Customer Experience in Asia: Awesome or Gruesome?


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Customer Experience in Asia: Awesome or Gruesome?

  2. 2. “The goal, as a company, is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.” – Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart While there is no doubt that delivering great customer service is key to a company‟s success, trying to put the necessary processes, infrastructure and, most importantly, people to deliver on that goal is another matter. The famous Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, currently the biggest company on the planet, wouldn‟t even stop at “best” when it comes to customer service. In Asia, customer experience management certainly has a room for improvement. While Asians are known for their hospitality, delivering a “legendary” customer experience requires a lot more. The advent of technology and social media even complicates the service delivery of many companies as it can serve as a double-edged sword. In this Special Supplement for Customer Experience Management Asia happening on 2-3 October 2013 in Singapore, we dived deeper into the issue and obtained revealing insights from some of the top the companies that can speak eloquently about the subject of customer experience. Read on to find out how great customer service is linked to a company‟s profitability and how Asian companies can build a genuine customer-centric organisation. Darwin Jayson Mariano IQPC Worldwide
  3. 3. In Asia, the human interaction needs continue to be fairly large and ultimately, the level of service depends on the last person on the block in the customer-facing channels. - Ratan Kesh, HDFC Bank To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  4. 4. 10 Customer Experience Trends for 2013 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A knowledgeable representative and a timely response are the most valuable components of a great service experience. Hotels, online retailers, and banks provide the best customer service experiences. Live agent remains the preferred interaction type, followed by email and then there is a significant drop to web chat, etc. (this varies by age demographic) Historical information access is deemed the most valuable feature of an interaction. Not being able to understand the agent is rated as the most frustrating part of an interaction. Customers are more willing to use social media to praise a good service experience vs. complaining about a poor experience. Customers aren‟t willing to pay extra for higher level service. The ability to get a scheduled call‐back was the most desired mobile application functionality. The most valuable technical service to offer customers is “an easy way to provide feedback”. Comprehensive reporting and analytics is the top feature desired by contact center professionals. Source: Interactive Intelligence Customer Experience Research Study 2013 To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  5. 5. Be the customer. Don’t lose sight of that, and don’t step away from what your customers live and breathe. - Michael Mucci, eBay To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  6. 6. ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION BUILDING A CUSTOMERCENTRIC ORGANISATION With the advancement in technology and liberalization of knowledge, the shifting balance of power has never been more imminent. Today, consumers have the power to literally, make or break an organization. Companies that are at the forefront of providing a great customer experience are the ones who usually stay on top. How does Asia fare in the field of customer experience management? How can technology improve (or destroy) a company‟s customer service delivery? Four experts in the field of customer experience management who will be speaking at the coming Customer Experience Management Asia 2013 shared their insights on the matter. Louise Long Head of Customer Experience, National Australia Bank Louise has deep experience in financial services across sales, training, marketing, customer value propositions, brand and strategy. She heads up the Customer Experience team and works right across the enterprise to engage the business in the benefits of the customer-centred thinking and design Ratan Kesh Senior Vice President and Head of Service Quality, HDFC Bank HDFC Bank is the second largest Private Sector Bank in India and Ratan‟s job entails framing and executing Customer Service and Quality Strategy for the bank. He leads a team of Lean Sigma MBBs responsible to achieve Service Excellence and to enable the bank in providing a wide range of financial products and services to its 30 million customers in a cost effective manner. Michael Mucci Sr. APAC Regional Business Analyst eBay Michael has three years‟ experience in the customer services industry specializing in selfservice strategy for the APAC region. This is supplemented with a background in reporting, analytics and project management. His role now includes support for eBay‟s global Mobile experience locally in APAC. Mr. Lutfi Al Shukaili VP - Head of Business Excellence Ajman Bank Lutfi is responsible for positioning Ajman Bank as a market leader in service quality across all customer touch points by establishing, designing and implementing Customer Experience strategies and frameworks. Prior to this, he was the Head of Service Quality and Performance Development at Dubai Bank, responsible for leading the bank to receive “Best Islamic and Most Improved Bank Award” To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  7. 7. Darwin Jayson Mariano: How does Asia compare with more advanced regions like US or Europe in the field of customer experience management? In which areas do you think Asia needs some improvement? Louise Long: Answering on the basis of Australia compared to US and Europe, I think that in some respects we have a way to go in the way we regard and design customer experience. We still think of customer experience as the efficient management of our services. That is a view that is “inside-out” not “outside-in”. An organisation focusing on customer experience may still be thinking about how efficiently (i.e., fast, low cost) they manage complaints, or call centres, and not how, we can better design the services that our customers use based on the needs they meet. Lutfi Al Shukaili: Generally speaking, Asia has been ahead of the pack when it comes to customer service, the airlines industry being a good case in point. However, it is difficult to generalize as there are significant variations between the countries that make up Asia, Europe, and US and between the different business sectors. Additionally, whereas Asia has led in terms of the human elements of service delivery, there have been a couple of innovative firms in the US and Europe that have been creative in terms of leveraging aesthetics and technology to enhance the overall customer experience. The focus in Asia should mainly be on the emerging markets where customer expectations are increasing. Ratan Kesh: Asian people in general are very hospitable, more sensitive to human feelings but surprisingly the general level of customer service is not up to the mark as is observed in the US. This is primarily due to lack of technology adoption in Asian companies. The tech platforms are improving in Asia but the end to end integrated and the integrated view of various platforms is lacking. Other problem is that customers, in general, in the US have adopted technology in a big way, thus eliminating the need for human interface, thus making it easier for the service providers. In Asia, the human interaction needs continue to be fairly large and ultimately, the level of service depends on the last person on the block in the customer facing channels. Training needs are huge and due to higher level of attrition, there are more challenges in Asia. Europe is somewhat similar to US but it is believed that human behaviour / intention to service is lacking among the large cross-section of people which makes the level of service poorer to US and even Asia, in some sense. Michael Mucci: I think that in the realm of customer service, the Asian market is more complex. You have a lot of diverse cultures which geographically may be near each other but are far from similar. One of the biggest obstacles from a global standpoint is to recognise that and see that the subtleties in handling customers in each of those markets are very different. Customer experience management in Asia absolutely needs improvement. It is something that we are in the process of undertaking, looking at the APAC region not as a whole but at each of its market levels and further beyond – e-commerce in particular. We are in a retail business and retail is a very domestic experience. To capture that experience, you need to recognise these differences. To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  8. 8. The focus in Asia should mainly be on the emerging markets where customer expectations are increasing. - Mr. Lutfi Al Shukaili, Ajman Bank To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  9. 9. Darwin Jayson Mariano: Let‟s talk about today‟s multi-channel environment. Do you think it creates more challenges or more opportunities – and why? Louise Long: “Multi-channel” is a not a customercentric concept, and therefore creates challenges if we continue to label it as such. If by the term we mean, “answering the problem” – how do we allow our customers to interact with us in multiple ways, and still provide a consistently good experience, that is remembered and integrated when they next interact? – then it is a great opportunity. Lutfi Al Shukaili: Multi-channel environment creates more challenges as customers become more fragmented and it becomes less clear which channels and technologies to invest in. Technological change is rapid and can be difficult for some organizations to keep up with. This environment can be mitigated and converted into an opportunity provided a company truly understands its customer segments and has upto-date information on their channel usage trends and preferences – but many times that is not the case, as few companies tend to be so customeroriented. Ratan Kesh: Multi-Channel environment creates both challenges and opportunities. Challenges because the pace of technology development is huge and the public in general (read: customers) are adopting technology in a big way quite easily. Social Media is catching up very fast. However, for service providers, it is not as easy to design/ develop and implement new technology to cope up with the multi-channel development. This creates a mismatch leading to perceived gap in service for a section of customers. Conversely, multi-channel is an opportunity because it helps understand customer behaviour in a much more comprehensive manner, thus product development and testing becomes easier. The outcome of a new product or service launch is available instantly instead of waiting for a longer cycle as it used to be in the earlier days. Multichannel environment also helps identify which customer likes which channel and thus the marketing and service efforts can be sharpened rather than making those “carpet bombing” activities and hoping for the best possible outcome. Michael Mucci: I think currently it creates more challenges only because I have yet to see a company fully pre-execute on a multi-channel offering. However, I see tremendous potential there I believe it will continue to have tremendous potential. Mobile, iPad, and tablets are the new things. However, with the pace of technology, these things also might be obsolete in a few years replaced by Google glasses etc. Darwin Jayson Mariano: In your industry, has social media been beneficial in improving customer experience? What are important lessons have you learned in dealing with social media? Louise Long: Social media has been embraced by some but not all of the Australian banks. NAB (National Australia Bank) has been deliberate in its use of social media to communicate change to our customers, share our community activities, illicit customer feedback, as well as respond to complaints. Social media is only one of the ways To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  10. 10. Organisation should only become active in social media if it is prepared for a two-way conversation with its customers. - Louise Long, National Australia Bank To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  11. 11. our customers can interact with us where they are in control and we need to remember that. The evolving psychology of complaining through social media (“it‟s the only way to get a good result”) is a good example. Lessons learnt include that an organisation should only become active in social media if it is prepared for a two-way conversation with its customers. Lutfi Al Shukaili: Social media has become an open channel for customers to share their experiences with their service providers; organizations should use the information and the feedback to further enhance their proposition and overall experience. Ratan Kesh: In Indian banking industry, the customers in the urban areas have adopted social media to share opinion about banks‟ products and services. Considering that large percentage of the conversation in social media is negative (sharing poor experiences), the banks have very little choice but to have a social media strategy. We found great value in engaging customers through social media and creating a positive impact about bank‟s brand, products and services. Some of the lessons learned include: • Social media should be to listen and resolve customer issues rather than to market products. • Speed of response is the key • Avoid putting anonymous bloggers/characters to say planted “good feedback” about brands. Customers can figure it out easily causing further damage to brands. Michael Mucci: Definitely beneficial. Absolutely! As for the lessons learned, we haven‟t had any detrimental and/or negative impact but we are learning there is a lot of power in social media and in spreading the word through online mediums. The fear that most people seem to have is quickly outweighed by loyal customers defending the company – and we are seeing that with ebay. It‟s a bit of a leap of faith. Darwin Jayson Mariano: What‟s the best “customer experience management” advice can you give to other organisations out there? Louise Long: Think about the values of the company – does its DNA reflect a genuine desire to create business value whilst doing the right thing for the customer? How is that reflected in its competitive strategies? Do not try and „own‟ the customer experience in an organisation – everyone who works for the organisation owns it. Customer experience (or customer-centricity) is a competency that needs to be built into the culture, into the fabric of the organisation; not another silo or function to be managed. Do try to improve the organisation‟s way of working by considering the customer first – for better, sustainable outcomes. Do think about how it can achieve the same business value (and improve it) by creating customer value as well. Lutfi Al Shukaili: Understand and deliver what your customers need. Customer experience needs a solid foundation to grow and can only truly flourish in an environment where the internal customer (i.e. employee experience) is given significant importance and attention. Attempts to To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  12. 12. patch a poor external customer experience without building a vibrant and positive organizational culture where your employees feel happy, secure, and inspired will only lead to shortlived and limited gains. Ratan Kesh: 1) Organisational structure for customer experience management team plays a critical role. It should have integrated umbrella platform to: a) capture voice of customers (through complaints handling team); b) Audit of Services across customer facing channels and; c) Business Process Improvement (BPI) team. 2) Never put target to reduce customer complaints 3) “Managing the Tail” i.e handling the last 0.1% exception is key to moving from Good to Great. 99.9% will be great experience but the last 0.1% can cause tremendous damage to brand image due to multi-channel environment and social media platform. Michael Mucci: Be the customer. Don‟t lose sight of that, and don‟t step away from what your customers live and breathe. The moment you do that, that will be the moment your solutions will be disconnected from what your customers want. It‟s really about doing what the customer does. BONUS VIDEO: Real Customers‟ Experiences – the good, the bad, the best Click to watch the 4-minute video To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013, email or call +65 6722 9388
  13. 13. To attend Customer Experience Management Asia 2013 happening on 2-3 October in Singapore, call +65 6722 9388 or email KEY THEMES COVERED AT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT ASIA 2013 Building customer centric organizations and using them to drive business Excellence in branding and customer experience across various customer touch points Building a customercentric organization in today’s multichannel environment to gain competitive advantage Implementing a holistic customer experience management framework Capitalising on data analytics and big data Click to download Brochure Disclaimer: Please note that we do all we can to ensure accuracy and timeliness of the information presented herein but errors may still understandably occur in some cases. If you believe that a serious inaccuracy has been made please let us know. This article is provided for information purposes only. IQPC accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any direct or indirect losses arising from the use of this report or its contents.