There is something of a race happening in Thailand. Cell phone use is exploding as customers rely increasingly on mobile platforms. COVID-19 has accelerated this, but it's fair to say that this trend has been growing for a number of years.
Those brands with their fingers on the pulse have been able to capitalize on this shift. As more consumers turn to their cell phones, the expectation of an 'on demand' economy has emerged. People expect organizations to offer faster and more efficient services, while at the same time delivering value for money. Indeed, economics have become more important in 2020, with COVID-19 leaving some households financially fragile, and limited in their ability to boost the country's economy.
That being said, the world of CX is not without its winners. In Thailand
— much like the rest of the world — the pillar that has the greatest
impact on loyalty and advocacy is Personalization.
The strongest brands are able to tailor the customer experience to the specific needs of the individual, unfettered by corporate processes that often leave people wrapped up in red tape. Personalization is also about remembering past preferences, and customers' names — in essence, it represents the 'humanization' of customer experience management. In Thailand, the brands that master this pillar are more likely to be 'promoted' in consumers' peer groups.
This is certainly true of the financial services sector, which leads for CX performance in 2020. The bank SCB ranks highly in this year's study, landing in third place. SCB operates on four core values: Customer Centricity (focusing on customers); Risk Culture (managing risks appropriately); Innovation (encouraging innovations); and Speed (adapting and learning quickly.)1
Next is Apple Store, which ranks at number two. The retailer is keeping pace with Thailand's digital revolution, recognizing that the smartphone has become an integral part of many people's lives, particularly when it comes to social media use, which has seen a sharp increase.
Of course, the physical outlet is key to Apple Store's business, and in non-COVID-19 times it's a go-to 'destination' in which customers can explore and play. In addition, the brand offers a service called Today at Apple, where visitors can attend special workshops to learn how to do new things on their smartphones.
Inevitably, this service had to stop during COVID-19, but Apple Store maintained its customer focus by moving its workshops online. Here, phone users could watch prerecorded videos explaining how to use some of the iPhone's features. And a selection of these videos catered to multiple audiences at once, with some being delivered in Sign Language with English voiceovers, and Thai subtitles.2
Apple Store is conscious of its responsibility towards the planet. All of its stores' electricity — both in Thailand and in every other country in which it operates — take 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, and Apple Store has reduced its carbon footprint by 71 percent since 2011, despite a fourfold increase in its energy usage.3
Thailand's CX leader is the financial services organization AIA, which specializes in insurance. AIA is committed to its customers, and it learns about them continually through its virtual data science lab, which gathers and analyzes consumer data.
Much of this is derived from its AIA Vitality platform, which launched in 2019. It's an insurance and wellness programme that rewards users for being healthy. By taking regular exercise, or eating healthily, or even going for an annual health checkup, users can earn points which can be exchanged for discounts at gyms and pharmaceuticals, and even plane tickets. As such, Vitality highlights AIA's concern for its customers' wellbeing by incentivizing them to look after their minds and bodies.
This initiative also helps AIA to learn more about its customers and, in turn, find new and more relevant ways to serve them.
This is, however, a delicate line to tread. 98 percent of respondents across the globe indicated that they were worried about their personal data, and how it was being gathered and used. And with the acceleration of cell phone use, and countless gigabytes of data being transferred on a daily basis, this should be a growing concern for the leading brands in Thailand. Customers may be demanding slicker, speedier interactions, but their loyalty could wane if they don't believe that brands are truly 'on their side.'
“We are a country with some of the highest penetration rates across all major mobile platforms so we can see in the survey results that those organizations that invested heavily in mobile-led strategies are bringing connectivity to their ecosystems. They're underpinned by enhanced data and analytics capabilities, and they're winning on the customer battlefield by offering a differentiated customer experience. Time is running out for those that have not. We have seen 10 years of expected behavioral shifts occurring in the last six months alone." ”
Partner, Head of Financial Services
KPMG in Thailand
Bar BQ Plaza