A new study hints at the possible decline of the contact centre market in the AP region. However, the study also suggests that the decline can be arrested with the help of a new approach.
Consumers in Asia Pacific countries are increasingly autonomous and able to manage their own customer relationships, says a new study from BT and Avaya.
What does it suggest? According to a statement by the two companies, this signals a pressing need for companies to embrace a new multi-channel customer service approach
Another interesting result of the study is that customers are not only independent and well informed but they are influenced more by other consumers than by brands.
Some major findings of the study are as follows:
- The vast majority (79 percent) are 'shopper swots' who use the Internet to plan and research before purchasing.
- Over half (54 percent) prefer self-service to interacting with sales agents, and 79 percent said they would buy more from companies that make it easier to do business in this way.
- These autonomous customers are also embracing new technology faster than the organisations that serve them.
The results suggest that newly autonomous customers are challenging the traditional contact centre model and reshaping the way organisations implement new technologies and multichannel strategies, said the two companies.
Avaya is a global provider of business collaboration and communications solutions. BT is a communications company.
"The research clearly shows that the technology-empowered autonomous customer wants a consistent service regardless of channel used," said Chong-Win Lee, director of contact centre solutions in Asia Pacific for Avaya. "Managing a truly personalised experience for the customer across multiple channels is a great opportunity for organisations to differentiate themselves, if they get it right."
The importance of smartphones and social media
The study also indicates that the huge adoption of smartphones is creating opportunities for organisations to serve customers more effectively on and offline. For example, 44 percent of smartphone users have called contact centres to seek advice after they've looked things up online or via an app on their smartphone, and 39 percent have scanned products in store using their smartphone. This is especially true in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, which are systematically ranked in the top four places for the percentage of the population which uses a smartphone.
The research also found that social media is an emerging platform for customer service with 52 percent having used social media to follow a company or learn more about their services, and 56 percent saying they trust customer forums more than an organisation's website.
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