Data shows that CX is linked to business resilience, revenue growth and numerous positive corporate traits.



In Q2 2021 double-blind global survey of 3,450 line-of-business Customer eXperience (CX) decision makers including 921 from Australia, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, firms in the region that continued to invest in their customer experience (CX) over the past year were 10.3 times more likely to have maximized business resilience during the pandemic, and 4.7 times more likely to have grown their customer base in the past six months.



The organizations polled spanned all market segments from small businesses to large enterprises, and multiple industry verticals like retail, consumer and corporate services, financial services, healthcare, education, and technology companies, among others.



Using a ‘CX maturity scale’, the report identified common patterns and behaviors that classified firms according to four labels in descending order of CX maturity: ‘champions’; ‘starters’, ‘emerging’, and ‘risers’.



APAC CX maturity findings



The report has found that only 21% of mid-sized and enterprise companies in Singapore felt they had made the right CX investments to increase business resilience, trailing behind other markets such as Australia (28%), South Korea (28%) and India (64%).



Other findings include:



  • The number of ‘champions’ within mid-sized and enterprise companies in APAC had increased from 6% to 8% since 2020, with India (16%), Australia (12%) and Singapore (9%) having the highest proportion of champions. The greatest gains in the region were tied between India, Australia and Singapore, which all saw a 6% increase from 2020. However, Singapore experienced the fastest growth, increasing the percentage of ‘champions’ by three times in the past year, up from just 3% last year.
  • Mid-sized and enterprise ‘champions’ polled in the region were 4.7 times more likely than ‘starters’ to have grown their customer base over the past six months, and 10 times more likely to have increased per-customer spend significantly over the same time period. More than one quarter of such firms in Singapore had managed to grow their customer base, while one in three had increased per-customer spend in the past six months. 
  • ‘Champions’ were also changing how the customer service function was viewed across their organization. With digital interaction being the main connection point with many customers, APAC ‘champions’ were three times more likely than ‘starters’ to operate profitable service teams, where direct revenue exceeds the cost of customer service. Such firms in India (84%), South Korea (58%) and Singapore (50%) were already operating a profitable service team. 
  • APAC ‘champions’ had other winning traits. They were:
    • 6 times and 9.4 times more likely to deliver excellent customer visibility and cross-channel visibility, respectively, to agents than ‘starters’. In Singapore, only 29% of respondents rated their customer visibility as “very strong”. Despite an increment of 11% from 2020, the number remains the lowest amongst its regional counterparts. 
    • 4.3 times more likely to have excellent agent retention and 72% higher agent productivity than ‘starters’. However, staffing turnover continued to be a challenge for more than one in three APAC organizations, up from 23% in 2020.
    • 10.3 times more likely to believe they made the right investment and policy decisions during the pandemic to maximize business resilience.
    • Inclined to expect a 25% increase in the number of remote agents, even when the pandemic is no longer an issue. 
    • better positioned to adapt and thrive in the face of change, taking roughly half the time to grow their team by 50% and onboard new hires (22 days versus 43 days for ‘starters’) and add a new channel (21 days versus 45 days for ‘starters’). 
    • 7.4 times more likely than ‘starters’ to be using service data extensively. The former were 17.3 times more likely to identify the impact of data on sales success as “game changing”, outstripping counterparts in North America (12.7 times) and Europe (9.4 times). Finally, APAC ‘champions’ were 2.8 times more likely than ‘starters’ to have accelerated major CX projects over the past year. 
    • the first to increase utilization of public cloud services (66%); adopt more flexible remote-work policies (64%); expand mental health/wellbeing initiatives (64%); more flexible working hours (60%); and new collaboration tools (60%). 
  • 90% of respondents indicated that CX innovation is required to protect their business from competitors.
  • Larger APAC businesses had also increased customer visibility in the past year, with 43% saying they had achieved a “single source of truth” when it came to customer profiles compared to 25% a year ago. They had also increased the number of service channels year-over-year from an average of 7 to an average of 7.8. 
  • 73% of APAC respondents predicted that chat and social channels will be most used by customers in the future, up from 54% who indicated this was the case today. 



The study was commissioned by Zendesk, Inc whose APAC Chief Operating Officer, Wendy Johnstone, commented: “Organizations are realizing that the customer service function is no longer a cost center, but a revenue driver, and our research confirms this. In fact, it also found that the connection between CX maturity and greater business growth and revenue remains most pronounced in APAC a year on.”



“Today’s digital-first economy has made the customer service function the hub of all customer relationships, which is why continuous innovation and investment in CX must be a business imperative for long term success and growth.” 



According to Johnstone, there also continues to be a clear correlation between improved CX maturity and the benefits of increased customer satisfaction (CSAT), faster response times, and effective customer service.