Customer service beats price in Asia-Pacific markets: survey
New research into Asia-Pacific consumers’ feelings towards customer service has painted a common picture of poor customer service, frustrated consumers with low service expectations, an increased rate of sharing positive or negative experiences online to a wider audience, and a willingness to place a greater value on customer service than price.
The study conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by Verint Systems, an enterprise intelligence solutions provider, polled 5819 consumers in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Australia and Indonesia.
The percentage of consumers that experience poor customer service is high across all surveyed industries in Asia Pacific: financial services (51%), utilities (51%), hotel and travel (51%), retail (59%) and telecommunications (64%).
The study also suggests consumers are using multiple communications channels when sharing their good or bad service experiences. While traditional channels, such as phone, in person and email, are typically used to share with family and close friends, rising social channels like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are reaching even wider audiences. The survey results show that 53% of consumers will share their experiences on social media, blogs and leave comments on company websites with 42% using social networking sites (eg. Facebook), 27% use micro-blogging sites (eg. Twitter) and 24% will share experiences on blogs.
Interestingly, more consumers polled expressed their desire to share positive rather than negative experiences at a rate of 41% for positive experiences compared to 32% for negative experiences.
Consumers in all countries, including emerging markets where there is a common ‘price is king’ perception, place a premium on good customer service, with only 24% of consumers valuing price over service. The survey found that roughly 45% of consumers are willing to pay more for better service, particularly in China and India.
The two main drivers of poor consumer service experience identified by the research were taking too long to resolve problems (21%) and unknowledgeable staff that can’t help (20%). Additionally, consumers who didn’t have their problems resolved in the first contact were less satisfied than those that spent more time with service representatives working through issues without having to call back or visit again. For instance, in the retail sector, the study found that if customers had to call back to solve their problems, satisfaction dropped another 10%.
Other factors leading to a poor service experience from the survey included: waiting too long to be serviced, receiving rude or unfriendly service, being served by unknowledgeable service representatives, and experiencing inflexible procedures.
About the research: The research was conducted online by Ipsos with 5819 respondents aged 16 and over in China, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, and Australia in July 2013. The survey data has been weighted by age, gender and region to help ensure it represents a national mix of respondents.