Commissioned by CINNOX, the Forrester Opportunity Snapshot report Infuse Digital Experiences with the Right Dose of Human Touch revealed that while customer experience (CX) is becoming more imperative for competitive differentiation, organisations often fail in exceeding customer expectations.
Only 16% of the 1,200 customers that participated in the survey acknowledged having recently experienced interactions that exceeded their expectations.
This suggests that although organisations are committed to becoming more customer-focused, they have an insufficient understanding of customers’ expectations and are failing to deliver quality experiences.
In more developed markets like Hong Kong and Singapore, CX sentiments were the lowest, with only 7% and 9% experiencing interactions that exceeded their expectations, respectively.
In Hong Kong, three critical attributes emerged as the top expectations for good CX: first-time resolution (43%), the short response time (41%), and knowledgeable representatives (34%).
Five customer personas
To meet these expectations, the study identified five customer personas that have emerged post-pandemic, each of which exhibits different preferences and require bespoke customer journeys.
Five post-pandemic customer personas:
Omni-shoppers: Forty-four per cent of respondents 20 to 49 years old find both human and digital touchpoints important. Omni-shoppers feel safe with digital interactions and want omnichannel experiences that seamlessly transition between touchpoints. They have engaged in online activities pre-pandemic but started doing more online activities since the pandemic started.
Multichannel enthusiasts: 15% of respondents in the 20 to 49 age group use multiple channels for customer service and support but want their issues resolved end-to-end within a single touchpoint during an interaction without needing to switch channels. They were already engaged in mostly online activities pre-pandemic, and increased engagement since pandemic.
Reserved digital immigrants: 15% of respondents 50 years old and above prefer offline touchpoints or online touchpoints with live human support, without having to switch communication across touchpoints. They feel less safe with digital interactions and have not yet started to do more online activities since the pandemic.
Affluent high touch seekers: 15% of respondents 50 years old and above and mostly high-income holders, prefer offline touchpoints but are also comfortable with digital. They want high personal touch both offline and online to establish greater trust and rapport. They had already engaged in some online activities pre-pandemic and have increased engagement since.
Low-touch digital natives: 12% of respondents below 30 years old are happy with self-service digital touchpoints across the customer journey, with little or no human intervention required such as chatbots. They have already been engaged in mostly online activities pre-pandemic, and increased engagement since pandemic.
Redefining approach to customer experience
While the pandemic led to a shift in demand towards digital interactions, a high emotional value for live human support in customer experience remains strong. The study suggests that organisations must redefine and tailor their approach to enhancing experiences throughout the customer journey for each of the five personas – encompassing all offline and online touchpoints augmented with live human support.
Patsy Wong, chief strategy officer at CINNOX, says customer experience is the battleground that organisations compete on. She noted that the study shows organisations lack the methodologies and insights to truly curate delightful customer experiences for different newly emergent personas, based on their preferences and intents.