Asian economies grow unabated and fresh ones like Myanmar, who are shooting up and attracting global attention. Few months back the very savvy Malaysian business tycoon, the owner of Air Asia and the EPL team Queens Park Ranger, Tony Fernandes took a plane load of friends and other top businessmen, for a reconnaissance mission to erstwhile Burma.
Business people and businesses are getting around.
I want to talk about whether their service providers - their telcos, banks and airlines are getting around too.
What do I mean? Let me illustrate. A high net worth individual (HNI) with a long standing relationship with a regional bank, travels to another region. Say from Singapore to Myanmar. Her banking requirements don’t change. Neither should her banking experience. Unfortunately, the brand behaves differently in different regions and leaves the HNI frustrated.
According to a research on The Future of Asian Banking (Oliver Wyman) - dominating the core domestic banking market will require a differentiated positioning, based on either market-leading efficiency (cost leadership and tight risk management) or a superior client proposition.
Offering a differentiated positioning that talks to a superior client proposition is where I want to take this discussion to.
A superior client proposition comes into play when service providers offer an experience which was promised to customers when they were sold the service. Additionally, consistently offer the promised experience / service not only in home geography but across the places customers visit.
For example, the number three option in the IVR must be, ‘relay last five transactions on credit card’ in Singapore, in Malaysia or in Vietnam. When a customer encounters completely fresh menu options, they flare up (remember our HNI who traveled from Singapore to Myanmar) and a brand ends up with a negative FB post or a nasty tweet.
So, what does it take to offer consistently superior service / experience in line with requirements customers have of their service providers?
Brands need to ‘consolidate experience’. And this consolidation can be achieved by putting in the right technology and consolidating it in a common regional platform. Large banks have taken the lead in doing this in the APAC market.
As a result they have gained tremendous customer rapport while delivering consistent experience, coming true to their brand promise and driving other important KPIs like adoption / utilization rates of self-service.
Incidentally, there is only one bank across APAC with self-service figures in double digits. Compare this to advanced markets like US where the self-service number hovers around 40-50 per cent. Other sectors and regional banks can take inspiration to bring the same positive experience to their own customers.
Banks or other large service organizations use different technologies, applications on various platforms across regions, developed using proprietary technologies. With each silo comes the cost of licensing of ports, hardware, software maintenance, costs and inefficiencies. This leads to infrastructure with loads of underutilized technology and large teams and different kinds of experiences for the customer connecting with a large brand.
All this can be changed. It requires senior management commitment towards delivering consistent customer experience. With the help of standard software applications can be designed and developed on any technology platform available in the market like Avaya, Cisco, Convergys, Genesys and Voxeo. An organization’s Customer Interaction Management (CIM) infrastructure can be dramatically transformed with dynamic functionalities like a central repository with as many as 150 features targeting an entire region.
The customer experience design can thereafter be written centrally and executed centrally (and or regionally) with a lot of ease. Changes made can be pushed to all the regions and with a flexibility given to each region to opt out of some non-relevant features.
Bottom line is there is technology which can deliver consistent customer service time after time. Making the best of it is in your hands.
K Balakrishnan, Managing Director and CEO, Servion Global Solutions
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Asian Banking & Finance. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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