December 28, 2018

“U.S. is a ‘do-it-yourself’ market, but Indian customers need a personal touch.”

Rakesh Prabhakar, Head of Concierge at Zoho reveals why Indian customers need a human approach and why it has become their no.2 market after U.S.

In a one-to-one conversation with, Rakesh Prabhakar, Head of Concierge at Zoho talks about the need to give consumers a personal touch when it comes to pushing products in the Indian market. He also talks about how Zoho have stepped up their technology with AI-based sales tool Zia to accelerate revenue and other forecasts for business owners. With Zoho One expanding itself globally, Mr.Prabhakar discusses how a cultural approach made India their number two market and what do they have in store for 2019.

Here is the full interview:

What kind of products is Zoho showcasing here at CloudBazaar?

The biggest product that we have launched in the past is Zoho One, which is all of Zoho in a single bundle. The benefit of Zoho One is that business owners can free themselves from different billing plans and support teams. You will only have one account manager and one subscription plan without worrying about integrations between applications. Since everything is within Zoho, it is all integrated. That’s the brilliance of it.

Mr.Dandapani spoke about Zia (at CloudBazaar), the AI-backed sales tool. How are you planning to help SMEs with the same so that they can leverage it?

Think about Zia as a smart assistant that can help you with a large amount of data that you have at one single place for e.g. leads in your CRM. If one were to analyse your business intelligence report and based on this report (including sales data, leads, etc.) suggest some actionable items, such as forecasting your revenue for the next quarter or two-three quarters, Zia would do that for you. It will not only stop itself at giving a report but also prompt you with suggestions asking ‘would you want to perform these operations?’ Thus, it is moving away from the usual tendency of us going to a consulting firm, getting suggestions and implementing it with software. Here, the software itself is smart enough to do it for you.

Do you see Indian SMEs responding to this? How much of educating do you need to do when you introduce such a product in the market?

The good thing about the India market is that the consumers want the latest and the greatest that too at an economical rate. Now, at Zoho, we follow the same psyche. We make it according to the needs of our customers so that we are able to go ahead and deliver all of this in a very cost-efficient manner. And because of the value we derive at such a low cost, we ‘ve received a  lot of love from the Indian market, so much so that it has become the number two market for us.

So what stark difference do you see between the number two market and the number one market, which is the U.S? What kind of challenges do you face in these respective markets?

Traditionally, the U.S., which is our number one market, is a DIY (do-it-yourself) market. So, they don’t want too much of hand-holding. But in India, consumers like interaction. Indians like the ‘human touch’. Which is why we get a lot of questions. We have many CEOs coming to our offices as well. But for us to be able to meet CEOs in the U.S. would be really ough. With this difference in mind, we have created a team called ‘Concierge’ so that customers would be able to reach the front facing team and be able to answer them.

Are you saying that it is easy to access Indian business owners than the ones in the U.S.?

Absolutely! Indians like talking face to face. That’s the reason why we see a difference between the two cultures. So based on this, we thought that since Indian business owners want to talk before signing the dotted line, we (Zoho) are willing to talk as well. We want to ensure that all your questions are answered and all your requirements are met so that we can go ahead and take a calculated decision.

What’s in the pipeline for 2019, anything particular that you guys have in mind?

Well, we constantly have updates. Every day some update for a product keeps rolling out. In terms of product management, we have quite a few exciting things lined up. We have an e-commerce portal called Zoho store. But what I would like to stress on, is the integration. With each release that we have, we try to tie it up to the existing ecosystem, that is our goal.

If you have enjoyed reading this interview, you can read more about Zoho here.