By Vasudeva Rao Munnaluri, RVP India & SAARC, Zendesk
2021 has been an exciting year for Indian businesses with 100 new unicorns in the e-commerce, fintech, edtech, food delivery and mobility sectors. As these fast-growing companies continue expanding at significant speed, one thing remains fundamental: the need for exceptional CX to connect with customers in a rapidly evolving business landscape.
Over the past two years, Indian businesses have unraveled several myths about the time needed to adapt and change. Keeping up with the rate of growth can be challenging, especially in a constantly evolving business environment, but tech-driven CX strategies are proving to be the key to success. Customers want quick and easy solutions to their issues and will naturally choose brands that offer seamless experiences consistently. This is why 97% of Indian organisations agree that CX innovation is required to protect businesses from competitors, according to Zendesk’s latest research.
Simply put, CX is necessary — without it, customers will switch to more customer-centric competitors. When companies invest in CX to improve agent experience, adopt new technologies and put customers at the heart of everything they do, it results in increased loyalty and better outcomes for businesses.
So, what makes businesses CX Champions? Well, they view CX as a profit centre.
Investing in CX has for long been viewed as a cost centre, but the reality is far from this. In a digital-first world, customers don’t want to wait long minutes, handle language barriers and multiple transfers of calls to resolve a simple issue. This increases costs brought on by longer resolution times, customer attrition, decreased customer satisfaction and erosion of brand reputation. There may be myriad reasons why businesses invest in customer service but CX-mature companies realise that it’s simply better for the bottom line. In fact, 84% of Indian businesses view CX as a profit centre in 2021, having recognized that investing in CX helps them sail through times of uncertainty.
How can Indian businesses become CX Champions?
#1: Focus on meaningful interactions
Customers want empathy and meaningful interactions from businesses – and that makes them want to come back. That is why CX Champions recognise the need to transition away from transactional interactions towards relationship-building conversational experiences. Customers want to be understood and remembered. When businesses have meaningful interactions, it conveys empathy, builds rapport, and helps agents have productive interactions with the customer.
Delivering such interactions require businesses to have a 360-degree view of customer profiles. That’s why larger Indian businesses have increased customer visibility in the last year, with 75% saying they have achieved a “single source of truth” when it comes to customer profiles. With insight into previous interactions and conversations, agents understand the customer’s relationship history with the company, enabling them to offer more personalized and relevant service.
#2: Engage your customers through conversational experiences
Conversational experiences are the future of customer service and CX Champions understand the importance of being where their customers are. 77% of Indian enterprises strongly agree that customer service needs to be more conversational, with 100% anticipating chat and social channels to be heavily used by customers in the future.
It’s clear why customers are turning to messaging in their time of need: It’s convenient, it’s fast, and it’s personal. But messaging has also been a savior for businesses. When support tickets spike, messaging is easy for remote employees to set up and adopt — and even automate — alleviating pressure on traditional channels like email and voice. And because messaging is asynchronous by nature, customers don’t necessarily expect an immediate response, giving overwhelmed agents some breathing room without it seeming like the business is offline. It’s also connected and ongoing, so customers never have to repeat themselves. And when customers are happy, it leads to greater customer retention and satisfaction, which is good for business.
#3: Increase CX spending
CX Champions spend more on customer-centric initiatives by investing in modern tools, channels and even support agents – and they are reaping the rewards. Happy customers enable brands to grow their customer base with positive word of mouth. This is why CX Champions in APAC are 4.7x more likely than their less mature counterparts to report having grown their customer base in the last 6 months.
These Champions recognise that CX has the potential to set them apart as market leaders and therefore spend more on accelerating their CX initiatives. In line with this, 88% of Indian organisations have accelerated CX initiatives in the last 12 months alone and close to two thirds say it increases business resiliency.
Evolving to meet customers’ needs, investing in the right tools and focusing on delivering better service; all point towards customer centricity. Providing good customer service is an investment — a profitable one — because memorable experiences drive customers to come back again and again. CX is crucial to competitive success and going forward, Indian businesses need to focus on becoming more customer-centric.