Digital channels are on the rise in Vietnam. Social media usage has increased rapidly, and customers are more likely to take to these platforms to discuss their brand experiences — and even recommend brands to their peers. Some organizations are conscious of this fact, and are working to capture as much insight as possible — all in the pursuit of CX growth.
Although digital awareness has been increasing, there are many challenges. Some established brands cannot innovate fast enough, and in Vietnam there is a growing expectation that organizations should be able to respond quickly to unforeseen circumstances, such as COVID-19. At the same time, many Vietnamese customers are reluctant to do business with new entrants. There is a general suspicion that less-established brands might lack the necessary experience to cater to their needs.
That being said, consumers tend to be loyal to organizations with long and prestigious reputations, and that show Integrity. Similarly, they are more likely to advocate for brands that score highly in the pillar of Personalization.
As such, there is much potential for disruptors to challenge the legacy organizations, particularly if they come with a strong digital offering.
Indeed, digital is something that Vietnam's third highest ranking brand Viettel does well. While it's far from being a start-up (having existed in some form for over 30 years) Viettel is constantly evolving. It began life as a construction firm in 1989 before moving into telecommunications in 2000, and it finally became a digital services provider in 2018. Viettel is an extremely innovative organization, and is at the forefront of IoT (Internet of Things), facial recognition and artificial intelligence technology in Vietnam.
Moreover, Viettel stands out for its customer-centricity. In 2019 it launched the Viettell++ customer care programme, which operates like a loyalty scheme. Users of Viettel products accrue points which can be exchanged for discounts on certain services, or even at hotels, restaurants and shops. Crucially, this is a system which functions automatically, with no input required from the consumer. People are automatically enrolled, and Viettel keeps track of the points they collect.
Technology also plays a key role for Vietnam's second highest ranking brand. The financial services organization Prudential primarily specializes in insurance, but in 2019 it launched a new Pulse app that was designed to look after customers' wider health needs. Through the app, users can track their Body Mass Index (BMI) measurements, Wrinkle Index measurements, and also receive a free consultation with a doctor.
Mr. Phuong Tien Minh, General Director of Prudential Vietnam said: "With Pulse, we aim to bring technological achievements in the medical field closer to the people, helping people take the initiative in their care and easily manage their own health at any time and anywhere."1
This initiative arrived at the same time as Prudential's renewed brand commitment to "Listening. Understanding. Delivering." As one customer explained: "The company understands their customers, providing prestigious services and quality products. I have been a customer of Prudential for 20 years and will always be a loyal customer of the company."
Vietnam's leading customer experience organization is Vietnam Airlines — a brand that also puts listening at the heart of its customer experience. Its continual collection of feedback has influenced the customer journey at every touchpoint, even down to the conversations at the check-in desk, and the food on its planes.
And again, like many of the leaders in Vietnamese CX, technology has been at the heart of its operations. For example, Vietnam Airlines uses leading technologies to capture and respond to customer feedback in real time. It was also the first Vietnamese airline to provide in-flight Wi-Fi, and it offers charging ports for passengers' mobile devices. In addition, its planes are equipped with LED lights with "gradual brightness transformation" for when food is being served, and self check-in desks are available at select airports.2
Personalization is one of the brand's stand-out pillars, and the human element of the experience is one that Vietnam Airlines is conscious of. One respondent praised the "attentive staff with smiling faces," and described it as an "amazing airline with first class service." Moreover, its Vice President Mr Le Hong Ha said that its success was down to the brand's continued investment in advanced technologies and highquality services, "all to provide the most enjoyable experience possible for passengers."3
This blend of technology and customer-centricity is likely to define Vietnam's customer experience champions in the years ahead.
This is particularly true in the world of COVID-19, which has changed customers' habits and behaviors, with people becoming increasingly comfortable using online channels. But the digitization of CX is also presenting the Vietnamese consumer with more choice, and brands are being challenged to differentiate themselves. They must prove that they offer something relevant, and of real value. In this battle, the winners will be those organizations that understand consumers at a micro level, and are ready to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the world around them.
“Vietnamese customers are getting used to having diverse choices of products and services. A competitive pricing strategy alone cannot be a longterm strategy if companies want to ensure their sustainable growth. Companies need to come closer to their customers, utilize all the available resources and make appropriate investments to understand their customers better, provide them with personalized products and memorable customer experiences. This is how a company can survive and evolve in the coming decade."
Nguyen Tuan Hong Phuc
Partner, Head of Customer & Operations, Digital Consulting
KPMG in Vietnam