Sébastien Houdusse, Chief Strategy Officer at BETC, shares key findings from the latest X INDEX and explains how they differentiate Havas from our competitors.
Can you tell us a little about the latest X INDEX report and what were some of the most interesting findings?
The latest X INDEX has just been released and the fielding was carried out in 2020. It now gathers six countries: France, USA, China, UK, India and Portugal and surveys more than 30,000 consumers who gave their opinion regarding the customer experience of more than 300 brands. There are four main learnings from this year’s X INDEX which will offer guidance to build successful customer experiences.
Efficiency is key. Consumers have shifted massively to digital in their shopping this year, a trend exacerbated by the pandemic. This shift has made them even more sensitive to the efficiency of the experience, and a simple and seamless purchase journey makes up a substantial portion of the CX scores in each of the five countries – including a huge 31% of total score for digital pure players in the UK.
Purpose and actions need to be aligned. CX is ultimately a matter of perception – or what a consumer is promised versus what they experience in practice. The fact that ‘the brand keeps its commitments’ ranks in the three most important criteria in two out of five markets underscores the importance of reliability and not overpromising or underdelivering. Likewise, ‘I completely trust the brand’ made a marked contribution to CX scores in three out of five markets, with a high of 25% for bricks and clicks retailers in France. At a time when trust in institutions and political figures is low, brands can stand out by transparently and consistently communicating their values—and backing those words with action.
Reinvent Relationships. Underlining the shift from physical to digital commerce, ‘the attention and efficiency of staff’ saw its contribution to the X INDEX reduced by more than half in France and to zero in China and the US. With sales staff largely out of the picture, personalisation – which accounts for a significant contribution to total X INDEX score in each of the five markets, including a significant 30% for UK ‘bricks and clicks’ retailers – must take different forms.
We have to fight against digital sameness. Delivering on effectiveness alone is not enough to make a lasting difference and this year, the ability to bring to life signature moments and forge an emotional connection created value for brands. Indeed, ‘the purchase journey was pleasant’ is a major contributor to the X INDEX across all markets and was ranked the single most important criteria for consumers in three of the five markets. Likewise, variety and exclusivity set brands apart – with ‘offered me products/services I couldn’t find anywhere else’ the single most important criteria for consumers in China.
All in all, we have reached a tipping point this year at which customers are expressing two essential needs that seem to contrast. They want the efficiency—and, during this pandemic, safety—of simple and seamless shopping experiences while also craving the human and emotional connections that come through personalisation and signature moments. The challenge for brands is how to infuse unique “signature moments” into the experience.
This tool is a barometer for Customer Experience. How do CX teams across the globe utilise it?
This tool is used in two different but equally important manners. It helps local teams identify the most discriminating factors of a successful customer experience and helps our clients prioritise the steps in the customer journey they should work on. But you can also use the learnings of the X INDEX down to a single brand and its competitors.
For every company that is included in the X INDEX, you can dig into their results and have a first diagnosis to present to a client, whether it’s an existing one or a pitch. It basically helps us all at Havas CX strengthen our expertise and make our analysis and recommendations to our clients more efficient.
How important is our own research, like the X INDEX, Meaningful Brands studies and Prosumer Reports to us as a Group?
It’s fundamental and it’s a big differentiator for Havas because we all work in the persuasion business and you can persuade people when you know them better: what drives them, what their needs, dreams and requests are when it comes to the future evolutions of society and consumption.
How has the X INDEX evolved and widened since it began?
It started as a small local initiative in France in 2018 and now it has become global with more than 30,000 consumers surveyed and already six countries participating. We have more and more brands that are included in the research, both global and local. We started with 30 interactions studied along the whole consumer journey and we’re now studying more than 40 criteria.
Where can people read more on the report’s findings?
You can read more on the Havas CX website https://www.havascx.com/x-index and Havas employees can access the global deck and white paper on Agora.