An estimated US$165bn of consumer spending in South-east Asia is sensitive to poor customer experience management amid poor economic forecasts: survey 

In an online survey in Q3 2022 of 33,093 consumers across 29 countries (including insights from more than 5,400 respondents in South-east Asia), to find the share of sales at risk due to bad customer experiences, data suggests that US$165bn in earnings in region could be put at risk due to poor customer experiences (CX).

Around 18% of the time, respondents cited “very poor customer experiences with organizations”, after which 60% either reduced their spending with a brand or stopped spending on it altogether. 

A summary of industries with the highest and lowest rates of very poor CX in the region is as follows:

CountryIndustries with the highest percentage of consumers reporting “very poor” customer experiences recentlyIndustries with the lowest percentage of consumers reporting “very poor” customer experiences recently
IndonesiaGovernment agency (45%)
Property insurer (44%)
Auto dealer (37%)
Supermarket (7%)
Streaming service (10%)
Bank (11%)
MalaysiaGovernment agency (41%)
Internet service provider (25%)
Electronics maker (25%)
Supermarket (8%)
Department store (10%)
Hotel (13%)
Fast food restaurant (13%)
PhilippinesInternet service provider (45%)
Government agency (39%)
Public utility (20%)
Department store (5%)
Streaming service (7%)
Hotel (7%)
Fast food restaurant (8%)
ThailandGovernment agency (32%)
Hospital / Medical provider (23%)
Bank (16%)
Streaming service (3%)
Public utility (8%)
Department store (8%)
SingaporeAuto dealer (50%)
Property insurer (38%)
Electronics maker (36%)
Supermarket (7%)
Department store (7%)
Bank (8%)

According to Vicky Katsabaris, Director of XM Solutions and Strategy, Qualtrics, which commissioned the survey: “While there has been a slight reduction in the revenue at risk in SEA due to poor customer experiences compared to last year, there has been little change in how often consumers (in the survey) said they receive poor service. No organization can afford customer churn, which is why addressing this widening gap by deeply tuning into the needs of customers must be a top priority in 2023. Those that get it right stand to make market gains.”

The firm suggests three ideologies for organizations in the region:

    1. The personal connection can be more valued than operational efficiency
      During customer interactions in APAC and Japan, a personable service agent had a bigger impact on consumer satisfaction than a short wait time. In contrast, respondents experiencing a short wait time were 2.4 times more likely to be happy with the overall interaction than those dissatisfied with wait times.

      There were transactions where people would rather self-serve than speak to a representative. Organizations will need to understand what their customers want in a given situation, in order to leave them with a positive experience.

    2. Brand switching in 2023 likely to increase due to poor CX
      With around half of SEA respondents indicating they had had customer service issues go unresolved, and up to 42% not satisfied with the empathy they received from a customer service agent, the volatility of customer loyalty is dependent on whether businesses meet or exceed expectations.

    3. Unstructured feedback will be increasingly essential to experience management
      Around three quarters of SEA respondents indicated businesses needed to do a better job of listening to them — a figure that is relatively unchanged from a similar survey in 2021.

      At a time when consumers are talking about brands on social media and in public reviews, one way firms can improve their listening is by using insights from chats and other qualitative responses to understand a consumer’s specific situation and how to respond appropriately in real time.