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Companies struggle to meet customer expectations. What can you do about it?

Published Fri, Feb 22, 2019 · 06:41 AM

Singapore leads Southeast Asia in happy customers but is still lagging behind the global average, according to the findings from the latest Customer Experience Trends Report from Zendesk. 

Sandie Overtveld, VP APAC, Zendesk, said: "While Singapore has world-class infrastructure, and a relatively higher rate of technology adoption by consumers, local businesses in the last few years were lagging behind their global counterparts in terms of customer satisfaction (CSAT). However, businesses here have started to understand the importance of a strong CX platform in driving business outcomes, and we can see that reflected in the uptick of CSAT scores in Singapore."

Singapore in fact currently takes the global lead in delivering an omni-channel strategy to customer service, especially in retail, travel, and financial services. This led to a 2.4 percent growth in Singapore's customer satisfaction scores, peaking at 90 per cent while the rest of Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand) declined by 0.3 per cent to 87.2 per cent in the past two years. 

Despite this, Singapore lags behind the global average of 94.2 per cent. 

Separately, Zendesk research found that SEA customers are not as generous when it comes to the time needed for customer support agents to first reach out. Indeed, SEA leaders with good CSAT scores typically send their first reply almost twice as fast as laggards. These numbers are even more disparate broken down - in the specific web form channel for instance, leaders typically reply within approximately three hours whereas laggards take an average of over 12 hours to reply via the same channel. 

Advice from Zendesk: 

1. Invest in an open, flexible platform: Fewer than 10 per cent of business models are economically viable according to data from the World Economic Forum. 70 per cent of the world's top 10 most valuable companies and 70 per cent of the $1 billion+ "Unicorn" startups operate on a digital platform business model. Yet, fewer than 2 per cent of other companies do. 

Customers now expect support teams to collaborate so they don't have to start over when contacting the same company through a different channel. This means companies need to manage customer data across all aspects of the customer experience and ensure a single record of the customer persists across channels, devices, and requests. 

2. Meet customers where they are: More than 40 per cent of customers said they prefer to use search or help centers before contacting support. Yet, only 20 per cent of support teams provide self-service. Once customers contact customer service, a whopping 85 per cent said they will use a different contact method if they don't get a response from their initial request, with 44 per cent waiting less than an hour before doing so. 

3. Bet on AI: High performing businesses are twice as likely to use AI, saving agent hours and resolving tickets faster. According to results from the study, about 85 per cent of enterprise companies still are not using AI.  


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