Video emerging as a new customer service channel

A new study reveals the continuous preference by Asia Pacific consumers for multichannel communications in customer service, with video emerging as a new customer service channel, and social media continuing to grow and deliver great customer satisfaction scores.

Customer service remains a key influencer of brand loyalty, with 83 percent indicating they would avoid buying from a company, and more importantly, actively advise friends and family to do the same if they experienced bad customer service.

The potential for business generation from satisfied customers is great, with 70 percent of customers indicating they would pay at least 10 percent more to a company which provides them with better service. This is a trend which is set to continue, as the younger Gen Y segment shows even more inclination to do so than more mature consumers. 75 percent of those surveyed also indicated a preference for multichannel communications – demonstrating that companies now more than ever must have a fully integrated end to end multichannel customer experience strategy.

Social media key to customer satisfaction

While in-person communication (62 percent) and phone conversations (75 percent) continue to lead in terms of interaction volumes, 2013 saw a continuous increase in preference and adoption of social media. This was especially true in Southeast Asia with Indonesia at 40 percent and Thailand at 54 percent, and almost a third of respondents in Singapore indicating usage of Facebook to contact organizations for information.

At an average of 3.9 channels used by consumers when interacting with organizations, the Avaya Asia Pacific Customer Experience Index also points to opportunities for the hospitality and tourism sector to engage customers at various touch points, with highest utilization averaging 4.3 channels. While the hospitality and tourism sector leads in social media adoption, the finance, banking and insurance industry (though slowest in social media) leads in the use of mobile applications.

Video as the new kid on the block

Despite being a relatively new channel, with an average of 15 percent of users saying they have engaged in a service interaction through video in the last three months, the adoption of video chat is on the rise, especially in the retail and wholesale sector. Indonesia (41 percent) and Thailand (29 percent) lead in the adoption of video as a customer service channel. The rate of adoption of video is expected to grow across the board in 2014 by around 14 percent according to the survey. The top uses for video in 2013 were to update customer details and to make complaints. Crucially, 85 percent of those who had used video claimed they were ‘happy’ to ‘extremely happy’ with that service interaction. This further highlights the opportunity to engage customers more effectively with video.

Service levels are improving

An average of 3 out of 5 customers across Asia Pacific agreed that service received from customer service centers has improved over the last 12 months, with Thailand (82 percent), Indonesia (79 percent) and Philippines (79 percent) making the most improvements.

Given the very evident desire among customers for multichannel communication, businesses must have the right capabilities to collaborate across platforms and agents to provide seamless, quality service regardless of contact points. As the adoption of newer service channels like social media and video continues to rise, technology solutions that help manage these channels and provide customers with the seamless and ever-improving experience they demand are critical.

According to Frost & Sullivan 2012 Asia Pacific Contact Center Market Report[1], the Asia Pacific contact center industry remains as the fastest growing region for contact center services, growing at 8.4 percent. Alongside fast and high growth, this presents businesses with the opportunity to take customer service to the next level – and deliver quality service at every contact.