See part 1, which covers the changing Asian Pacific consumer landscape, here.
first, second and third impressions count
First impressions have always counted, but with more communication channels available than ever now, these first impressions are absolutely vital. The modern, technology-savvy consumer is less patient than in the past – 73% of Generation Y consumers say that they will walk away from a company after poor customer service. With this in mind, it’s clear why our online retail customer is prioritizing better management of their abandoned/dropped calls.
In the Asia Pacific market, customer service is driving brand perception and customer loyalty more than ever. Consumers no longer form an opinion about a company solely from the product or price - they now judge on customer service. Research has shown that a massive 92% of people form opinions of a company based on interactions with the company's contact center.
social media & mobility bring multiple touch points
Social media and mobility are empowering more Asian consumers than ever, meaning companies must address the multichannel approach to service - but not neglect the contact center. Voice still makes up a large percentage of customer engagements, and half of consumer-originated, self-service interactions still have an agent involved. At the same time though, in emerging nations, the majority of people, 73%, use a mobile phone to contact a service center rather than a landline.
These multiple touch points are all important stages of the customer journey. In customer service interactions today, research shows that 25% of people use one or two communication channels - phone, email, SMS and so on - while 52% use between three and four. The vast majority, a massive 74% utilize three or more ways of engaging with a company when sourcing a product or service. The message is clear: deliver consistent cross-channel service or risk losing business.
On a personal note, when I look to book a family vacation, I use the web/social media to short-list few destinations; call the hotline service to do the transaction or use a mobile app; finally, I receive an email confirmation or a voucher to present to the hotel reception for check-in. In case of any changes, I would call the hotline service, which I would expect would know exactly who I am as well as my purchase history.
great customer service creates opportunities
So, we have a more empowered and technologically versed consumer to serve, whose demands are higher than ever before - but it is nonetheless a time of great opportunity. Mobility, social media and cloud computing are transforming the nature of the relationship between consumers and suppliers, and companies that are prepared to meet consumers on their own terms will thrive.
Companies must ask questions of their customer service operations - how can we hear consumers' voices expressed in social networks and give them the tools to act, and how do we engage with them on a progressive basis? Taking responsibility for customer service has become a strategic issue - CXOs are now involved in the process as it has become a critical business priority. It is no longer 'just' a support issue or an afterthought.
Last, for many businesses in today’s economy, the contact centre agents might be the sole regular interaction channel between the business and the customer. When a customer is calling your business, and your service agents are managing the interaction, it is supposed to be considered as an important customer event where you do your best to delight the customer.
This can mean rectifying a problem for an unhappy customer, up-selling or cross-selling to a happy customer or driving your overall customer loyalty program. So why would you not consider your agents and the technology that supports them core to your business strategy? Gaining insight and control of these two assets can greatly help in closing the gap between your business and your customer’s perception of delivering the best customer experience.
Insight and control can prove to be challenging with the growing trend of outsourcing in Asia. How do we empower business process outsourcers (BPOs) to live up to new expectations from businesses and consumers? Something to think about before my next post.
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Haytham is an industry enthusiast specializing in technologies that are capable of transforming customer experience and enhancing operational efficiency. With over 15 years of experience in ICT industry across different continents, he appreciates the diversity in consumer behavior and the impact technologies like IoT, applications, analytics and contact centers are making in shaping businesses globally.