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3 customer support challenges all Asian CSPs face

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Asian boy checking his phone

Asian CSPs have been at the forefront of digitalization, are world leaders in 5G and pioneers in IoT, AI, smart cities, VR and AR. But as digitalization increases, digital expectations are rising - both on the B2C and B2B side of the business.

From a customer experience (CX) and customer support perspective, Asia is a difficult market to address because of its vast cultural, technological and economic differences. While cost remains an issue for many Asian CSPs, the rise of the Asian middle class means that quality is important to increasing numbers of their customers. McKinsey, for example, forecasts that by 2030, 55% of middle-income households will be in Asia. This means that CSPs need to compete on experience in Asia, and not just cost.

Yet there’s still a lot to play for. According to a study by Forrester on behalf of Cinnox, for example, only 16% of Asian customers reported digital interactions that exceeded their expectations. To get digital experience and support right, Asian CSPs have to address 3 key challenges in the next 3 years.

Subtonomy enables self-services through chatbot APIs

Challenge 1: explosive growth and the need for digital autonomy

The GSMA forecasts that by 2025 the number of people using the mobile internet will have increased by 333 million. The sheer volume of new customers means CSPs will need to be able to scale their support services – making self-service and chatbots vital to carry the heavy load of customer support. These technologies will also help CSPs manage the cost of support and are vital to meeting customers’ digital expectations. Research by Google in India, for example, revealed that new internet users expect digital autonomy and independence - placing the onus on efficient self-service capabilities.

It will therefore be essential for CSPs to ensure that their self-service portals and chatbots are armed with accurate, timely data about network performance, so that customers can support themselves wherever possible and revert to the contact center only when necessary.

Woman texting on her smartphone

Challenge 2: omnichannel communications

Asian CSPs not only have to support a large new cohort of mobile internet users, but Asia is one of the most challenging regions when it comes to customer communications. Adobe’s 2022 Digital Trends: APAC in Focus report, for example, found that 76% of companies in Asia had observed a surge in customers interacting with them through digital channels. And, according to research by Freshworks, almost 7 in 10 customers (68%) would prefer to be communicated with via IM.

But the complication is that these customers are fragmented across a wide variety of digital platforms and channels. In China customers prefer WeChat, in Korea KakaoTalk, in Japan Line, in the Philippines Facebook Messenger, in Sri Lanka Telegram and in Vietnam Zalo.

CSPs – and especially those that operate in multiple countries – need to ensure that network performance data is available across all support channels and is in sync, so that customers get the same information and advice whether they ring the contact center, receive a text, or are notified via their preferred messaging channel.

Challenge 3: hyper-personalization (because it’s all about me)

Understanding where and how to interact with customers is a key challenge. But so too is the way CSPs interact with their customers. Like customers in other regions, Asian customers want a more relevant, personalized experience. Adobe’s research also found that 60% of APAC organisations now consider themselves either ‘effective’ or ‘very effective’ at personalizing the customer experience they deliver.

Shaun Braun, SVP Digital Transformation at 3M notes: “You can’t come with one monolithic approach, especially about how you’re going to understand and interact with your customers...we have to be more adaptable.”

To meet this expectation CSPs need to ensure their communications are relevant and hyper-personalized. The days when they could send out an engineering or fault notification to a large geographic area or cohort of customers – irrespective of whether an individual customer is affected or not – have gone.

Asian CSPs need to understand not just real experience on their networks, but the real experience of individual customers, so that they can answer queries quickly and resolve problems faster.

Contact the author:

Simon Kong

VP Business Development and Sales APAC


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