Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SG businesses’ CX endeavors fall short of customer expectations, new study shows

Singapore – Despite last year’s nature of culminating businesses to turn their pivots digitally, Singaporean businesses have instead created a gap between them and their customer base in terms of customer experience (CX) strategies, new study from software company SAP shows.

In its APAC-centric study, SAP notes that Singaporean businesses fall short of expectations by as much as 28% when it comes to being customer-centric, behind the APAC average of 21%. Furthermore, only half (55%) of consumers in Singapore stated that brands here are able to resolve their issues after three interactions.

SAP focused in its study the existence of key gaps as identified from the study included customer centricity, personalized experiences, openness in privacy and data control, as well as sustainability and ethical behaviour.

About three in five consumers in Singapore are now expecting brands to be purpose-driven, going beyond profits and transactional relationships, to demonstrate trustworthiness, empathy, shared values, and care for society.

Singapore consumers surveyed indicated a gap between their expectations and actual experiences on this front, in areas such as brands respecting the rights and welfare of their workers (80% vs 67% in APAC), treating suppliers ethically (76% vs 56% in APAC), actively work to reduce gender and racial inequality (73% vs 55% in APAC), and not engage in anti-competitive behaviour (70% vs 54% in APAC).

“While it’s positive that brands in Singapore have adapted quickly to the pandemic by tapping on digital tools and turning to e-commerce, customers still expect brands to deliver on the basics – this means providing them with positive experiences and swift resolution of issues,” said Peggy Renders, general manager and senior vice president at SAP Customer Experience in Asia Pacific & Japan.

The study also noted that local businesses were found to be lacking include responsiveness within 24 hours to customer queries (78% vs 51% in APAC), acting on customers’ feedback to improve products and services (84% vs 58% in APAC), resolving issues in less than three interactions (83% vs 55% in APAC), having a reward programme customised to their interests (81% vs 54% in APAC), and offering innovative or better ways to serve customers during COVID-19 (86% vs 65% in APAC).

In addition, delivery endeavors were among the most dissatisfied areas for those surveyed, with 82% of Singapore consumers expecting brands to provide timely and accurate delivery options they could trust, but with just over half (59%) saying this was met in reality. The dissatisfaction over quality and reliability of delivery services especially significant for local supermarkets, where just 55% of Singaporeans mentioned they received trustworthy delivery services (vs 80% expectation).

Proactiveness in engaging customers was another area cited as an area of improvement, with just around half of Singapore customers shared that brands are actively updating them on relevant specials and new products (56%), is proactive in anticipating their needs and wants (55%), and provides tailored suggestions based on their purchase history and preferences (50%).

Being intuitive mobile natives, Singapore customers also want brands to provide omnichannel experiences that enable their lifestyles, expecting brands to provide them with a network of physical and online stores (76%), have easy to transact options across multiple channels such as online to in-store (81%), yet still provide a consistent experience irrespective of channel (82%).

“It is sobering to know that despite all the efforts businesses have put into digitalisation over the past year, fundamentals around customer centricity are still not being met in Singapore. There is clearly an urgent need for brands to humanise the gap between digital actions and the heartstrings of consumers,” Renders added.

Having transparency and control over their data and orders is also a key area brands are falling short on, with Singapore consumers highlighting shortfalls in having full transparency over how their personal data is being used (35% gap), security of their private data and not sharing it with third parties (33% gap), only obtaining private data from customers to serve them better (25% gap), and making it easy to track their orders and queries (23% gap).

Despite the negative light, Singapore brands fair slightly better than the APAC average on the expectation-experience gap, in the areas of whether brands look for new ways to recycle and reuse products, packaging materials and materials (12% vs 18% APAC gap), having specific policies to reduce and report carbon emissions (10% vs 14% APAC gap), and having a strong focus on sustainability and ethics in sourcing and selling their products (4% vs 10% APAC gap).

“The pandemic has laid bare the criticality of the customer experience in our hyperconnected world today. The key to sustainable growth in a post-COVID world lies in the right solutions and leadership that transform the customer experience. As a future-forward nation that is home to the region’s leading businesses, brands in Singapore have a golden opportunity to transform to give customers exactly what they want, and when they want it, in a future that is entirely digital,” Renders concluded.

Technology Featured APAC

Nearly all of APAC business leaders admit to be challenged in using data for business decisions: survey

Singapore – Despite the critical importance of data in businesses, nearly all of business leaders in Asia Pacific admit to be challenged in using them to their advantage in creating significant business decisions, new data from a survey from data integration company Talend.

According to the global survey, 96% of APAC respondents admit to such practice, while 76% of APAC respondents admit to using it everyday, and 35% of APAC respondents admit to not using data for their business decisions.

Such practice of data usage is best manifested in the behavior of the respondents in dealing with creating data deliverables based on the saturation of data, as 45% of APAC respondents are able to create timely deliverables. For Tabled, there is a stark difference between data-saturated and data-driven. Companies have more access to data than ever before, but there’s very little way to make sense of it. Data management companies have been offering to solve these problems for years — but they’re focused on the mechanics of data like moving it and storing it.

Christal Bemont, CEO at Talend, notes that most business leaders’ relationships are deemed ‘unhealthy’, considering the fact that only 45% of APAC business leaders trust the data they are working with, and 35% of APAC respondents say that they are still making decisions based on gut instincts.

“The reality of data is falling well short of the industry’s vision. Data management, which largely focuses on moving and storing data, doesn’t take into account the overall health of data. Therefore, in trying to manage data, all companies are creating digital landfills of corporate information. This has to change. Our vision of data health is the future because it recognizes the fundamental standards that are critical for corporate survival,” Bemont explains.

In terms of data health, Talend also revealed that 13% of APAC respondents do not think that their company’s investments in data management is worth it, and 40% of APAC respondents report that there are no standards for data quality at their company.

Despite the negative light, 75% of APAC respondents state that they would like to make the majority of their decisions based on data.

Meanwhile, in terms of corporate objective, factors such as decreasing operation cost (40% of APAC respondents), monitoring performance (71% of APAC respondents), customer experience improvement (76% of APAC respondents) and increasing revenue (53% of APAC respondents) are driving forces to push APAC business leaders into utilizing significant data.

To drive such data use among APAC executives, factors such as ensuring data quality (56% of APAC respondents), making data available to the right person (47% of APAC respondents), ample skilled resources (52% of APAC respondents), and meeting security and compliance standards (49% of APAC respondents) must be met to ensure smooth process of data utilization.

Around 97% of APAC respondents agree to a certain extent that there should be cross-industry standard metrics to assess the quality of all enterprise data.

Interestingly, Talend noted that globally, sales and marketing teams are the least data-driven departments, as nearly half of sales and marketing executives (48%) make the majority of their decisions without data. Meanwhile, the finance department follows closely with 44% of finance executives reporting that they make the majority of their decisions without relying on data.

SME Featured ANZ

This Aussie fintech creates a board of customers – not trustees

Melbourne, Australia – Thrive, an Australian fintech, has involved itself in a one-of-a-kind business management move with the creation of its Customer Advisory Board (CAB), a board comprising of customers and not trustees, to bestow customers rights and authority to contribute to its operations. 

Thrive is a single integrated banking, accounting, tax and lending platform, and unlike conventional advisory boards that are composed of industry leaders with long leadership experience, Thrive aims to create its own CAB by accepting applications from a variety of different business owners – its customers – ensuring a broad cross-section of feedback, suggestions, and needs are collected. 

Each board member will self-nominate through an application process, with successful applicants receiving shares in Thrive for a 12-month commitment. Meeting monthly, the CAB will be given the ability to help shape Thrive’s product roadmap, marketing strategy and customer service plans. 

According to Michael Nuciforo, CEO at Thrive, the concept was implemented to ensure customers were always front of mind, noting as well that they are the first fintech to do so that has implemented a customer-centric advisory board.

“Nothing is more important to us than our customers, so setting up a Customer Advisory Board that represented the interest of members was the best way for us to hold ourselves accountable to our mission,” Nuciforo stated.

Thrive is currently accepting nominations for the CAB and is looking for business owners who are passionate about helping other businesses improve their financial wellbeing. 

“We expect to get many applications and we can’t wait to select our CAB Members and get this started,” said Ben Winford, co-founder and COO at Thrive.

The application process will conclude on 30 April this year.

Main Feature Technology Global

Weighing the ‘yays’ and ‘nays’ of outsourcing tech dev talents

Outsourcing for any imaginable type of business work or project has never been new: in fact, many large companies we know and love nowadays also thrive in the ever-growing industry of remote workers. For instance, you can imagine how a multinational company outsources some of its talents remotely from other places, such as in Asia or ANZ.

According to Statista, the global outsourcing market in 2019 has amounted to US$ 92.5B, despite the uncertainty of the market itself.

The very concept of outsourcing is now highlighted as the world battles around the restrictions brought by the global pandemic. As work has shifted from personal spaces to work-from-home, remote workers are given the spotlight and are trying their best to accentuate their portfolios amid the growing number of businesses, whether big or small, looking forward in finding the next talent outside of their workspace.

This is especially true in the sense of technology development, as more and more businesses are migrating their business online. With consumer demand shifted due to the pandemic, digital channels have become more relevant, hence businesses are in great need to strategize what technological migrations they should need, whether it could be coding their upcoming software, or migrating their old database into a new one.

Despite the growing trend of outsourcing technology development teams, businesses often find themselves at crossroads of whether outsourcing ‘tech dev’ teams is worth their investment and resources. 

Let’s weigh the options then:

The ‘yay’ things of ‘tech dev’ outsourcing

Diversity of Talent: Primarily, one could see the benefit of outsourcing tech dev teams would be the rich talent businesses could find upon hiring one. The majority of remote tech dev teams don’t just go themselves out in the wild to be a ‘random fish out of the water’ but rather have spent in self-learning and training to be a full-on go-to guy for tech development.

Saving Up Time and Resources: Businesses can save time and resources in hiring tech dev teams, since the team you’re hiring, albeit working for you, doesn’t have the same commitment and drive as those within the company’s space. Despite the initial thought, remote tech dev teams are committed to their projects and always look forward to diversifying their work experience across various industries.

Building Up Connections: Businesses who look forward to hiring remote tech dev teams can act as springboards to potentially aid them to grow their network of clients and at the same time creating more opportunities for them. As stated previously, tech dev teams dedicate their time in not only diversifying their knowledge but also their clientele base. In an age where businesses need the helping hand they can, remote tech dev teams can come in, and businesses do their favor of touching base to a larger network.

The ‘nays’ of ‘tech dev’ outsourcing

Potential ‘Ghost’ Teams: The paradoxical thing about remote tech devs is that there is a rising concern of teams who might not be able to do the job properly, or the skills presented don’t represent the output they deliver. Businesses should be wary of such instances, and always look forward in competitive pitches the reputation of such teams.

Communication Barriers: The concept of remote working itself poses a large issue in terms of communicating deliverables and the like. As not all locations are equal, there is room for loopholes in terms of the tech dev team and their clients. External factors such as internet bandwidth and remote locations of the team may affect the speed and outputs released by the team.

Cybersecurity Concerns: Lastly, as remote tech dev teams will deal with business clients online, cybersecurity concerns will be a thing of concern between the two parties. Attacks including phishing, malware attacks, identity theft, and SSL hacking are a major concern lately not just to large organizations but small businesses as well who are just recently starting online.

In response, businesses looking forward to outsourcing remote teams should create stringent measures in testing the skills of particular tech dev teams. Just like how agencies go under pitches to convince companies to pick them or contractors submitting proposals, tech dev teams can send their proposals to businesses on what they aim to bring value to the company. 

In regards to communication, businesses should resort to online tools that are both lightweight and accessible for remote teams. With an abundance of tools available, from GitHub to allow the creation of software in the platform and convene the team into one project, Stack Overflow for coding knowledge exchange, and Confluence for general project collaborations, businesses can convince their remote teams to convene to one common virtual workplace.

As work has shifted online, businesses would need to convince their remote tech dev teams to also amp up their security measures online. From using reputable password managers to practicing 2FA, businesses and tech dev teams must practice such measures in order to not being subjected to cyber hacks.

So, what’s in it for me as a business?

Looking back, there is a good amount of pros and cons on the concept of hiring remote tech dev teams. It might seem baffling at first but once you know the perfect fit, remote tech devs are worth it in enriching your business and improving your overall service.

Outsourcing tech dev teams may be a hitch, considering the diversity of rates and talents out there, but remote workers could be the next team the business really wants in touching new bases with their customers, maintaining a good relationship with them, and further releasing new services and developments.

Until then, keep at the back of one’s head the constraints remote working poses, and how tech dev teams aim to circumvent their way around it and build a healthy relationship with their clients.

After all, with the tides of business shifting online, it takes a matter of time when demand surges once again, and your business may be totally overwhelmed. Take some time to think about which remote tech dev team suits you.


The author is Adam Eastburn, CEO & Founder of Adaptis.

Adaptis is a global technology development company with presence in Europe and the Asia Pacific. The company offers experience design, digital development, and team solutions. Kempinski HotelsToyota, and Johnnie Walker are some of its global clients.