintain high-quality service across every channel. 


While you are optimistic about all the channels, are you putting your money where it is needed the most?


Organizations use multiple metrics to measure customer satisfaction levels across channels. They are: 


  1. Customer Satisfaction score (CSAT)
  2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  3. Customer Effort Score (CES)
  4. Customer Churn Rate
  5. Customer Health Score
  6. Abandonment Rate

Not all of these metrics would apply to your business. You need to be aware of why you are measuring, which would help define what you need to measure. 


Voice of the Customer 

Customer listening is an essential practice of any CX program. It would help if you had the feedback from customers – without which you can’t understand customer’s perceptions and make plans to improve. 


About 90% of customer experience initiatives use surveys. You, as a brand, request your customers to fill out a survey, at the end of a completed experience. Structured questions can help you calculate scores like CSAT, NPS, and CES. 


The biggest drawback of surveys is that they are solicited feedback, and only happy and unhappy customers provide the input. Response rates of less than 10% are standard for most customer satisfaction surveys. 


Survey-based listening gets you only less than 10% of responses. While the reactions provide you a direction on what needs improvement and what needs optimization, brands should not stop at solicited feedback. 


How do you extend your customer listening? 

There are a bunch of things that you can do that are right up your alley. Few pointers are: 


  1. Begin with call recordings – analyze them to learn about customer sentiments and issues
  2. Seek feedback from your frontline employees and service technicians. They tend to see and observe several unstated needs of customers 
  3. Text captured in customer emails, web site forms, call center agent notes, chat interactions, or even SMS
  4. Social media mining – listen to comments posted on social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogs, and review sites
  5. Customer churn rate – keep monitoring this and figure out why they are leaving
  6. Google analytics – if you observe a high bounce rate or abandonment rate on your website from visitors coming from Facebook, it’s indicating a disconnect between your website and social marketing
  7. Customer health score – a combination of product/service usage, customer support, customer satisfaction, and business outcomes. An average of this would provide a view of your customer’s health.

While surveys are the foundation of customer experience feedback, you should complement it by extending your customer listening to even inferred input based on customer interactions.

Building intelligence at the customer touchpoints: real-life experience

My bank blocked my card, and the reason given was that I did not submit my KYC (Know Your Customer) documents for renewal. I was asked to submit those documents by mail to reactivate the card. 


I promptly sent my scanned and self-attested KYC documents. I received a response with the ticket number. In a couple of days, I received a mail and a message stating that the address in the documents that I submitted doesn’t match the address they have on file. 


I was stuck. 


So, I called their customer service number. I was told to submit my KYC for the previous address where I lived about eight years ago. Once that is accepted, I was told to change the address and submit the documents for the new address. 


I felt stupid listening to this suggestion. Also, I did not have any documents for the old address where I lived. 


I explained to them the situation, and the customer service representative politely asked me to write about this situation to another email address. 


I wrote to the new email address explaining the situation. I promptly received a ticket number, and within a day, I received an automated response stating that the details they have in the file don’t match the new KYC documents that I submitted. 


I was surprised by this response. So, I decided to cancel my subscription and hand over my blocked card back to the bank. 


Within a few hours, I received another response stating that my KYC has been accepted and the card is reactivated. 


They saved me the botheration of calling up the customer care again and cancelling my subscription with this mail. 


What are the touchpoints that I used here? 

I used email and telephone as two touchpoints to reach the bank. Were they helpful in resolving my issue? Partially yes, as there was some intervention from someone that made the resolution possible. 


What could they have done differently? 

  1. They could have provided me with an option to update my address in their records and provide the KYC documents for the new address
  2. They could have confirmed my new address with a phone call 
  3. They could have provided me with a web link to upload my KYC documents along with the change of address. They could have automated the process of document acceptance 
  4. They could have provided access back to my Internet login for a couple of days, allowing me to update the change of address and then submit my KYC documents


Intelligence at the touchpoint level

This entire process of updating the KYC took about ten days. This could have easily been just a couple of days. 


There was very little intelligence with both the touchpoints. When I sent an email, it had the intelligence to generate the ticket number and nothing beyond that. When I called up the customer service, the executive had the intelligence to provide me with the new email address to explain my issue and nothing beyond that. 


If there were ways that these two touchpoints can be made intelligent, it’d make the lives of customers and the customer service staff easier. 

Measuring touchpoint effectiveness in customer experience

Measuring touchpoint effectiveness in customer experience

As a brand, you can influence some of the touchpoints, and some are beyond your influence. I will take a moment to define what a touchpoint is. 


Touchpoints are channels that your customers encounter or use to interact with your brand. This can include channels like email, website, chatbots, IVR, telephonic interactions, and social. Some of the touchpoints beyond your influence include online review sites and 3rd party websites where they write about your product. 


Let us not worry about the touchpoints that are beyond your influence. Let us look at the touchpoints that you as a brand run and how effective they are. 


Before getting there, why do you have so many touchpoints for people to interact with? 

It is driven by the demography of the customers that you have. A sizeable percentage of your customers would prefer to reach you by email and phone, a portion of your customers is fine with self-service options of your chatbot, few are comfortable with websites, few prefer the social channels, while a few prefer talking only to a live agent.


Being available on a channel is the easiest part, but servicing customers through each channel is challenging. You will need to have the necessary infrastructure, workforce, and integrated systems. 


This is where measuring the touchpoint effectiveness becomes essential. You can continue with the ones that are effective and drop those that aren’t. 


But, how do you measure the effectiveness? 


Some pointers that you can look at include:


  1. What percentage of your customers use a particular channel? Any channel used by <10% of your customers should be a red flag. 
  2. What does it cost for you to run a channel? If the percentage of your total customer service experience is higher than the percentage of customers that use that channel, then that is a red flag
  3. How often are you able to resolve customer queries using a particular channel in the first instance? If >50% of the questions are resolved in the first instance in a specific channel, continue with it. 
  4. Rate the customer questions on a scale of 1 to 10, with ten being the most critical. See if a touchpoint is effective in resolving critical questions. Any touchpoint that can resolve more than 60% of the critical questions is a key touchpoint. 
  5. Device means to gather the voice of the customer, such as feedback forms, market surveys that help you understand how your current and prospective customers respond to your brand in each channel. 

Your operational goal of having a touchpoint should be directly proportional to the customer experience effectiveness on that touchpoint. Anything that scores high here is a definite choice for you to continue serving your customers.

What do the Customer Experience (CX) leaders do differently?

Leading-edge companies outperformed lagging companies on business outcomes like profitability, quality, growth, market share, and customer retention rate.

Source: HBR 


Seven out of ten leading-edge companies say that customer experience is a strategic priority, while nearly half of the lagging companies don’t consider customer experience important. 


This seems to have affected not just customer satisfaction scores and net promoter scores but also the intangibles like stock price and profitability. 


What are the leading-edge companies doing right? 

While building their customer experience programs, leading-edge companies allocate sufficient budgets, systems, processes, and plans. 


Some of the critical things that customer experience leaders do include: 


  1. Develop the proper organization and skills to provide systematic customer experience management. 
  2. Set up the right tools and systems to make data-driven customer experience decisions. 
  3. Optimizing the processes to leverage inputs from customer experience support tools. For instance, they have processes in place to manage customer dissatisfaction and, if the issue is hot, they have processes to escalate to the senior management
  4. The CX leaders don’t rely on past behaviors and patterns. Instead, they focus on the process. They understand and map the whole flow of the customer experience so that there is a true understanding of all the touchpoints
  5. They respond to individual customers based on their feedback about an experience

The biggest lesson that you can take out of CX leaders is that they think like the customers. A host of different people can impact customer experience. You need to put it all in the customer’s voice from the get-go, not just for the frontline employees but for all the support personnel as well. 


Here is an example.

One of the leaders in the CX space makes their leaders taking phone calls from customers. This allows them to understand what it’s like to be a customer and what it’s like to support that customer. This starts a change in the customer experience culture of the organization. 


Here is another. 

A CX leader created centers of customer excellence within each business group. This is not just another flavor of the week kind of message, but true customer service champions lead them – not just at the VP level but also deeper. 


While the customer experience champions the initiative, it eventually turns out to be a business initiative. After all, the customer journey is not limited to one or two functions, but it is pervasive. 


Everyone plays a key role in effective customer experience management. 

Do customers have a choice in their customer experience with brands?

I recently wanted to switch my Internet connection from one location to another. I called up the customer care facility and gave my request. This process took me about 20 minutes. 


The service provider accepted my request and suggested that they would check the feasibility of migrating the connection to the new location. The new site did not have additional ports, and hence they could not fulfill my request. It took them 72 hours to come back with this information. However, they did not offer any solution. 


So, I called them again and asked them about the next steps. 


They mentioned that they would add ports and provide me connection at the new location in 72 hours. I had to be on the phone for 20 minutes to get this done. I waited 72 hours, and nothing happened. 


So, I tried reaching them three more times. Every time, it took me 20 minutes to speak to an agent, and every time they promised me immediate resolution. However, they did not migrate the connection. 


Then, I decided to cancel the Internet connection, and despite trying repeatedly, I could not do that on the phone or their official mobile app. So, I went to their experience center and went through all the Covid formalities before meeting with a representative. I filed my request for disconnection, and they accepted it. 


Then, as soon as I reached home, I received a call from their disconnection team asking me to reconsider my decision. They also suggested that they’d waive my charges during the period of inactivity due to this migration. Also, they made sure that the new connection was up and running in the new location within four hours. 


What does this teach you? 

This means that you have ways and means by which you can deliver excellent customer experiences, but your process does not allow you to do so. 


You end up creating friction at every stage of your customer journey. 


Let us look at all the friction in this journey of mine:


  1. Friction 1 – there was no automated menu option for shifting my connection to a different location. There wasn’t an option for me to reach a customer service representative directly. I had to go through the entire IVR menu that was unnecessary for me before speaking to a live representative. This process took me 20 minutes. 
  2. Friction 2 – the feasibility took about 72 hours, which ideally should have taken only a couple of hours. Even after figuring out that it is not feasible, they did not offer a solution. 
  3. Friction 3 – I tried reaching them multiple times, and every time I had to wait for 20 minutes before contacting a representative. Instead, if they let me key in a complaint number, they can address my queries faster
  4. Friction 4 – there was no choice for me to disconnect on their official app or the customer care number. This requires an OTP authentication, and that never happened.
  5. Friction 5 – I had to take time out to visit their experience center to file my disconnection request. That took me about 90 minutes, including travel time. 

After all this, they were able to fix my issue within four hours. 


Is it that difficult for a service provider to map this journey in a way that I feel delighted? 

I understand that organizations are trying to make the customer experience a self-service process and automate more than 80% of the tasks. While this would save the service provider money and make things easy for the customer, is it being implemented correctly? 


In my case, they should have just provided me the choice to speak to an agent directly when my request is not a part of your automated customer service process. This would have eased things and reduced the friction. 


As a service provider, with any automation or intelligence that you add to your customer experience journey, you have to ensure zero friction. Else, it would affect the customer journey and result in dissatisfied customers.