Efficiency and emotion are the two most important factors when it comes to good CX (customer experience), says the X Index, a recently released Havas study. The study is based on consumer attitudes towards CX as a practice by brands and surveyed 28,000 consumers across five markets – China, France, India, UK and US. It reveals that of the 40 criteria analysed, two factors: ‘the customer journey was simple’ and ‘the customer journey was pleasant’ scored the highest, even above other factors including brand loyalty, customer service and price. Havas CX has presented the report.
In total, 250 brands, including both, bricks-and-clicks players (brick-and-mortar retailers that have implemented digital transformation programmes) and ‘pure players’ (digital natives, online-only brands), were rated across each criterion according to consumers’ perception of their importance to overall customer experience. In India, 50 brands were studied under different categories such as retail, fashion, sport, financial services, automotive, media/tech, hospitality, fast food and e-retail.
In India, the top five X Index emerging categories are automotive, hospitality, fashion, finance and quick service restaurants. Top 10 brands in India, according to rank are Apple, Tanishq, Morris Garages, Maruti, Michelin, Hyundai, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Citroën, AirBnB and Marriott.
The report reveals that for bricks-and-clicks brands, relevant and responsible communication, alongside the pleasantness of the experience, ranked as the most important factor.
For pure players, the quality of their customer service was the single-most important factor. While pleasantness of experience did emerge as a discerning factor for these brands, it was less pronounced than it was for bricks-and-clicks brands. The study highlights that in India, the customer-brand relationship factor is the main driver of CX efficiency, with a conjunctural impact of Covid.
Also revealed in the report is a divide in consumer expectations of bricks-and-clicks brands versus digital pure players – with emotional needs ranking higher for the former and functionality for the latter. This underlines a clear opportunity for pure players – with functionality very much a given, the emotional can represent a clear differentiating factor.
In total, 40 criteria were analysed across the key components of a customer journey as follows:
1) Brand: ‘I completely trust the brand’ or ‘I am loyal to the brand’
2) Relationship: ‘Quality of customer service’ or ‘Website and mobile app content is customised to customer needs’
3) Purchase: ‘Was seamless’ or ‘Was not intrusive’
4) Product: ‘Satisfaction with the quality of the services/products’ or ‘Satisfaction with the price of the services/products’
5) Response to COVID-19: ‘Adapted its shopping experience well or ‘Maintained relevant and responsible communication’.
While the importance consumers place on efficiency and emotion stands out, effective CX is driven by a unique combination of certain factors in each market, the study claims. Havas CX has analysed this data to identify four key overarching principles of best-in-class customer experience in 2021:
1) Create personalised experiences: Customers today expect communication to be personalised in accordance with their profile and brands need to take into account their previous interaction with customers in order to deliver data-led personalised experiences, says the report. The fact that the fit of brand communication to audience profile as well as previous purchase ranked high for both pure players and bricks and clicks, underscores the importance of data-led personalisation for effective CX.
2) Deliver a seamless omnichannel experience: It is imperative for bricks-and-clicks brands to extend their existing offline experiences onto digital platforms, as the customer is looking for a consistent and seamless experience across touchpoints. And while delivering it, these players should pay that extra attention to exceed consumer expectations and deliver an experience that is reflective of the brand’s core.
3) Be responsible and caring: In the post-pandemic world, consumers are expecting brands to act more responsibly. They expect brands to step up their post-sales service, especially in the case of Pure Players. Ranking high for both, pure players and bricks-and-clicks, is the need to enable consumers by providing them easy access to helpful and useful content on relevant touchpoints throughout the journey.
4) Simple, emotional connect to delight: Customer experience is integral to all the brand interactions and the customer is not concerned about all the science and data that goes behind the design of the customer experience. What the consumer is looking forward to is a simple and pleasant purchase journey, which is easy to navigate. The simplicity of the experience leads to a delightful CX.
Neeraj Bassi, chief strategy officer, Havas Group India, says, “The Havas X Index is a proprietary tool designed to serve as a global barometer for assessing customer experience. In addition to ranking brands and categories basis consumer’s evaluation of their CX offering, the report also highlights the most important factors that determine good CX. This information is going to be particularly useful for the CMOs and CEOs who are looking at revamping their CX offering post the pandemic. The focus of our report is to align all stakeholders on the importance of CX in building a differentiator for the brand.”
Added Prashant Tekwani, executive vice president and business head, Havas CX India, “New habits are formed with repetitive actions over time but the pandemic has accelerated a behaviour for customer and brands alike, to adopt digital. The “new normal” and “the pandemic has changed the way people purchase” are the most clichéd terms used in 2020. Each brand will have to curate a buying journey that is meaningful, unique and relatable for the consumer to win loyalty. The lack of in-store experience has forced the bricks-and-clicks brands to look towards technology innovations to personalise the buying experience for the customer, contrary to treating each interaction as a transaction. Through our proprietary Havas CX barometer, we aim to uncover the drivers that brands need to keep in mind in order to deliver a delightful customer experience and better adapt to these changing scenarios.”