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Connected customers expect a hyper-personalised, effortless experience but organisations are slow to respond: Report

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NTT Ltd, a world-leading global technology services provider, has revealed the findings of its annual Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report titled “The Connected Customer: Delivering an effortless experience.” According to the research, only 12 per cent of Asia Pacific (10 per cent in India) organisations are delivering a fully functioning experience, yet more than half (64 per cent in Asia and 74.6 per cent in India) consider customer experience (CX) to be a primary differentiator.

Organisations struggle to align their CX strategies to voice of customer (VoC) feedback, with 54 per cent having no formal process for considering this data and 19 per cent which capture no feedback at all. Only 34 per cent fully define and track the value contribution of CX and roughly a third (34 per cent) are able to connect data relationships between channels – leaving the rest operating ‘blind’ with no full view of the customer ecosystem. That said, across the globe, the collection of VoC feedback by organisations is improving with a 45 per cent improvement since 2019 in those capturing some form of feedback and 10 per cent now perceive their VoC program to be at an advanced level across all channels.

“Businesses today are recognising the competitive advantage and differentiation that superior customer experiences can deliver for its customers,” says Lux Rao, Director – Solutions & Consulting, NTT India Pvt. Ltd. “However, the myopic approach of maximizing customer satisfaction at every touch point creates an illusion that the customers are happier than they are. This dilutes focus on the bigger and more important picture that is the customer’s end-to-end journey.

With 74.6 per cent of the organisations in India recognising CX as a primary differentiator, it now becomes imperative to overcome the poor strategic execution that is thwarting progress to deliver a hyper-personalised and effortless experience. A thoughtful, integrated and precise strategy for bringing the power of digital technology to complex B2B relationships, will help organisations better connect with and remain relevant to customers, at every touchpoint of their journey.

Organisations that can skilfully manage the entire experience with an execution framework through harnessing the potential of data, personalisation, design focus, automation and agile adaptation, stand to reap enormous rewards by creating more value for customers and their business.”

Listening starts with strategy
A successful CX strategy is proven to improve customer and brand engagement and drive commercial performance. Yet many organisations are still stuck in the developmental stage due to siloed technology systems, inconsistencies in experience, and a lack of clear processes. Specifically, the challenges include:

Faltering technology systems: One in five (20 per cent) say their technology systems are failing to meet current needs and many teams still struggle with legacy systems (42 per cent) and the integration of multiple technology systems (43 per cent). Additionally, the inability to secure budgets (48 per cent) remains a concern and skills shortages is seen as a growing concern (26 per cent).

Siloed channels and internal business organisations: Half (51 per cent) of organisations agree there is only partial collaboration between functions when it comes to designing CX, and 13 per cent don’t collaborate at all. Less than two thirds (60 per cent) still have no cross-channel contact management strategy and 30 per cent claim to have good or complete consistency across contact channels.

Inconsistent priorities: Personalisation capabilities have surged from 62 per cent to 78 per cent in one year, but just 17 per cent of organisations place “customer delight” as the top driving force behind their customer journey design strategy. This may account for why over one third (44 per cent) of assisted services enquires fail to be resolved during first contact, while automated channels fare worse with a 57 per cent fail rate.

Creating a smarter CX with data analytics
While more than three quarters (77 per cent) of organisations indicate that they are satisfied with their customer satisfaction capability, only 17 per cent of their customers rate customer experience at ‘advocacy’ level. Worryingly, just 11 per cent of AI and robotics users say customers rate their experience at advocacy level, exposing the gap between emerging technologies and satisfaction levels.

This demonstrates that businesses need to create a smart strategy which bases AI on optimum data. Organisations must learn to fill the gap between data management and integration, and prioritize an efficient data management platform. As it stands, only half (50 per cent) of data capture needs are defined and aligned to desired business outcomes, and just 20 per cent have a dedicated team managing the company’s entire data lake. In fact, 15 per cent have no data management strategy at all. Because of this, data is becoming increasingly difficult to manage. Half (50 per cent) of all teams are evaluating and learning how to use available data and 22 per cent do not have the required data management skills or resources to do so.

An increasing number of organisations are moving towards the use of smart data to inform CX decisions but are often overwhelmed by this transformation. Half of businesses confirmed data analytics and data management will be one of the top three tech initiatives prioritized by the CX team. Analytics (59 per cent) is expected to be the top factor in reshaping the CX industry within the next five years. This is closely followed by artificial intelligence (57 per cent), service personalization (38 per cent) and technology integration (37 per cent).

Overcoming business organisational structure challenges
Many organisations believe AI and automation is the future for creating operational efficiency, hyper personalization and providing an effortless customer experience. The majority (71 per cent) of businesses believe customer operations will be positively affected by AI and CX robotics. Rules-based robotic solutions “are the preferred option both now and in the short term with AI being the top five-year priority.” However, the implementation of AI remains difficult. Looking forward, businesses must find a solution for the current lack of skills across the business, which is currently considered a challenge for more than half (59 per cent) of organisations today.

“Businesses must look at how technologies such as AI and RPA can work as part of their organisational team structures,” said Pranay Anand, Asia Pacific Director, Intelligent Workplace for NTT Ltd. “But to do this successfully, AI needs to work with the voice of the customer data which is collected by advanced social listening tools. This data must also be compiled from across the business’s value chain in order to help AI realize its potential. Therefore, design thinking and an ecosystem focused approach is imperative.”


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