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New CX Research from Exotel, Gainsight, and Heap

Topics Include CXOs Holiday Focus, Digital Customer Success, and Data Stack Challenges

New CX Research from Exotel, Gainsight, and Heap

Exotel: CXOs Prepare for Upcoming Festive Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, 80% of chief experience officers (CXOs) are sharpening their focus on building omnichannel experiences and orchestrating a diverse array of marketing strategies, reveals Exotel, the Bangalore, India-based provider of a customer conversation platform and a virtual telecom operator across India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

These strategies, according to the company’s new CXO Festive Readiness Report, encompass influencer marketing, social media promotions, email and WhatsApp campaigns, alluring festive offers, and strategic brand collaborations. The common thread among the initiatives is the commitment to provide customers with seamless journeys from initial discovery to final purchase, a task in line with the responsibilities of a CXO, the C-suite executive who ensures positive interactions between an organization and its customers.

For 37% of CXOs, enticing offers and discounts are the driving force behind consumer spending. Discounts effectively leverage price sensitivity, creating a sense of urgency, enhancing perceived value, and providing a competitive edge. Meanwhile, personalization is the top marketing strategy for 64% of CXOs, involving the alignment of marketing efforts with consumer preferences, and harnessing data to craft tailored messages and offers that ultimately lead to heightened customer engagement.

Among business establishments, 86% are making significant investments in creating a holistic customer journey, recognizing the pivotal role of delivering a positive CX for the upcoming holidays. Technology integration is also critical, with 84% of businesses merging their customer platforms with marketing technology―not only enhancing operational efficiency but also fortifying marketing strategies. And to foster connected customer conversations, 81% of businesses are leveraging multiple communication channels to maintain a unified and consistent brand presence across all customer touchpoints.

However, the path to holiday success is not without challenges. Intense competition, faced by 30% of CXOs, underscores the need for innovative, standout strategies. Another substantial challenge is posed by limited marketing budgets, an issue voiced by 26.3% of CXOs that necessitates the judicious allocation of resources and a keen focus on efficiency.

Even so, Udit Agarwal, vice president and global head of marketing at Exotel, applauds the dynamic spirit of CXOs in India. “It’s not merely about readiness; it’s about innovation and placing the customer at the core of strategies, especially in the lead-up to the festive fervor.”

A new survey from Axis My India, a consumer data intelligence company in the South Asian country, discloses that 23% of shoppers in India plan to buy more for this year’s holiday season compared with the previous year. The finding reflects the expectation of higher holiday spending among consumers in India, which surpassed China this year to become the world’s most populous country.

Gainsight: SaaS Companies Focus on Digital Customer Success to Drive Efficiency

Fresh research from customer success firm Gainsight shows that new digital strategies are helping companies improve CX, product adoption, and customer retention. In fact, 48%, or almost half, of software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies in North America possess a formal digital customer success (DCS) program focused on adding more efficiency to their growth strategies, according to the new Gainsight white paper, The 2023 Customer Success Index North America: The Inflection Point, created in partnership with business-to-business (B2B) SaaS research firm Benchmarkit.

During the past decade, “customer success” has evolved from a standalone business to help avoid churn to its current role as a key business strategy for driving more efficient revenue growth, the study notes. At the same time, tools and technology for DCS, which blends human and digital touchpoints to support customers, have become more popular, gaining ground in companies at both the lower and higher ends of the revenue spectrum—those making between $1 million to $10 million or those pulling in more than $100 million, respectively.

“While most companies in the current market are trying to ‘do more with less’ and hope for the best, we see a much bigger opportunity to ‘act differently’ with a digital-first approach to customer success,” says Tyler McNally, senior vice president of CX and customer success operations at San Francisco-based Gainsight. “With automation, hyper-personalization, and self-service, digital customer success allows companies to get even closer to their customers while simultaneously achieving scale and efficiency. That’s why we predict that in five years, digital customer success experiences will be table stakes.”

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A key finding of the study is that customer success has matured, with 98% of companies today maintaining or increasing their investment in customer success. Companies also recognize the value of customer success in driving efficiency and in furthering their return on investment (ROI). This year, the number of companies with a dedicated customer success operations team has more than doubled, from 20% in 2022 to 41% in 2023.

In another key finding, the report says that among 59% of respondents, the top objectives for DCS are to increase customer success scale and efficiency , improve CX and product adoption (19%), and retain customers (18%). Digital events and content, such as webinars and conferences were the principal DCS channels, according to 78% of respondents, followed by marketing automation (65%), in-app guides and messages (56%), and customer success platforms (also 56%).

Heap: Data Stack Challenges and Global Data Regulations Present Major Concerns

Organizations continue to grapple with the challenges present in building and operating a modern data stack while data teams worry that global data regulations will render data gathering difficult, per a new survey from digital insights platform provider Heap.

Findings from Data Decoded: The Heap Digital Insights Report indicate that more than 60% of such teams report having difficulty consolidating and organizing data across different tools. Moreover, 37% share that it takes too much time to extract meaningful insights from the data collected.

Nearly 70% of respondents also worry that global data regulations will make it difficult to gather and use needed data, but 58% believe that AI can be useful in collecting the right data. Still, 94% of respondents think that teams could make more data-informed decisions; 67% of respondents say it is easier to understand what users are doing on their websites compared with on their mobile apps or mobile websites.

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Data silos also remain a persistent challenge for 86% of organizations, who say that data silos are created by the inability of tools to share data and by the lack of a company culture or mandate to share data.

“The survey results show that successful organizations prioritize a data-driven culture to better understand their user’s cross-platform experience,” says Rachel Obstler, chief product officer at San Francisco-based Heap. “It further reveals that teams want to make more data-informed decisions, and that many try to do a better job by adding various solutions to their data stack.”
Obstler adds that despite their best intentions, data teams struggle to extract meaningful insights across various platforms and datasets. Looking ahead, 75% of respondents believe their daily work will be impacted by AI, and 31% think it will “somewhat” change the way that customer journeys are analyzed.

In the end, the survey concludes that the obstacles and concerns outlined in the survey can be addressed with the proper data analytics platform to streamline and organize diverse datasets with a holistic overview of users, journeys, experiences, and behaviors.

Author Information

Alex is responsible for writing about trends and changes that are impacting the customer experience market. He had served as Principal Editor at Village Intelligence, a Los Angeles-based consultancy on technology impacting healthcare and healthcare-related industries. Alex was also Associate Director for Content Management at Omdia and Informa Tech, where he produced white papers, executive summaries, market insights, blogs, and other key content assets. His areas of coverage spanned the sectors grouped under the technology vertical, including semiconductors, smart technologies, enterprise & IT, media, displays, mobile, power, healthcare, China research, industrial and IoT, automotive, and transformative technologies.

At IHS Markit, he was Managing Editor of the company’s flagship IHS Quarterly, covering aerospace & defense, economics & country risk, chemicals, oil & gas, and other IHS verticals. He was Principal Editor of analyst output at iSuppli Corp. and Managing Editor of Market Watch, a fortnightly newsletter highlighting significant analyst report findings for pitching to the media. He started his career in writing as an Editor-Reporter for The Associated Press.

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