E-commerce players may have found an answer to the woes of dissatisfied customers and angry sellers hawking their products on their platforms. Over the last 10-12 months, they have started hiring specialised personnel and have armed them with enough powers to resolve problems. Known as Customer Delight Officers (CDOs), their job involves solving customer/seller problems on the go; continuously engaging with them to increase their wallet share and benefit all the stakeholders in the process.

Formerly, customer service was a vanilla service offered by e-commerce firms, which required executives to answer queries and resolve issues, where KRAs depended on how many “customer tickets” per day have been resolved.

“Over the last 10 months we have been witnessing growing demand for CDOs from top-notch e-commerce firms in the country, whose focus has now shifted to delighting customers. In the last 3-4 months alone we have placed 150 CDOs in these firms. Their role goes beyond vanilla customer service to the use of data analytics to retain and solve for both sellers and high-end customers on their platform. They are focussed on ensuring repeat purchases and extracting consistent wallet share from customers and also helping sellers with business inputs on what to sell, when to sell, to which demographic and at what pricing, consequently helping sellers to sell more” Sudeep Sen, Assistant Vice President, TeamLease Services told BusinessLine.

Pointing out that Customer Delight units in these e-commerce firms are scaling up with every passing month, he said, “Currently there are around 5,000–6,000 CDOs in these e-commerce firms, which is estimated to more than double to 12,000–15,000 CDOs by Q2 of FY 2021.”

What it takes to be a CDO

Typically, CDO hires are graduate hires with up to 1 year of experience, preferably BSc, BCom, BBM graduates with good communication skills and with the ability to comprehend and interpret data. “E-commerce firms test graduates for both attitude and aptitude, following which they are trained for 2-3 weeks before they start engaging with sellers and customers. Compared to vanilla customer service executives who are paid ₹18,000–25,000 a month, CDOs receive ₹23,000-32,000 a month” added Sen.

Talent solutions firm Xpheno, which facilitates mid-to-senior level hiring for e-commerce firms, has also witnessed burgeoning demand for CDOs over the last 12 months. “Top companies across the e-commerce ecosystem have reached a stage where they are not happy with just customer/seller acquisition but want to protect existing customer/seller relationships. In the last 12 months we have seen a lot more new roles emerging. For instance, the demand for Customer retention roles from manager level to VP level has increased by over 100 per cent. Large e-commerce firms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, Hotstar and Swiggy are likely to require talent for these roles, which take customer services to the next level of engagement” said Siddharth Verma, Practice Head, Direct Hire at Xpheno.

Pointing out that, customer acquisition and customer retention are separate tracks that lead up to Associate Vice-President levels at these e-commerce firms, Verma said: “At the CXO/VP level, both tracks culminate into one role called Chief Growth Officer whose responsibility is to ensure consistent topline growth with customer retention and monetisation of existing customers with data analytics and engagement. Customer retention roles from Manager to VP levels in large e-commerce firms take home ₹35 lakh to ₹90 lakh per annum and Chief Growth Officers from Tier 1 educational institutions with 12-15 years of experience get ₹1.5 crore-2 crore per annum, he said.

Talent hard to find

While this mushrooming demand bodes well for college graduates and in some cases, even for MBAs and engineering graduates, CDO talent is really hard to find, say recruiters. “While we have placed 200 graduates in customer delight/experience/retention roles at e-commerce firms over the last 6-9 months, it is very tough to find such talent even though they are in great demand,” said Aditya Narayan Mishra, Director and CEO, CIEL HR Services.

“These are roles where the conversations are not scripted therefore, these graduates must be able to comprehend and analyse customer/sellers data very quickly, establish rapport and hold their attention for at least 2-3 minutes on a call, and be knowledgeable about society and world affairs in order to choose, suggest or pitch the right offers for them, based on their profile,” he added. “Graduates with such talent typically have many job options to choose from at event management firms, market research firms or even consulting firms.”