Gap between Singapore brands, customer expectations widens

Photo by Hu Chen

The gap between what customers expect of brands, and what they received in reality has widened in Asia Pacific and Singapore despite a full year of accelerated digital pivot, according to SAP’s latest customer experience study.

SAP’s report titled “Heart Matters” found that brands are falling short of customer expectations by 21% in Asia Pacific and 28% in Singapore when it comes to being customer-centric. 

Conducted by Qualtrics for SAP Customer Experience, the study covered 5,900 consumers across Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, India, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Singapore respondents indicated a gap between their expectations and actual experiences on this front, in areas such as brands respecting the rights and welfare of their workers (80% vs 67%), treating suppliers ethically (76% vs 56%), actively work to reduce gender and racial inequality (73% vs 55%), and not engage in anti-competitive behaviour (70% vs 54%). 

Areas that local businesses were found to be lacking include responsiveness within 24 hours to customer queries (expected at 78% vs 51% in actual), acting on customers’ feedback to improve products and services (84% vs 58%), resolving issues in less than three interactions (83% vs 55%), having a reward programme customised to their interests (81% vs 54%), and offering innovative or better ways to serve customers during COVID-19 (86% vs 65%). 

Delivery was among the most dissatisfied areas for those surveyed, with 82% of Singapore consumers expecting brands to provide timely and accurate delivery options they could trust, but with just over half (59%) saying this was met in reality. 

The dissatisfaction over quality and reliability of delivery services especially significant for local supermarkets, where just 55% of Singaporeans mentioned they received trustworthy delivery services (vs 80% expectation). 

Also, just around half of Singapore customers shared that brands are actively updating them on relevant specials and new products (56%), is proactive in anticipating their needs and wants (55%), and provides tailored suggestions based on their purchase history and preferences (50%). 

Singapore-based customers also want brands to provide omni-channel experiences that enable their lifestyles, expecting brands to provide them with a network of physical and online stores (76%), have easy to transact options across multiple channels such as online to in-store (81%), yet still provide a consistent experience irrespective of channel (82%).