The commissioned study, titled 'Redefining Human and Automated Engagement – How APAC Consumers Have Impacted the CX Agenda', was conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Infobip and explores what businesses must prioritize to address evolving customer expectations. 1,210 consumers across Hong Kong and 10 other Asian markets were interviewed on their brand interactions over the past 6 months. The study showed that with the advent of digital and automated engagement mechanisms, customers now expect real-time personalized services and interactions. Organizations should therefore holistically weave human-assisted and automated service capabilities into customer journeys to achieve efficiency and loyalty.
Human touchpoints complement automation to deliver hybrid CX
The study found that customer preferences for automated chatbots in purchase journeys have risen from 24% to 26% since 2019, indicating that there is an opportunity for organizations to invest in automation and scale convenience, providing the autonomy that customers seek. However, consumers remain reliant on live support, and human interaction is still a necessary aspect of CX to achieve customer satisfaction.
In Hong Kong, the study found that the top 3 preferred customer service touchpoints are: 1) Human agent over the phone (43%); 2) Online live chat (35%); 3) Social media (31%). This emphasizes that human touchpoints remain relevant in the market alongside automated and digital services.
Understanding consumer personas is key to elevate CX
According to the study, 38% of Hong Kong respondents expressed that their last customer experience did not leave them with positive emotions, as some brands faced challenges in providing an easy experience in the customer journey. As a result, Hong Kong brands received a CX score of 3.7 which is lower than the APAC average of 3.9. One of the key considerations in delivering a pleasant and efficient servicing experience is embedding hybrid elements in the process, based on the engagement preferences of their customers.
To balance human touchpoints and automation for CX, Hong Kong organizations should distinguish between the unique needs of customer personas to enable positive CX and keep up with their APAC counterparts. The paper identified 4 distinct personas that emerged in the digital era based on their age, income, and engagement preferences.
Research showed that 46% of Hong Kongers are affluent hybrid shoppers who are comfortable with cross-channel interactions across human-assisted and digital touchpoints; 21% are reserved high-touch seekers that prefer human-assisted touchpoints; 20% are low-touch digital natives that prefer digital touch points; and 12% are neutrals that prefer to keep all communications within a single touchpoint, regardless of it being human-assisted or digital.
"As Hong Kong businesses increasingly realize the importance of hybrid CX, we are seeing a significant uptick in the number of organizations that are planning to upgrade their CX strategies to generate tangible business value. With elevated CX, customer loyalty can be heightened, leading to increased advocacy, retention, and revenue for businesses and brands, which are crucial to thrive in such a competitive market," said Tina Wang, Regional Manager of Infobip APAC.
"With affluent hybrid shoppers making up the majority of consumer personas, Hong Kong businesses must quickly refine their CX to provide cross-channel interaction based on consumer preferences, where automation and human support can complement each other in the most optimized way. To do so, businesses should look to reconcile the CX ecosystem by working with an experienced partner that can leveraging cloud communications technology to help them strengthen collaboration, streamline operations, and improve omnichannel interactions across all stages of the customer journey," Wang added.
Different customer preferences on hybrid CX across verticals
Divergent trends were also evident across vertical industries. In general, reserved high-touch seekers are related to the banking, financial services, and insurance sector, where consumers prioritize access to relationship managers. In comparison, low-touch digital natives exhibited greater affinity with the retail industry where the shift to e-commerce and increased utilization of cloud services have equipped retailers to better service customers through enhanced digital business models.
In terms of the top verticals ranked by CX scores (at a scale of 1 - 5), retail (4.1) ranked first, followed by food and beverage (4.0), content streaming providers (4.0), energy and utilities (4.0) and technology (4.0), indicating the significance for the local retailers to keep up the pace in improving CX to win customer loyalty.
Adopting hybrid CX
Organizations are failing to address consumer demands for human agents as part of a hybrid CX; among respondents who said that their recent customer service interactions failed to meet expectations, 60% felt that it was not easy to connect with a human agent.
To boost hybrid CX, organizations will not only need to tap into standalone or artificial intelligence capabilities, but also increase investments in cloud-based technology to achieve seamless and effective omnichannel communications. This is key to synergizing capabilities of both machine and man to achieve CX excellence and improved customer satisfaction.
To learn more, please visit here to download the study, titled Redefining Human and Automated Engagement – How APAC Consumers Have Impacted the CX Agenda.
 Respondents are across mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
 CX scores are calculated by averaging scores at a scale of 1 - 5 across three key dimensions of CX quality – effectiveness, ease and emotion; Refer to the appendix for more details on the methodology in calculating the CX scores.
Infobip is a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connections across all stages of the customer journey. Accessed through a single platform, Infobip's omnichannel engagement, contact center, chatbot and identity solutions help businesses and partners overcome the complexity of consumer communications to grow business and increase loyalty.
With over fifteen years of industry experience, Infobip has expanded to 70+ offices across six continents. It offers natively built technology with the capacity to reach over seven billion mobile devices and 'things' in 190+ countries, connected directly to over 700 telecom networks.
Infobip was established in 2006 and is led by its co-founders, CEO Silvio Kutić, Roberto Kutić and Izabel Jelenić.
Recent recognition includes:
Omdia Ranks Infobip as Leader in CPaaS Universe Report (May 2022) Infobip recognised as the established leader in Juniper's Competitor Leaderboard for CPaaS, 2021 Infobip ranked leading service provider in the mobile messaging space by Juniper Research in its new Competitor Leaderboard, 2021 Infobip named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) 2021 Vendor Assessment (doc # US46746221, May 2021) Best A2P SMS provider for the fourth year running by mobile operators and enterprises in ROCCO's annual Messaging Vendor Benchmarking Report 2021 Best CPaaS Provider of the Year, Best RCS Provider of the Year, and Mover & Shaker in Telco Innovation at the 2021 Juniper Digital Awards
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