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Despite digital, consumers still want human connection

Companies in India have digitalized nearly all interfaces that connect with customers, but this reduction of physical effort has now hit a point of diminishing returns according to a new survey.

The survey conducted by Terragni Consulting reveals that the Indian customers are now becoming increasingly intolerant of the ‘going digital’ efforts and with the ever-increasing options available.

The company found that customer support is becoming difficult for customers in banking, insurance, retail and e-commerce, leading to stress. Lack of human support, multiple follow-ups on the status and the need for multiple iterations are putting them off.

The insurance and e-commerce industry scored poorly with a greater degree of difficulty, while retail and banking too were ranked as difficult.

According to the study it was in the insurance industry that the time taken to complete transactions and get the desired outcomes was the most significant source of friction with the number of follow-ups increasing compared with the pre-pandemic level.

The study found that Indian customers will turn away from a brand they perceive to be ‘effortful’. The consumer no longer just wants digital, they want more human interactions.

Terragni Consulting director Anil Pillai said, “Lack of empathy is a huge problem across all Indian brands. This is coming out strongly in our study. After the pandemic, customers have significantly lower temporal tolerance and even small delays impact how customers perceive the brand.”

Mr. Pillai said the ease of doing business in India is not just about starting a business or running a business but also about how easy it is for the consumer to do business with the company without friction. Simplicity should be the focal point in 2023-24 for the companies.

The countrywide study covering 2,500 consumers between October and December 2022 found that companies would have to eliminate cognitive stress by incorporating high visibility of outcomes for the customers.

The companies would have to design for failure and accept that they will fail so a well-designed service recovery that focuses on assurance and stress transference is a vital opportunity for driving ease and differentiation.



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