Johnny Lu, Co-president of Asia Pacific, has over 16 years experience leading successful and culturally diverse teams across multiple regions. At Quadient, Johnny has worked as Chief Representative and Managing Director in Taiwan, China, and Singapore, focusing on the Service Provider, Telecom, Banking and Insurance verticals. He has rich knowledge on both domestic and international business models across different industries and cultures. Johnny Lu holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Georgia State University. In his free time, Johnny enjoys playing a number of sports, and tasting delicious new foods.
Consumer technology has heralded a new age; the age of the customer is here, and this is shifting the balance of power.
Today, consumers have an ever-increasing wealth of information at their fingertips and a growing demand for instant communication; they want to easily interact with and receive quick responses from customer service operatives, access information readily across the multiple devices they own, and transact on-the-go.
In response, companies are changing their business strategy to meet the expectations of more than one billion people with broadband access, mobile devices, and social networks in Asia. Improving customer experience (CX) is among many companies’ top business priorities, and this is leading to large scale digital or CX transformation initiatives.
Here are my predictions on what companies will be doing more of to boost CX in 2016:
1. Connecting better with customers in a mobile age
Singapore has the highest smart phone penetration in the world with an estimated 9 out of 10 respondents having access to smartphones, according to a survey by Deloitte last year. We’re gradually becoming a mobile-first population, but this trend is not just limited to Singapore.
Globally, companies are recognising the need to adapt to new consumer habits; Google, for instance, last year announced a change to its search algorithms, factoring in a website’s mobile-friendliness in their search rankings, making it clear that mobile-friendliness should be high on the agenda for all companies.
Indeed, the mobile phone is already a very important device for customer communication, and companies will certainly work on improving the customer user experience to enhance their connection with customers via mobile.
2. New metrics for measuring communications
Beyond laptops, tablets, mobile phones and the like, the use of new wearables, from smart watches, clothing and more, are on the rise. An ever-increasing number of communications channels means that traditional metrics no longer suffice for measuring the effectiveness or value of communications.
In particular, we can expect to see a surge in the popularity of social media and mobility-based metrics as companies go increasingly digital and customer communication channels become more interconnected. Companies will want to know and evaluate every aspect and each encounter that their customers have with their services.
3. Synchronising and centralising communications across touchpoints
Every touchpoint plays a significant role in each individual’s customer experience. Forward-looking companies are always looking to streamline their communications platforms to deliver seamless and consistent messaging across all touchpoints.
With this in mind, investing in an omni-channel platform allows them to communicate over the entire spectrum of media, devices and preferred channels.
4. Moving towards end-to-end solutions
In an analysis on the customer experience in Singapore, Accenture recommends that organizations need to focus on delivering a seamless customer experience to become a key differentiator in a global marketplace. Firms will increasingly recognize the need for end-to-end solutions that connect customer experiences throughout the customer life cycle.
These solutions are not just omni-channel – they are also insight-driven and consistent across the entire customer journey, from the first touchpoint and throughout the lifecycle. Forrester predicts that from 2016 to 2018, firms’ obsession with the customer will gradually accelerate the maturity of business technology and the demand for end-to-end solutions to replace point solutions.
Finally, as companies increasingly acknowledge that customer experience is vital to the business and the power of data and insights for understanding customers, it is only a matter of time before the following trend emerges among many companies, to bring together and elevate all other initiatives to improve customer communications.
5. Creating a Chief Data Officer, Chief Experience Officer role
The Chief Data Officer (CDO) or Chief Experience Officer role is a new one for many companies. This is someone who will be key to improving the customer experience and communications in an organisation by leveraging and organising data and insights across the entire business or customer lifecycle, and Gartner predicts that by 2017, 50 per cent of companies in regulated industries will have a Chief Data Officer.
Most customers today experience a disconnect from the companies they interact with. The CDO or CXO’s role is pivotal for discovering discrepancies in user experience and cultivating a quality and consistent customer experience throughout the customer journey.
For businesses that have not seriously considered the customer experience yet, it is not too late to start. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the options are plentiful for companies who are actively seeking new ways to enhance the customer experience, and these are the organisations that will excel in this new age.