In Hong Kong, COVID-19 had a major influence on the definition of a 'good' customer experience. Consumers, even those who previously used few digital channels, now expect brands to enhance their online capabilities and deliver a consistent, seamless experience across all channels.
As people become more digitallysavvy, they are also more concerned about their personal data, and they want to know that organizations are storing (and using) it ethically. COVID-19 and general economic uncertainty has increased instances of fraud in the market and this is weighing on consumers' minds. For customers in Hong Kong, trust and security is critical as they expect organizations to prioritize their digital security and protection of personal information. As a result, we observe an increased expectation that organizations will continue to enhance their capabilities, while managing increased amounts of customer data to offer seamless experiences, often across a wider ecosystem of businesses. For instance, for sectors such as banking, digitalization is now the norm as they continue to invest in their digital capability enhancements, gravitating towards seamless and hyperpersonalized experiences leveraging customer data.
Hong Kong's customers are also looking to brands that give them that sense of community and trust. This is also well represented by financial services performance in this year's study as ultimately, customers value organizations that can provide transparency as well as operating in good faith when engaging with customers across the entire customer lifecycle. Banking has also been front and center of the customer's mind as they are looking for financial security and protection in the light of COVID-19. Similarly, insurance has increased in importance as customers search for health and wealth protection for themselves and their families. Across the board, financial services companies have accelerated digital investment, for example, providing digital and video enabled onboarding and servicing. There is a recognition that ways of working and interacting are unlikely to ever be the same again.
COVID-19 has also left its mark on other sectors in Hong Kong, as customers have shied away from 'luxury' products and have instead focused their spending on essential products such as groceries. This shift in buying behavior is also reflected in the customer experience results, with the grocery retail sector leading the rankings in 2020, replacing logistics which topped the rankings in 2019. For instance, some grocery shops received much customer praise at the height of COVID-19 by introducing a per-customer quota system for facemasks, helping to reduce panic-buying and long queues.
Other brands started introducing sustainable initiatives such as 'plastic free' trials in select stores, and conservation of power by fitting kitchens with electrical appliances to keep the temperatures low and reduce overall energy usage. In the wider retail sector, sportswear retailer brands performed similarly well in this year's study and scored highly in the pillar of Integrity. Brands such as Nike performed well overall as shoppers appreciate the premium customer experience provided by both the product and in-store and online service.
Similarly, Adidas performed well, especially in the pillar of Integrity where it was a regional top performer — recognizing the effort that the brand has been placing into social and sustainability initiatives.
Overall, it is clear that COVID-19 and economic uncertainty has impacted consumer behaviors and preferences during the period. This is reflected in the sectors that are front of mind and also comes through in consumers' desire for value, integrity and a sense of community. And no doubt it is even more important for brands to provide a seamless cross channel experience that is digitally enabled, thus, providing customers with the right choices and accessibility as COVID-19 continues to unfold.
“The world has changed this year in a way we could not imagine. Society and social purpose will significantly influence consumers, and this — alongside the need to go and be digital — will play a critical role in the brands customers choose to buy from." ”
Strategy and Performance Partner
KPMG in Hong Kong (SAR), China
Hang Seng Insurance
Note: Brands are listed in alphabetical order.