With widespread phone and SMS scams, businesses and contact centers face challenges in ensuring a seamless, trusted and convenient customer journey.

The demand for bespoke contact center solutions is expected to grow dramatically across APAC, as fast-growing companies in the region look for ways to enhance their customers’ journeys and deliver better online experiences.

To accommodate these needs, businesses like foodpanda that require flexibility and scalability to help them achieve their business objectives are relying on bespoke contact center solutions to help staff focus on what’s most important to them – creating engaged and happy customers to sustain business growth.

“Thanks to Toku’s deep knowledge of our business needs, they have helped create bespoke solutions for a complex foodpanda ecosystem across 11 markets and different business lines. Many more exciting solutions are in the works for our partners and customers, and we look forward to implementing them with Toku’s technical support,” said Hossein Entekhabi, Senior Director, Central Operations (APAC), foodpanda.

Toku also recently published a survey report, and DigiconAsia had the opportunity to speak with Thomas Laboulle, Founder and CEO, Toku to discuss the survey findings as well as Toku’s partnership with foodpanda.

From Toku’s latest survey findings, what should businesses take note of in their quest to attain a deeper understanding of customer journey touchpoints to drive better customer satisfaction levels, boost customer loyalty, and provide a better customer experience?

Laboulle:The past two years completely transformed the way brands communicate with customers. In this new environment, customer expectations are higher than ever, and customer service is now a key differentiator between companies. From our survey, we found several insights that will motivate businesses to build more seamless customer experiences.

    • Providing omnichannel customer support is no longer a nice-to-have. Most consumers expect businesses to keep track of prior communications and details to facilitate efficient communications in future
    • The majority of customers don’t want to have to move around different channels to reach a business. They prefer to stay within a brand’s platform or app for customer support
    • Customers like to get notifications via SMS. However, businesses must consider investing in ways to improve trust in the channel and maintain consumers’ trust that the brand is the one connecting with them
    • In general, consumers expect a customer service call to last no longer than 8 minutes (waiting time included)

We will reveal more interesting details and relevant data points when we formally publish the Toku Consumer Engagement Report. 

In your opinion, how could contact centers help to prevent – or at least reduce – phone scams?

Laboulle: As contact centers remain the main mode of providing customer support, we strongly believe they have an important role in protecting consumers from call fraud.

On the telephony side, businesses should ensure they are using local Singaporean numbers. They should also work with their telecom provider to get analytics on the call usage and monitor patterns, and insist on accountability for what technology and processes they have in place to prevent call fraud.

Another way is to invest in embedding communications channels directly inside their app or platform, for example, in-app calling and texting. This will boost trust among customers that it really is the business they are communicating with, and not a scammer. It is also important to educate customers about their processes and avoid collecting sensitive/confidential information during a call.   

What components should C-suite executives consider when developing a bespoke contact center solution that will meet a company’s digitization, automation and scalability requirements?

Laboulle: The modularity level offered by technology providers often influences the build-versus-buy choice that growing companies face when they reach a certain organisational maturity and business complexity.

Ultimately, the considerations and requirements for a bespoke contact center solution will be the same whether it is assembled in-house or developed by a third party.

A commonly overlooked aspect of digitization is the end-user adoption – in particular, how a successful transition depends heavily on the employee experience. Therefore, the decision-makers must ensure that the chosen/developed solution includes enough options to empower agents both from home and from the office. That covers everything from having a unified view on the different communication channels to getting relevant and actionable insights.

A broad API ecosystem is essential to unlock true automation. It will guarantee that an enterprise can create dedicated ad hoc solutions for specific business needs. Besides the availability of programmatic interfaces, companies must also review the native compatibility with other corporate tools. These integrations will facilitate quick automation wins that rely on seamless customer data exchanges.

Organizations should always assess the scale limitations that come with the implementation of new tools. For a Contact Center Solution, there are two primary considerations:

Geographic footprint: Which markets a business is serving today and whether it will expand to others in the future, will determine their connectivity access and the location of technical points of presence. (The latter have both a regulatory and performance facet.)

Management structure: The way a company operates certain functions in a centralized or decentralized way will require a different level of granularity for the roles and permissions available in the tool. Moreover, the workforce engagement options must be carefully reviewed and should be suitable for in-house, outsourced, or hybrid setups.

How has foodpanda’s partnership with Toku allowed the company to focus on customer experience and sustainable business growth?

Laboulle: Toku helped foodpanda to consolidate their customer support activities under one contact center platform for all their APAC markets. This has enabled them to scale their customer engagement operations. 

We also improved the overall accessibility for foodpanda users through the implementation of local numbers for each country. Besides an increase in pick-up rates, the direct connectivity with national operators has enhanced the call quality, and positively impacted agent productivity and customer satisfaction.

We will continue to work closely with foodpanda to understand the needs of their stakeholders, and translate the collected insights to drive more seamless customer experiences. 

What future plans for implementation are in store for the partnership with foodpanda? 

Laboulle: We continue to work closely with foodpanda on a variety of customer engagement and CX initiatives which are very exciting. Our bespoke approach is flexible and scales with the enterprise’s rapid growth rate and evolving customer experience needs. Understandably, the plans remain confidential at this stage so we will not be able to comment on them at this point in time.