Purpose-built for posts

Purpose-built for posts

Post & Parcel speaks to Chief Sales Officer at Escher, Rodrigo Medgenberg to find out more about Riposte – the customer engagement platform which won the company the Technology category at the 2019 World Post & Parcel Awards in Ireland last June.

Can you tell me about Riposte?

Our customer engagement platform, Riposte, is designed to keep posts profitable and competitive while delivering a world-class experience to their customers. In addition to our core platform, we offer a suite of commercial off-the-shelf applications for posts. The Riposte platform provides a modern postal automation solution, which enables posts to offer a range of post office services. We’re also really excited about our mobile POS solution, which untethers postal workers from the counter and enables them to service customers in the line-up, increasing daily transaction volume as a result. Riposte PUDO is another reason to get excited about the platform as it allows posts to quickly expand their reach through third-party outlets, agent networks, and franchisees. Additionally, Escher offers automated self-service kiosks and shipping induction units to provide customers with always available postal services. And these are only some of the capabilities of the Riposte platform.

Which industry challenges does Riposte tackle?

The Riposte platform addresses a wide range of industry problems that help posts drive superior customer experience with greater speed and better economics.

The platform helps posts who are grappling with implementing a digital transformation. Everyone’s excited about digital transformation, but it would be unrealistic to say, “Just do it already!” Posts are complex entities. In addition to managing the usual dynamics of organisational behaviour, they also have a lot of powerful external stakeholders, like politicians and the public, to whom they’re responsible. They don’t always have the inherent flexibility that a start-up has. We understand this. We’ve designed our platform with this in mind. That’s why we’ve made our platform infrastructure agnostic. Posts can embrace exciting technologies like AI, machine learning, analytics, and more without abandoning all the IT investments they’ve made to date.

We’re helping posts claim their rightful stake in the booming e-commerce market. Posts have something the e-tailers want right now: a firm handle on last-mile delivery. All posts need now is the technology with a proven return on investment to capitalise on this. To do so, they need to adapt their existing systems to accommodate packages which are much trickier to handle than letter mail.

In what way is the solution innovative?

In addition to our solution being purpose built for posts – we have dedicated years to perfecting this platform – it’s also innovative in how it harnesses a core customer engagement platform that is integrated seamlessly with partners for emerging technologies like AI and machine learning, predictive analytics, online surveys, taxes, duties and compliance.

What obstacles did you have to overcome?

Were there challenges? Certainly. There are always challenges when you’re making a big change. A specific challenge we had was completely overhauling existing paradigms. For instance, we wanted our platform to be modular and integratable. So we had to scrutinise every inch of our platform. But thanks to some remarkable collaboration, teamwork, and vision from everyone at Escher, we got it done.

How has Riposte developed since winning the award?

Since the World Post & Parcel Awards, we’ve unveiled more solutions. A big one is our pick up, drop off (PUDO) solution, Riposte PUDO (mentioned above) which offers a quick way for posts to expand their retail network without incurring the large overhead costs that would traditionally be associated with a post-owned bricks and mortar post office expansion.

We’ve really drilled down into developing solutions that are purpose-built for posts. We’ve also been leveraging AI to develop retail analytics solutions tailored for posts. What this means is posts can collect data from all their operations, make use of real-time analysis, and receive specific operational recommendations tied to either revenue generation or cost savings.

What is next for the initiative?

Getting postal operators everywhere set up and using our Customer Engagement Platform is priority one. In terms of more solutions, we’ve announced a range of products since we had the honour of winning the Technology category for the 2019 World Post & Parcel Awards. This includes our Riposte Taxes, Duties, & Compliance solution, which makes it easier for posts and postal customers to ship internationally. Riposte Insight is another product that enables the speedy creation of end-to-end surveys using highly intelligent predictive survey options and drag and drop question types. Additionally, posts will be able to leverage Riposte AI which develops advanced predictive analytics using the data from Riposte Insight and an Optimisation Recommendation Engine which offers actionable insights which can be implemented quickly. Also announced recently was our Riposte Digital Onboarding solution which helps create a frictionless customer onboarding process, saving time, increasing customer satisfaction and engagement.

Can you tell me how postal operators are using the platform?

With Escher’s Riposte platform, one large European postal operator expanded point of service to 12,000 new pick up and drop off centres with the rollout taking only four months and at minimal cost.

Another large North American post has made waiting in line a thing of the past with the Escher platform as they now leverage over 3000 in-store mobile queue busters.

Yet another South Asian post added 150 new revenue streams at new speeds with the help of Escher’s Riposte platform. The new services were configured without extensive customisation.

How did you feel about winning the award?

Honoured and humbled. We put a lot of work into the platform. But ultimately the real test of a product is whether it’s something customers want. You can build what you believe is the best platform for posts, but if it isn’t meeting their needs, it’ll go unnoticed. So the fact that our Customer Engagement Platform resonated with not only the judging panel from the World Post & Parcel Awards but also the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from customers and other postal operators is very exciting to us and a source of pride for everyone at Escher.

What advice would you give to companies interested in pursuing a similar project?

You have to be 100 % committed. And don’t underestimate the power of planning and understanding the why behind your transformation efforts, so you have conviction when managing internal resistance or sceptical stakeholders. You need to be bold in your transformation projects.

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