Qualtrics’ New Asia Pacific Study Reveals Top 10 Customer Experience Trends That Will Dominate the Region

Qualtrics, the leader in experience management software, has released its inaugural study on Customer Experience (CX) in Asia Pacific. Surveying 1,100 consumers across Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, the study titled “The Asia-Pacific Region’s Changing Customer Experience Environment” reveals differing consumer perceptions in various markets and highlights the top 10 CX trends across the region.

CX has increasingly become a key differentiator for top Asia Pacific brands and can make all the difference between an organisation’s success or failure. Yet the reality remains that brands are still missing the mark with 80 percent of CEOs believe they are delivering a superior experience and only 8 percent of customers agree, according to Bain & co.

“Consumers in Asia Pacific have a wide variety of choice and if they do not like the service an organisation delivers, they will simply find another organisation that does it better. Ultimately, brands need to understand that nailing customer experience management can generate immense rewards, while getting it wrong will result in loss of customers, decreased revenue, reduced market share and even a damaged brand reputation.”, said Bill McMurray, Managing Director of Asia Pacific and Japan at Qualtrics.

With 63% of business leaders in Southeast Asia having listed CX as their top business priority, according to Forrester, more businesses in the region will recognise the need to increase their efforts across all customer touchpoints, and international companies will also need to pay more attention to localising their customer management initiatives. The study reveals these top ten CX insights across Asia Pacific:

Customers demand action – Approximately 75 percent of Singaporean and Hong Kong consumers indicated that it is very or extremely important for organisations to respond to their feedback, markedly higher than Australia (64 percent) and New Zealand (52 percent).

Ignoring feedback is a fireable offence – An average, 39 percent of respondents in the Asia Pacific region are unlikely to continue doing business with an organisation that does not respond to their feedback. Singaporeans are the most unforgiving – only 23 percent are likely to continue using that brand if their feedback is ignored.

Fix it the first time – Just 2 percent of respondents feel that first-time resolution is anything less than moderately important. Some of the top frustrations cited are having to ask for the same information multiple times, and not having issues resolved the first time.

Respond today, not tomorrow – Nearly half of all respondents (46 percent) expect a response from an organisation within the same working day. Hong Kong customers appear to be more demanding, with 68 percent expecting brands to reply to their feedback on the same day.

Beware of the experience gap – Organisations must prioritise minimising the amount of effort customers exert to have their issues resolved. Companies must learn what customers’ value most in the experience you provide to them and then ensure that these aspects are executed at the highest level.

Make customers believe – Make sure your consumers know that you are listening and acting on their feedback. While Asia Pacific customers are keen to provide feedback, with 83 percent being likely to complete a customer experience survey from an organisation they deal with, 37 percent of these customers are uncertain as to whether organisations listen to and act on it.

Invest in the online experience – Online processes and offerings makes organisations more efficient and enable rapid, effective scaling. Results show that more than half of Asia Pacific customers (58 percent) are open to making the leap to online-only offerings.

Be one easy call away – While customers are more open to online channels for services and feedback, brands should still make it a point to have their phone numbers readily available to customers in the case they feel they need to contact the organisation. 84 percent of customers thought it was important to have a company contact number on the homepage or within a single click of it.

Put security first – Customers do not always “see” your security, but they want to know that it is there. Walk the fine line of having publicly accessible information about the company’s security measures, without revealing too much information to potential data thieves. 87 percent of the respondents believe that it is very important to be able to trust organisations with their customer data.

Welcome new technology – 48 percent of customers would be satisfied dealing with an organisation staffed by artificial intelligence. However, companies must understand which customer experiences to optimise through technology versus the human touch.
When it comes to consumers’ preferences in Singapore, locals ranked service (22 percent), quality of product (21 percent) and value for money (18 percent) as the top three attributes they value when dealing with an organisation. In terms of communicating with a brand, Singaporeans listed email (49 percent) as their preferred mode of interaction over other channels such phone (23 percent), online chat (15 percent) or face-to-face (13 percent).

On the other hand, the majority of Hong Kong consumers found the product quality to be far more important (55 percent), followed by service (54 percent), and trust (43 percent). In contrast, they prefer to interact with an organisation via phone (31 percent), instead of email (30 percent), face-to-face (20 percent) or online chat (18 percent).

For most brands, creating a positive experience for existing consumers is the key to customer acquisition and retention. Qualtrics believes that companies are witnessing an “experience gap” – which is referred to as the gap between the experience that companies believe they are delivering and the experience their customers are actually receiving. Businesses today are awash with operational data (O data), which tells you what has happened. What they need to start collecting is experience data (X data), which will allow them to garner insights into why things are happening. Having both data sets will allow companies to reduce the experience gap and hence, positively impact the operational metrics of the business.

The multi-country customer survey was conducted online across four Asia Pacific markets, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Nationally representative samples of customers were obtained in each country, with fieldwork taking place in January 2017.

Source: thetechrevolutionist.com; 2 August 2017

Lead with emotion, not demographic stereotypes: Forrester

Among a multitude of myths debunked by a Forrester analyst at CXNYC 2017, easy or automated experiences were proven not to be a method of instilling consumer loyalty.

Many executives believe that the easier a customer experience will be, the more likely a customer will be to return and become a loyal customer. However, during the June 21 session, “Love Machines: Emotion In A Digital World,” the analyst showed that those who have interacted with an actual associate who made their experience special, rather than a self-serve kiosk that was easy, produced a greater number of customers likely to be loyal.

“Companies are in this race to automate” said Anjali Lai, senior data analyst at Forrester, Boston. “The direction where the industry is going is to remove the human interaction and make experiences easy.

“But if we look at the intensity or quality of emotions, we see an interesting pattern,” she said. “Consumer effort can generate strong loyalty-inducing emotion.”

Debunking the myths
More than half of customers who interact with a real human feel satisfied, meaning they feel value or appreciated. These factors allude to a loyal customer.

However, those leveraging automated services simply feel happy or pleased with their experience. This means they were happy with their easy experience but it did not leave a lasting impression.

Another major myth debunked by the Forrester executive was the belief that women make more emotion-based decisions than man, but the research’s firms studies has shown this is not the case. Women and men are both equal in their emotional-based decision making.

The notion of this was also corroborated through social channels, in which both men and women expressed their emotions for a brand experience.

For younger and older demographics, those that were revealed as emotional buyers contrasted popular belief. The connotation in the past was that younger consumers made purchases based on emotion with the brand and valued experience.

However, older consumers were less likely to be unaffected by a brand experience and more likely to feel positive emotions after a good brand interaction compared to younger consumers who mostly remained unaffected.

Marketers should focus more on catering to the emotions of buyers rather than their gender or age.

In an example of how marketers can personalize in a physical space, Louis XIII de Rémy Martin created a setting for consumers to explore its history and experience its cognac with the opening of its first boutique.

Housed in the upscale Beijing SKP mall, Louis XIII’s storefront is seen as an opportunity to meet clients face-to-face, offering them bespoke services and experiences that go beyond cognac. Even with many luxury brands moving online, marketers are still finding value in the traditional bricks-and-mortar store.

LOUIS XIII Boutique _ SKP Beijing by Masao Nishikawa Photography Studio Co (PRNewsFoto/LOUIS XIII COGNAC)

Louis XIII boutique in Beijing SKP

Similarly, Italian furniture maker Poltrona Frau focused on the stories that happen around its designs in a series that zoomed in on one realistic home for an emotional connection.

Told in four parts, “Home Stories” weaved anecdotes about different members of one family, using its pieces as a set rather than the main character. Poltrona Frau made a conscious decision to make the home featured appear lived in and relatable, creating aspiration for its furniture in an environment that does not appear too staged or magazine-perfect.

Poltrona-Frau-Home-Stories-465

Image from Poltrona Frau’s “Home Stories”

Technology takeover
Another common misconception is that technology is creating a void in human interaction. But those that interacted with a technology tool versus a human associate felt the same number of emotions.

Technology can be used to create the same feeling as human emotion through AI and various forms of technological advances.

“There is a pervasive anxiety or sensitivity that technology is taking the place of human interaction and stunting our emotional growth,” Forrester’s Ms. Lai said. “But that is not necessarily the case, and doesn’t have to be the case.

“When consumers are interacting with a brand, the number of times they feel a certain way about a brand is parallel through a self-service tool and interacting with a live person,” she said. “What does this mean?

“Instead of thinking of technology as an enemy or a barrier, you can use this to your advantage. You can leverage technology to forge a more personal human interaction with your consumers.”

Source: luxurydaily.com; 22 June 2017

The experience revolution: Mobilizing to win – are you ready?

Customer experience – an elite sport

Technology has always enabled companies to reinvent how they engage with customers. But now we are seeing a profound shift – the convergence of physical and digital customer interactions – which is fundamentally changing how customers will interact and transact with brands and businesses everywhere. To better understand these dynamics, the IBV is conducting a Customer Experience (CX) study, published as a series, with multiple reports organized by topic.

This second report in the series looks at how organizations are mobilizing to transform their CX. In today’s digital world, companies can maintain an intimate relationship with their customers and continually enhance experiences in ways that are affordable and immediate. We reveal how organizations approach CX ownership, strategy, cross-functional collaboration, use of data, use of Experience Design methods and customer feedback to enhance and measure CX. We also uncover the capability gaps that challenge some companies and provide a set of recommendations organizations can adopt to accelerate a CX-centric approach that is applicable today and can scale into the future.

Click here for the full report

Source: IBM Institute for Business Value; Aug 2016

The CEO Guide to Customer Experience

Companies that create exceptional customer experiences can set themselves apart from their competitors.

What do my customers want? The savviest executives are asking this question more frequently than ever, and rightly so. Leading companies understand that they are in the customer-experience business, and they understand that how an organization delivers for customers is beginning to be as important as what it delivers.

This CEO guide taps the expertise of McKinsey and other experts to explore the fundamentals of customer interaction, as well as the steps necessary to redesign the business in a more customer-centric fashion and to organize it for optimal business outcomes. For a quick look at how to improve the customer experience, see the summary infographic on the following page.

Armed with advanced analytics, customer-experience leaders gain rapid insights to build customer loyalty, make employees happier, achieve revenue gains of 5 to 10 percent, and reduce costs by 15 to 25 percent within two or three years. But it takes patience and guts to train an organization to see the world through the customer’s eyes and to redesign functions to create value in a customer-centric way. The management task begins with considering the customer—not the organization—at the centre of the exercise.

Click here for the full document

Source: McKinsey Quarterly; Aug 2016