Lack Of Vision Prevents Brands From Improving Customer Experience
Customers are the key force in the digital world, reshaping industries and changing how businesses compete and win. Needless to say then that a brand’s success depends on how well and how fast it responds to customers experience [ an individual's experience during all points of contact including digital touchpoints]. In India however, there is a long gap in customer experience and what brands deliver. According to a recent survey, both brands and customers rate their companies as being ‘not very advanced’ in their approach to customer experience.
The Epsilon Customer Experience Maturity Report in partnership with Econsultancy, a global research firm that surveyed over 400 marketing, digital and ecommerce professionals based in India to explore the maturity-level for customer experience suggest that the biggest barrier preventing brands from improving the customer experience, can be identified as ‘lack of overall strategy/vision’
The majority of respondents felt that optimizing internal collaboration between multi-disciplined teams and using data to better understand behaviors were the most important factors to deliver a great customer experience over the coming year.
“The research findings confirm that a greater focus on marketing operations is needed. Internal collaboration between teams, which is regarded as very important to delivering a great customer experience, as well as strategy, identified as lacking, are key principles of marketing operations,” said Jefrey Gomez, Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Econsultancy.
“Encouragingly, customer experience is being prioritised by marketers in India, with 12% of those surveyed rating their customer experience maturity as very advanced. But a tighter focus on marketing operations will enable their marketing efforts to react more quickly to changes in business strategy and customer behaviour,” he added.
Additional findings of the survey include:
Data is of paramount concern
A resounding 97% of client-side respondents cite the better use of data to understand customer behaviours as being ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important for delivering a great customer experience over the coming year, and all supply-side respondents concur with this view.
Email service platforms are the primary investment for customer experience
Survey findings revealed that email service platforms are currently a primary investment focus in the area of customer experience technology. Just under three-quarters (73%) of client-side respondents and 70% of supply-side respondents say they (or their clients) are using such technology for customer experience marketing initiatives. Beyond this, approximately half of survey respondents are utilising CRM technology or systems.
Customer experience is more advanced when it is the responsibility of the entire organization
Survey data showed that all respondents felt the responsibility for customer experience sits across a mix of different departments. 29% of client-side respondents believed it was the responsibility of the whole organization, compared to 19% of supply-side respondents. When responses were segmented by level of self-declared CX maturity, the effect of different approaches becomes clearer. In half of the ‘advanced’ companies, responsibility for customer experience is either shared across the organization (42%) or resides in a mixture of different departments (22%). For companies rating themselves as ‘not very advanced’ or ‘immature,’ responsibility for customer experience is more likely to lie within a mixture of different departments (31% versus 22%) or the marketing department (24% versus 20%).
Responsibility for CX is allocated, but budget is often not
Marketers reported that only 9% of companies in India have a single, dedicated budget for understanding the customer journey, while an additional 32% have a dedicated budget split across different departments. While most companies assign responsibility for customer experience, they are far less likely to allocate budget specifically for understanding the customer journey.
Companies are at an ‘intermediate’ stage in understanding the customer journey
Two in five (39%) client-side respondents and more than half of supply-side respondents say they (or their clients) are at an ‘intermediate’ stage of understanding the customer journey, meaning that some parts of the journey are aligned, but there are important pieces of the jigsaw still missing. Furthermore, 38% of client-side respondents define their understanding as being at a ‘beginner’ stage, and 30% of supply-side respondents concur with this view. Just 17% of client-side respondents claim they are at an ‘advanced’ stage of understanding the customer journey, where there is a coordinated approach across online and offline touchpoints.
Companies are positive about their ability to make changes to the customer journey
Approximately half of respondents, both client-side and supply-side, rate their company’s (or their clients’) capability to make changes to the customer journey as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. Further, 44% of companies and 37% of supply-side respondents feel they (or their clients) are in an ‘okay’ position. ‘Advanced’ organisations are nine times more likely to rate themselves as ‘excellent’ (18% compared to 2%) than their peers. Similarly, 50% say they are ‘good’ at making improvements to the customer journey, compared to 30% of less advanced companies.
“Customer experience will continue to be the key differentiator for brands, and the Indian market is no exception,” said Michael Kustreba, Managing Director of Epsilon, Asia Pacific.
Kustreba added that the research shows that many marketers in India have recognised the importance of enhancing customer experience and are actively looking for solutions. “The good news is that there are valuable insights from data, technology and proven methodologies to help marketers improve their customer experience delivery and achieve greater CX maturity,” he said.
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