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Most Malaysian companies fail to keep their customers, Accenture finds

AvantiKumar | May 15, 2014
Almost 80% of Malaysian digital consumers switched service providers due to poor quality service and are feeding a 'Switching Economy' worth more than US$53 billion in revenue.

joonseonglee - accenture modified 

Photo - Joon Seong Lee, Managing Director, Sales & Customer Services, Accenture ASEAN.


According to new research by technology consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture, most Malaysian companies are failing to keep their customers as almost 80 percent switched service providers, and is fuelling a 'Switching Economy' worth more than US$53 billion in revenue.

Accenture ASEAN managing director, sales & customer services, Joon Seong Lee said this trend was despite 98 percent of Malaysian consumers using at least one digital channel to search for information via highly-influential corporate sites.

Malaysian consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experience, said Joon during the release of Accenture's ninth annual Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey.

"Low levels of customer satisfaction and changing customer behaviors in the digital marketplace are driving the switching economy that presents opportunities as well as threats," he said, adding that Accenture's 'Switching Economy' comprises the revenue potential at play, driven by consumer switching.

Joon said that 'Switching Economy' calculates the potential expenditure shift resulting from customers that switched from one provider to another ('complete switch') as well as those that will potentially do so as they started to take portions of their spending to new providers ('partial switch').

He said the Switching Economy estimate was based on two data sources: Accenture's 2013 forecasts on consumer spending and switching data in last year's Global Consumer Pulse research.

Some key findings of the study include:
- 79 percent of Malaysian customers have switched due to poor service in at least one industry. For Malaysian customers, when switching due to poor service, both 'price' and 'customer service' are the main factors when selecting new providers.
- Just 19 percent are satisfied overall with their existing service providers.
- 73 percent of switchers are driven by price when considering new providers putting Malaysia well above the Asia Pacific average of 67%.
- 72 percent of consumers who switched say companies could have done something to prevent them from switching - first contact resolution being a significantly influence on their decision to switch (52%).
- Just 17 percent Malaysian customers find that their providers are very effective at delivering convergence between traditional and digital interactions. Malaysia scored lower than emerging  market averages.
- About 94 percent of the consumers read about companies' products and services on social media sites and close to 46 percent do it several times a week.

 Customising the Malaysian digital experience

He said that despite a high percentage of Malaysian consumers using digital technologies, there is a gap between digital use and the ability of companies to use them to improve customer experiences. "Malaysia scored lower than emerging market averages at just 17 percent customers finding the service providers "

"In this respect, the retail industry is most popular for its loyalty programmes in Malaysia with 54 percent consumers participating in at least one programme displaying 68 percent persuasion efficiency," said Joon. "When done right, the customer experience can become a source of competitive differentiation that pulls companies away from competition."

"The Property and Casualty Insurance and Cable/Satellite industries witnessed the lowest participation levels." he said. "While best deals and tailored programmes are successful at persuading consumers to stick to loyalty programmes, these are the very reasons people find them ineffective. It could mean that the competitors in the market are equally weak in offering better deals."

Joon said successful customer experience went beyond digital capabilities. "Employees must be knowledgeable, polite and friendly employees who can solve customer problems effectively while keeping to the assurance of personal data protection "

 Integrating digital and offline worlds

The integration between the digital and offline worlds should give customers the ability to choose their experience and enhance control over how they interact with their service providers, added Joon.

He said the study found that companies delivered valued customer experiences with five high impact capabilities known as the customer-driven digital blueprint, which are:

1. Hyper-relevance: Show customers the company learns from every interaction and applies it at a more personal level, including customising their channel and interaction preferences, so customers don't have to repeat themselves or hit unnecessary roadblocks. This means using predictive analytics to provide a more tailored customer experience with more customisation and personalisation.

2. Relationships at Scale: Digital gives businesses rich channels through which to communicate with customers in much more personal ways and manage relationships with customers at scale. Use digital to bring the intimacy of the corner store to all customers and then give them more convenient access and more tailored services that matter to them.

3. Seamless Experience: Creating a seamless experience requires a multi-channel approach. Integrate information and processes that enable customers to flow easily across different channels when and how they choose.

4. Inherently Mobile: Learn from customers about what they want to do differently with mobile, and invest in mobile services and support capabilities that stand out to customers.

5. Social Media: Harness social media in order to deliver up-to-the-second customer preferences, greater levels of trust, a mechanism for direct and dynamic interaction and more and more usable data upon which business decisions can be made.

The Accenture Global Consumer Pulse survey measured the experiences of 12,867 customers in 32 countries and across 10 industries, and  also included more than 1,027 industry responses from Malaysia.


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