Investment in Digital Customer Engagement generated 61% revenue growth for Singapore Companies: Twilio

The past two years have spurred an unprecedented acceleration of digital transformation for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies in Singapore, advancing their digital strategies by an average of 6.8 years. As a result, B2C companies in Singapore that invested in digital customer engagement also saw an average increase in total revenue of 61%.

That’s according to research released on 18 April by leading cloud communication software company, Twilio. The company’s third annual State of Customer Engagement Report reflects the findings from a survey of 3,450 business leaders and 4,500 consumers across 12 countries, including Singapore, Australia and Japan, and found that investment in digital customer engagement and personalization technologies has had a significant positive impact on customer retention and trust — and on revenues.

The cookie clock is ticking

Third-party cookies, which are now blocked by Firefox and Safari, will also be blocked by Google Chrome by the end of 2023. Businesses need to prepare quickly for these upcoming changes, especially as the majority of consumers in Singapore (88%) prefer for brands to make use of only first-party data when delivering personalized experiences.

The deprecation of cookies will cause even more difficulty for brands who rely on such cookies to identify and track visitors to their websites. 73% of B2C companies in Singapore surveyed rely on third-party data for their current marketing strategies. In addition, nearly 2 out of 3 (65%) companies in Singapore say they are not fully prepared for a cookieless world.

This means that when a key pillar of the advertising- and social media-driven internet disappears, collecting and relying on first-party data won’t just be a competitive advantage anymore – it will be table stakes for survival.

Personalization: expectations vs. reality

Personalization has emerged as one of the most important aspects of delivering a competitive brand experience that will attract customers and create brand loyalty. In fact, the consequences of not providing personalized experiences to customers can be severe, especially as consumers in Singapore tend to expect personalized experiences compared to other countries. 81% of consumers in Singapore say they’ll stop using a brand if it doesn’t personalize their experience, compared to the global average of 61%.

However, while both brands and consumers agree that personalization is important, the report uncovered some startling gaps.

For instance, most companies in Singapore (90%) surveyed believe that personalization is critical to their customer engagement strategy. Yet while 75% of companies claim to provide good or excellent personalized experiences to customers, more than half of consumers (53%) disagree, reporting bad, poor or average personalization.

Five fundamentals to ensure digital survival and success

“The research clearly shows that companies that prioritize digital customer engagement reap the biggest rewards,” said Lee Hawksley, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Asia-Pacific and Japan at Twilio. “Personalization is actually getting harder to deliver, with high customer expectations, changing technologies, and the diminishing value of third-party cookies. We’ve seen five fundamentals to overcoming these challenges: embrace digital, personalize every interaction, shift to first-party data, close the trust gap, and avoid engagement fatigue by increasing the quality of your interactions.”

Key findings from the Twilio report include:

  • Digital customer engagement drives major return on investment
    • A majority of B2C companies in Singapore (97%) saw an increase in revenue as a result of investments in digital customer engagement.
    • 28% of B2C companies in Singapore surveyed expect to at least double their digital customer engagement investment by 2025.
  • Personalization is critical for consumers in Singapore, and they want companies to do better
    • 81% of consumers in Singapore say they’ll stop using a brand if it doesn’t personalize their experience, compared to the global average of 61%.
    • While 3 out of 4 B2C companies in Singapore (75%) believe they provide good or excellent personalized customer experiences, more than half of consumers in Singapore (53%) disagree.
  • Brands need to adapt to a cookieless era
    • 88% of consumers in Singapore prefer for brands not to use third-party data.
    • Yet, 73% of B2C companies in Singapore rely on third-party data for their current marketing strategies.
    • Only 35% of B2C companies in Singapore feel fully prepared for the shift away from third-party cookies.
  • The trust gap between consumers and businesses is putting customer loyalty at risk
    • 54% of consumers in Singapore want brands to do more to protect their privacy and be transparent about data usage.
    • Consumers in Singapore are taking action against brands that do not meet their data privacy expectations
      • 51% of respondents stopped purchasing the brand’s products or services
      • 50% of respondents reduced the amount of money spent on the brand’s products or services
      • 38% of respondents told friends or family members not to trust the brand
  • Digital fatigue is real and a growing problem
    • 65% of consumers in Singapore are frustrated with inconsistent digital interactions with brands
    • Top three reasons why consumers in Singapore will stop doing business with a company:
      • Not being able to connect with someone from customer support (16%)
      • Knowing another company will provide a better customer experience (15%)
      • Being transferred multiple times to different service representatives (12%)

The report is based on two surveys conducted by Lawless Research in December 2021 and January 2022. The B2C company survey collected responses from 3,450 business leaders, while the consumer survey collected responses for 4,500 consumers. Both surveys included respondents from Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom and United States, with two hundred to 1,000 responses from each country. In addition, the report includes analysis of anonymized, aggregate data from over 1.6 trillion interactions that have occurred on Twilio’s platform, including Twilio Segment, over the past several years.