Customer Experience Excellence report 2021

Customer Experience Excellence report 2021

As COVID-19 continues to upend work routines and personal lives, brands in Singapore have intensified their focus on creating personalized and low-touch experiences that address the changing needs of today’s customers. Mirroring the increased emphasis on personalization across most surveyed regions, customers in Singapore are seeking out experiences that are specially tailored for their needs. Brands, in turn, are looking to harness data insights to better understand their customers.

Brands that demonstrated their capabilities in improving customer service alongside trends did well. Top brands were appreciated by customers for their exceptional care in ensuring a safe shopping experience amid COVID-19, as well as efforts to make touchpoints across both physical and online channels (omni-channels) engaging and personalized.

Specifically, of the Six Pillars, Personalization is the biggest driver of customer loyalty for the third year running. It is also the top driver for customer advocacy in 2021 in contrast to last year, when the pillar of Expectations was ranked most important and customers promoted brands more readily if they matched or exceeded their expectations.

Pandemic-related store closures or restrictions have also put the spotlight back on the transition to omni-channel strategies, as brands look to coalesce physical and online formats to take back charge of the entire customer journey. Customers are seeking frictionless processes that enable them to achieve their objectives quickly and without barriers.

Singapore Airlines reclaimed its number one spot in this year’s study among Singapore customers. During the first half of 2021, Singapore Airlines was among the first carriers in the world to operate flights with a full complement of vaccinated pilots and cabin crew1. The airline also roped in a U.S. cloud-based software firm to develop and implement a new customer case and knowledge management system2. Several new features were also introduced to enhance the airline’s club membership and frequent flyer programs, as part of its commitment to its members3.

In second place, American Express continues to set the bar for brands worldwide in customer experience. The U.S.-based financial services organization, which had ranked first in 2020, yet again received praise from Singapore customers for its efficiency, empowerment and personable interactions – cornerstone values that are consistently reflected in customer experiences. American Express prioritizes personalization as an integral part of its business model and therefore, it is hardly surprising that it topped the Singapore market for this pillar.

In third place for the second-year running was Apple Store. Launched in Singapore in 20174, Apple Store has expanded to three outlets across the island. Its most recent store sits directly on the waters of Marina Bay – a first-of-its-kind, all-glass dome that offers 360-degree panoramic views of the city5.

In light of pandemic-related disruption, Apple Store took prompt action to ensure a safe yet satisfying in-store experience for customers. These measures included offering appointment-only service to limit store crowding and maintain physical distancing, deep cleaning surfaces and providing alcohol wipes at display tables.

Another top performing sector was grocery retail. Grocery retail showed a great deal of Empathy throughout a tough year, providing value for money amid economic uncertainty. For example, retailer Giant Singapore slashed prices on over 600 products in September 2020 as part of a campaign to address the rising cost-of-living in Singapore6. They have extended this campaign until the end of 2021, offering average discounts of 20 percent on more than 100 essential products7.

As we navigate our way out of various states of lockdown, COVID-19 will likely continue to take an emotional and financial toll on customers. But the success of brands in Singapore will ultimately depend on how well they are able to delight customers through the range and quality of experiences they provide.

Technology, data analytics and marketing insights are the key drivers of personalized experiences in an age where loyalty and trust are expensive to gain but easy to lose. Tailoring experiences to meet the specific needs of customers is helping brands stay relevant, stand out and forge connections as competition grows and intensifies in every industry, across borders.

Guillaume Sachet
Partner, Advisory
KPMG in Singapore

Leading CX brands in Singapore


Singapore Airlines


American Express


Apple Store


Apple Pay










NTUC Fairprice