Customer experience solutions specialist Genesys has released a report exploring the role connected technology plays in businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The 2016 IoT-Enabled Customer Experience report, produced in collaboration with IT market research company Frost & Sullivan, surveyed almost 500 business leaders working within 11 key Asia Pacific countries: Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
According to the report: “IoT-enabled CX [customer experience] allows for the convergence of a customer’s journey across physical and digital environments, enabling organisations to continually deliver personalised, predictive and productive experiences to their customers.”
Many organisations are already embarking on such strategic initiatives, it continues. These include Volvo in connected cars, Whirlpool’s smart kitchen initiative, and Amazon’s Dash and Alexa, all of which “are integrating services to bring new levels of convenience to users and enhance experiences with the brands’ support services.”
Interest in IoT
The report aims to explore how companies view customer experience and how the Internet of Things (IoT) can be used as a catalyst for improvement.
Of the companies surveyed in the report, 83 percent confirm that they’ve come across the IoT, but only one in five indicate that they have a clear understanding of the concept.
Interestingly, respondents from less mature countries such as China and India appear to have a greater understanding of this area, ahead of Japan, Australia and Korea.
Overall, there seems to be a positive perception of IoT and the benefits it can bring to firms. Over 45 percent of respondents are aware that IoT doesn’t consist only of connected devices and understand that it’s set to grow rapidly in the foreseeable future.
China and India leading
Respondents also acknowledge the positive role that connected technology can play in improving customer experience processes. Geographically, most of them came from India and China.
In these countries, companies express major interest in adopting IoT-centric customer experience solutions, regardless of the costs involved. They see IoT as a worthy investment for future growth.
According to the report, these markets are not as committed to legacy systems and are more willing to explore the potential of emerging technologies such as IoT.
A major opportunity
Although the Internet of Things is still in the early stages of its evolution, it’s beginning to touch everyday consumers’ lives, and the report makes it clear that there’s a big opportunity for improved customer experience.
Nearly 50 percent of the survey’s respondents say that the IoT is important in improving customer experience. This opinion is most popular in China, the report found.
Almost three-quarters (71 percent) believe that IoT offers many possibilities in improving the quality and accuracy of services.
Meanwhile, almost as many (70 percent) say IoT could deliver the following benefits: increased speed of service; anytime-and-anywhere service; ability to anticipate customer needs; and the ability to proactively reach out to customers.
Still some challenges
While the report demonstrates significant interest in IoT, only 15 percent of respondents have actually implemented IoT products and solutions in their own businesses.
Keith Budge, senior vice president of the APAC region for Genesys, said: “Our research confirms [that] organisations in this region recognize that IoT can provide valuable customer insights and deliver richer customer experiences.
“And in spite of the lower perceived value in Southeast Asia, we are pleasantly surprised that a high number of organizations either are evaluating ways to adopt IoT-enabled CX solutions or already have implemented trials.”
New possibilities for customers
Theresa Bui, from the IoT cloud department at Cisco Jasper, said IoT is transforming how businesses interact with customers and extend the customer experience beyond simply selling.
“IoT is one of the most exciting prospects for businesses of our time, as it has the potential to revolutionize everything from the way companies operate and drive revenue,” she said.
“It is forcing businesses to rethink how they interact with the world around them, and in particular their relationship with their customers.
“The core value of IoT is the ability to transform companies from selling static products to delivering dynamic services throughout the life of those products.”
Connected technology can improve customer experience in a number of industries, including banking. SunTec, for example, is helping major banks such as HSBC update their systems to become digitized.
Nanda Kumar, CEO of SunTec, said: “’The power of IoT can be harnessed for success if banks evaluate how it fits into its current technology infrastructure.
Hindered by legacy IT, traditional banks are often slower to embrace IoT compared with so-called ‘challenger banks’. These new banks are forcing traditional banks to change at a quicker pace, however, because the technology they are adopting is driving higher customer service levels.
“To solve this challenge, established banks need to make sure their technology can bring together and handle the new types of IoT-generated data streams, information can be accessed by the customer and bank faster.”