APAC businesses prioritise CX more today than a year ago

APAC CX Singapore
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Despite 2020 being a year of far-reaching and rapid transformation in how people live, collaborate, and connect, the global Zendesk Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2021 shows the customer experience is increasingly crucial to business success – and that the most successful companies are adopting new technology at record speed. In fact, new data released shows that half (53%) of APAC organisations are planning to invest in CX software more in 2021.

Since the start of the pandemic, Singapore witnessed a 22% increase in average weekly support requests and nearly half of customers (49%) in Singapore say that experience is more important to them now compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, 77% of local companies – the second highest in the region – say their organisation prioritises CX more than they did a year ago.

Further highlighting the acceleration of technology, a Gartner survey conducted in 2020 found that 91% of organisations said that CX was one of, or the, primary goal of their digital business transformation efforts.[1]

“We’ve seen companies in APAC embrace digitalisation at an incredible speed this year in response to the dramatic shifts in the operating landscape they’ve had to navigate. Customer experience has never been more important, and we think this accelerated adoption of technology is likely to continue in 2021. Organisations need to ensure they have the right strategies, processes and technology in place to empower customer support teams and drive business success,” said Wendy Johnstone, Chief Operating Officer, APAC, Zendesk. 

From navigating changing behaviours to adopting new channels and reimagining the workforce, the Zendesk CX Trends Report 2021 gives companies a roadmap to manoeuvre this new CX landscape so they can champion good customer service at every turn. Top findings from the report include: 

Stay ahead of the digital curve

Companies are adopting technology at light speed, and it’s ‘adapt or get left behind’. Organisations identified as ’high-performing’ in APAC based on customer service metrics such as CSAT and reply speed are more likely to have adopted omnichannel solutions, with over half (54%) offering self-service in addition to other key channels including phone, email or messaging, compared to just 20% of low performers. 

Be part of a more conversational world

As customers adopt new behaviours, messaging apps’ soaring popularity opens the door for more streamlined, conversational experiences. 69% of APAC customers have tried a new way to get in touch with customer service in the last year. For many, that includes messaging for support requests over apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which have spiked significantly during the pandemic with social messaging up 117% in APAC since February 2020. Half of customers (50%) also prefer to use embedded messaging in Singapore when they engage with businesses, such as on websites or mobile apps.

Realise the power of employee experience

In an increasingly distributed world, companies must rethink how they work smarter across teams. Many employees still don’t feel they have the right tools to succeed, whether it’s keeping track of their performance indicators, staying connected with their colleagues, or feeling supported by their companies. 41% of APAC managers say they don’t have the right analytics tools to measure success for remote teams, and 49% of agents don’t have the right tools to work successfully from home. Singapore is slightly ahead in the region, as only one out of five managers (21%) and one out of four (27%) of agents feel the same way. Most believe they have the right tools to help them succeed in a distributed workforce.

Set teams up for success by emphasising agility

Facing continued volatility, service and support organisations must find ways to keep up with their customers. Customer experience leaders cited the ability to quickly adapt to customers’ evolving needs as their biggest challenge in 2020 and the highest priority going forward.

Make it easier for customers with a focus on CX

Unprecedented in speed and scale, the recent surge in online channels puts pressure on companies to meet rising expectations as customer experience takes centre stage. This is extremely crucial in markets such as Singapore, where 81% of Singaporeans are willing to spend more with a company that offers a good customer experience – the highest in the region. The CX Trends Report 2021 also shows that 83% of Singaporeans will take their business elsewhere following bad experiences.

Additional resources

  • For more, including data and insights by region, industry and company size, go here to read the full report. 
  • Check out the virtual event, “CX Trends 2021” here


This annual look at the top trends in customer experience combines analysis of the Zendesk Benchmark, a unique data index on how more than 90,000 companies use their support solutions, with the results of surveys gauging the attitudes of more than 8,000 consumers, customer service agents and managers, and technology buyers, in 15 countries, including US, UK, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Mexico, India, Singapore, Korea, Italy, the Nordics, and Benelux.

[1] Gartner, Survey Analysis: Customer Experience Maturity and Investment Priorities, 2020, Ed Thompson, Varun Agarwal, Melissa Davis, 28 July 2020

Related article: A compelling digital experience is vital for the new customer experience

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