Consumers in APAC unhappy at how businesses are responding to their problems

There is a big disconnect between consumers and businesses across Asia Pacific when it comes to customer service, with customers prioritising the desire to solve an issue quickly and during the first time they contacts a company.

58% of consumers in APAC placed a premium on a company’s ability to respond quickly and 52% of consumers wanted companies to solve their issues at first interaction.

However, only 41% of businesses in the region prioritized being quick to respond to requests, and only 30% prioritized first-contact resolution (FCR), according to Genesys’s ‘State of Customer Experience’ report.

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.

“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,” said Assaf Tarnopolsky, senior vice-president and general manager for APAC at Genesys.

“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.”

The study surveyed 690 customer experience (CX) executives and 2,629 adults, and 611 consumers and 188 CX executives from key markets in APAC, comprising Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, China, India and Japan.

What are the report’s findings?

  • APAC businesses saw CX 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%.

  • 66% of APAC businesses believed in their ability to respond quickly to customers and only 36% were confident that they excelled at FCR.

  • 92% of repeat customers in APAC scored the ability of businesses to listen as their most important attribute.

  • When APAC consumers feel they have had a personalized 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 calls is increasing.

  • However, satisfaction among APAC consumers with digital channels (approximately 30%) remained lower than voice-based channels (34%). As a result, there remained 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, organizations 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 for 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.

  • APAC businesses saw predictive analytics (66%), agent-assist technology (64%) and real-time monitoring and alerts (61%), as well as quality management and workforce optimization (59%), as the most valuable new technologies in managing CX.

  • APAC businesses believed 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 CX in the region.