Hong Kong customers have become more enthusiastic to use digital services because digital channels are able to meet customers' needs for convenience. Among the various digital channels, mobile apps receive the highest satisfaction and the highest intention to use in the future
More customers have used digital channels this year (increased from 79% in 2017 to 88% in 2018) to contact customer services, particularly through official websites/ mobile app and social media (see Figure 1).
Our research also identifies that "Convenience" is the key reason for customers to use digital channels - they can use the customer service anytime (61%) and anywhere (51%). With better digital platforms available in the market, 63% of customers are satisfied with company mobile app and 56% of customers are likely to use more company mobile app. The company mobile app is the best performing platform among all digital channels (see Figure 2).
Despite the convenience of using digital channels, manned channels continue to be very important to customers for solving urgent or complicated issues, since customers appreciate the immediate attention and resolution received from the human interaction with the customer service staff.
Our research reveals that over 80% of customers consider manned channels as better ways for solving their issues (83%), understanding their needs or issues (84%) and providing professional advice (86%). Customers, nonetheless, find digital channels more convenient to use (62%) and easier to find clear information (61%) (see Figure 3).
With the increasing prevalence of using digital channels, customer service employees expect that their companies will strengthen the digital channels in the next two years. Yet half of customer service employees express that they need more time to learn about the use of digital means, and one-third of them feel stressed when serving the customers through the digital channels.
Around half of customer service employees see that digital channels take up more of their personal time to serve customers (49%) and to learn how to use digital channels (48%). And one third (32%) feel stressed when serving customers via digital channels (see Figure 4).
CONCLUSIONMr. Algernon Yau, Chairman of HKACE concludes, "We are delighted to see customers continued to use more digital services. However, we must make sure our digital channels or services create value and convenience to our customers in areas that matter to them. In order to create good customer experiences, companies should strive for holistic strategies that look at end-to-end processes rather than rolling out digital features in isolations. They should leverage the right digital channels to create the engaging experience when new and existing customers come into interactions with them. With our "i-Service, I Serve" theme, HKACE will work with our fellow industry players to provide Hong Kong customers with satisfied customer journey through experience sharing, company visits and research findings sharing, to uplift Customer Service staffs' readiness and knowledge to provide customers services on digital platforms. While advocating the use of digital technologies in customer service, we will continue to emphasize the importance of integrated channels by embedding human touch elements into digital technology. At the same time, companies need to ensure the customer service staff are equipped and trained to deliver service digitally, in order to keep up with the pace of technology advancements."
ABOUT THIS RESEARCH The research was conducted in December 2018 and we interviewed a total of 800 respondents for this study:1. Hong Kong customers (n = 500)2. Customer Service staff (n = 300)All interviews were conducted via an online survey.
MORE ABOUT HKACE HKACE, a non-profit organisation, was established in February 2000 to represent more than 300,000 customer service practitioners in Hong Kong, the number of member companies has grown up to 57. The 10 founding member organisations are AIA International Limited, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, Centaline Property Agency Limited, CLP Power Hong Kong Limited, Dah Chong Hong (Motor Service Centre) Limited, The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Post, HKT Limited (a PCCW Group Member), Shell Hong Kong Limited, and Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited. They are committed to continuously improve themselves, to promote customer service culture with passion, leveraging on members' synergy and professional expertise.
The Association drew up the first-ever Hong Kong Customer Service Charter and initiated a multitude of industry awards over the years, including the "Customer Service Excellence Awards", and the "Top 10 SME Awards". The Association aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences among member organisations, to encourage innovation, and to elevate the competitiveness of Hong Kong's service sector by rewarding high levels of customer service.
Highlights of the research methodology, analysis and results are available for downloading at HKACE's website.
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