Majority of Indian businesses say CX drives revenue, but only 17% are meeting customer expectations: New Zendesk study reveals
Bengaluru, September 14, 2022 – According to Zendesk’s CX Accelerator report (NYSE: ZEN), ‘exceptional’ is what businesses must strive for when it comes to meeting customer expectations. However, just 17% of Indian businesses are qualified as ‘CX Champions’ – those considered the highest standard-bearers – meaning there are only a few organizations in India delivering exceptional customer services. Yet organizations know they aren’t quite meeting these rising expectations, with Champions saying that unresolved queries are up 157% year over year globally.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Indian companies recognize the importance of CX with 79% saying it drives revenue. Meanwhile, companies on their way to achieving success — the Starters, Emergers and Risers in India are advancing their CX capabilities amidst rising challenges. In fact, compared to its peers, India is faring better in terms of CX maturity, ranking third globally and first in the Asia Pacific region.
However, there is a new breed of customer experience (CX) challengers emerging in India – the Risers – and they are closing in on CX greatness, with 86% of these businesses adding more customers from competitors than they lost, showing the performance lines are blurring.
No matter where a business falls on the maturity scale, the changes needed to stay on top are consistent:
Balance human and automation strategy
Integrate key data from critical apps
Evolve the role of CX
“In an increasingly tough economy, businesses have a challenge on their hands to stay agile and keep things running efficiently while meeting customers’ demands in order to keep them coming back,” said Jeff Titterton, chief operations officer at Zendesk. “Our latest research shows it’s clear that success is dependent on engaging your customers in relationship-driven conversations, and investing in technology that enables your team to deliver nothing less than exceptional service, and make sure it’s all integrated across your business.”
“Indian businesses are rapidly transforming their CX capabilities, and there are challenges that persist and need to be addressed,” said Vasudeva Rao Munnalurii, RVP India & SAARC at Zendesk. “The CX Accelerator Report’s findings reveal that in order to digitally transform customer service and reap rewards, Indian businesses need technologies that make this journey nimble. Effective implementation, increased visibility into data sources and automating time-consuming tasks opens the door for more businesses to become CX Champions.”
Agents + AI = a winning combination
Customers are clear they want more control over how they engage with businesses, and organizations have a huge opportunity to invest in AI-driven solutions to empower their customers with quick resolutions. In fact, 90% of businesses Zendesk surveyed globally reported using bots to route customers to the right place, which frees up agents to focus on more complex, high-value tasks.
According to the report:
● More companies across the world are utilizing bot and human hand-offs – this jumped from 52% to 64% year-over-year
● 69% of Indian companies surveyed are able to seamlessly integrate bot and human hand-offs
● Two-thirds (67%) of companies in India cite agent productivity as the biggest gain from using bots
● Businesses in India are able to resolve 12% more chatbot queries without human involvement than average
● Across the board, Champions lead with mixed chatbot-human interactions at 75%, Emergers and Risers both at 67%, and Starters at 52%
Where businesses need to focus is in how they balance between automation and the human element of the customer experience. This requires a deeper understanding of customer behaviors to place automation where it is most effective and provide agent support where it can have the greatest impact.
Mind the (data) gap
The data deluge is overwhelming business leaders, and they are still lacking meaningful insights into how to drive better, more personalized experiences for customers. In India, more than half (52%) of the companies use between six and 15 apps to get a full view of the customer journey, with 58% saying they are “very strong” in delivering personalized experiences. Indian businesses standout among their peers globally in using data to glean meaningful insights for business growth as 58% are able to turn customer feedback into meaningful change.
Companies in India are leading in the way to CX transformation:
● More than half of Indian companies (59%) are more likely to use purchase data to predict interest in products than average
● Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Indian companies are more likely to created individually tailored experiences than average
● 56% of Indian companies displayed very strong comprehensiveness of CX metrics, the highest globally followed by Canada (49%) and UK (44%)
● 62% of Indian businesses are able to report CX metrics in real time, the highest across the world followed by Canada (54%) and UK (50%)
While many understand the need for integration, breaking down the silos continues to pose a challenge. Even for Champions across the world who are 3.5 times more likely than Starters to use upwards of 16 apps, are six times more likely to report data fragmentation as a serious obstacle to delivering more seamless customer support. This stands true for businesses in India with nearly two-thirds (62%) likely to report as a problem.
Providing agents with the right information at the right time can help support teams better anticipate customer needs. Customer feedback can also help other teams act quickly to improve product or service offerings and Indian businesses understand this – 58% are able to turn customer feedback into change “very quickly”. In fact, better collaboration between sales and support teams can optimize customer engagement across all touchpoints, reduce churn, and build stronger relationships.
Evolving CX’s role
According to the report, rethinking the role of support teams requires investing in training and tools to ensure agents have what they need to uncover leads and close deals. Starters in India have the lowest satisfaction for CX tools they use and the highest proportion of staff being overwhelmed (69%) among Indian businesses polled. They also face challenges in training agents with 80% of them reporting it to be less than ideal. Adopting better CX technologies can help agents better manage their workload. 84% of Champions in India are extremely satisfied with the CX technology they use, and 100% of them saying their agents are never overwhelmed.
With the right technology, businesses will reap the benefits, and the data proves it. Globally, Champions are 6x more likely to uncover a new sales opportunity in more than 25% of their customer interactions; and are 62% more likely to find sales opportunities during customer interactions compared to Starters. However, as customer expectations rise so does the pressure to continue to differentiate a product or service.
“The biggest changes businesses face to keep up with – let alone get ahead of – customers’ expectations are both operational and cultural,” said Titterton. “The role of CX cannot be understated, and business leaders still need to only prioritize their investments but make them work well for their teams. We understand how daunting this can be, but the data underscores just how significant the opportunity is when you get it right.”
As consumers keep raising the expectation bar, the way forward is to ensure that businesses have the right knowledge, skills and technology to meet them. For more, download Zendesk’s CX Accelerator report.
In the second quarter of 2022, Zendesk surveyed more than 4,900 business decision makers who were focused on ensuring and/or enhancing customer service, support, and experience capabilities. The report examines their best practices and identifies stages of customer experience (CX) maturity from Starters at the earliest stage, progressing to Emergers, Risers, and CX Champions sitting at the highest level of expertise. Business decision makers represented organizations spanning all market segments, from small businesses to large enterprises, and multiple industry verticals like retail, financial services, manufacturing healthcare, education, and technology companies, among others. Countries surveyed include: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States.