The X Index, Havas CX’s barometer of customer experience efficiency, surveyed 28,000 consumers across five markets, scoring 250+ brands against 40 criteria
It sheds light on the dual but contrasting needs of consumers, who demand an almost Darwinist functional efficiency while simultaneously seeking an emotional connection from the brands they interact with (and buy from)
It also unearths a clear divide in consumer expectations of ‘Bricks & Clicks’ brands versus digital Pure Players – which are missing the opportunity to connect on an emotional level
Efficiency and emotion are the two most important factors when it comes to good CX (customer experience), says a new Havas study- the X Index. The study is based on consumer attitudes towards (CX) as a practice by brands. The X Index, which surveyed 28,000 consumers across five markets - China, France, India, UK and US - found that of the 40 criteria analysed, two factors- ‘the customer journey was simple’ and ‘the customer journey was pleasant’ scored the highest – even above other factors including brand loyalty, customer service and price.
The report is presented by Havas CX – an international network dedicated to delivering meaningful brand experiences across the entire customer journey. It brings together more than 1500 people from 20 of Havas Creative’s global agency groups and local agencies, plus additional CX specialists from across the Havas network, under a common structure, governance, methodology and mission.
It may be recalled that the India launch of Havas CX happened in October 2020. Havas CX spans 25 major Havas Villages around the world, with key hubs in London, Paris, New York and Mumbai. Havas CX is a powerhouse of experts in every area of digital transformation and design, customer experience and customer engagement, e-Commerce and much more.
In total, 250 brands – including both ‘Bricks & Clicks’ brands (bricks-and-mortar retailers that have implemented digital transformation programmes) and Pure Players (digital natives, online-only) – were rated across each criterion, according to consumers’ perception of their importance to the overall customer experience.
In India, 50 brands were studied under different categories such as Retail, Fashion/Sport, Financial Services, Automotive, Media/Tech, Hospitality, Fast Food and e-Retail. For Bricks & Clicks brands, relevant and responsible communication alongside the pleasantness of the experience ranked as the most important factor. For Pure Players, quality of their customer service was the single most important factor. While pleasantness of experience did emerge as a discerning factor for Pure Players, it was less pronounced than it was for ‘Bricks & Clicks’ brands. The study highlights that in India, the Customer-Brand Relation factor is the main driver of CX efficiency, with a conjunctural impact of Covid.
In India, the top five X Index emerging categories are Automotive, Hospitality, Fashion, Finance and Quick Service Restaurants. Top 10 brands in India, according to rank are Apple, Tanishq, Morris Garages, Maruti, Michelin, Hyundai, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Citroën, AirBnB and Marriott.
Overall, the study, conducted by Havas CX in partnership with research institute OpinionWay, shines a light on the dual but contrasting needs of consumers who demand an almost Darwinist functional efficiency while simultaneously seeking an emotional connection from the brands they interact with (and buy from).
It also uncovers a divide in consumer expectations of ‘Bricks & Clicks’ brands versus digital Pure Players – with emotional needs ranking higher for the former and functionality for the latter. This underlines a clear opportunity for Pure Players – with functionality very much a given, the emotional can represent a clear differentiating factor.
In total, 40 criteria were analysed across the key components of a customer journey: brand (i.e. ‘I completely trust the brand’, ‘I am loyal to the brand’), relationship (i.e. ‘quality of customer service’, ‘website and mobile app content is customised to customer needs’), purchase (i.e. ‘was seamless’, ‘was not intrusive’), product (i.e. ‘satisfaction with the quality of the services/products’, ‘satisfaction with the price of the services/products’) and, in light of the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic, response to COVID-19 (i.e. ‘adapted its shopping experience well’, ‘maintained relevant and responsible communication’).
While the importance consumers place on efficiency and emotion stands out, effective CX is driven by a unique combination of certain factors in each market. Havas CX has analysed this data to identify four key overarching principles of best-in-class customer experience in 2021:
- CREATE PERSONALISED EXPERIENCES: Customers today expect communication to be personalised in accordance to their profile and brands need to take into account their previous interaction with customers in order to deliver data-led personalised experiences. The fact that the fit of brand communication to audience profile as well as previous purchase ranked high for both Pure Players and Bricks & Clicks, underscores the importance of data-led personalisation for an effective CX.
- DELIVER A SEAMLESS OMNICHANNEL EXPERIENCE: It is imperative for Bricks & Clicks brands to extend their existing offline experiences onto digital platforms, as the customer is looking for a consistent and seamless experience across touchpoints. And while delivering it, Bricks & Clicks players should pay that extra attention to exceed consumer expectations and deliver an experience that is reflective of the brand’s core.
- BE RESPONSIBLE & CARING: In the post-pandemic world, consumers are expecting brands to act more responsibly. They expect brands to step up their post-sales service, especially in the case of Pure Players. Ranking high for both Pure Players and Bricks & Clicks is the need to enable consumers by providing them easy access to helpful and useful content on relevant touchpoints throughout the journey.
-SIMPLE EMOTIONAL CONNECT TO DELIGHT: Customer Experience is integral to all the brand interactions and the customer is not concerned about all the science and data that goes behind the design of the customer experience. What the consumer is looking forward to is a simple and pleasant purchase journey, which is easy to navigate. The simplicity of the experience leads to a delightful CX.
Neeraj Bassi, Chief Strategy Officer, Havas Group India, says, “The Havas X Index is a proprietary tool designed to serve as a global barometer for assessing customer experience. In addition to ranking brands and categories basis consumer’s evaluation of their CX offering, the report also highlights the most important factors that determine good CX. This information is going to be particularly useful for the CMOs and CEOs who are looking at revamping their CX offering post the pandemic. The focus of our report is to align all stakeholders on the importance of CX in building a differentiator for the brand.”
Prashant Tekwani, Executive Vice President and Business Head, Havas CX India, says, “New habits are formed with repetitive actions over time…but the pandemic has accelerated a behaviour for customer and brands alike, to adopt digital. The “New Normal” and “Pandemic has changed the way people purchase” are the most cliché terms used in 2020. Each brand will have to curate a buying journey which is meaningful, unique and relatable for the consumer to win loyalty. The lack of in-store experience has forced the Bricks & Clicks brands to look towards technology innovations to personalise the buying experience for the customer, contrary to treating each interaction as a transaction. Through our proprietary HAVAS CX barometer, we aim to uncover the drivers that brands need to keep in mind in order to deliver a delightful customer experience and better adapt to these changing scenarios.”