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No biz success in India without better customer experience, suggests Zendesk study

Bangalore, January30, 2021:Despite 2020 being a year of far-reaching and rapid transformation in how people live, collaborate, and connect, the global Zendesk  Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2021 shows the customer experience is increasingly crucial to business success and that the most successful companies are adopting new technology at record speed.
In fact, new data released today shows that half (53%) of organisations in APAC are planning to invest in CX software more in 2021.  At the same time, two in five (44%) customers in the region say that experience is more important to them now compared to a year ago and 67% of companies say their organisation prioritises CX more than a year ago. This view  is also echoed by a majority of companies (90%) and customers (56%) surveyed in India.
The report looks at the top trends in customer experience through the Zendesk Benchmark, a unique data index on how more than 90,000 companies use their support solutions. The global report also includes survey insights from  India, as well as the US, UK, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Korea, Italy, the Nordics, and Benelux.
Says Wendy Johnstone, Chief Operating Officer, APAC, Zendes: “We’ve seen companies in APAC embrace digitalisation at an incredible speed this year in response to the dramatic shifts in the operating landscape they’ve had to navigate. Customer experience has never been more important, and we think this accelerated adoption of technology is likely to continue in 2021. Organisations need to ensure they have the right strategies, processes and technology in place to empower customer support teams and drive business success.”  
A Gartner survey conducted in 2020 found that 91% of organisations said that CX was one of or the primary goal of their digital business transformation efforts.
Adds KT Prasad, MD and RVP, India & SAARC, Zendesk:“Even as businesses in India are looking forward to a new year of possibilities and are gradually returning to their workplace, one thing remains – the new normal is here to stay. The pandemic has accelerated the digital wave in the country within just a matter of days, raising the bar of customer expectations and demands. The CX Trends Report 2021 highlights how a seamless customer experience (CX) journey can elevate the overall experience and satisfaction that a brand offers its customers to drive longer lasting loyalty.”
From navigating changing behaviours to adopting new channels to reimagining the workforce, the Zendesk CX Trends Report 2021 gives companies a roadmap to navigate this new CX landscape so they can champion good customer service at every turn. Top findings include: 

  • Stay ahead of the digital curve: Companies are adopting technology at light speed, and it’s adapt or get left behind. In India, 73% of the customers are willing to spend more for a better online experience, while 40% of customers will switch to a competitor after one bad experience. On a macro level, organisations identified as ’high-performing’ in APAC based on customer service metrics such as CSAT and reply speed, are more likely to have adopted omnichannel solutions, with over half (54%) offering self-service in addition to other key channels including phone, email or messaging, compared to just 20% of low performers. 
  • Be part of a more conversational world: As customers adopt new behaviours, the soaring popularity of messaging apps opens the door for more streamlined, conversational experiences. Ninety-three percent of customers in India have tried a new way to get in touch with customer service in the last year - the highest in the region. For many, that includes using messaging for support requests over apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which have spiked significantly during the pandemic with social messaging up 117% in APAC since February 2020.
  • Realise the power of employee experience: In an increasingly distributed world, companies must rethink how they work smarter across teams. Many employees across APAC still don’t feel like they have the right tools to succeed in this new and often distributed environment, whether it’s keeping track of their performance indicators, staying connected with their colleagues, or feeling supported by their companies. However, employees in India feel otherwise. Only 14% of managers in India say they don’t have the right analytics tools to measure success for remote teams, and 13% of agents don’t have the right tools to work successfully from home - the lowest in APAC.
  • Set teams up for success by emphasising agility: Facing continued volatility, service and support organisations must find ways to keep up with their customers. Customer experience leaders cited the ability to quickly adapt to the evolving needs of customers as their biggest challenge in 2020 and the highest priority going forward.
  • Make it easier for customers with a focus on CX: Unprecedented in speed and scale, the recent surge in online channels puts pressure on companies to meet rising expectations as customer experience takes center stage. The vast majority (72%) of customers in India say they are willing to spend more with a company that offers a good customer experience, while 62% will take their business elsewhere following bad experiences.

Additional India data:
We are seeing companies in India shift from traditional ways of doing business to more modern platforms and processes. This rapid shift to adopt digitalisation across all industries and functions, have been further accelerated due to the pandemic.

  • Our CX Trends report underscores this - Majority (90%) of Indian organizations polled were significantly more likely than their counterparts in Australia (66%), Japan (26%), and Singapore (77%) expect to prioritize CX in 2021
  • The enterprise and SMB space have gone hand-in-hand with our global strategy as we are seeing a lot of opportunities. We are anticipating even more digitisation across India.
  • As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, we’re focusing on what we do best: delivering fast time to value through customer experience solutions that empower organizations to communicate authentically and seamlessly across channels.

Localised supporting points:

  • Some organisations will continue to adopt technology at an accelerated pace in 2021 to drive business success:
    • Customer experience leaders cited the ability to quickly adapt to the evolving needs of customers as the biggest challenge in 2020 and the highest priority in 2021 
    • Half (53%) of organisations in APAC are planning to invest in CX software more in 2021
    • While 90% of organisations in India say CX is more important to them on 2021
  • While a large number of organisations are struggling to empower their workforce to provide outstanding experiences in APAC, employees in India feel otherwise:
    • Only 14% of managers in India say they don’t have the right analytics tools to measure success for remote teams - the lowest in the region
    • 13% of agents in India say they don’t have the right tools to work successfully from home - also the lowest in the region
  • In an increasingly distributed world, companies must rethink how they work smarter across teams and India is headed in the right direction:
    • 83% of companies in India are looking to invest in new ways to engage employees
    • More than 9 out of 10 of companies (94%) now have access to developer resources, which means that teams can customize their support solutions to help teams work smarter.
    • While 80% of teams in India have already gone fully remote, 90% of companies still plan to give employees more WFH flexibility

Customer behaviours are changing, and a brand’s CX needs to change with it. 
Localised supporting points:

  • How customers engage with organisations is changing as a result of the accelerated digital adoption in India:
    • The pandemic showed that during uncertain times, customers want clear and quick communication with brands on their channel of choice.
    • More than nine out of ten customers in India (93%) have tried a new way to get in touch with customer service in the last year and more than half (63%) of those will continue using the new channel moving forward.
  • Messaging in particular has grown faster than any other customer service channel — as customers stuck at home flocked to messaging apps as a way to contact companies.
    • In fact, social messaging channels saw a usage spike of 117% in APAC and the highest percentage of first-time users in India (61%) since February 2020
  • Organisations have had to adopt technology quickly to remain competitive in COVID and are seeing greater success:
    • High-performing organisations (based on customer service metrics such as CSAT and reply speed) are more likely to have adopted omnichannel solutions
    • 54% of high-performing organisations in APAC offer self-service in addition to other key channels, including phone, email or messaging, compared to just 20% of low performers

Localised supporting points:

  • Compared to a year ago, almost half of customers in APAC say that experience is more important to them now and two-thirds of companies in APAC say their organisation prioritises CX more 
  • With the dramatic events of 2020, customers in India expect more from brands and organisations. They want to be understood. They want to be treated as individuals. They also want to purchase from brands that align with their values and treat them well:
    • 56% of Indians want customer service agents to be empathetic
    • More than 60% want to buy from companies that prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion
    • Close to two thirds (64%) want to buy from companies that are socially responsible
  • However, customers in India appear to be more forgiving and loyal compared to other markets in APAC:
    • Just 40% will switch to a competitor after one bad experience - the second lowest in the region after Australia (38%) - and 62% will switch only after multiple bad experiences (the lowest in the region)
    • Of those customers who bought from a new company during the pandemic, over 90% of them are willing to continue to buying from the same company 
  • A McKinsey study also revealed that Indian consumers are more cautious when it comes to spending their money, making it even more critical for businesses to deliver on their promises

For more, including data and insights by region, industry and company size, go to LINK to read the full report.