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Qualtrics survey has lessons for retailers

Asia Pacific consumers have a wide variety of choice, and if they do not like the service an organisation delivers, they will simply find somewhere else that does it better, says a new study by Qualtrics.

For its inaugural Asia Pacific customer experience (CX) study, the experience management software company surveyed 1100 consumers across Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore.

The Asia-Pacific Region’s Changing Customer Experience Environment report reveals differing consumer perceptions in various markets and highlights the top 10 CX trends across the region.

Qualtrics says CX has increasingly become a key differentiator for top brands in Asia Pacific, and can make all the difference between an organisation’s success or failure.

Yet, according to US global management consulting firm Bain & Company, the reality is that brands are still missing the mark, with 80 per cent of CEOs believing they deliver a superior experience while only 8 per cent of customers agree.

“Qualtrics is committed to helping brands in Asia Pacific measure, prioritise and optimise the
experiences companies deliver across the four core foundational aspects of business – customers, products, employees and brands,” says Qualtrics Asia Pacific/Japan MD Bill McMurray. “This study offers a deep dive into the region’s specific customer-experience demands and offers key insights.”

Ultimate lesson

Ultimately, he says, 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”.

With 63 per cent of business leaders in Southeast Asia having listed CX as their top business priority, according to American market-research company Forrester, more businesses in the region will recognise the need to increase their efforts across all customer touchpoints, and international companies will need to pay more attention to localising customer-management initiatives.

The Qualtrics study reveals 10 top insights for brands and retailers…

  1. Respond to feedback About 75 per cent of Hong Kong and Singaporean consumers regard it very or extremely important for organisations to respond to their feedback.
  2. Do not ignore customers An average 39 per cent of respondents in the Asia Pacific region are unlikely to continue doing business with an organisation that does not respond to their feedback. Hong Kong consumers are more forgiving than their Singapore counterparts, with 39 per cent of them likely to continue using the brand compared to 23 per cent of consumers in Singapore.
  3. Fix it the first time Just 2 per cent 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.
  4. Respond today, not tomorrow A response to customer feedback within the same working day is expected by 46 per cent of respondents. Hong Kong customers appear to be more demanding, with 68 per cent expecting brands to reply to their feedback on the same day, whereas less than half of consumers in the other three countries surveyed expect the same.
  5. Beware the experience gap Organisations need to give priority to minimising the amount of effort customers need to exert to have their issues resolved. Companies must learn what customers’ value most in the experience provided, then ensure these aspects are instituted at the highest level.
  6. Make customers believe Be sure your consumers know you are listening and acting on their feedback. While Asia Pacific customers are keen to provide feedback – 83 per cent are likely to complete a customer-experience survey – 37 per cent are not sure if organisations take notice and act on it.
  7. Invest in the online experience Online processes and offerings help organisations become more efficient, and enable rapid, effective scaling. Results show that 5 per cent of Asia Pacific customers are open to making the leap to online-only offerings.
  8. 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 in case customers feel they need to contact the organisation (84 per cent of customers think it important for a company contact number to be on the homepage or within a single click of it).
  9. Put security first Customers do not always “see” your security, but want to know 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. The survey shows 87 per cent of customers believe it is very important to be able to trust organisations with their data.
  10. Welcome new technology The survey shows that 48 per cent of customers would be  satisfied dealing with an organisation staffed by artificial intelligence, but companies need to understand which customer experiences to optimise through technology versus human touch.

Hong Kong locals rank product quality (55 per cent), service (54 per cent) and trust (43 per cent) as the top three attributes they value when dealing with an organisation. In terms of communicating with a brand, they prefer to interact via phone (31 per cent) instead of email (30 per cent), face-to-face (20 per cent) or online chat (18 per cent).

On the other hand, most consumers in Singapore find service (22 per cent) to be far more important, followed by quality of product (21 per cent) and value for money (18 per cent). In contrast, they listed email (49 per cent) as their preferred mode of interaction over other phone (23 per cent), online chat (15 percent) or face-to- face (13 percent).

For most brands, creating a positive experience for existing consumers is the key to customer acquisition and retention, says Qualtrics. It says companies are witnessing an “experience gap” – the gap between the experience companies believe they are delivering and the experience their customers actually receive.

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