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    Consumers to Businesses: Your Customer Service is Trying Too Hard, and Not Where it Matters

    Genesys, a global cloud leader in customer experience orchestration, announced the “State of Customer Experience” report, which examines consumer preferences and how businesses are approaching customer experience (CX). First conducted in 2017, this report analyses trends in consumer expectations, where businesses are getting it right — and where they’re getting it wrong.

    The latest report is based on a survey involving 2,629 consumers and 690 CX executives from global markets inclusive of Asia Pacific. Countries surveyed in the Asia Pacific include Singapore, Malaysia, ANZ, China, India, and Japan.

    When it comes to customer service, the study found that the biggest disconnect between consumers and businesses across the Asia Pacific (APAC) is the desire to solve an issue quickly, and during the first time, a customer contacts a company.

    More than half of consumers in APAC placed a premium on a company’s ability to respond quickly (58%) solve their issues at first interaction (52%). Yet only 41% of businesses in the region prioritised being quick to respond to requests and only 30% for first-contact resolution (FCR). Businesses in the region were found to instead be 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.

    Increasingly, APAC businesses see customer experience as the 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%. With consumers today believing a company is only as good as its customer service, it’s clear that CX can be a significant business advantage when done well. Yet, the fact that resolving a customer’s issue quickly, and on the first attempt, isn’t a priority for more than half of APAC businesses demonstrates a significant gap in delivering the experiences consumers have come to expect. While 66% of APAC businesses believed in their ability to respond quickly to customers, only 36% were confident that they excelled at FCR.

    In shedding light on consumer preferences, this report provides an opportunity for organisations to evaluate how they’re meeting consumer expectations to shift thinking from company-centric outcomes to customer-centric experiences.

    Assaf Tarnopolsky, Senior Vice President and GM, APAC, Genesys, said: “Customer satisfaction today relies less on price or availability, but how quickly companies can resolve challenges during their first time engaging with the customer. 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.”

    “There appears to be a disconnect between consumers and businesses in APAC when it comes to customer expectations. Consumers today expect a company to know what they want or need, and to engage with the best course of action at speed. 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,” Mr. Tarnopolsky added.

    Highlighted findings from the State of Customer Experience report:

    Loyalty is fueled by listening — 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 personalised experience, more than 80% said they would purchase additional or repeat items (83%), and recommend the company to a friend (82%).

    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%), webchat (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.

    Great CX leads consumers to become brand advocates on social media. Consumers in APAC (63%) are increasingly turning to social media to praise companies for positive customer experiences. In addition to calling out a great experience, 30% of APAC consumers would also highlight the exceptional effort a company makes to create impactful experiences.

    From increased headcount and budgets to rapid digital growth, to expanding capabilities and more, the report reveals an increased focus on customer-centric experiences as a business advantage.

    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 the customer experience in the region.

    Research methodology:

    Genesys commissioned an independent research firm to conduct a global survey of 690 CX executives and 2,629 adults over the age of 18 between April and May 2021. 611 consumers and 188 CX executives from key markets in Asia Pacific, comprising Singapore, Malaysia, ANZ, China, India, and Japan.

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