Everything you need to know about customer experience maturity in Europe
Infobip, along with IDG Research surveyed over 1,000 European companies in the retail, finance and insurance, transport and logistics, telecommunications, and public sectors to understand how they are using their digital channels.
The terms “omnichannel” and “digital transformation” have been prominent CX buzzwords for over a decade. And while the uptake of both these growth drivers accelerated over the last couple of years, it is clear that most European businesses are yet to achieve full customer experience maturity.
But how close are European businesses to going full circle in their CX strategies?
To answer this question, we teamed up with IDG Research to survey 1,068 European companies across the retail, finance and insurance, transport and logistics, telecommunications, and public sectors in Europe’s five largest economies- the United Kingdom, Germany, Iberian Region, France, and Italy.
We found that:
- Only 25% of European companies have adopted omnichannel CX strategies that will future-proof their businesses by keeping their customers engaged through conversational experiences
- Half of the recipients of our study follow cross-channel strategies, meaning they are on the cusp of achieving CX maturity
- At 31% CX maturity, the retail industry stands out from the crowd, followed by the banking and finance industries at 29%
While there still is ample room for improvement in European CX, especially concerning digital transformation and growing demands of convenience for customers – the opportunity is greater than ever to move closer to and ultimately achieve customer experience maturity.
Customers want to engage, be re-engaged, get support, and transact on familiar and easy-to-use channels. They want to see businesses eliminate friction and obstacles that stand in the way between them and a brand’s products or services before digitalization.
Most businesses have taken notice and implemented measures to better connect with their customers. However, their CX strategies remain fragmented, and they are unable to provide seamless interactions in their customer journeys.
The current state of European CX
The pandemic has driven major economies to expand customer communication channels, resulting in fewer companies relying solely on a single channel. As a result, cross-channel strategies are predominant throughout the region.
While maturity profiles are similar across economies, differences emerge in the cross-channel phase, influenced by the varying speeds of smaller organizations due to local economic cycles.
Omnichannel maturity by region
omnichannel maturity level in the UK
omnichannel maturity level in France
omnichannel maturity level in Iberian region
omnichannel maturity level in Germany
omnichannel maturity level in Italy
The UK leads the pack with the highest omnichannel maturity level in Europe. Germany follows closely behind but is hindered by privacy and compliance concerns.
The Iberian region (Portugal and Spain) has the lowest level of omnichannel maturity but a large proportion of companies are still in the multichannel phase in this region, indicating a lack of connected channels.
Macro factors have compelled organizations to fast-track their CX strategies, resulting in 23% of all respondents in the multichannel stage, where they added digital channels to their portfolio.
However, 50% of all businesses in our study are in the cross-channel stage, connecting their channels and centralizing data, resulting in a more connected customer experience.
Only 2% of European companies remain tied to their traditional channels (single channel phase).
Europe’s most popular messaging channels
Voice and Email are the most saturated channels in Europe, with SMS repositioning itself with new use cases like authentication.
Most saturated channels in Europe:
There is a significant opportunity to increase the uptake of in-app messaging and web live chat. Digital Messaging is dominated by WhatsApp, which is still in an embryonic stage, growing at 11% per annum.
Digital channel penetration:
Download our infographic
A detailed analysis of Europe’s most popular messaging channels.
Understanding customer experience maturity
Because fully implementing new channels is a process that takes place in numerous cycles, we approached the study by categorizing the participants’ CX strategies according to four stages of maturity.
How to unlock your company’s full CX potential
Businesses that can effectively use data to drive customer experience will likely see a competitive advantage over their peers.
European companies are still solving their data jigsaw, and many are missing essential information gaps in customer interactions, resulting in a suboptimal customer experience. At the same time, they are facing the challenge of protecting customer data while navigating regulatory requirements like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The United States, which also has a significant presence in Europe, further affected the implementation of Shrems II. This legislation requires customers of US cloud service providers to verify the data protection laws of the recipient country, document its risk assessment and confer with its customers
By becoming data-driven and investing in data analysis with information from multiple channels, you can identify these gaps and take the necessary steps to shrink them, ultimately creating a more seamless and compliant customer experience. Security and compliance concerns can also be overcome by measures like layers of authentication, secure methods of communication, and keeping all data in one place.
of respondents use consumer-related data to understand user needs and wants
of respondents incorporate information from other channels
Currently, 67% of European companies use customer-related data to gain greater visibility into their customers’ needs and wants, and 50% incorporate information from other channels, equaling the proportion of organizations in the cross-channel phase.
There’s an opportunity to incorporate product information with other data sources, currently at 25%. Doing so will enable you to better understand what customers want, what they’re buying, and what they’re not buying.
In addition, incorporating contextual information, such as location and time of day, can also help businesses improve their fraud prevention efforts and other use cases.
According to our study, 47% of European organizations are already segmenting their customer base, and only 8% have found the right combination of content, channel, format, and context.
of communication to all customers is the same
of communication is segmented
of communication is personalized by behavior or context
Focusing on customer segmentation and tailoring your communications can create a more personalized and engaging customer experience. This will ultimately drive greater customer loyalty and retention and differentiate you from your competitors.
Utilize data to segment your customer base and create actionable insights to tailor your communications and campaigns to each specific segment, ultimately driving greater engagement and customer satisfaction.
Automating manual tasks and processes can streamline your operations, reduce errors, and provide faster customer response times.
of companies haven’t introduced automation
of companies introduced automation to core messaging processes
of companies automate several tasks
of companies use intelligent automation for majority of processes
This can increase loyalty and repeat business, as customers value convenience and responsiveness.
Furthermore, automation can help you provide a more personalized customer experience. You can tailor communications and interactions based on customer preferences, behaviors, and history using data and AI technologies. This can create a more engaging and relevant experience for the customer, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty.
The current state is cross-channel, the optimal is omnichannel but the future is conversational
The future of digital interactions is conversational, channel-agnostic, and hyper-personalized. And just as customers expect frictionless end-to-end journeys on channels of their choice —businesses seek similar experiences to deliver on that expectation.
Omnichannel might be the ultimate CX maturity level, but it will continue evolving as forward-thinking businesses follow customers to their preferred channels.
And as this evolution continues to happen, embracing the conversational experience – based on the foundations of omnichannel – will become increasingly important to stay ahead of the competition and take their CX a notch higher.
With key success factors like personalization and automation firmly grounded in data, having everything you need in one place will be critical to staying ahead of the pack. By signing up for a single platform, your marketing, customer service, and sales pros can create all-around experiences that drive revenue.
That’s where Infobip comes in.
Whether your CX needs are simple, or more complex and conversational, all your requirements can be built to reach your customers on their favorite channels. And as a leading CPaaS provider, we believe in plug in an play usability – everything is simple to integrate into your communication stack.
Stay ahead of the messaging evolution curve with our cutting-edge conversational platform.
Check out the full report
The path towards omnichannel communicaiton maturity.