How a company revolutionised business-customer bond

  • In conversation with Emojot

By Yakuta Dawood

Regardless of business enterprises evolving, “customer-centricity” has continuously been one of the key viewpoints that has been concentrated on when delivering its final products or services. The Develop It Yourself (DIY) this week talks about Emojot Inc., one of the most revolutionised firms in Sri Lanka to connect enterprises with customer emotions.

Digital transformation platform Emojot was co-founded in 2016 by Dr. Shahani Markus, Dr. Manjula Dissanayake, Sachintha Ponnamperuma, and Andun Gunawardana, with the aim of rendering purpose-specific solutions by combining and configuring its suite of advanced technologies and cutting-edge capabilities.

Enlightening us about the inspiration behind starting up this company, Dr. Markus highlighted that the co-founders wanted to bring about a revolution by launching the “concept of emotional sensors” in the business industry, rather than just following the conventional approach of gauging consumer experiences.

Explaining further, she stated that since its inception, Emojot has evolved for entrepreneurs to understand their customs through emotional sensors, gain insights from that engagement, and then later act upon those which are identified as important.

“We are living in what is known as an experience economy, so we help companies thrive in that experience economy. It is not only about gaining customer insight, but also about being able to understand those customer insights and being able to act upon it,” Dr. Marcus said.

When inquired how the entrepreneurial journey has been in Sri Lanka, Ponnamperuma stated that he and Gunawardana have experienced a rollercoaster ride, including both positive opportunities and challenges, in terms of commencing a new company just after graduating from college.

Speaking on the positives encountered, he said that the opportunity of brainstorming ideas, freedom, innovation, and design was available, along with the ability to be challenged with regard to building the product from scratch as much as possible, rather than just following a built product, platform, or service created by another.

“We got the chance to bring much-needed foreign currency into Sri Lanka; hence, there is great satisfaction as we are serving the country. Also, we generate a lot of jobs, and when employees get successful, it is also a great satisfaction,” Ponnamperuma noted.

What’s striking about Emojot?

Bootstrapping the company during its inception, Emojot today provides a survey methodology of using gamification techniques coupled with emojis/pictograms that make engagement with customers, employees, and audiences to gauge their interests in the product or services provided.

Commenting in this regard, Dr. Markus stated that Emojot bonds companies in understanding that the digital transformation available today is easily doable, which could be done through a customer-centric manner to make a greater impact on the business.

The key feature of Emojot is Emotion Sensors®. This primarily focuses on enterprises understanding their customer emotions, thereby transforming the unconnected consumers into more valuable, satisfying, and attached individuals with the firm, whilst also allowing businesses to evolve and adapt as per the demand.

Regarding the website, Dr. Markus said this mechanism is conducted through a simplified manner of a visual survey to connect and capture the emotions, adding: “By using these Emotion Sensors®, businesses can visualise their path ahead, transform themselves rapidly, and create an emotional connection with their customers like never before.”

Among many others, customer experience is one of the key features focused on by Emojot. This service concentrates on gathering vital data from all possible areas at which a customer comes in contact with that particular business; for example, finding information about how a customer’s interactions went when they contacted a company or vice versa.

As such, through this methodology, CEM allows companies to take charge of their customer’s experiences concerning metrics, comprehensive reports, and crucial feedback, along with taking necessary actionable steps to achieve consumer satisfaction.

Giving a real-time example, Dr. Markus stated that one of the clients, based in the US, makes decisions after understanding the revenue the company would generate based on each marketing campaign launched along with customer satisfaction.

Overall, elements of the emotion sensor include features such as multimedia questions and emo-signature, fully customisable visual cues, real-time aggregated analytics, two-way communication, loyalty mechanisms, crowdsourced questions, and upvoting, social sharing, and “create once, render everywhere”.

Speaking on the uniqueness of the cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, Dr. Markus stated that, unlike other existing competitors who take time to develop a transformational platform with higher cost, Emojot provides a better service within a span of two to three weeks on average in a very cost-effective manner.

“Every business is structured differently, but it can be easily uploaded on our platform. Hence, it’s about agility and the flexibility which we can give to our customers at a fraction of the cost as we built our platform in that manner and because we can,” Dr. Markus emphasised.

Responding to a query as to who could use this platform, Ponnamperuma stated that since Emojot is a horizontal platform, any business enterprise can take advantage of this service. According to him, Emojot primarily targets small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) as well as different departments of several large-scale enterprises in the US.

What’s more about Emojot?

Despite having clients across the globe, Emojot, which is a product and a matrix-oriented company, focuses on the metric of revenue per employee, thereby having a team of less than 25 experts to deliver the promised services.

Expressing the corporate culture followed at the company, Ponnamperuma said that it is a flat, very friendly, and easygoing culture where all members are like family, supporting, being there for, and helping one another and also being open for discussions.

Commenting on the working lifestyle, Dr. Markus noted that, despite them wanting to work remotely, several clients particularly from Sri Lanka always preferred physical meetings. Therefore, according to her, the shift to working from home and online meetings due to the Covid-19 pandemic resulted positively in gaining and growing the client base across the globe.

When inquired about the marketing and sales techniques used by Emojot, she stated that even though the company does not focus on heavy marketing since they have not found the appropriate investor, they end up getting new clients who come across their front-end, via word of mouth and also as introduced from one country to another through the Alliance of CEOs conducted in Silicon Valley.

Speaking on future plans, Dr. Markus said that Emojot aims to expand services to the US and Southeast Asian countries, and then proceed to expand the client portfolio day by day.

“We have a solid, robust platform, and now we are focused on growing our client base. The best way to grow is through partnerships. Hence, we want to sign up more big-name partners who can do the strategic consulting with the companies and then bring us in for the implementation of the solution,” she added.

Additionally, as Sri Lanka is experiencing economic challenges due to a shortage of availability in dollars, Emojot has planned to launch a “do it yourself” (DIY) solution, which is derived from the original platform of customer experience management service. This service will enable consumers in Sri Lanka to pay for services in LKR (comparatively a very small amount) on surveys with the opportunity of even stopping it after using it for one month.

Meanwhile, elaborating on where Emojot will stand in the coming years, Dr. Markus highlighted that they want to be the “go-to company” in Sri Lanka and the US when an enterprise hopes to develop its customer-centricity and then later expand its customer portfolio with a greater number across the world.

Further, she said that amidst the challenges, Emojot has and will grow rapidly in terms of increasing the client base. “It’s very easy to sit here, look back, and talk because you tend to forget the hard times and you feel good about the good times, and that’s the beauty of it. But what it means is that the hard times are about hard challenges, which we managed to find solutions for. So, yes, we have challenges, but we found a way around those and resolve them,” she concluded.