Increasingly high expectations are creating a business environment where the majority of organisations are struggling to keep up, according to a study from business collaboration service provider Avaya, which examined the emphasis that companies are putting on customer experience management (CEM). This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

In fact, while CEM programmes are being undertaken on a global scale by businesses of all sizes, the Avaya survey found that in India, 72% of the businesses have a CEM solution far better than the average of 59% globally but behind the 84% of businesses in China which have a solution in place.

CEM and Profits CEM activities are strongly tied to business success and growth trajectories. The study found a solid correlation between a strong CEM programme and increased profits. Globally, 81% of those who have seen a significant increase in profits have a CEM programme in place, compared to those who have seen profits remain static (46%) or suffered a decrease in profits (35%).

Companies see the biggest improvements in customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention and repeat purchasing, which the survey finds is largely attributed to the fact that 88% of customers, globally would rather spend their money with companies that make it easy for them to buy.

In comparison, Indian respondents felt the strongest about the importance of CEM in organisations with 75% of business managers in India describing CEM as extremely important, followed by Mexico (67%),the US (59%) and Brazil (59%).

Looking at what customers expect with regard to what companies are able to offer in India, 80% of the Indian customers expected to be treated as 'unique', with companies automatically delivering communications tailored to an individual's preferences. In stark contrast with customer expectations, only 49% of companies deliver on this.

Some 58% of companies in India are able to provide customer-facing staff with a single customer view in real time when a customer contacts the company. This is the higher in India in comparison to the other BRIC countries: China (48%), Russia (46%) and Brazil (43%).

45% of companies also say that they can link (in real time) all threads of communication across different channels (e.g. web, phone, social media etc). However, the customer expectations are high on this front, with 80% of the customers surveyed expecting organisations to offer them a wide variety of contact methods and for customer-facing staff to be fully up to speed on past conversations, emails and tweets etc.

Another area that technology has enabled, is for companies to be proactive with customers, which has the potential to deliver an exceptional customer experience. 47% of companies say their customers can be automatically notified by their corporate technology systems of potential problems (e.g. late order, stock issues, delivery problems etc.) and proactively offered solutions.

Bridging the gap
Today's multichannel/multidisciplinary way of working with customers requires strong support from enabling technology. Some 45% of businesses in India say they can automatically produce in real time a record of a prospect's contact history across all communication channels from the first point of contact, even if they have not become a customer. The importance of this is emphasized by the fact that 93% of customers in the country say the way a company treats them before they actually spend any money has an impact on how they feel about that company going forward.

"The majority of businesses acknowledge the need for a comprehensive CEM programme, but somehow fail to deliver on what it takes to implement one. The gap in India is quite wide as 80% of customers expect to be treated as unique whereas only 49% of companies deliver on this aspect," concluded Johnson Varkey, Avaya's director of contact centre sales in India. "Breaking down functional silos, tapping the expertise of internal and external resources and investing in technologies that bring customers and employees closer together will help put companies on the path to success."