Unless businesses meet the rapidly increasing needs for digital customer service, they risk losing market share. That was the conclusion drawn up in the Infobip paper, A Year of Disruption: Managing Increasing Complexities in Customer Service, which explores the pressures businesses across Asia have faced in adapting their customer support services as consumers shifted online and staff were forced to work from home.
Businesses also faced a significant dilemma – an urgent necessity to invest in digital customer support services (CSS) and customer experiences (CX) against a backdrop of all time low profitability and budgets stretched to their limits.
The research revealed that while companies intend to implement some changes permanently in future, there are still challenges to overcome.
Evolving preferences: Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, were cited as the main channel of customer support. Customers today prefer to turn to social media rather than making a call or sending an email for enquiries. More companies are recognising this and are improving their customer communications by integrating chat (Facebook, WhatsApp Business, Viber) into their larger communications strategies.
More queries amid uncertainty: 54% of respondents cited the increase in support enquiries as a top challenge faced in customer support last year.
Bridging the skills gap: The survey shows that 60% of APAC respondents said employee training is a top consideration when adopting a digital customer support system.
Velid Begović, sales director of APAC at Infobip, noted that many businesses continue fail to adapt quickly enough to changing consumer realities.
“Today’s customer experience must be simple, convenient and seamless. The slightest friction could turn away a customer from a business forever. Within a purchase process, for instance, 95% of users will refuse to move from one stage to the next if it requires any switch of apps, platform or sessions. These are extremely fine margins; businesses who understand this and innovate accordingly will reap the rewards,” he elaborated.
The data is indicative of an evolving CSS and CX landscape that is departing from traditional channels.
Automating the future
Half of the respondents reported that the digitalisation of CSS is a permanent implementation moving forward, considering the long-term benefits that come with smart automation and implementation of a digital omnichannel hub.
The research also shows that the CX industry seems to be experiencing a skills gap. In all the markets, respondents listed employee training as the top considerations when it comes to adopting a digital customer support system.
Respondents in all the markets said their customer support teams are ready for remote working. A deeper dive into the data tells us that the increase in support channels, management of new support channels and unfamiliarity with new channels are among the common digital technology challenges.
Preparing the labour force
Infobip encourages employers to train their CX workforce for digital transformation and invest in communication channels that are relevant to their markets by finding the best solutions to simplify their communication needs.