With traditional brand marketing losing luster thanks to digital disruption, the customer is now in charge. In a digital world, it is simply not enough for businesses to be able to compete on price or product features alone. Customer Experience (CX) is becoming the key differentiator in a digital world, and the currency to drive brand loyalty, reduce churn and boost revenues.
To assess the current state of adoption of CX, organizational challenges in CX implementation, current and desired usage of various omnichannel tools and marketer priorities for 2023, Exotel conducted a survey with Indian marketers. Exotel is the emerging market’s leading full stack customer engagement platform comprising a suite of communications APIs, omnichannel contact center (Ameyo) and Conversational AI platform (Cogno AI) in the Cloud.
Without a doubt, customer experience is the new competitive battleground
A majority, 65 per cent of marketers surveyed agree with the statement that customer experience is the new and next competitive battleground. In fact, 45 per cent state that their brand will compete, either completely or nearly completely, on the basis of CX over the next two years.
It’s no surprise then that a focus to enhance customer experience emerges as the #1 priority, with 74 per cent of marketers surveyed listing this as their #1 priority for 2023. Other priorities in order of importance are improving the omnichannel experience (70 per cent), employer branding (69 per cent), followed by a focus on sustainability initiatives (68%), and a strategy for immersive platforms such as Metaverse (67 per cent).
Rather than acquisition, Marketers are focusing on customer retention
Given the concerns of an economic recession in 2023, brands are doubling down on engaging their existing customer base. With loyalty getting harder to come by because consumers have a lot more choices today, marketers are choosing to enhance and strengthen their customer engagement, working closely with the Customer Experience teams, to build lasting connections with customers. This is validated by the survey by Exotel. To drive business, 63% of marketers surveyed said they are looking at increasing adoption of existing products, or introducing newer products to existing customers.
WhatsApp is the most important CX channel
India is WhatsApp biggest market with 487.5 million WhatsApp users in 2022. It’s no surprise that 86 per cent of marketers surveyed say that WhatsApp is the most important customer service channel. One out of every 2 marketers say that it is a part of their CX journey and 26 per cent say its usage is critical to their business. 9 per cent say they have recently integrated the channel as a part of their CX journey, and are already reaping the benefits..
Usage of other CX tools in order of deployment is SMS at 33 per cent, Call center at 27 per centand chatbots at 26 per cent, among the marketers surveyed.
Organizational and behavioral challenges to CX roll out
The desire to prioritize CX comes with real-world challenges. Marketers surveyed, 40 per cent cite driving a customer-centric culture and understanding CX platform capabilities as the challenges that they face in designing an optimal CX journey. Other challenges include measuring CX effectiveness and impact and collaborating cross-functionally within the organization.
Adopting a customer-centric marketing approach is not an easy task, despite its importance in the scheme of things. While 51 per cent of marketers surveyed say that keeping the customer at the center of every decision is a behavior that is challenging to drive within the organization, 34 per cent of marketers cite the lack of involvement of senior leaders to demonstrate customer centricity top down to being an impediment in authentically driving customer centricity into the organizations DNA.
“Organizations will necessarily need to lead from a customer-centric position. With economic uncertainty persisting, 2023 looks set to be another challenging year for businesses. Organizations will need a comprehensive view of the full customer journey across all interaction data to yield deep insights about their customers and design optimal CX journeys to connect more closely with their customers and anticipate behaviors. Those organizations that invest in experience enhancements to solidify customer relationships will be poised to receive positive ROI in a digital world where customers are spoilt for choice. Customer relationships is the #1 currency that Exotel helps organizations accrue through its full stack engagement platform,” said Angira Agrawal, Global SVP, GTM and Strategy, Exotel.
Udit Agarwal, VP & Global Head of Marketing, Exotel, said, “To stand out against the competition and deliver additional value to customers, organizations need to adopt a unified approach for conducting and tracking customer engagement. Building a comprehensive understanding of the entire customer journey and the data collected from all interactions will result in valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. Through investing in improvements towards the customer experience, one can ultimately reap a positive return on investment in a digital market. Exotel’s full-stack engagement platform assists organizations in building customer relationships, which is the most valuable currency in today’s business world.”
Exotel received responses from 263 marketers in an online survey that was conducted at the start of 2023. CMOs, VP Marketing, and Chief Customer Experience Officers responded to this survey from mid to large organizations across verticals of Tech, BFSI, E-commerce, Telecom, and automotive.