THESE SET OF WORDS STRUNG TOGETHER HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE FITTING THAN THEY ARE TODAY. THE TIME FOR ORGANISATIONS TO REFLECT ON THE WAY THEY DO BUSINESS HAS ARRIVED. DIGITISATION IS THE NEW IMPERATIVE AND WITH IT HAS COME THE NEED FOR CHANGE. THE RAPID INCREASE IN NEW PLATFORMS AND DEVICES IS DRIVING THE SCOPE AND SCALE OF THIS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION.
At Mahindra we are undergoing this transition backed by technologies like Blockchain, Big Data Analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality forming the bases of many a platforms and initiatives within the Group’s subsidiaries. In keeping with the times, digitisation is enabling the Mahindra Group to become a customer-centric organisation focussed on enhancing customer value. This is being achieved through process simplification, foraying into newer businesses and building shared economies in the interest of consumers.
Anish Shah, Group President (Strategy) elucidates Mahindra Group’s approach to the process of digitisation – “The first part involves customer ease with a user friendly website, applications, interactive options on social media and other online platforms. The second part includes identifying customer segments, understanding their needs and seeking solutions. This is accomplished by transforming our processes and businesses in a significant manner wherein digital becomes delightful for the customer. This involves tapping into the world they live in, devices they interact with, the way they communicate their expectations, their need for information and their turnaround times. The business has to adapt to consumers and thus go digital.
The third part is playing in the digital space with new age start-ups that the Mahindra Group has created and fostered. In this context digital is, to a large extent, about business models. Traditional business models made money by creating and selling products. However in digitally-enabled models, especially those formed around the shared economy concept, existing assets are being used and rented out. Thus the way in which the business earns its money is very different. Customers prefer this model because it gives them more flexibility, choice, and more services.”
With several decades of digital entrepreneurial experience under his belt, Jaspreet Bindra, Vice President, Digital Innovation &
E-Commerce, Group Strategy Office, describes the how and why of digital at the Mahindra Group - “We are trying to work very closely with businesses. They own the transformation and we are the catalysts, facilitators and experts working closely with them, as part of their teams. We approach it from both sides; the direction in which the business wants to head from a results standpoint and how digital transformation can help them achieve those results; while also addressing the needs of their customers.
Digital in many ways travels a lot further. It reaches the layer where digital products are created. E-commerce is one such example representing the digitisation of retail. Digitising processes makes them far simpler and faster with the use of technology and enabled devices. Thus every business in the group is rethinking their existing processes and strategies. Many of our leaders are rethinking the business model itself.”
Challenging yet exciting times lie ahead for the Strategy Group.
“WE ARE TRYING TO WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH BUSINESSES. THEY OWN THE TRANSFORMATION AND WE ARE THE CATALYSTS, FACILITATORS AND EXPERTS WORKING CLOSELY WITH THEM, AS PART OF THEIR TEAMS. WE APPROACH IT FROM BOTH SIDES; THE DIRECTION IN WHICH THE BUSINESS WANTS TO HEAD FROM A RESULTS STANDPOINT WHILE ALSO ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF THEIR CUSTOMERS.”
– JASPREET BINDRA
SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, DIGITAL INNOVATION & E-COMMERCE,
GROUP STRATEGY OFFICE
In the marketing of products and services, digital interfaces have always been more effective in building engagement and connection with potential consumers. The marketing teams at Mahindra Group were early movers in the digital journey. Veejay Nakra, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Customer Care, Automotive Division recalls, "It all goes back to 2011. The year in which Mahindra Group entered the real high-end SUV category for the first time, with the launch of the XUV 500. That is when we endeavoured to formulate and execute a digital strategy."
For the launch of the XUV 500, we leveraged technology to tell the product story through its USPs. The digital interface was interactive and allowed our consultants to tell the product story to potential customers based on their tastes and preferences.
Nearly 70% of our dealers' sales force in the field today are equipped with 8,500 tablets and 800 kiosks to be able to effectively communicate product attributes and customise their pitch.
M&M DIGITAL STORY 2.0
Consumers have evolved. The new-age buyer has multiple options available on call, at their fingertips to make an informed choice. They do not depend on product communication alone but peer reviews and user experiences are also widely available as influencers. They are not only spoilt for choice, but expect to be served "right here, right now", more as the norm and not as exception.
Our Digital Strategy 2.0 covers all the customer touchpoints in the sales and service process and also capability development of the field force through cutting edge digital tools like Google Glass.
SUVERANCE is a new website that we have built to aid customers who are in their pre-purchase research phase. It is a one-stop destination for all possible buyer queries and seeks to alleviate the pain of research for the customer. Its key experience elements are:
Collaborative Exploration – Leveraging the power of social media, the prospect has an option to collaborate with friends on Facebook or email, to get suggestions on and jointly customise the XUV 500.
Talk to the Expert – The option of speaking with an expert and get queries resolved in real-time allows for faster and easier decision making.
3D Discovery – This feature enables customers to go through the major USPs of the XUV500 in a rich 3D format for a more immersive and almost real experience.
– VEEJAY NAKRA
SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, SALES &
CUSTOMER CARE, AUTOMOTIVE DIVISION
"WE LEVERAGED TECHNOLOGY BY USING DIGITAL KIOSKS AND TABLETS AS AIDS TO COMMUNICATE THE USPS OF OUR PRODUCT THROUGH OUR SALES STORIES. THE STORIES WERE MADE AVAILABLE IN TWO FORMATS – ONE FOR THE TABLET AND THE OTHER FOR A 32-INCH TOUCH SCREEN KIOSK WHERE A SALES CONSULTANT COULD EASILY TALK A CUSTOMER THROUGH A SALES STORY, LOOKING TO INTEREST AND ENCOURAGE HIM TO BUY OUR PRODUCT."
The With You Hamesha (WYH) website has been completely revamped, making it more customer centric and convenient. WYH 3.0 gives customers the convenience to book, avail and pay for the vehicle service sitting at home.
With WYH 3.0 the customer has the option to book a service from anywhere and at anytime.
An option to opt for vehicle pick-up from any address provided
Getting a service estimate and generating a job card online
Option to pay for the service experience online and get vehicle delivered to address provided
We also have a virtual training centre located in Kandivali, equipped with latest technology, including the use of Google Glass. The centre is used to train all our dealerships virtually. Last year we managed to save almost Rs. 3 crore (approximate decrease of 35%) of the overall training costs incurred by the Group to train dealers.
Veejay goes on to describe the digital strategies now being deployed for new and upcoming products – "At the time of launching the KUV 100 this year, we ensured our presence on three e-commerce portals i.e. Flipkart, NDTV's CarAndBike and the Mahindra Group's own web portal, M2ALL. During the launch we clocked 85 million impressions, over 3 million total visits to these e-commerce sites and ultimately, nearly to 600 bookings."
Leading the Marketing initiatives of the Automotive Division, Vivek Nayer, Chief Marketing Officer, Automotive Division says "Six years back, our digital spend was zero. Today, for a brand like XUV 500, it is about 15-18% of the total media spend. In future, this figure will only rise because the brand has to be where its consumers and fans are. An increasing number of people are taking to digital and social media which are a lot more flexible and interactive than traditional media. Both these formats are two-way communication and lean forward media. People are on these platforms because they choose to be. Most people on social media today are influencers and future buyers of our products. So we need to be there along with them."
Feedback from consumers is constantly being monitored and efforts are made to incorporate it wherever possible. For example, the sunroof on the new age XUV 500 was an input gathered on social media where a lot of people expressed that they would love to see one in the XUV. It was introduced in the new age XUV 500 and has been received very well.
"Social and digital media allows for laser-sharp targeting based on interests, demographics and behavioural data available. We cross-mapped information from our customer database with their Facebook and Twitter profiles, thereby profiling them perfectly on the basis of demographics, geo-locations, psychographics and behavioural data. This information was then used to target prospects scientifically – this is how we use Big data analytics. We also carry out Sentiment analysis to figure out positive and negative expressions of customers about our brand. Additionally, we use digital and social media to engage customers, create a buzz around new product launches and gather consumer insights for product innovations. Some innovative instances that enhanced the overall consumer experience include the use of Augmented Reality and a Flash Mob at the AutoExpo; the launch of a Dubsmash contest for the K-UV 100, all of which garnered a lot of interest and response."
He believes that going forward we need to turn our brands into objects of desire and digital and social is the route to that destination. His team is busy working on an application which will be the "Zomato of road trips" – where to go, what to do, etc. on road trips. With the advent of 4G technology, Vivek also sees an increasing use of video content such as the 'Offroad with Gul Panag' series in their digital strategies. Interestingly, he thinks that there is great potential in vernacular websites, new media like WhatsApp and near field technology for marketeers in India. Watch out.
"SOCIAL AND DIGITAL MEDIA ALLOWS FOR LASER-SHARP TARGETING BASED ON INTERESTS, DEMOGRAPHICS AND BEHAVIORAL DATA AVAILABLE. WE CROSSMAPPED INFORMATION FROM OUR CUSTOMER DATABASE WITH THEIR FACEBOOK AND TWITTER PROFILES, THEREBY PROFILING THEM PERFECTLY ON THE BASIS OF DEMOGRAPHICS, GEO LOCATIONS, PSYCHOGRAPHICS AND BEHAVIORAL DATA. DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA ALSO ENABLES US TO AMPLIFY THE REACH OF OUR MAHINDRA ADVENTURE EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING EVENTS TO >1000X ENTHUSIASTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY."
– VIVEK NAYER
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER,
Club Mahindra is focussed on creating “magical experiences” for its members during their stay at the resort. Kavinder Singh, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, explains how research indicates that prospective travellers are increasingly using online resources to make holiday decisions - “95% of digitally active travellers (from the top 10 cities of India) search online before making a travel purchase or planning their vacation. While travel choices are increasingly being influenced by neutral review sites, social media too is proving to be a highly influential tool for driving engagement through content. Online reviews and social media platforms affect the purchase decisions of around 48% of the customers looking online for travel and stay options."
With the changing landscape, the way in which prospective customers are being approached has undergone a drastic transformation - from push marketing to enhancing 'pull' for the brand. "Under this renewed focus, we actively drive our social media assets to create a high level of engagement with our members and prospects. To drive this effort we create and share a wealth of exciting content in the form of videos and graphics, highlighting unique leisure experiences that members can enjoy at Club Mahindra’s resorts. This in turn, stimulates the creation of user generated content. We regularly run live campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, in conjunction with our campaigns on ground, to drive high decibel, real-time member and prospect engagement.
We also run digital marketing campaigns to generate quality prospect leads, resulting in higher sales conversion rates. These digital leads today account for 17-18% of our total sales. Owing to our live campaigns, refreshing content and regular interactions with our members, our positive mentions in the past year have gone up by 168% (21,000 positive mentions). These relate to all aspects of the brand experience and help boost visibility on social media.
An important aspect of the digital strategy is enhancing our member experience at all the touchpoints. Our user-friendly website currently serves as the go-to platform for all member-related needs and queries. Our web penetration amongst members is at an all-time high and now accounts for 80% of all our bookings as against 52% last year. Our soon to be launched Mobile App aims to further enhance this digital engagement. The Mobile App is gunning for a lot more than just online bookings. It plans to drive member servicing, using all the traditional touchpoints – sms, email, call centre, residing within its system. Members will receive notifications and can make service choices like dinner reservations, pre-order etc., and can also give feedback via the App.
Our digital transformation plan, going forward, includes creating a “virtual” community of members, to facilitate and encourage the sharing of vacation and lifestyle-related experiences and interests. User generated content will be key to this transformational journey and we at Club Mahindra are gearing up to enable it,” confirms Mr. Singh.
– RAJESH JEJURIKAR
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FARM EQUIPMENT
AND TWO WHEELER DIVISION
“MORE THAN 2,000 INTERNET-ENABLED TABLETS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED TO THE DEALERS. THIS IS CHANGING HOW WE ENGAGE WITH FARMERS – MAKING OUR CONVERSATION MORE FOCUSED ON FARMERS’ NEEDS AND PREFERENCES AND MAKING FARMERS FEEL RESPECTED AND VALUED.”
AT A TIME WHEN NEWSPAPERS WERE REPORTING STORIES OF FARMER SUICIDES ACROSS THE NATION, RAJESH JEJURIKAR AND HIS TEAM CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF STARTING AN INTERNATIONAL CROWD FUNDING CAMPAIGN CALLED #SEEDTHERISE. THEY TRIED TO BUILD A POSITIVE MOMENTUM AROUND ALL THE GOOD THAT FARMERS DO AND HOW WE AS INDIANS COULD PLAY A ROLE IN HELPING THEM BECOME STRONGER.
Mahindra Automotive and Farm Equipment Sector (AFS) strives to provide a dynamic and engaging digital experience to farm equipment buyers. Rajesh Jejurikar, President and Chief Executive, Farm Equipment and Two Wheeler Division, speaks of the digital initiatives undertaken within the business - “In 2014, during the launch of Arjun Novo several efforts were made to engage potential customers through digital and social media, starting with a revamped website to YouTube channels, Facebook pages and Twitter handles, leading up to an integrated marketing approach. Additionally, since the Novo launch, we have also been using tablets for communicating a comprehensive sales story to potential buyers. More than 2000 internet- enabled tablets have been provided to the dealers. These are proving useful for sales training and also allow for navigation of information, based on consumer needs and preferences. We have extended the role of digitisation in our processes with ‘Build Your Own Tractor’, an initiative piloted for a year and a half with 15–20 dealers. On entering specific details, the algorithm suggests a tractor model based on a farmer’s needs, landholding size, etc. A customised solution, at a farmer’s fingertips.”
At Mahindra, doing things the right way does not stop at products and processes but also extends to people. At a time when newspapers were reporting stories of farmer suicides across the nation, Rajesh Jejurikar and his team came up with the idea of an international digital crowd funding campaign called #SeedTheRise. The campaign raised Rs. 2 crores for farmers’ welfare and for this the team collaborated with four NGOs across India to bring together five projects under the umbrella of #SeedTheRise. People could donate to varied initiatives ranging from - alternative means of livelihood, educating farmers’ daughters, helping them with agricultural advancements, among others. With celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar contributing to the campaign, it gained momentum and became India’s largest corporate crowd funding campaign. Even while furthering its own businesses and leveraging digital to do so, the Mahindra Group rose to spread goodness in the country.
In describing how digitisation took off in his division, Anuj Mehra, Managing Director, Mahindra Rural Housing Finance Limited (MRHFL) says, “If you look at the technology and digitisation wave in its entirety, the field most affected by it is the financial services industry. Things changed rapidly for this industry worldwide ever since digitisation took place and technology started being leveraged. So in order to be future ready, we set forth on this journey. We are very pleased to find ourselves in the topmost layer of the digitisation process, featuring areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning and others in the same category. Based on machine learning algorithms, a credit scoring model was developed, aided by a database of about 2 lakh customers. We analysed the behaviour of these customers to gauge how many of them became stressed assets at some point or the other and what was common between them. This model uses 15 parameters that can be easily identified and observed to predict if the asset will become stressed or not. Based on the values of these parameters, we can determine if the asset has a high possibility of defaulting. The model then assigns a pre-lending score that ascertains if we should lend or not. If we decide to go ahead and lend, we then monitor for patterns of repayment for the next six months. We can now ascertain if the follow up has been good, bad, or indifferent, and if the asset is likely to become a stressed asset or likely to improve. With this we are also able to factor in our own formats for follow up and marry it with the credit scoring model. Thus strategy at our end is determined on the basis of the pre-lending score and is followed through till the next six months, by when a post lending score can be determined. Once we have the post lending score, we know for sure if the approach was correct, adequate or not.”
At a time when the Mahindra Group is foraying into many digital initiatives and newer ways of doing business, Smartshift, Trringo and Carworkz are three of our lodestars. The digital efforts of these startups have helped bridge gaps in customer needs and expectations through extensive research, testing and execution. The results are there for all to see.
SMARTSHIFT IS A LOAD EXCHANGE PLATFORM WHICH CONNECTS BUSINESS OWNERS WITH RELIABLE TRANSPORTERS, MAKING LOCAL TRANSPORTATION SUPER EASY.
SmartShift is a new age Mahindra business that leverages technology at its core. It is a load exchange platform that connects business owners with reliable and efficient transporters, thereby making local transportation super easy. On one side there are more than 1000 transporters registered on SmartShift looking for work, available to take on any kind of load that the market has to offer. On the other side, there are SME owners that register their cargo and transportation requirements on the platform. SmartShift makes the twain meet. So a customer can post a requirement online to move load from Point A to Point B and it will be fulfilled by a registered transporter from the large supply base on SmartShift. Additionally, now a small or medium business no longer needs to go looking for a transporter in the area and a transporter no longer needs to go in search of load. All of this is now enabled by the digital medium in the middle which takes on various forms - the web interface, app interface or the call centre interface. Customers are free to book and fulfil a requirement using either of these options. Transporters, however, primarily use phones. They either use the app or contact the call centre directly based on their levels of comfort in using the app. To make the app accessible to transporters a large part of the content is denoted by graphics to simplify it for those who are not very literate.
So where and how did this idea originate? Kausalya Nandakumar, CEO of SmartShift recollects, “I was part of the strategy team before I became the CEO of SmartShift. The strategy and auto team together work on setting long-term vision and goals for the Company. We took up the small commercial vehicles space wherein a vehicle buyer is essentially an entrepreneur. So in order to identify potential areas for value addition we tried to understand how the vehicle participated in the logistics value chain. We looked at the dairy industry as an example to understand how the transport chain works from the cow to a consumer. In order to do this we mapped the whole process across four states to track the origin, route and the dynamics around them.
This exercise was carried out for about five to six segments post which we realised that the solution to this particular situation went beyond the supply of vehicles. A suitable solution was in taking ownership of the process once the product was ready. We wanted to assure the farmer that his product would reach the consumer and he could solely focus on the dairy activities. We would make sure of it. All he had to do was login to SmartShift. We wanted to own an application end to end and that is how the journey began.Through new models of businesses like SmartShift we are enabling processes to be more efficient and easy."
“TRRINGO IS A BIG STEP TOWARDS MAKING MECHANISATION MORE AFFORDABLE AND INCREASING FARMER PRODUCTIVITY. IT WILL ALSO CREATE NEW EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH OUR FRANCHISEE HUBS AS WELL AS A NEW GO TO MARKET CHANNEL FOR OUR FUTURE INITIATIVES. THROUGH TRRINGO WE WANT TO CREATE PROSPERITY FOR FARMERS, NEW REVENUES FOR OUR BUSINESS AND GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE NATION”
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FARM EQUIPMENT AND TWO WHEELER DIVISION
The Mahindra Group has been a global leader in the tractor business for a while now. The tractor segment is a mature business and digital change in this space calls for transforming the business model to a great extent. This is what Rajesh Jejurikar, President and Chief Executive, Farm Equipment and Two Wheeler Division and his team have done with Trringo.
They identified a gap in the system, one that existed due to the high demand of tractors, around the same time each year, by non-owners. This led to high dependability on local resources and channels for renting out tractors to meet immediate needs. The availability and procurement of tractors on rent through these channels can’t always be assured due to demand and supply gap, availability of desired equipment & social anomalies, making the experience for a farmer both challenging and financially demanding.
This gap, due to lack of supply, could be bridged through a rental model, similar to Uber but enhanced by a network of ‘franchisees’ who ensure supply and support on the ground and enable crop based solutions, thereby dealing with complexities in agriculture. With Trringo, the team created a shared economy model for tractors, enabling existing equipment owners to cater to the needs of the large farmer community.
It primarily caters to people in rural areas who can reach this service through a phone call or an app. The Trringo team has set up a call centre for the same. The ringing of a telephone “trring trring” is where the brand got its name - Trringo. So on the lines of Uber, there is a common pool of resources which can be accessed through a digitally-enabled model by farmers who need these vital resources. The best part is that this pool of resources contains tractors of various brands and not just Mahindra’s tractors. So the respective brands/companies can earn money not just by making tractors and selling them, but also through this rental model. Trringo was piloted for more than a year in Godhra, Gujarat, to gauge customer interest and behaviour, to understand operational challenges and how the tractor would be used. The team created a call centre based tracking allocation software through which they could tell a customer where the tractor was and when they would get one. They spent more than a year piloting it and then extended it to one or two other towns.
“THE BASIC IDEA WAS TO CREATE A UNIQUE AGGREGATOR PLATFORM IN THE AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE INDUSTRY THAT CAN EMPOWER CUSTOMERS ON ONE SIDE AND ENABLE WORKSHOPS ON THE OTHER THROUGH A WEB AND APP BASED SOLUTION.”
YVS VIJAY KUMAR
MAHINDRA FIRST CHOICE SERVICES
Carworkz is the first digital start-up from Mahindra First Choice Services that focuses on multi-brand car services. YVS Vijay Kumar, CEO, Mahindra First Choice Services describes how they came up with the premise for Carworkz.
“We came across several ideas on how to improve efficiency beyond a brick and mortar business, with the use of digital technology. Carworkz came into existence as one of the digital platforms wherein we are trying to make the virtual connect between the customer and the service provider for offering various services.
Carworkz is a unique aggregator in the automotive service industry with a vision to empower customers and enable workshops through web and an app based solution. The app can be used to make online bookings and house the reviews and ratings of consumers based on services availed across various service providers.
On Carworkz platform, consumers will be able to do a cost comparison across various service providers. Carworkz provides customers a convenient place to discover all kind of workshops in their area – from biggest to the smallest. Customers can visit the website or download an app to book appointments instantly with easy online payment options.
Carworkz has introduced the first of its kind Service Cost Estimator Tool that will empower customers so that they are not taken for a ride by their service advisor or technician. The tool works simply by entering the car details with the problems and the symptoms. By running through the massive data collected by the team at the back-end in a matter of seconds customers can identify their car problems along with possible repair scenarios. The tool will then show various available parts and labour cost charges across different workshops like authorised dealership, multi-brand servicing workshops or a local independent garage.
Based on the information given customers can then choose the type of workshop and can book an appointment
With all this available information provided on the platform a customer can make an informed decision, and most likely the right one for all their car servicing needs. This service will bring transparency to a system which is currently opaque.”