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Leisure, non-grocery retail and financial services lead in terms of customer experience offerings in mainland China, finds KPMG survey

Leisure, non-grocery retail and financial services ...

Technology helps to enhance customer interaction and drive operational efficiency, in order to improve services and products


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KPMG in China


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Leisure, non-grocery retail and financial services are the top-performing sectors in terms of providing excellent customer experience in mainland China, finds a recent KPMG survey.

Titled Customer First, the report surveyed 4,118 respondents in mainland China and 885 in Hong Kong, analysing key customer experience excellence parameters. The survey covers 208 brands across six sectors, including financial services, non-grocery retail, grocery retail, travel and hotels, restaurants and fast food, and logistics. 

It finds that companies with high rankings are the ones that are able to leverage technology to enhance their customer interactions and drive operational efficiency to improve their offerings.

Reynold Liu, Head of Management Consulting, KPMG China, says: “The customer experience leaders demonstrate that for brands to progress, there should be three key areas of focus: a desire to innovate and continue leveraging digital and mobile technologies, a commitment to integrity, and the ability to offer premium experiences to meet growing customer expectations.”

In mainland China, the travel and hotels sector is identified the top-performing sector, according to the survey. The report notes that hotels have closely monitored changes in customer behaviour and succeeded by responding and adopting the necessary changes in an agile manner. They are standout performers in terms of managing, meeting and exceeding customer expectations, as well as providing personalised services. For example, respondents pointed to the hotel industry’s ability to personalise and provide uniquely Chinese experiences globally.

Driven by the strong performance of luxury brands, the non-grocery retail sector was ranked second by the respondents in mainland China. Digital-savvy millennials are increasingly making their mark on the luxury retail market. In addition, the increased use of social media marketing and experiential marketing events, together with increased interaction and localised content, have all contributed to the sector’s high scores in terms of customer experience excellence.

Additionally, the survey finds that younger consumers in mainland China are concerned with the authenticity of products, as well as the sourcing of materials from both a quality and ethical standpoint. A brand’s commitment to integrity is also recognised as a key component.

Meanwhile Hong Kong respondents have placed greater emphasis on personal interactions in terms of customer experience, and are more accustomed to interacting with brands offline rather than online. However, as adoption of technology remains crucial for brands to succeed, the successful ones have adopted a holistic approach – delivering an omnichannel strategy where digital technology helps personalise the experience and save customers’ time and effort.

Similar to mainland China, millennials in Hong Kong are more willing than other age groups to provide feedback – both positive and negative – on social media. Brands therefore need to ensure their visibility on social media, and be prompt and transparent when resolving customer service issues – through various channels – in order to maintain their reputation.

Other key elements for customer experience excellence:

  • Enabling technology: leveraging the latest technology to deliver quicker, easier and more personalised experiences
  • Integrity: key to establishing and maintaining customer relationships. Integrity precedes trust, and trust precedes customer commitment
  • Human touch: Despite the offline-to-online trend, customers still desire human interaction
  • Glocalisation: Adaptation of products/services to reflect local cultures
  • Seamless interactions: Customers expect a consistent experience throughout the shopping journey

Isabel Zisselsberger, Head of Customer and Operations, Hong Kong, KPMG China, concludes: “Integrity and personalisation were the biggest drivers of customer experience excellence in Hong Kong. In a market where consumers are constantly provided with new choices and options, brands that deliver on trust and provide transparency on their products and services are often able to build stronger customer advocacy and brand loyalty.”


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About KPMG China

KPMG China operates in 19 cities across China, with around 12,000 partners and staff in Beijing, Beijing Zhongguancun, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Foshan, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, Xiamen, Xi’an, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR. With a single management structure across all these offices, KPMG China can deploy experienced professionals efficiently, wherever our client is located.

KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 154 countries and territories and have 200,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

In 1992, KPMG became the first international accounting network to be granted a joint venture licence in mainland China. KPMG China was also the first among the Big Four in mainland China to convert from a joint venture to a special general partnership, as of 1 August 2012. Additionally, the Hong Kong office can trace its origins to 1945. This early commitment to the China market, together with an unwavering focus on quality, has been the foundation for accumulated industry experience, and is reflected in the Chinese member firm’s appointment by some of China’s most prestigious companies.

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