by James Henderson

Is Singapore falling behind on customer experience?

Sep 05, 2019
Technology Industry

Brands in Singapore u201cdisappoint customersu201d across all three dimensions of customer experience

Tom Mouhsian, Forrester
Credit: Forrester

Building loyalty through enhanced customer experience (CX) is not a new concept, neither is leveraging new technologies to drive user engagement.

Both are mainstays in the manifesto of a modern-day CIO, a CIO now mandated to co-lead such efforts with internal and external stakeholders.

In ASEAN, and more globally speaking, the literature is in abundance and the objective is clear, yet the execution remains lacking, specifically in Singapore, a nation “disappointing” customer across all three dimensions of CX.

Spanning ‘emotion, ease and effectiveness’, that’s the verdict of new research – The Singapore Customer Experience Index 2019 – which highlights a market “flat” on CX, scoring 55 points out of 100, slumped in the middle of the poor category.

The survey, conducted by Forrester and unveiled during CX Singapore Forum, states that on average, just 39 percent of customers find experiences “emotionally positive”, while 41 percent consider brands easy to interact with. In addition, 38 percent of users said that they were able to accomplish their goals when interacting with brands.

“Our study has once again shown that Singaporeans maintain very high expectations and that it’s hard to earn a ‘wow’ from them,” said Tom Mouhsian, principal analyst at Forrester and author of the report.

“Brands that want to move the needle on their CX quality should focus on emotion: How an experience makes customers feel has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than effectiveness or ease in every industry.”

Based on a survey of 4,027 customers in Singapore, findings measured how well a brand’s CX strengthens the loyalty of its user base, comparing and contrasting 16 businesses as part of the study.

Through Forrester’s CX Index methodology, the analyst firm counterbalanced ‘emotion, ease and effectiveness’ at a company level, with ‘advocacy, enrichment and retention’ from a customer loyalty standpoint.

“Even a minor improvement to a brand’s customer experience quality can add millions of dollars of incremental revenue by reducing customer churn and increasing share of wallet,” Mouhsian added.

“Additionally, superior CX leads to reduced service costs and lowers the cost of customer acquisition through word of mouth. CX leaders grow revenue faster, drive higher brand preference, and charge more for their products.”

One brand bucks the trend

The multi-channel banking industry reported the highest average score of 58.9, followed by auto/home insurance and government at 55.8 and 52.2 respectively. Meanwhile, the average in the airline industry fell to 55.1.

Despite this, and for the second year in a row, Singapore Airlines achieved the highest score in 2019, overtaking DBS Bank and OCBC Bank. On the flip side, the Singapore government remained at the bottom of the rankings.

According to Mouhsian, Singapore Airlines’ chart-topping CX quality “offers inspiration” to both the private and public sectors.

Specifically, the carrier’s CX is ‘emotionally positive’, with the majority (55 percent) of customers citing their experiences as “emotionally compelling”.

“The carrier continues to invest in digital capabilities that enhance passenger experiences while erasing negative emotions,” the report stated. “For instance, passengers often feel disappointed when they are unable to finish an interesting movie because it’s time to land and crew is instructed to stop all in-flight entertainment.

“To fix that, Singapore Airlines has made it possible for passengers using its mobile app to bookmark any in-flight video and finish watching it later on a subsequent flight.”

Furthermore, following the recent rebuild of its app, the airline reduced the amount of time it takes customers to book and check in for flights by 60 percent.

“Other new app features, such as ‘measure your bag’ or ‘capture and discover’, the latter of which uses image and speech recognition, help customers avoid potential inconvenience, reduce their effort, and get the answers they need in real-time,” the report added. “The carrier also piloted a service that automates travel insurance claims.

“The airline’s new system automatically detects flight delays that are eligible for an insurance claim, identifies and notifies passengers who qualify for it, pre-fills personalised claim forms, and delivers those forms via the mobile app, website, and email. Passengers simply confirm and authorise the claim, which is then filed with the insurer in real-time.”