Based on a survey of more than 18,000 metro Indian online adult consumers that measures and ranks the CX quality at 72 brands in India, Forrester’s CX Index reveals that most brands in India increased their CX Index scores this year, with foreign brands leading the CX rankings in most industries.
As in most other countries where Forrester conducts the CX Index study, the financial services industry came out top in India. In terms of industry averages, banks and credit card providers shared the top spot alongside PC manufacturers.
Of the eight industries surveyed, five had leaders that were foreign multinational companies operating in India: Best Price (Walmart) in traditional retail, Amazon in digital retail, American Express in credit cards, and Apple in PC and mobile manufacturing. On the home front, Tata AIG and Bharti AXA lead amongst the auto and home insurance providers, Kotak Mahindra in banks, Idea Cellular in wireless service providers and Big Basket in digital retail.
While no brand made it to the excellent category, the number of brands with good scores almost doubled, with several moving up from OK. At the other end of the spectrum, while almost a third of the brands in 2015 had either very poor or poor scores, only one brand was poor this year and none was very poor.
The eight brands that increased their scores by at least 10 points in Forrester’s India CX Index, 2016 were Big Bazaar, Jabong.com, Central, HyperCity, Reliance Digital, Aircel, ezone and Reliance Trends.
Big Bazaar and Central have improved the most among traditional retailers. Both owned by Future Group, they gained upward of 15 points each. This push for better customer experience in traditional retail is again a direct result of the competition from e-commerce players that have disrupted the market with massive discounts. Realising that competitive pricing is not a sustainable strategy long term, traditional retailers are shifting their focus to improving CX as the more sensible way forward. The industry leader Best Price was the only brand not to improve its score this year, despite continually meeting customers’ needs easily. Reliance Digital and HyperCity made an impressive leap of more than 10 places to share the No. 2 spot, thanks to greater loyalty scores from their customers.
Amazon continued its reign at the top, with Big Basket sharing the throne. The biggest mover in the category was Jabong.com. It made great strides in 2016 by meeting customers’ expectations and making them feel more positive about their interactions with the retailer. In general, digital-only retailers are realising that deep discounting as a customer acquisition strategy leads to a downward spiral. With no profits to show, increasingly impatient investors, and the threat of foreign entrants with even deeper pockets looming large, many digital retailers have now begun to publicly claim to focus on delivering a differentiated CX instead.
The wireless service industry’s eight-point improvement in its average score was one of the biggest changes for any industry. Idea Cellular continued to lead the group by delivering value with services like national mobile number portability and mobile internet sharing. Significantly, it was the only wireless provider brand to break into the good category. Improvement in the industry is the result of steep competition. For instance, incumbent brands felt sufficiently threatened by new player Reliance Jio to offer better products, services, and rates. India’s telecom regulatory body also focused on service quality issues late last year, pushing service providers to improve their operations.
Comparing industry averages, some industries were able to collectively improve by six points or more in 2016. 2015’s industry leaders — banks and mobile device manufacturers made only modest gains despite having further room to grow. Credit cards, which came top in 2015, was the only industry to see a drop in its score this year. Many of the brands that made big improvements were from the wireless, traditional retail, and digital-only retail industries, with some gaining as many as 19 points. Brands that saw the least movement were from the auto/home insurance and mobile device manufacturer industries.
Amit Bhatia, Forrester senior analyst, said, “Forrester data shows a compelling link between CX and revenue. Higher CX returns are around the corner for brands that walk the CX walk. Brands that seize this opportunity to deliver superior CX can hope to differentiate themselves from their competition and look forward to higher revenue growth and market share.”
According to the research, to get there, brands must continue focusing on ease and effectiveness while keeping an eye on emotion, draw inspiration from what CX leaders are doing, map their customers’ journeys, identify and build missing CX competencies and lastly, identify the drivers that have the biggest impact on CX.