Kedar Apte: Three trends in CX innovation that are here to stay | HT Brand Leadership Series

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Three trends in CX innovation that are here to stay

  • Kedar Apte
  • 25th Sept

When customers buy, they want to behave like they would in their normal lives. Many of us today prefer having conversations with colleagues and friends on Whatsapp. So, we don’t like calling a call centre, waiting in the queue for the operator, and then finally sharing our problem. We would all prefer to WhatsApp our issues to a call centre or may be do a live chat but not speak. I think call centres will soon become redundant and be replaced by live chat. Wouldn’t it be great to have a tablet in our hotel rooms rather than a phone – to order room service, ask for laundry to be picked up, and checkout online while vacating our rooms? I think brands need to understand customers more intimately and leverage on such insights to engage with them more deeply.

A second trend which is quite apparent now is that customers today want to be seen as responsible. Housing societies want to separate dry and waste trash. Plastic is being collected from big apartments and recycled. I saw some outdoors being used for water harvesting and have seen car workshops using solar energy. While some brands become a part of this movement wholly, some may want to project a socially responsible image.

The last trend I would want to talk about is how at times a physical platform can be quite outmoded. A woman sitting at home can check which lipstick suits her better or even simulate how a ring looks in her finger – all through digital apps on her smartphone. Similarly, a young girl shopping for a phone can check out features and prices of various phones without going into a shop.

I do not think that physical stores will shut shop anytime soon; however, every seller will need to adapt to changing customer needs and keep on evolving.

Kedar Apte
Vice President Marketing,
Castrol India

Kedar leads Castrol’s marketing operations, which includes brand communication and content, sponsorships, digital marketing, and consumer and customer engagement programmes. Prior to joining Castrol, he spent almost a decade with Hindustan Unilever in sales and marketing roles.