One APAC study now shows they were overwhelmed by post-call work, facing consumers who had high urgency and expectations.

Almost a year into the pandemic, many organizations across the Asia Pacific region (APAC) that have digitalized their customer service functions have adopted the use of chatbots, interactive voice recording (IVR) and social media channels.

Have these tools been useful in bridging the gap between people who are told to stay home and businesses who are expected to switch to contactless operations? One firm that specializes in conversational service automation commissioned an online study in Jan 2021 to find out. The survey involved a random sampling of 1,210 adults from across Japan and APAC with representation across all age groups between 18 and 65+. Results were weighted to represent the overall populations.

CX expectations versus reality

In summary, the findings showed some trends for the sample populations:

  • 67% of local consumers preferred to speak to a ‘live’ agent when reaching a company’s call center.
  • 54% of local consumers found themselves feeling angry, frustrated, and annoyed while being put on hold when they contacted a call center.
  • 39% of Singapore respondents said they waited more than 30 minutes to get a response. 36% of them said they did not get their questions solved the first time when reaching out to a call center.
  • Only 11.5% of local consumers preferred to interact with a chatbot as their first interaction, with only 6.5% of Singapore consumers indicating that they would reach out to a company via social media.
  • With the massive and rapid shift to remote work, only approximately 1/3 of Singapore consumers claimed they trusted contact center agents with their personal information while working remotely. The two countries whose respondents trusted remote agents the most were India (74.5%) and Vietnam (75.4%).
  • 30% of local respondents who contacted a call center expected some type of post-call follow up, while 38.3% would prefer an email.
  • In terms of feeling comfortable with businesses’ use of AI technologies to help the customer experience, especially if the technology is assisting a human agent, India (78%), Vietnam (72.5%), Malaysia (43.3%) and Indonesia (40.8%) led the pack.

According to Ravi Saraogi, Co-Founder & President (APAC), Uniphore, the firm that commissioned the small study: “Contact centers are … one of the most powerful ways brands build customer loyalty. However, many consumers today still feel undervalued at the same time as call centers agents feel overwhelmed and under resourced.”

The disconnect between consumer frustrations with call center and the solutions companies are offering to resolve these issues can be addressed by automation technologies, Saraogi asserted.