Mithila, an advertising professional, mostly buys her monthly essentials from ecommerce marketplace and she trusts her etailers, as much as she trusts her neighbourhoodkirana store ‘bhaiyya’. However, her recent purchase of a vegan product on Amazon turned out to be non-vegan when the product arrived, and she was left disappointed. When pursued with customer care, not only was she refunded, soon she discovered the product was no longer listed on Amazon.
“It was an amazing buying experience. Who would have thought customer feedbacks would be taken so seriously in India?” she asks.
For long, customers in India were made to believe complaints often fall on deaf ears. However, far from the era of mass products and services, Indian customers today are increasingly expecting services that are tailored for them and willing to pay a higher price for the same.
According to the latest KPMG report ‘Customer Experience- The New Operational Excellence’, personalization is the highest driver for customer experience journey.
The report, which highlights six metrics or pillars that lead to enhanced customer experience, lists personalization, integrity, expectations, resolution, time and effort and empathy as the foundation for customer experience.
“Personalization is the pillar that Indian customers value the most when compared to other metrics. It has the largest impact on loyalty and advocacy. The results show that customer expectations from a brand are shifting from mere price considerations to the need for building more meaningful connects. Brands that are able to put themselves in the shoes of the millennial customers, understand and cater to their unique needs will be able to go ahead in the competition,” it says.
While the report speaks about understanding ‘how’ an organization delivers to their customers is beginning to become more important than ‘what’ it delivers, it says that global business players are tweaking their models to suit the Indian market.
What Indian customers value the most?
According to the report, if customers have to show loyalty or advocate a brand, personalization is the key. It further cites examples of global players like Adidas, Hyatt and even Amazon which have increased the benchmarks for customer experience. “Brands which recognize the individuality of their customers, add a personal touch and tailor the experiences have better connection with customers,” it says.
Further, it highlights that establishing a sense of integrity and building trust with a brand is very important for Indian customers. It says, “Without engendering trust, brands cannot gain a customer or showcase their products and services. Across industries, many brands have largely been successful in gaining trust and to grow, it’s important customers trust a brand.”
Customer experience delivered vs expectations
Interestingly, the report suggests that with growing consumer awareness along with many new entrants bombarding the market, customer expectations are rising at a much higher pace than a brand’s ability to deliver on these expectations. Brands that focus on a proactive vs reactive approach are most likely to bridge the gap fastest.
But how do brands drive customer experience? Follow these tips- the golden rule is to not forget the basics:
- Keep the customer at the centre of your strategy and just your database
Personalization is essential, but only once the basics are in order. It is necessary to constantly go back to your customers and ask them what problems need to be solved.
- Have a clear plan
There will always be another buzzword, framework or a strategy around the corner but it is imperative to realize that all roads must lead to the customer. With a clear plan on how to reach and engage the customer, a brand can avoid chasing shiny objects and keep the customer truly at the core of all its efforts.
- Don’t sit on your data
Customers trust a brand and invest time in sharing information about themselves and their needs. It is important to convert this data into actionable insights and deliver better experiences to your customers.
- Adopt a ‘customer first’ culture
Align organization incentives with achieving customer experience goals. This will ensure that across back-end, middle and front-end processes, the goal of customer first is maintained.