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Customer Experience, a Top Priority to Indian Marketers: Study

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Paul Writer, India’s first community of marketers today released the findings of a research project sponsored by SAP on Customer Engagement. Based on a LinkedIn poll taken by over 600 senior marketers in India, the findings suggest that for Indian marketers customer experience is emerging as a top priority.

The LinkedIn poll asked senior marketers in India where they believe customers would like them to invest their budgets in the coming year. The majority said clients would want them to spend on improved products/services (33 percent) and a “better experience overall” (43 percent). This suggests that the Indian marketers are clearly becoming more tuned into the importance of building a strong customer experience, before they venture into more sophisticated initiatives such as targeted offers and mobile access.

Commenting on the relevance of customer experience today, Rajesh Kumar, Head of Marketing, Indian Subcontinent, SAP, says, “Customer Experience emerged as the top priority for CEOs in building & maintaining their competitive edge. Organizations need to address the customers’ journey with their brands holistically rather than trying to address it as a point problem. We are seeing innovative CMOs taking the lead and leveraging technology to understand, track and deliver the experience that customers expect.”   Paul Writer spoke to Ganesh Vasudevan, CEO, indiaproperty.com, on the importance of customer engagement in his business today. He said, “The customer engagement challenge to my mind is to keep meaningfully conversing with your consumers- from when he or she is an early suspect right up to the post purchase servicing stage and beyond into the repeat purchase stage, and today’s technologies have created a rich milieu of new touch points both virtual and real for marketers to start these conversations.”

The respondents of the LinkedIn poll point out that best customer experience combines quality, relevant products and price. Also they suggest that it’s time to give the customer better products, service and the best quality at an optimum cost. Some respondents pointed to technology’s role in providing compelling customer experiences, using analytics to unearth customer preferences and integrating systems to achieve consistency across all channels, including phone, web, mobile, instant messaging and in-store.

Survey respondents also indicated they are looking over the horizon at giving customers greater mobile access and improving targeted offers. Additionally, prevailing marketing techniques vary considerably from industry to industry. In business-to- business markets, for example, many companies need to build and maintain loyalty in their dealer network, and targeted offers greatly aid in that pursuit. “In the cement industry, companies do everything to make dealers loyal. For that, better targeted offers is the most suitable method,” said one respondent.

Nicholas Kontopoulos, Senior Global Marketing Director, Customer LoB Solutions, SAP APJ, says, “Being able to deliver a consistent customer experience (CX) is fast becoming a table stake. A positive or negative CX is intrinsically linked to brand loyalty and value. As a result, my challenge to marketing leaders is that it’s in their interest to understand how CX is created beyond the four walls of marketing. CMOs today need to take an active role in understanding how CX is created across the entire customer journey and become a strategic advisor to the CEO on this critical topic.”   Jessie Paul, CEO of Paul Writer India, concludes, “Till recently the Indian customer was accustomed to lip service from brands. But rising prosperity and increased competition have given them a voice and businesses are becoming customer centric.”

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