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How digital is changing the customer experience game

L-R:Soumya Mohanty, Chief Client Officer - Insights Division, Kantar
Barbara Cador, Global Head, CX Kantar
L-R:Soumya Mohanty, Chief Client Officer - Insights Division, Kantar Barbara Cador, Global Head, CX Kantar

In today’s experience era, the majority of CEOs believe customer centricity is essential for driving business growth. However, there is still a big gap between ambition and reality, reveals a new CX+ study released by Kantar. 

According to the study, while 91 per cent of retail bank CEOs in India see the need to become customer-centric, just 29 per cent of consumers believe banks offer truly customer-centric experiences. 

CX+ reflects that providing excellent customer experiences is no longer enough. In a connected environment, brands and customer experience have become synonymous. Thus, the roadmap to growth is based on 5 key CX success factors:

  • Clarity of brand promise
  • Empowered employees
  • Empowered customers
  • Creating lasting memories
  • Exceptional delivery

The study also revealed the Top 10 CX+ Retail Banks in India: 

Ranking

Brand

1

HSBC

2

Standard Chartered

3

Citi

4

Yes Bank

5

IndusInd bank

6

ICICI Bank

7

Kotak Mahindra Bank

8

HDFC Bank

9

Syndicate Bank

10

Axis bank

Other findings underline the clear benefits of delivering strong customer experience:

  • Banks that lead in the CX+ Index are 1.6x more likely to be recommended than banks at the lower end of the index.
  • Banks that deliver an excellent experience on digital channels are 5x more likely to delight customers.
  • Customers are 3.6x more delighted when they feel appreciated by their bank.
  • While improved customer experience can benefit financial services companies across the board, the opportunity to grow is particularly significant among women, according to the research:
  • About 114 million Indian women are unbanked. About half of women in India with personal bank accounts use them in a limited capacity or not at all.
  • Women use more online banking than men (w: 55.7%, m: 49.8%) and are less likely to visit branches (w: 61.6%, m: 64.7%).
  • Women are more skeptical regarding FinTechs/ technology-enabled banking providers. They feel less in control of their finances with technology-enabled banking providers (w: 39%, m: 44%).

Commenting on the launch of the findings and CX+ ranking, Preeti Reddy, CEO - South Asia, Insights Division, Kantar, said, “There is a huge gap between brand promise and customer experience. Our study reveals that the top-ranking retail banks in India have delivered a superior customer experience that is matched with a strong brand promise, thus giving them a distinctive experience advantage over their competition. However, there’s a huge opportunity for growth as half of India is still unbanked and are increasingly looking up to their banks to give them more personalised experiences, smoother and more convenient digital services, and a more human approach to technology.” 

Adgully caught up with Barbara Cador, Global Head, CX Kantar, and Soumya Mohanty, Chief Client Officer - Insights Division, Kantar, to know more about the CX+ study, how retail banking is strengthening its customer experience strategy, tapping women customers and more. 

Please share the key insights from Kantar’s CX+ India study.
Soumya Mohanty: This is the first time that we have done this in India for the retail banking sector. First, there is a gap between what the banks are promising and what they are delivering, and that is what we call the CX plan and that we definitely need to live up to our plan. The second thing is that the customers are diverse and at some stage we need to think about how to craft to those diverse groups rather than just doing one brush kind of delivery for everyone. The third point is that customers want the power to choose, it’s not about whether we should do online or offline or whether we should have more branches and ATMs; a digital experience is about giving the customer an experience they want. 

Today most banks discourage customers from visiting the bank personally. How is this going to address that?
Soumya Mohanty: They discourage customers from an operational strategy view point, it actually makes sense for them to divert the customers, interact with them more digitally and what the customers are saying is that it gives them a seamless experience. That seamless experience for millennials could be an end to end digital experience, while the older group would still want to go to the branch and talk to a responsible person available, you can’t take away from them the reassurance that they are seeking. 

How can brands create disruption with their customer experience strategy?
Barbara Cador: Companies that don’t have a service department still have different customer handling techniques that help them grow, and that’s a massive implementation for the advertising agency. Advertising company and communication agencies have a role to play and are helping companies align their offerings. In fact, they are in it together. 

How is digitisation changing the game for building strong customer relationships?
Soumya Mohanty: Digitisation definitely improves convenience, and when digitisation is used in a sensible way, using the data to create personalised service, to give certain services digitally which we can’t give physically, it goes much beyond convenience. 

What makes for a successful customer experience strategy, especially when reactions and feedbacks can be swift and brutal on social media?
Soumya Mohanty: Absolutely, one of the things is that the millennials are taking the decisions driven by social media and it is very important to have a responsive mechanism that is faster and engages better. Even if you cannot solve them, at least create an impression that you are working on it. One of the mistakes that service companies do, especially banks, is that they don’t respond. But if something goes wrong and if you recover well, then the customer is happy enough. 

Where are brands going wrong in engaging women consumers?
Barbara Cador: That’s a very important point. Women in India are going through massive changes – rise in income, they are becoming more independent, taking on senior and leadership roles in companies – hence, the financial opportunity is massive. In the developed countries, banks are connecting with women and understanding their needs, and unlike, say, the FMCG companies, banks have a role in empowering women and creating that financial literacy and self-esteem in women. I think that is what is missing in India and that is why fewer percentage of women go to the bank branches. It’s a very masculine environment, it doesn’t foster empowerment or self-esteem. The opportunity is gigantic. Banks need to serve their women customers well and consistently. 

How big a role does AI/ Programmatic play in customer experience?
Soumya Mohanty: Right now this is a primary survey and we have asked them questions, but what we do in a lot of solutions is that we use the primary data along with other sources of data. It can be a transactional data that they have and which they can share with us and then see as to how we can link this to the behaviorial data that they have. For that we use AI and other such data analytical tools and techniques. 

Barbara Cador: We are also experimenting with social media listening and also looking at advanced marketing analytics with marketing scientists. 

Voice is the next big thing, how are you leveraging it?
Soumya Mohanty: When we are building our capabilities on AI, we are exploring both text and visuals, as most of the stuff online are visuals. We are working on it and experimenting with Voice.

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