Effective CX in APAC: Innovate or risk obsolescence

Renowned architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

What happens to a business or brand that can’t react to a changing model or environment? History is littered with former market leaders that stopped innovating, fell short of customer expectations, and ultimately became obsolete.

The cost of innovation and the price of stagnation

Take the auto industry for example. While the internal combustion engine (ICE) is not yet obsolete, its days are numbered. Tesla pioneered the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), uncovering significant consumer demand and establishing a new model for the automotive industry, all while garnering a devoted following. By 2025, 20% of all vehicles in Southeast Asia will be electric.

Industries are vying for relevance. As new leaders emerge and legacy players scramble to catch up, some will inevitably be left behind. Enterprise brands are particularly at risk. Scaling innovation is costly, and overhauling long-standing legacy systems is both expensive and challenging. Faced with the need to cut costs and improve efficiency, inertia often seems like the easier option. However, customer expectations are always evolving, and the rate of innovation continues to speed up.

It’s not good enough for brands to merely keep pace with customers; they must stay ahead. Failure to do so could significantly impact customer experience (CX) and engagement strategies.

Spotting trends can take you from legacy to leading  

Customers have always been, and will continue to be, at the core of any successful business. Yet, the stagnation in enterprise technology is most evident in how we service and support customers. With consumers taking just three seconds to abandon a poorly supported company, it’s surprising how little today’s contact centres have evolved from those of a decade ago.

Enterprise businesses must navigate a world where customers openly share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions about brands. Modern customers have heightened customer service expectations, with 71% of APAC consumers saying that these expectations have increased. Public discussions now encompass business operations, executive reputations, leadership styles, products, services, and even customer reviews

Unfortunately, many organisations fail to share this wealth of customer feedback with the agents who interact with customers daily. These agents are left in the dark, responding only to incoming customer calls or emails. 

Transitioning from a legacy to a leading position involves more than just implementing a website bot for support. Without dynamic, customised AI, guided workflows, and the ability to maintain the context of conversations across digital channels while routing them to the appropriate agent, you’re barely ahead of those considered “legacy.”

This is particularly relevant for Asia-Pacific, a region leading the global digital transformation. IDC reports that one in three companies in the region will generate over 30% of their revenue from digital products and services by 2023. Clearly, the most successful businesses will be those capable of evolving their contact centres to meet the demands of a digital-first future.

The next generation of customer service 

Comparing the latest generation of contact centre software to its predecessors is like contrasting EVs with ICEs. The experience is fundamentally different, benefiting both businesses and customers.

Next-generation contact centre as a service (CCaaS) solutions don’t merely react to incoming customer calls. They shift the customer service paradigm from reactive to proactive. Why wait for complaints or crises? With customers generating petabytes of publicly accessible data daily, brands can utilise advanced technologies to gain insights into customer preferences and needs.

Contact centres fueled by these insights can dramatically improve customer experiences. A one-star review becomes a prioritised ticket for resolution, a negative tweet turns into an advocacy opportunity, and each customer interaction becomes a chance for a sale.

Dynamic, self-learning AI sits at the core of leading contact centres. It enables brands to proactively monitor relevant conversations, swiftly analyse large volumes of data, and engage customers on their preferred digital channels. While voice remains an option, data suggests that quicker and simpler problem resolution makes it a last resort.

New model: Less service is better service

For modern consumers, the best service is no service at all. Proactive listening and insights can inform product development, marketing, and sales, addressing common issues and eliminating the need for customer service.

The next best option is easily accessible, self-service help or virtual agents. Trust me, your customer doesn’t want to call you. AI can offer solutions to common problems through bots or FAQs, and customers are often content to resolve issues themselves if you can make that interaction painless.

When a customer does require agent support, the brand should be prepared with its third-best option. A phone call usually indicates a complex issue or a highly frustrated customer. Therefore, having a system that captures and retains context from previous interactions across various channels is crucial for effective problem resolution. Legacy systems, whether on-premises or cloud-based, are not up to this task.

Enterprises need the courage to transition from outdated legacy systems to solutions designed to meet customers where they are. Future contact centres can evolve from cost centres to revenue drivers, and from inefficient service providers to efficiency hubs. They can also shift from merely reacting to customer complaints to proactively creating exceptional digital experiences.

With Asia-Pacific’s future closely tied to its digital economy, enterprises must enhance their CX capabilities to maintain relevance, or risk losing out to more agile competitors.