Friday, July 12, 2019

Interview with Richa Bansal, Founder of Saarathee

Interview with Richa Bansal, Founder of Saarathee

This is an excerpt from an interview with Richa Bansal, founder of Saarathee- a for profit customer contact center, which has visually impaired employees working in multiple processes.

What is the work that Saarathee deals with?

It is essentially a customer contact center, where we do lead conversion and we support organizations in their customer service needs. Say, for instance, there are start ups that are in their expansion phase and they mostly need help in driving their sales, so they resort to digital marketing campaigns and they are able to generate enough leads. However, they lack the bandwidth as well as the proficiency, both technically as well as people wise, to convert those leads into actual sales and that’s where we play a role. And we have a team which addresses such clients.

What kind of clients does Saarathee deal with? Are there any specific sectors which are more frequent?

Not really, we are fairly open to all the sectors. Right now, given the fact that everybody is moving into the domain of online platforms, so there are lots of clients that we have who are actually doing their business online. So, whether we talk about Cashify, which is again an online platform, for selling old devices, or if you speak about Coding Ninjas, which is primarily into e- learning platforms for coding languages programs. We also work with Amazon, supporting them in finding sellers online so that they can come, register themselves on their platforms. These are the clients that we are working with right now.

What inspired you to start this?

Well, this is one and a half year old and it was a combination of things. When we started out, I wanted to do something in the space of providing livelihood, and I was very clear that there was a need gap which existed, in terms of superior customer engagement. A lot of companies were driving customer care, but that was sub optimal in terms of the quality of conversations that was being driven by these firms and executives, largely because most of them are being run as factories, and not necessarily from the point of driving empathy when the customer is being spoken with. Given the fact that I had an experience of working with the blind earlier in my erstwhile organization, Vodafone, I knew what they could bring to the table. Also, I had a fair stint with NAB- I spent around nine months with them. I saw them working very closely and I understood the skill set that they could bring to the table. So we tried to marry both of these together and that’s how Saarathee eventually came into being

How did you go about starting this venture? Were there any particular challenges that you faced?

Ofcourse. One, my start happened with research. I just didn’t start it at will. I invested in a fair bit of studying and research. I would like to give credit to NAB, Hauz Khas, firstly, because the director there was always a friend and, secondly, because he also gave me an opportunity and a window to engage and interact, not only with people who are blind, but also with authorities that are doing their bit of work in terms of skilling them. I got a fair understanding of what kind of skill was being invested in, what kind of people could possibly do something like this. Apart from this, I engaged with people who were already working with people with disabilities, so that I could gain from their experience. So, when I pieced it all together, I think we managed to make a confident start from there. And as for having setbacks, in the first few months, in fact the first year in itself, we had a fair bit of experiences, learning and a lot of highs and lows that we saw. But I guess, we learn, fall and move on.

Is there any advice that you would like to give to those who would like to combine the social sector with their startup?

I think it is very critical, first to identify the value that you eventually want to drive. Because, if you do not find value, you would not be able to sustain it. Here, the business need was merged with the social impact need that we wanted to create. And that’s how the marriage worked.

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