According to recent research, 80% of companies believe that they are doing an outstanding job in delivering great customer service. A great result all round, one might think. However, the gap between that perception and the reality from the consumer's point of view is quite significant - just 8% of their customers agree.
This speaks to a rapid transformation in consumer behavior. The modern consumer is technologically proficient and has higher expectation levels than ever before. Being based in Singapore for the last 3 years, I have noticed the importance of “delighting the customer.” What this means in reality is that it is no longer enough for companies to try and differentiate themselves on product and price alone - customer service counts more than ever.
customer service in Asia Pacific: a changing paradigm
In my role at Orange, I am very much involved in many contact centre deals in Asia Pacific. A large online retail customer in China asked us to put in place an intelligent system in order to manage abandoned/dropped calls proactively with a strong SLA commitment. Indeed, for this business, a lost call might be translated by a potential revenue loss, but most importantly it gives the customer a reason to shift to the competition. Customer service is becoming a vital element of companies’ value propositions in Asia Pacific.
With researcher Gartner recently placing customer service and satisfaction at the center of its Top Ten Priorities for Asia CIOs, the change is clear. Attracting and retaining new customers is the second most important business issue for CIOs in Asia, while customer relationship management (CRM) tools rank fourth in technology priorities.
Asian consumers are changing and their consumer habits are evolving. Products are becoming more high-end, as a growing middle class with higher disposable incomes shifts the landscape. There is now a more demanding consumer throughout the region, including within the massive markets of China and India, and pressure is on companies to respond to this challenge.
Now that we understand the increasing importance of customer service, in part 2 of this post, we take a closer look at what you need to bear in mind when defining your strategy for customer service.
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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.