Looking back at 2020, the way we live, work, connect has dramatically changed and customers have had to step back and re-examine what truly matters to them. This has thrust customer experience (CX) into the spotlight, making it a business imperative. To that end, businesses who deliver great CX stand to benefit significantly by driving greater brand loyalty and growth.
With the ongoing pandemic, the importance of redefining customer journeys has only accelerated. The battleground for customer loyalty has also shifted radically from providing better functionality to enabling better experiences. To emerge from this crisis successfully, business leaders must heavily invest in their customer experience.
Keen to establish a clear link between investing in CX and business growth, Zendesk partnered with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) to uncover best practices among companies across the globe who are leading the CX charge. In the report titled “CX Champions: How CX Leaders Who Raise Their Game Are Driving Business Success”, we found that companies who successfully implement a robust customer experience strategy achieve higher customer satisfaction rates, reduced customer churn and increased revenues.
The inevitable shift to digital transformation
According to the CX Champion’s report, in today’s digitally connected world, companies who shift the focus on customer engagement efforts and educate consumers about their brand at the right moments along the customer journey are faring better. As organisations in India continue to navigate the far-reaching impacts of the pandemic, it is encouraging to see them recognise customer experience as a key strategic growth driver. Our research with ESG confirms that to have a sustainable competitive advantage, investing in CX is no more an option, but a priority.
The report also states that 78 percent of midsize and enterprise businesses and nearly 65 percent of small businesses said that customer-centric agility has increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing teams with the best tools, training, visibility, and cross-channel adaptability will help optimise productivity, and has the potential to disrupt customer experience.
Businesses that invested in CX grew in recent months
The research found there is indeed a clear link between investing in CX and business growth in areas such as market share, increased customer spend, and pivoting processes over the last six months. That said, the majority of businesses in APAC are still in the early stages of CX maturity.
We found that 22 percent of APAC businesses identify as “CX Champions” (companies which rank high on the CX maturity scale), which means there is significant untapped potential for organisations to invest in CX to drive even greater business outcomes. Organisations with matured CX capabilities were 10.8 times more likely than Starters (companies with minimal CX capabilities) to have significantly grown customer spend. Additionally, they were 4.4 times more likely to have grown their customer base over the past six months. To keep up with rising customer expectations and maintain a competitive edge, APAC businesses will need to embrace new technology that enables customer-centricity.
Taking a closer look at Indian organisations, the report also found that:
- 39 percent of organisations in India were most likely to report their remote work transition has gone very smoothly, since the country went into a state of nationwide lockdown.
- 45 percent of the respondents in India expect a significant increase in CX investment at their organisations over the next 12 months. This is a significantly higher proportion of respondents than in Australia (9 percent), Japan (5 percent), and Singapore (13 percent).
- Indian companies appeared to have the most sophisticated channel toggling capabilities, as 58 percent report this capability is seamless for their agents.
Role of leadership in achieving CX success
Creating and sustaining a customer-centric culture needs to be driven by senior leadership. Those who prioritise agility and embrace change will be most successful in establishing that culture.
As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, businesses must invest wisely in areas that can drive the greatest impact on their CX maturity. By making CX a company-wide priority and empowering everyone with the right tools, all firms should be better placed to stay one step ahead of whatever comes next.
Being a CX Champion means recognising the need to put the customer at the heart of everything you do. That acts as your North Star and will help inform decisions around the right technology, people and processes to put in place.
Customer expectations are higher than ever before and they are comparing their experience with your brand to the easy, fast, and personalised experiences they’re having with the best of the best. And it’s these customer-focused businesses that get to reap the benefits of renewed loyalty and competitive advantage.
A lot of companies react to growth pressures by trimming their customer support budget. While that may provide some quick breathing room, it’s not a prudent long-term solution. According to the report, companies with room for improvement in their customer service can boost their growth if they tap into these five consistent trends in the future:
- Building a culture focused on CX, driven from the top-down: Champions agreed more strongly that CX is a critical business priority. They also have greater involvement from senior business leaders with over a third of Champions in APAC reviewing CX Metrics with C-Suite executives on a daily basis – 7.8 times more likely than Starters.
- Don’t forget your people: Service and support continue to be an area of focus among leaders, with agents at Champion organisations in APAC receiving an average of about a day more of training per year than Starters.
- Data-centric support delivers: Champions place a focus on KPIs and metrics to guide their support decisions. In the APAC region, 74% of Champions state their KPIs can be reported in real-time.
- Automation and AI is making an impact: Responding to the increased volume of data and rising customer expectations, 43% of Champions in APAC make use of automated methods of building and updating cross-channel customer profiles. AI tools, such as automated chatbots, are also making an impact on support performance.
- Investing in CX success: When asked about plans for the next 12 months, nearly three-fifths (59%) of Champions in APAC expect their organisation’s spend on CX tools and technology to increase significantly, versus just 7% of Starters.
The numbers say it all. Champions are taking steps to invest more in their tools, teams and processes for CX success. And it is for this very reason, they have fared better during the ongoing pandemic.
The need to adapt and innovate in the new normal
In the last few months, we’ve witnessed how the crisis creates significant opportunities for innovation. COVID-19 has been a catalyst for businesses to transform the way they interact with customers. An exciting challenge lies ahead for businesses – to reimagine how to engage with customers and meet them where they are, when they need them.
The global pandemic has proven that companies have to be agile, flexible and ready to scale within days. This underpins everything we do at Zendesk and is what will enable continued growth and success in this new era of customer experience.
Looking ahead, it is all about continuing to innovate for our customers. Messaging is the future of CX and we’re focused on ensuring businesses have the right tools to have rich conversations with their customers on their channel of choice – be it websites, mobile apps, and through social messaging.
While the future remains uncertain, one thing is for sure – organisations need to adapt or get left behind. All of this starts with listening to your customers more..