Everybody in the marketing profession agrees that customer experience is top on the agenda. But a few have taken the right steps and are well advanced in the customer experience journey.
The recently released ‘Customer Experience Maturity in India’ report, produced by Econsultancy in association with Epsilon, is based on a survey of 319 marketing, digital and ecommerce professionals based in India. The report explores the extent to which organisations in the region focus on the customer, how well they understand the customer journey, how customer experience (CX) budgets are allocated, how return on investment is measured and what the future of customer experience initiatives looks like.
Among the top findings of the study, three in five companies have no specifically allocated budget for understanding the customer journey. When it comes to budget allocation for optimising the customer experience, 59 per cent of companies admitted that they either siphon off funds from other things, or have no budget at all.
However, the flip side of the story was a little more encouraging. A healthy proportion of survey respondents say they either have a single dedicated budget assigned to understanding the customer journey, or a dedicated budget split between various departments. This is the situation for 41 per cent of companies and 59 per cent of agencies.
There were also some candid confessions. Nearly half of the respondents in this study cited that their company or clients were not very advanced in terms of the maturity of their customer experience. The prime reason for this assumption was that most of them had some ad-hoc tactical initiatives but no real CX strategy or technology capability.
Nearly two in five (39 per cent) of the company respondents and more than half of agencies say that they (or their clients) are at an ‘intermediate’ stage of understanding the customer journey, meaning that some parts of the journey are joined-up, but there are important pieces of the jigsaw still missing. Furthermore, 38 per cent of companies define their understanding as being at a ‘beginner’ level, and 30 per cent of agency respondents concur with this view. Only 17 per cent of companies claim they are at an ‘advanced’ stage of understanding the customer journey, where there is a coordinated approach across online and offline touchpoints.
Among the barriers to improving customer experience, the complexity of the landscape and the growing number of touchpoints emerge as the greatest concerns for 28 per cent of company respondents. With the number of digital touchpoints increasing by 20 per cent annually, the customer journey has become an incredibly complex beast, and getting to grips with it can be a costly and time-consuming task, says the study. “The challenge for marketers in joining the dots between their various touchpoints is only likely to increase as consumers opt for more complete digital and mobile interactions.”
The lack of an overall strategy or vision is also proving to be a significant obstacle for a quarter of company respondents, and 44 per cent of agency-side respondents (the largest majority) support this view. A further 24 per cent of companies believe organisational structure is a problem, suggesting that department silos are preventing businesses from adopting a customer-centric approach and mentality.