Pramada Sahu, the Vice President of Client Experience and Engagement at GeekyAnts, is best known for her people skills and compassionate approach towards handling client relationships. She joined GeekyAnts in 2016 and has been a pivotal part of establishing a client experience department in the organization as well as overseeing it before extending her role to overseeing Partner Engagement.
In this conversation with Pramada, we shall explore how she has impacted the organisation and her take back from the experience.
The following Q&A has been edited to deliver ease of understanding and clarity:
1. Your journey as a professional has been quite diverse. Tell us about it.
After the completion of my Master’s Program in Business Administration, I commenced my professional journey at Think Talent, an HR consulting firm, where I worked side by side with senior leaders in the talent training and consulting department. Following this, I gained managerial experience as I worked in multiple leadership and administration roles in the research department at an investment firm called Fidelity Investments over a course of 3.5 years. My various professional experiences have given me necessary skills for when I started off at GeekyAnts in 2016, when we were a small organisation of merely thirty. During my time here, I have performed various rules involving Client Relations, HR, Operations, Admin, Sales etc. while also having organised the very first React Meetup that was held by GeekyAnts. I participated in adding value to every opportunity that came my way. Currently, I lead the Partner Program at GeekyAnts as the Vice President for CX and Engagements.
2. It is clear that Client Experience is one of the most important aspects of a services based business, however it is seldom seen as a separate entity. How has building a CX division helped GeekyAnts?
My time at GeekyAnts has brought me to the realisation that ensuring a great client experience helps us meet our clients’ expectations; which is exactly what a CS professional strives to do. Over the past five years, we have interacted with clients to improve and analyse our CX methods and ensure that they run seamlessly, which has in-turn led to a ten-fold growth of the team. I have helped set up the CX processes and was the very first person in the department. As a team, we have evolved and added finesse to our practices as time has passed through experimenting and regular client interactions. The presence of a client experience team has not only helped us in lowering overhead engineering costs, but has also helped us to focus on transparent communication channels with clients while dealing with any challenges promptly. A CX executive performs many activities such as ensuring a channel for feedback and follow-ups, providing the client with regular project updates, formulating strategies and reengaging clients, which are critical for a business to move forward. Today, we are a team of thirteen with plans of expansion by the end of 2021, which in itself is a clear indicator of how integral a CX department is for a business to run well.
3. What ideals drive Partner Engagement for you in GeekyAnts? How is it beneficial to overall business goals?
The ethos of client experience is built on the simple philosophy that we can accomplish more when we unite and work together. Partnership provides advantages to both parties and comes with huge business potentials. When a partner collaborates with us, he or she becomes a part of our development community, which then becomes a shared goal to achieve nothing but the best during the venture, which will in-turn help boost our credibility in the market; this is where the XP team comes in! The Partner Engagement Program is still in its nascent stage at GeekyAnts and the question more suited to the scenario is ‘What led us to include partner engagement in our business processes?’
It all started when an existing client approached us with a new requirement for a project based on Microsoft. We saw this as an opportunity in the making and seized the chance at having to partner with an organisation that had more than ten years of industry experience with the Microsoft platform and concluded the project last year. After this experience, we have welcomed a mix of resources from our various partners which has helped us to diversify the roles at GeekyAnts and the experience of various members working in different engineering and non-engineering roles has helped us to deliver quality products through improved strategies.
4. What, according to you, is the most important thing to keep in mind when scaling services?
In my experience, the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to scaling services is to have the right talent while keeping the process as a secondary focus. You need the right people on your team to ensure your business reaches its goals. It is important to pick people who are not just passionate about the organisation, but also those that share its values and align themselves with it. Happy clients and successful projects are a result of having an enthusiastic team on-board who have the right skills and expertise for the job.
5. How is the transition from leading the CX team to now managing Partner Engagement treating you? How is it different?
My journey from being the first person on the CX team to managing partner engagements has been nothing short of adventurous. I had initially joined as an account manager working in tandem with other senior managers to execute multiple duties like managing end-to-end client communications, project kick-offs & closures, deliveries, resource management, billings and monthly business projections, before we came to the consensus to bring in a separate department to handle client experience. It has been more than four and a half years since I started leading the department and my experience so far has been full of exploration and learning ,where I have helped to build a great CX team. After serving in this role, I was given the opportunity to try my hand at partner engagements and my interest in experimenting and trying my hand at something new led me to take up the role. Coming out of your comfort zone is certainly challenging, while at the same time, it is filled with loads of fun and excitement; it has been a great experience so far and I look forward to this new professional episode in my life!
6. Where do you see GeekyAnts’ services division heading in the coming years?
GeekyAnts has a high standing amongst tech enthusiasts and the development community for the premium digital services that it has provided. We have helped our many client partners revolutionise and streamline their business processes with our top-notch digital solutions. We are a community of people who love to experiment and learn and we want to be known for the quality products we have delivered even at our initial stages which is a clear-cut marker of our standards, reiterated by assuring perfection in all our processes.