The Adobe Digital Trends 2020 report makes a case for customer experience to be the key to running a successful business.
Globally, two in five (40%) businesses leading in customer experience (CX) significantly exceeded their 2019 business goals, compared to 13% of businesses not leading in the space, suggests the Adobe Digital Trends 2020 report, created in partnership with Econsultancy. The report surveyed over 13,000 marketing, advertising, ecommerce, creative and IT professionals, working for both brands and agencies in markets across the Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe and North America, on their priorities for 2020.
“The proven success of customer experience-led businesses makes an essential case for a customer-centric approach”, said Scott Rigby, Head of Digital Transformation for Adobe Asia Pacific.
“However, the move to a customer-first model involves more than implementing a single initiative or piece of technology. It’s about looking at the bigger picture and shifting business strategy, investment and culture, supported by the right tools and processes. It requires investment, but the rewards are there for those that make the shift,” he added.
CX is the priority for growth amongst APAC businesses but maturity lags
APAC businesses understand the importance of CX and are focused on optimising the customer journey in 2020, with one in five (19%) APAC organisations identifying better CX as their most exciting opportunity for this year. APAC companies will also be leading global CX technology investment with over half (57%) planning to invest more in CX technology, compared to 51% in Europe and 41% in North America this year. While Australia and New Zealand are prioritising customer journeys, India and China are investing in mobile and video to improve brand engagement.
Nevertheless, APAC’s CX maturity lags behind the rest of the world. Just 7% of APAC organisations consider themselves mature in the space, compared to 12% in North America and 11% for the rest of the world. Interestingly, around 54% of Indian organizations – highest in APAC– place themselves as ‘quite advanced’ when it comes to CX maturity, while only 3% – lowest in APAC– admit that they have not even started the journey.
Talent sourcing and retention is a challenge for CX leaders
To maintain their advantage, CX leaders globally are focused on obtaining and developing great talent. Two in five (40%) CX leaders said that attracting and retaining talent in digital, data and CX-related areas was their most significant concern for 2020. With over a quarter (26%) stating that finding and keeping the right people with the right skills is a barrier to creating successful digital experiences.
To retain and develop talent, CX leaders are 27% more likely to invest in training compared to non-CX leaders (20%), with a focus on teaching business concepts beyond a narrow definition of marketing. In a recent Econsultancy study, over 90% of executives said that it was essential that marketers understood the metrics and strategies of the wider business.
“Obtaining and developing great talent is a huge challenge for marketers and requires businesses to add and improve skills on an ongoing basis. This challenge also brings opportunity. Investing in people, technology and processes are all key ingredients for effective customer experience. Supporting talent early on will help businesses benefit in the long-run,” Rigby said.
Automation will empower marketers
The strongest business support for machines centres on its ability to empower people. Marketers work in a world filled with data and spend a significant amount of time building reports and analysing campaign metrics. However, these tasks are likely to be automated in the next five to ten years, offering respite to overloaded marketers.
APAC already leads against Europe and North America on the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology, with more than half of APAC businesses (54%) using or planning to use these tools. This is particularly true of India which leads in the region, with 46% of organisations revealing they plan to invest in ML and AI in 2020 and that’s on top of the 30% of Indian organisations that are already using AI and ML. One such business in the Indian context has been MG Motor India.
“As a new entrant to the Indian auto market, we’ve been trying to develop a more dynamic and personalised relationship with our customers, said Udit Malhotra, Head of Digital Marketing, MG Motor India. “By leveraging the new-age technologies such as AI, ML etc., we’ve been able to better understand customer behaviours, habits and patterns, and improve user experiences by delivering personalisation across the customer life cycle. These technologies have also helped foster transparency at dealership operations, as well as aided better profitability for our partners in the country.”
APAC businesses are demonstrating their commitment to bridge the customer experience maturity gap in their IT budgets, with 34% of APAC businesses planning to invest in ML and AI compared to 25% globally, the report suggests.
“The Digital Trends 2020 report is now in its tenth year and the data clearly shows us that businesses focused on customer experience are sailing ahead,” said Rigby. “Today, we’re able to interact with and understand our customers in more ways than ever before. The power of technology and data combined means that businesses are starting to operate in new ways, making CX a business imperative, not just a marketing objective.