Tips on customer engagement for Hong Kong businesses

March 07, 2023 10:17
Photo: Reuters

Driven largely by the digitization of virtually every aspect of our lives, customer expectations have shifted dramatically over the past few years. To keep pace, businesses must invest in the right areas to ensure their customer experience (CX) really generates value. But in a city of 7.6 million people with high demographic diversity, this is easier said than done, as it’s impossible to target everybody with the same CX strategy. However, with the rise of omnichannel communications, it is possible to adapt to different mediums, optimize your message journey, and ultimately increase your chances of meeting your customers at the touchpoints that are most convenient for them.

While there is no one-size fits all model, here are four tips on how businesses can drastically improve both customer satisfaction and loyalty to drive growth.

Tip #1: Scale up interoperability

Interoperability – when apps, systems, and software work in conjunction together – can be a key driver of business success. Why? Because it can make both your employees’ and your customers’ lives much easier by saving them significant time switching between apps and pages. According to research from Accenture, companies with high interoperable technology grew their revenue 6 times faster than their peers with low interoperability.

Adopting interoperable technology with shared infrastructure enables businesses to quickly integrate new capabilities, improving their adaptability and productivity while reducing costs. Tech companies such as Salesforce, Adobe, Microsoft and Oracle offer cloud-based customer data platforms (CDP) that businesses can leverage, helping them augment their CX, and also extract meaningful data to predict trends and better understand their customer behaviors.

Tip #2: Leverage messaging apps and social media for conversational and personalized customer engagements

While traditional channels such as SMS and email still play a key role in the customer journey, messaging apps are increasingly popular touchpoints for both customer service and tailored product promotions. Last year, Infobip examined 153 billion communication interactions on its platform, and found an 80% and 62% increase in WhatsApp and rich communication services (RCS) interactions respectively in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

In Hong Kong, in addition to messaging apps, social media platforms such as Instagram have emerged as a preferred channel for customer support. Infobip’s research found that social media was the third most preferred touchpoint for customers in the city, following a human agent and online live chat respectively.

However, utilizing these channels with success requires providing personalized experiences; it is not enough to react to customers and bombard them with generic content. To deliver positive outcomes, businesses should look to AI-enabled data analytics tools to understand customer behaviors and meet their needs accordingly.

Tip #3: Apply both digital and human interactions for immersive hybrid ‘phygital’ customer experiences

While speaking to a human agent over the phone remains the most preferred customer service touchpoint, nearly half of Hong Kongers (46%) are ‘affluent hybrid shoppers’ who are comfortable with cross-channel interactions across human-assisted and digital touchpoints.

To satisfy customers, businesses must adopt a hybrid CX approach to communicate with customers at each stage of their journey on their channel of choice. Furthermore, they can integrate technology into their stores to create an immersive ‘phygital’ experience to personalize what customers hear, smell and see. For example, Hema, Alibaba’s fresh food-focused ‘New Retail Store’, allows customers to shop in-store or through its app. It provides customers with augmented reality integrations in-store, where they can scan products to reveal their origins, deliver items and pay with facial-recognition technology.

Tip #4: Create secured yet seamless interactions for customers

Mounting concerns around security and privacy have given rise to two-factor authentication (2FA). However, there is still some resistance towards 2FA from both businesses and end users. Businesses worry 2FA might add friction to the customer journey, while end users are often presented with the option of setting up 2FA to protect their accounts but simply don’t take it.

However, with the emergence of new technologies, there’s no reason CX should be compromised for security in 2023. We are now seeing more solutions, such as silent mobile verification and biometric authentication, that can reduce friction in customer interactions and improve their experience. By allowing customers to choose the method of security that best suits them, businesses can increase customer conversion rates and reduce the chances of them going to a competitor. Customers want fast and frictionless checkout experiences; if you can’t offer them this, they’ll go somewhere else.

Keep up with the changes

It can be easy to overlook your CX strategy, particularly in a challenging economic climate. But customer experience can make or break a business. As digital interactions become more embedded in our day to day lives, it’s never been more important for companies to stay on the pulse of shifting trends and behaviors to optimize their CX.

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Regional Manager, APAC, Infobip