APAC Companies Investing in Customer Experience Seeing Significant Growth

    By Harold Henry - Oct 28, 2020
    APAC Companies Investing in Customer Experience Seeing Significant Growth

    Zendesk, Inc. today released new research in partnership with Enterprise Strategy Group that shows how companies in Asia Pacific investing in customer experience are reaping the benefits.

    The study found a link between organizations with more mature CX capabilities and improved business success in areas such as market share, increased customer spend, and pivoting processes over the last six months.

    The new study, CX Champions: How CX Leaders who raise their game are driving business success, surveyed more than 1,000 CX managers and leaders globally to better understand their investments in CX. It shows that APAC businesses with mature CX capabilities are over 10 times more likely to grow faster customer spend than those with less mature CX, and over 4 times more likely to increase their customer base.

    Additionally, more than half of APAC businesses with mature CX capabilities said they were able to ensure seamless transition to remote work for customer service and support agents during the pandemic.

    For this research, ESG developed a CX Maturity Scale that segments organizations into three tiers of customer service maturity, based on seven key characteristics that cover how organizations use their support teams, technology, and data to drive better performance.

    The three maturity categories are: Starters, which exhibit zero to three of the seven characteristics; Risers, which have four to five of the characteristics; and Champions, which have at least six of the characteristics in place.

    “Our research identified a clear connection between CX excellence and business growth,” said Adam DeMattia, Director of Custom Research at ESG. “Companies that are at the Champion stage of the scale not only see better outcomes in traditional service metrics, such as resolution time and CSAT, but they’re also experiencing positive business outcomes in customer spend, retention, and board-level support of CX as a business priority.”

    Key findings from the report show that companies in APAC that invest in CX yield significant benefits, including:

    1. Faster growth: Even during the pandemic, APAC Champions were found to be 10.8 times more likely than Starters to have significantly grown customer spend – the highest amongst Champions globally including North America (8.7 times), Europe (7.3 times), and Latin America (6.5 times).
    2. Increased market share: The region’s Champions were 4.4 times more likely than Starters to have grown their customer base over the past six months, compared to Champions in North America (3.9 times), Europe (3.6 times), and Latin America (2.3 times).
    3. Senior-level support: Champions also secured greater investment and support from senior leadership within their organization. For example, senior leaders at CX Champion organizations were 4.2 times more likely to see customer service as a differentiator than Starters.

    “The pandemic has been a catalyst for organizations to transform in order to sustain and grow their business,” said Wendy Johnstone, Chief Operating Officer, APAC, Zendesk. “Our new research with ESG confirms the clear link between a focus on customer experience and business success. In fact, the business impact of investing in CX is even more pronounced in APAC than in any other region.”

    “The accelerated shift to digital means customer expectations have never been higher, and the pressure is on for organizations to respond. The new reality is that delivering exceptional customer experience has become a business imperative for any organization looking to future-proof their operations.”

    Significant untapped potential for APAC companies to level up in CX maturity

    The research found that companies in APAC were at varying stages of CX maturity. While most organizations are identified as Starters (48%) or Risers (30%), with significant room for improvement in their customer experience, 22% of businesses in APAC identified as Champions, offering shorter response times, positive customer experiences, and greater agility to respond to customers’ needs.

    Among APAC countries represented in the research, Indian organizations lead in maturity with 43% of respondents’ organizations being categorized as Champions (relative to 25% of those in Australia, 13% in Singapore, and 0% in Japan).

    In Singapore, only one third (34%) of the respondents feel that they have sophisticated channel toggling capabilities and the agility to better serve customer needs. While Singapore is ahead of Australia (31%) and Japan (22%), they are still lagging behind India with over half of the respondents (58%) resonating with the same sentiment.

    Performing under pressure (and in a pandemic)

    Reflecting on the first half of 2020, when companies globally had to rapidly transition to remote working, Champions were able to easily pivot to enable customer service and support agents to work from home. In fact, Champions in APAC were 14 times more successful than Starters at pivoting to remote work. Over half (56%) of Champions reported the shift to remote working as smooth, while over half of Starters (52%) say the transition could have been better, or that it has been tough.

    During the pandemic, APAC organizations reported bullish business trends, with 67% of Indian businesses reporting growing market share in the last 6 months, followed by Singapore businesses (35%), Australia (28%), and Japan (14%).

    To prepare for the future and adapt to unforeseeable economic and societal disruptions, CX teams in APAC are putting the processes in place now and those leading the pack are feeling significantly more prepared for ‘what’s next’. Champions are 17.5 times more likely than Starters to be very confident in their organization’s ability to handle future disruptions.

    “Our results show that CX Champions were not only better positioned to manage the transition to remote work, but they also continued to drive positive customer experiences throughout the pandemic. Champions are four times more likely than Starters to report exceeding customer satisfaction (CSAT) targets,” added Johnstone. “While the future remains uncertain and unpredictable, it’s clear what organizations need to do to stay ahead – increase their ability to be more agile, invest in CX, and always be ready for constant change.”

    Five lessons from Customer Champions

    For businesses aspiring to move to the next stage of the CX Maturity Scale, the research calls out five trends that are consistent among Champions:

    1. Building a culture focused on CX, driven from the top down: Champions agreed more strongly that CX is a critical business priority. They also have greater involvement from senior business leaders with over a third of Champions in APAC reviewing CX Metrics with C-Suite executives on a daily basis – 7.8 times more likely than Starters.
    2. Don’t forget your people: Service and support continue to be an area of focus among leaders, with agents at Champion organizations in APAC receiving an average of about a day of additional days of training per year than Starters.
    3. Data-centric support delivers: Champions place a focus on KPIs and metrics to guide their support decisions. In the APAC region, 74% of Champions state their KPIs can be reported in real-time.
    4. Automation and AI are making an impact: Responding to the increased volume of data and rising customer expectations, 43% of Champions in APAC make use of automated methods of building and updating cross-channel customer profiles. AI tools, such as automated chatbots, are also making an impact on support performance.
    5. Investing in CX success: When asked about plans for the next 12 months, nearly three-fifths (59%) of Champions in APAC expect their organization’s spend on CX tools and technology to increase significantly, versus just 7% of Starters. Additionally, 13% of Singapore respondent organizations expect a significant increase in CX investment at their organizations over the next 12 months.

    “As we see the trend that Champions are taking the steps to invest more in their tools, team, and processes for CX success, Starters not only have the challenge of catching up to their competition in customer service but also ensuring the gap doesn’t widen,” added DeMattia. “To make these gains, it will be critical for leaders at lagging organizations to make the most of their budgets by learning from their more mature peers and investing in the areas that can drive the greatest impact on their CX maturity.”


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