New research has unveiled that consumers want a better customer experience — specifically, one that treats them as individuals instead of as like every other customer.
On hindsight, that sounds like a no-brainer, right? Right, but the issue is that many companies have not exactly changed their marketing and customer service practices to reflect this seemingly common-sense approach.
In April, OpenText revealed the extent to which the pandemic has changed customers’ expectations of brands, and the increasingly important role of a streamlined digital experience post-pandemic.
The new data – from a survey of 1,000 Singaporean respondents – revealed that 71% of Singaporean consumers are more likely to buy again from brands which treat them like an individual, rather than the same as any other customer. In short, a personalized customer experience is essential.
This demand for brands to engage with customers as an individual is mirrored across Asia – in India (77%) and Australia (63%); across Europe – in Italy (70%), Spain (63%), France (59%) and Germany (55%); and in the US (67%) and Canada (68%).
Two-thirds (66%) of Singaporean consumers only buy from brands that make them feel they understand their preferences, such as communicating with them through their favorite channels or providing tailored deals.
Customer Experience is key
Almost two-thirds (63%) of Singaporean consumers would be put off buying again from a brand due to a bad experience. In fact, a similar number (62%) do not believe there is such thing as a ‘customer for life’ anymore in 2021, suggesting that brands cannot rely on customer loyalty stretching far enough to recover from bad experiences.
When buying products or services online, more than four in five (81%) Singaporean consumers say that an easy search is very important to them.
“Creating a positive customer experience is all about removing friction and increasing relevance: the easier something is to do and the more relevant it is to each customer, the better the experience,” said Guy Hellier, Vice President, Product Management at OpenText.
Furthermore, 6 in 10 (58%) refer to shop with brands that auto-fill and remember their details for next time. There is, however, pressure on brands to store that data correctly: seven in ten (69%) would even be willing to pay more to do business with a brand that is committed to protecting their personal data.
“The COVID-19 crisis has been a dramatic catalyst for digital acceleration across all sectors, forcing businesses to change how they communicate with customers,” said Albert Nel, Vice President APAC at OpenText.
“As a result, customer expectations have also shifted. They now expect more from brands – more communication channels, more personalization, and, above all, a more continuous and connected digital experience. The ability to deliver rich, ultra-personalized communications at scale, across all touchpoints and channels, is now mission-critical for acquiring, developing, and retaining customers.”
The importance of digital in a post-COVID world
For 73% of Singaporean consumers, the pandemic has changed their expectations of what a brand’s digital offering should be. One quarter (27%) won’t use brands if their experience isn’t excellent when buying online.
Two-thirds (65%) are now more comfortable with digital-only businesses as a result of the pandemic. For 7 in 10 (70%) Singaporean consumers, a personalized digital experience is now vital to them if they are to come back to a brand time and time again.
It was also found that six in 10 (62%) respondents say bigger established brands have been able to offer a smoother digital experience than smaller ones during the pandemic.
“Today, customers expect their journey, from researching products to tracking orders, to transition seamlessly from one digital platform to another while retaining a consistent personalized feel – delivered across any device, at any time”, added Hellier.
So for brands, especially SMEs to attract and retain customers, investing in a robust digital platform is now essential. This platform should enable the integration of data, information, and assets in a seamless manner across different digital and offline environments.
By Jamilah Lim