April 24, 2024

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Byju’s will be a bygone unless…

By Christopher Roberts

The Byju’s brand reminds me of a person who is organising a huge party and sends out beautiful invitations. In Byju’s case, the invitations are its brand ambassadors like Shah Rukh Khan, Neeraj Chopra, the millions it spent on cricket and FIFA sponsorships, tons spent on advertising on every media channel, and social media. After all, you can organise the best party with great food, rocking music, and amazing service, but without sending out invitations there will be no attendees.

The trouble with Byju’s is that though the party invitations are great, the party itself is not. There have been reports of questionable sales practices, strong arm tactics, etc. as complained by customers – existing and prospective – across various platforms including social media. The horrifying case of a family falling into the edtech company’s sales tactics as published in The Economic Times is not an allegation that any good-hearted organisation ignores. 

Even independent ratings on Trust Pilot shows a score of 2.3 out of 5, with 63% rating Byju’s with a one star and 35% with 5 stars. The infamous battle of Byju’s with Aniruddha Malpani, Pradeep Poonia, Nidhi Bahuguna, and accusations that the edtech company filters out negative commentson social platforms raises questions about Byju’s credibility in the customers’ minds.

Any businessman would agree that word of mouth is the most powerful sales and marketing channel. Based on our comprehensive studies, a positive recommendation or referral from a peer is 4X more powerful in influencing purchase decisions than TV advertising. However, negative word of mouth is at least 5X more powerful in comparison to positive word of mouth. This is because bad news sells!

Byju’s may have hit a tipping point where the army of detractors is now more powerful than its advertising. Recent reports show that the brand has witnessed a 20X loss for the 2021 fiscal year. This beckons the question – Are Byju’s staff truly going above and beyond to evoke positive emotions and experiences for their customers?

Byju’s seems to have admirable and progressive HR policies as outlined in The Human Capital Online article titled Byju’s Unveils New Employee Policies. However, employee reviews on sources such as Quora, Glassdoor, AmbitionBox, Indeed, etc. appear to showcase frontline staff facing immense pressure to make sales under what seems to be inconducive environments. Byju’s needs to focus on the fact that if you want to engage customers, you absolutely need to engage your staff first. After all, your staff, especially your frontline staff, deliver the services you offer and they are the embodiment of your brand. If they are perceived badly, it is a reflection of your brand. 

Is it too late for Byju’s to recover?

If it continues on its current path, it will be lights out for Byju’s. For Byju’s to recover its brand identity and redirect it to a positive path, it needs to run a comprehensive brand rejuvenation program that includes the following key elements: 

  1. Positive customer obsession

It needs to become customer-obsessed by gleaning insights via tailored strategic surveys that informs Byju’s on the key pain points, drivers, loyalty impacts and word of mouth economics. These insights must be drawn both via customer surveys and staff surveys.

  1. Improvement initiatives

Based on the survey data, it needs to develop a set of improvement initiatives around policies, processes, product design and user experience.

  1. Staff engagement

Finally, Byju’s needs to engage its staff in the development of improvement initiatives based on a planned CX approach. 

This is the exact approach I used to take a brand that was so damaged and had become the worst in its category to the best in its category in just 12 months. A key part of the strategy was engaging all staff in developing improvement initiatives. This resulted in 1,100 new initiatives.

This is the exact approach we also use to increase NPS® scores by up to 90 points for our clients at Engaged Strategy.      

If Byju’s can step back, align its culture to what it says and what it offers, it will help guide the brand and all its subsidiaries back on the success track.

(Views expressed above are the author’s own.)