Singapore consumers have a notorious reputation for being a challenge to please, with a Customer Experience (CX) Index study by Forrester in 2019 finding that the overall quality of customer experience has remained flat at an underwhelming 55 points out of 100. Businesses are struggling with this even as customer priorities, expectations and behaviours have changed – causing even established brands to struggle to find footing with new customer experience challenges.
In a digital world that never sleeps, the instant gratification of service is something consumers are increasingly demanding for. Recent disruptions in the marketplace have brought forth a giant hurdle this year, causing an evolution in consumer behaviour and expectations of CX – causing 98% of APAC businesses to change their digital strategy to meet this need in 2020. With stakes high as we round up 2020 with major spending occasions such as 11:11 and Christmas, the unique challenges and hurdles that the customer service arena poses means that brands must learn to understand and proactively manage their customers to see long-term success.
In an increasingly hyperconnected society, the digitisation of services, customer engagement and business operations means many businesses have taken to developing their presence on multiple platforms. From social media to websites to call centres, the management and consolidation to maintain the same level of CX across platforms have exponentially increased.
It has become harder to deliver a consistent and streamlined customer experience for businesses. In today’s digital age, customers expect
a seamless journey across all brand platforms – making a multi-platform presence difficult to manage without a consolidated data repository. The challenge with activating many channels is not only streamlining the customer support system but also tailoring it to the platform. With consistency in CX often taking precedence, this can result in the journey becoming repetitive and frustrating – feelings often exacerbated by automation such as chatbots, which lack a human touch and can come across as impersonal.
Our highly digital society also means that businesses should be keeping an eye on User Experience (UX) of customer-facing platforms. With UX as a factor affecting customer experience, building out a strong UX front will also streamline the overall CX to be more harmonious and accessible. These factors all impact a businesses’ ability to carry out customer service in a seamless manner in order to build their holistic CX presence.
How businesses can tailor their CX approach
Singapore’s highly digital population boasts a mobile penetration rate of 82 per cent – making it essential for businesses to adapt their CX approach to be truly omnichannel. This means not only being present but reaching out to their consumers on preferred channels – be it via WhatsApp or Facebook to name a few. The effect of major disruption in the marketplace has also shifted customer experience from in-person interactions to a rise in digital customer interactions, with 83% of APAC businesses relying on their websites for interaction and 59% on social media in 2020.
In order to successfully execute an omnichannel approach, it is important to have access to all consumer data simultaneously and across all platforms. The consolidation of data across the customer’s journey from booking and payment systems, CRM tools and mobile extensions in a singular core that CX agents may access can significantly reduce friction from moving between platforms, while also contributing to long-term retention.
The best way to enhance the customer experience begins with understanding the current journey that they go through. Monitoring behaviour across platforms to track where user interest drops off, gives valuable insights to businesses to create better and more targeted customer outreach. Automation can also come into play here, by allowing for event-triggered messaging that can help customers understand that their experience has been personalised exclusively for them.
Developing the human touch
A concern that is naturally raised when automation is brought into the CX landscape is personalisation, as customers expect their CX to be relatable and to be treated as individuals.
While the benefits of automation are clear compared to the costs associated with human CX agents, it requires skilful execution to avoid potential pitfalls. When executed well, automated messaging can provide an agility to customer service that CX agents would not be able to deliver for a speedy resolution of customer issues. Event-triggered messaging can also deliver personalised and meaningful outreach, actions and behaviours to customers when needed. Brands should keep in mind that while optimised experiences are the most efficient, it is the personal ones that will build customer loyalty and trust.
With this in mind, the key to providing the human touch is personalisation. Data consolidated from multiple platforms can be used to create rich and layered customer profiles, segmenting consumers for better and more targeted customer outreach communications. Messaging based on their actions and even on special occasions such as birthdays layers a touch of personalisation to better tailor CX overall.
The end goal of developing these insights is for businesses to develop a fully fleshed out understanding of each individual customer. By tailoring the customer outreach, this adds in the human touch that automation can take from CX, allowing consumers to feel as if the brand understands them on an individual level.
Having a large CX presence across channels can be both highly beneficial and detrimental to a business. With the increasing hyperconnectivity of not just Singaporean consumers but consumers across the globe, brands should embrace an omnichannel approach with a holistic customer experience in mind, to close gaps in customer retention, while also allowing the business to grow from strength to strength.