In 2021, brands cannot rely on customer loyalty reinforcing that ‘customer for life’ no longer exists
Mumbai, India, 23rd July 2021 – New research from OpenText reveals the extent to which the pandemic has changed customers’ expectations of brands, and the increasingly important role of a streamlined digital experience post-COVID.
The new data – from a survey of 6,000 Indian respondents – reveals that 77% of Indian consumers are more likely to buy again from brands which treat them like an individual, rather than the same as any other customer. This demand for brands to engage with customers as an individual is mirrored across the broader Asia-Pacific region (69%), in Europe (62%) and in North America (69%).
More than three quarters (77%) of Indian consumers only buy from brands that make them feel they understand their individual preferences, such as communicating with them through their favourite channels or providing tailored deals.
Customer Experience is King
68% of Indian consumers would be put off buying again from a brand due to a bad experience. In fact, the same number (68%) do not believe there is such thing as a ‘customer for life’ anymore in 2021, suggesting that brands cannot rely on customer loyalty stretching far enough to recover from bad experiences.
Creating a frictionless experience for customers is key to providing a good experience. When buying products or services online, nearly eight out of ten (80%) Indian consumers say that an easy search is very important to them. Furthermore, more than seven out of ten (72%) prefer to shop with brands that auto-fill and remember their details for next time. There is, however, pressure on brands to store that data correctly: almost 77% would even be willing to pay more to do business with a brand that is committed to protecting their personal data.
“The pandemic has accentuated the need for organisations to focus on digital channels and provide consumers with a consistent and integrated experience that surpasses expectations. In the post COVID-19 era, brands across all sectors will have to provide predictive and personalised communication across all touch points and channels, to demanding consumers who want to be served as individuals,” said Manish Dangwal, Country Manager – India Sales at OpenText. “Consequently, consumers will engage with brands that understand the need of replacing human touch with a seamless and connected digital experience. Consumer loyalty can no longer be taken for granted; the customer’s digital experience has to be enhanced with every online interaction. It is time for brands to create key differentiators and rethink customer engagement.”
The importance of digital in a post-COVID world
Investing in technology to manage the customer journey is quickly becoming a key priority for many organisations. In fact, IDC estimated that companies would spend over $553 billion on customer experience technologies and services in 2020.
For 86% of Indian consumers, the pandemic has changed their expectations of what a brand’s digital offering should be. Almost half (48%) won’t use brands if their experience isn’t excellent when buying online.
Nearly 77% are now more comfortable with digital only businesses as a result of the pandemic. And for an equal number 77% Indian consumers, a personalised digital experience is now vital to them if they are to come back to a brand time and time again.
The research also reveals consumer perspectives on which organisations have risen to the challenge of providing an optimal experience during the turbulence of the last year. More than three quarters (76%) say bigger established brands have been able to offer a smoother digital experience than smaller ones during the pandemic.
“Creating a positive customer experience is all about removing friction and increasing relevance: the easier something is to do and the more relevant it is to each customer, the better the experience.” said Guy Hellier. Vice President, Product Management at OpenText. “Today, customers expect their journey, from researching products to tracking orders, to transition seamlessly from one digital platform to another while retaining a consistent personalised feel – delivered across any device, at any time. For brands, this means investing in a digital experience platform which enables them to integrate data, information, and assets seamlessly across different environments. Without this in place, brands will struggle to create and deliver the cohesive and personalised experiences needed to win and retain customers.”