It can help, therefore, to know which technologies are the most popular among marketers for improving the customer experience. In this article, we’ll look at the top four, according to Econsultancy research.

Optimizing the customer experience

In our 2017 Digital Trends survey, we asked around 5,000 brand marketers what their single most important opportunities will be for their organisation in 2017 and the most popular answer was ‘optimizing the customer experience’.

Why? Well for one reason, it’s because optimizing the customer experience was considered by the same respondents to have been the single biggest opportunity in 2016 (17%).

Optimization does not come easily, though. Improving the customer experience, even on a single channel, can be time-consuming and difficult.

Because of this, marketers carefully choose which technologies will have the greatest impact when striving to make improvements. They need to deliver greater value to customers, but not end up supporting difficult-to-use or new technologies which may results in an inconsistent, poor experience. Marketers should, therefore, first work to improve familiar technologies which are easier to manage.

From the responses to our recent survey, CX Maturity in India produced in association with Epsilon, it seems that marketers in India are doing just that.

Below are the top four technologies  marketers use for customer experience initiatives along with comments on each one.

1) Email Service Provider (ESP)

The most popular technology for customer experience initiatives among survey-takers, by some margin, is ’email service platform / provider’. In use by nearly three in four (73%) respondents, ESPs are one of the best ways to engage with customers as they help marketers segment audiences and tailor messages at scale.

Other studies have reported on the popularity of email in India as well. In a recent survey conducted by the Retailers Association of India (RAI), 85% of Indian retailers in 2015 considered email marketing as their primary channel for customer engagement.

Improving the email customer experience should be relatively straightforward for most marketers by now, but for those who are still not sure where to start, we recently updated our Fundamentals of Email Marketing guide to help.

2) Customer relationship management (CRM) system

Closely tied to email is the next most popular technology, customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Used by nearly half (49%) of respondents, a CRM system helps marketers manage multiple touchpoints, such as email, SMS, call centres, and social media.

Because it affects so many touchpoints, it can be challenging to know where to start with the CRM. One area recommended as a good starting point in our recent report The Role of CRM in Data Driven marketing, is personalisation.

According to the survey, fewer than one in three (30%) respondents reported that their current data architecture, including the CRM, is an enabler for personalisation. This low adoption rate indicates that there is an opportunity for brands who are ahead of the curve.

3) Paid social

The third most popular technology for improving customer experience is paid social. This is somewhat surprising as, according to Internet World Stats, Facebook only reaches just over one in ten (11.7%) of the Indian population, though it is the most popular social network in the country.

But when the demographics of that audience is considered, the usage of paid social to improve the customer experience makes sense. According to Facebook’s Audience Insight tool, nearly half (47%) of all adult Facebook users in the country are 24 years old or younger and more than eight in ten (83%) are under 35 years of age.

This means that the most desirable consumers for most brands are over-represented on social media and so becoming familiar with paid social technology is a good way to improve overall customer experience.

4) SMS

According to our survey respondents, optimizing mobile technologies is significantly less popular than improving others, with only around one in three (35%) client-side marketers using SMS and fewer using push notifications (29%) or mobile apps (27%) to improve the customer experience.

This is surprising considering that studies show that more than 50% of the 300 million internet users in India are ‘mobile-only’. Marketers in the country should take note of this statistic and, bucking the trend, perhaps pay more attention to mobile technologies to gain marketplace advantage.

Agency respondents, however, indicated a significantly greater interest in mobile than their client-side peers. Agency marketers are around 50% more likely than client-side marketers to use mobile/push notifications (42% agency vs. 29% client-side) and ‘mobile apps’ (40% agency, 27% client-side).

As supply-side marketers are subject to frequent performance reviews, their preference for mobile technologies also indicates that mobile may be an ideal channel in which to invest time and effort toward improving the customer experience.