Asia Pacific consumers expect a ‘human touch’ in customer experience
In a rush to adapt to the norm of social distancing by going digital and introducing more self-service touchpoints, businesses in Asia Pacific may not realise that they are distancing their customers by neglecting to care for the human element in digital touchpoints.
A Forrester report commissioned by CINNOX, which surveyed 1,200 customers across Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, found that only 16% of customers experienced interactions that exceeded their expectations. Customer experience sentiments were lowest in Hong Kong and Singapore, with only 7% and 9% experiencing interactions that exceeded their expectations, respectively.
The study found three top attributes that customers expect for a great experience when interacting with a brand: First-time resolution (50%), a fast response time (36%), and knowledgeable representatives (35%). This is the first study to identify customer behavioral changes and trends in the post-pandemic Asia Pacific. However, with more than four in five customers saying their experience did not meet their expectations, brands in the region still have a lot of improvement to do.
At a recent virtual media briefing, Forrester consultant Teo Yi Qin said: “62% of the customers surveyed said their inquiries or issues were not resolve within the first interaction.”
Teo added that 54% felt that the waiting or turnaround time was too long, and 27% shared that the sales or customer service representatives they interacted with were not knowledgeable enough in helping them address the issues at hand.
“Simply saying, the brands are just not meeting customers’ needs, regardless of whether there have been customer experience (CX) initiatives implemented or not.”
Patsy Wong, chief strategy officer at CINNOX, believes a significant experience gap is at the root of the brands’ lackluster performance. She said, “This gap is caused by a lack of understanding of customer expectations, needs, and preferences. It doesn’t matter what you put in; if you don’t have a good understanding of these things, your CX strategy is not going to give you the benefit.”
The report also revealed five unique customer personas that emerged post-pandemic, requiring different approaches when planning a CX strategy. There are the omni-shoppers, the multi-channel enthusiasts, the reserved digital immigrants, the affluent high-touch seekers, and the low-touch digital natives.
Teo outlined three actionable steps to craft superior customer experiences:
- First, map out customer experience initiatives around consumer personas (see above) to provide more tailor-made and contextual customer experiences. In today’s world, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Hence, organisations should identify ways to deliver a more personalised experience tailored to each persona type.
- Aim to support CX initiatives with better CX data collection and measurement mechanisms. In addition, organisations should aggregate and collect data across the customer journey to help provide a more holistic and comprehensive understanding of customers.
- Organisations ought to ensure that data collection is done from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Organisations are often too focused on collecting quantitative metrics that sacrifices the emotional aspects of the customer experience. The latter can be better understood and derived from the collection of qualitative feedback.
“The study shows organisations lack the methodologies and insights to truly curate delightful customer experiences for different, newly emerged personas, based on their preferences and intents,” Wong said. “At CINNOX, we can solve this and improve both customer and employee experiences alike with one customer engagement and analytics platform.”
CINNOX is a total experience SaaS platform dedicated and committed to driving innovation within CX, which is reflected in its name (C-INNO-X). The 100% Asia-born company has its sights on serving the Asia Pacific region. Currently, it has over 150 employees and operates from Hong Kong and Singapore, with an R&D center in Taipei. “We are 100% self-funded and independent. What’s good about that is, it affords us the freedom and the flexibility to focus on what our customers and our partners need,” Wong said.
The CINNOX platform is built on three key pillars of customer service: CONNECT, ORCHESTRATE, and EVALUATE. It connects by unifying all telephony and digital channels with full customer context and seamless transition between each of these, to focus responses. For example, a customer can begin by chatting with an agent on WhatsApp, then switch to talking with the agent on the phone or even a video conference to resolve a more complex enquiry.
It orchestrates by using automated workflows and flexible intelligent routing to match customers with expertise. Gary Ma, director of product management at CINNOX, explained, “After the connection is established, CINNOX starts to orchestrate the relationship between the business and the customer. We do that by humanising the connections. We built the process and tools to unify the identification of the customer, the journey, and the conversation.
“Within a single interface, the organisation should be able to access any single data of the customer and serve any of them as a VIP. We also provide rich communication capabilities right inside the dashboard, so the agent can handle [issues] no matter what the situation is, such as customer experiences, technical troubleshooting, and even sales presentation.”
Finally, CINNOX evaluates by providing interaction analysis and sentiment data to improve experiences, track improvements, and monitor staff performance. Extensive Customer 360 helps brands to have an insight on what went right and wrong during customer interactions to reduce wait times further and resolve enquiries at first touchpoint with knowledgeable call center agents.
More details and insights on the post-pandemic Asia Pacific customer experience and expectations are found in the Forrester Opportunity Snapshot report “Infuse Digital Experiences with the Right Dose of Human Touch”
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