MUMBAI: Customer experience is increasingly seen as a brand differentiator but few companies in India are successfully exploiting the opportunities, according to a new report, although most can see areas where they can improve.

The Customer Experience Maturity in India report, published by research firm Econsultancy in association with marketing company Epsilon, surveyed more than 300 client-side and supply-side marketing, digital and ecommerce professionals and found that around half rated their companies as being 'not very advanced' in their approach to customer experience.

Views diverge on why this should be so, with client-side respondents pointing to complexity of customer experience (28%) as a major barrier to improvement, while supply-side respondents cited a lack of overall strategy (44%) as the primary hindrance.

Overall, only 12% of marketers could claim their customer touchpoints were seamlessly integrated to allow for the exploitation of opportunities. And only 9% had a dedicated budget for understanding the customer journey.

But nearly all understood that better use of data to understand customer behaviours was important for delivering an improved customer experience.

Currently much of their investment is centred around email service platforms – a focus for around three quarters of respondents – while CRM technology is being used by half.

"The research findings confirm that a greater focus on marketing operations is needed," stated Jefrey Gomez, managing director Asia-Pacific at Econsultancy.

"Internal collaboration between teams, which is regarded as very important to delivering a great customer experience, as well as strategy, identified as lacking, are key principles of marketing operations," he added.

Half of respondents, both client-side and supply-side, rated their company's (or their clients') capability to make changes to the customer journey as 'excellent' or 'good'.

Further, 44% of companies and 37% of supply-side respondents felt they (or their clients) were in an 'okay' position.

Data sourced from Econsultancy, Epsilon; additional content by Warc staff