Many APAC firms have no idea what a good customer experience is: report

5G customer experience
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ITEM: Customer experience is fast becoming a key differentiator for enterprises – a new report finds that most customers in Asia-Pacific like businesses that listen to their needs and resolve issues fast. The trouble is, most APAC companies don’t know that.

According to the latest “State of Customer Experience” report from Genesys, APAC businesses increasingly see customer experience as a main driver of consumer trust and loyalty. CX is currently a board-level priority for more than half (63%) of regional companies in the study, above the global average of 58%.

As for what consumers consider a good customer experience, over half of consumers in APAC placed a premium on a company’s ability to respond quickly (58%) and solve their issues at first interaction (52%).

Unfortunately, that’s not where most enterprises are focusing their CX efforts – only 41% of businesses in the region prioritised being quick to respond to requests, and only 30% for first-contact resolution (FCR). Instead, APAC businesses are focusing efforts on professionalism and friendliness in customer service interactions, which was consistently ranked as one of the top priorities among 47% of APAC businesses surveyed.

Source: Genesys, “The State Of Customer Experience” (2021)

That indicates a considerable gap in delivering the experiences consumers have come to expect,the report says – while 66% of APAC businesses believed in their ability to respond quickly to customers, only 36% were confident that they excelled at FCR.

“Customer satisfaction today relies less on price or availability, but how quickly companies can resolve challenges during their first time engaging with the customer,” says Assaf Tarnopolsky, senior VP and GM of APAC at Genesys. “Long term brand loyalty will also rely on the ability to orchestrate and deliver impactful customer experiences that make the customer feel understood and valued throughout that exchange.”

That includes actually listening to them – according to the survey results, 92% of repeat customers in APAC scored a business’ ability to listen as their most important attribute:

With curated content from platforms like Instagram and TikTok at their fingertips, consumers have come to expect that brands understand them and are paying attention to their likes and dislikes. Tailored experiences steeped in empathy – the ability to listen and understand the needs of the customer – are being rewarded with brand loyalty and advocacy. When APAC consumers feel they’ve had a personalized experience, more than 80% said they would purchase additional or repeat items (83%), and recommend the company to a friend (82%).

That social media engagement can also pay off by inspiring customers to become brand advocates – 63% of APAC consumers are increasingly turning to social media to praise companies for positive customer experiences, while 30% would also highlight the exceptional effort a company makes to create impactful experiences.

“Consumers today expect a company to know what they want or need, and to engage with the best course of action at speed,” Tarnopolsky says. “Moving beyond mere efficiency, and focusing on delivering the right data and orchestrating the next-best action in the ideal moment and channel, are paths to success.”

Other findings from the report:

  • Voice remains the most-used channel (76%) among APAC consumers, but digital channels are surging. The number of consumers interacting with customer service through messaging, mobile apps, chatbots, social media and video calling are increasing. However, satisfaction among APAC consumers with digital channels (approximately 30%) remain lower than voice-based channels (34%). As a result, there remains a clear preference among APAC consumers for voice-based channels (74%), trailed by mobile messaging (69%), email (52%), web chat (38%), and website/forum outreach (13%). With smartphones and computers being the most used devices for CX, organisations will need to develop the right capabilities to orchestrate impactful CX in an increasingly digital landscape.
  • Close to a quarter (24%) of APAC consumers said they only buy from ethical and sustainable brands. As scrutiny increases on the responsibilities that businesses have to manage their social and environmental impact, consumers in APAC are holding companies accountable with their spending power. Among APAC consumers, health and wellness (42%), sustainable products/packaging (41%), and carbon reduction (36%) ranked among the top five consumer values.
  • Equipping agents with innovative tools that improve the employee experience is a priority. Businesses continue to invest in new technologies to better orchestrate the customer experience — and are most excited for tools that support and improve agents’ abilities to deliver great service. APAC businesses see predictive analytics (66%), agent-assist technology (64%), real time monitoring and alerts (61%), as well as quality management and workforce optimisation (59%) as the most valuable new technologies in managing the customer experience.
  • Messaging apps as customer service platforms are on the rise in APAC. APAC businesses believe messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger will play a growing role in business-consumer interactions. 66% of APAC businesses are currently offering customer service through messaging apps, with 20% planning to integrate customer service on this channel within the next six months. As the highest-rated channel in customer satisfaction among APAC consumers (42%), messaging apps show significant opportunities to enhance customer experience in the region.

The report is available for download here.

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