Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, also emerge as a main channel for customer support, says an Infobip study.

With the rise of remote work, 2020 marked the start of a major digital transformation journey for many businesses in Asia Pacific. As employees had to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, customer experience (CX) and CX processes had to be digitised.

Infobip, a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connected customer experiences across all stages of the customer journey, has released a report titled A Year of Disruption: Managing Increasing Complexities in Customer Service which indicates that even if working from home is not continued in future post-pandemic, digital transformation is here to stay. 

The findings are an indication that the Customer Service and Support (CSS) and CX landscape is evolving and slowly departing from traditional channels, the cloud platform said in a statement.

Some of the key highlights of the report include the following:

Increase in concerns for security

With more services turning to online platforms including after- sales services and customer service (CS) in general, the question of security is becoming a concern amongst customers. Certain customer service requires authentication or inputting of personal information before CS teams can take over. Customers are starting to notice the amount of personal data that they are placing online or through apps. According to research by Infobip, 20% of customers will not complete a purchase process if they feel it is not safe.

When it comes to automated CS processes, if a customer does not feel it is safe, they may not follow through and instead demand a human CS counterpart. This would then defeat the purpose of automating certain aspects of CS in the first place. By reassuring safety for customers through safety protocols such as 2FA, we can increase the usage and efficiency of automating CS processes.

Personalisation, Personalisation, Personalisation

Data shows that within a purchase process, 95% of users will typically refuse to move from one stage to the next if it requires a switch of apps, platform or sessions. This is per a report by Infobip done in conjunction with Customer Contact Week Digital (CCWD). It also found that  customers are more focused on the entire customer experience (58%) and obviously CX extends into CS.

Personalisation can come in many forms, but one of the more important aspects, which is strongly supported by earlier findings, in reshaping CX is the mode of communication. Carrying over this sentiment to CS, businesses have realised that routing customers through undesirable channels or mediums can result in attrition. The bright side is that 96% of businesses researched are aware of this importance. In order to satisfy the wide array of desirable channels that differ from customer to customer, it is essential to have an omnichannel approach, the report said.

Reshaping CX in a Channel Rich Environment

Over the past decade, it has become increasingly vital for businesses to extend their physical customer support (CS) services to online and social channels. While some have adapted to these new platforms with a primary focus on ‘multichannel’, this means that it has become infinitely more challenging for them to ensure a complete overview of the entire customer journey. This has been an ongoing struggle across Asia even before the global COVID-19 pandemic began. This signals a strong shift in needing to effectively manage customer service via other digital avenues. Customers today are finding it more convenient to turn to social media rather than making a call or sending an email for enquiries. That’s why social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, as a main channel for customer support.

Indonesia is a prime example of the prominence of digital avenues, where 74% of customer support is from social media compared to 50% from call centres and 69% from emails, the report said.

“Adapting to an ever-evolving customer engagement landscape has been an ongoing struggle for many businesses across Singapore and Asia,” said Vivien Ang, Regional Manager APAC at Infobip. “Our study has highlighted how the disruptions brought on by the pandemic had added to these challenges. The good news is that organisations are recognising the need for a significant shift in their CSS approach. As digital transformation continues to infiltrate business operations, organisations must focus their efforts on future-proofing their CSS and CX strategies to ensure they are not caught on the back foot.”

The report also shows that the CX industry seems to be experiencing a skills gap. In all the markets, respondents listed employee training as the top consideration when it comes to adopting a digital customer support system.

The report is based on a survey comprising 2,760 professionals across nine markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Survey responses were collected between December 21 and December 27, 2020.