71% of Indians expect firms to fast-track digital initiatives: Report

About 71 per cent of Indians expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives, said a new report on Wednesday which showed the many ways customer engagement is changing amid crises.

The Indian customers estimate 60 per cent of their interactions with businesses take place online this year, compared to 47 per cent in 2019, said the report by leading Cloud software company Salesforce.

In India, 94 per cent of customers said how a company acts during a crisis demonstrates its trustworthiness, according to the fourth edition of Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer” report.

The report reveals that while a string of crises has affected all facets of life, including a fundamental shift in how customers connect with brands, factors like empathy, personalisation, convenience, and digital transformation are the keys to customer relationships.

As these same customers reevaluate the role of business in society, the notion of stakeholder capitalism is increasingly factored into purchase decisions.

“Regardless of who they market, sell, or provide service to, businesses are navigating a landscape they couldn’t have imagined at the beginning of this year,” Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce, said in a statement.

“A massive shift to digital channels isn’t the only challenge that leaders have to grapple with. They also need to listen and respond to customer demands for empathy and understanding, innovative products and services, and a fundamental rethinking of the role of business in society.

“Connecting customers at various touchpoints — digital, human, or other — to gain a holistic understanding is the first step on the path to resiliency and growth,” Afshar said.

The global report is based on insights from over 15,000 consumers and business buyers across 27 countries, including 650 respondents from India.

In India, 94 per cent of customers said that Covid-19 has elevated their expectation of digital capabilities and 95 per cent said the societal role of companies is changing.