3 ways APAC brands are providing a more valuable customer experience in 2020

Asian man using Laptop and credit card payment shopping online

by Dominic Bayley

posted on 08-05-2020

Customer experience (CX) will be the single-most important factor for businesses that want to gain market share in the 2020s, according to the 2020 Digital Trends in Asia Pacific (APAC) report, by Adobe and Econsultancy.

“Today’s consumer expectations are far greater, but so is the opportunity. Technology and data are empowering brands to build direct, emotional relationships with consumers that are changing the way businesses operate forever,” said Alvaro Del Pozo VP of marketing for Adobe International, in the opening of the report. “This is a new era for marketers. We can understand and interact with our audience in more meaningful ways than ever before.”

But as the decade gets off to a disruptive start thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, brands are having to pivot their CXM strategies to innovate, transform and stand out in ways they may not have anticipated only months ago.

To that end, APAC companies are endeavouring to offer customers fuller and more valuable experiences that reflect the state of the world. Here we examine how four APAC brands are developing a new kind of “complete CX” and redefining the future of their customer interactions.

IndiGo Airlines: taking flight with a consistent CX

The travel industry has been one of the hardest impacted by COVID-19, and customer experience is a key focus for navigating its recovery.

Brands must cater to the “CX economy” by understanding what makes customers feel satisfied, said Nitin Sethi, vice president of digital at IndiGo Airlines. The company has a bullish presence in the APAC aviation sector and continues to implement its CX strategy while being both pragmatic and opportunistic in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Customers are ready to pay more for brands that deliver unforgettable and personalised experiences,” Sethi said. “In the airline industry, even booking a ticket for a flight is no longer about the price alone. Key differentiators now include the flexibility of the fare, the airport and in-flight experience, discounts, secure service and many more factors.”

To deliver loyalty-engendering CX, IndiGo focuses on creating consistency in its customers’ experiences, right from the beginning of their journeys, Sethi said.

“Customer empathy, delivering content on multiple platforms, personalization, and catering to a diverse customer mix are central to our company’s CX strategy,” he said. “The key is to understand the customer’s perspective. Creating great experience requires thoughtfulness to build a trustworthy relationship at every touch point.”

IndiGo also puts to work technology that provides customers with a more holistic experience. It focuses on multilingual services, chatbots, and other self-service tools, as well as video, voice, and other personalisation technologies that curate experiences customers show interest in.

To prioritise customer safety through COVID-19, IndiGo has facilitated government imposed mandatory health declarations for travellers with the Aarogya Setu app, and minimised physical contact with contactless travel initiatives throughout all stages of the customer journey.

IndiGo’s CX strategy has, to date, proved successful. The airline won the Best Low-Cost Airline (Asia) at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for the third time in a row last year, and the company’s ticket revenue increased by 26.1%, according to its annual report.

But Sethi also offered this piece of advice: “There is a thin line between a personalised and intrusive experience,” he said. “The key lies in simplicity. Key human skills like empathy, collaboration, communication, curiosity, and creativity have to be embedded into the process to provide real value.”

Lotte Rental: expanding CX through digital ecosystems

Korean company Lotte Rental ascended from the country’s booming sharing economy in which “trysumers” wanted to rent products instead of owning them outright. Recognising this trend, Lotte Rental created a new retail experience in Myomee, an online marketplace that provides a wide range of products from different companies to rent. Think cars, phones, home gyms–even business shirts delivered weekly to your door.

This approach has disrupted the retail industry. Unlike other rental businesses that lease goods and services for long periods of time, Lotte Rental offers various short-term rental options, such as two-day, one-week, and 15-day contracts. Sanghwan Heo, leader of the company’s platform strategy team, said the ability for customers to customize their experiences is ideally aligned with the experience economy.

“In addition to carrying items that are available on other e-commerce sites, the platform allows customers to personalise their experiences by choosing to rent products for short or longer terms, trying them in person, and even having rental products delivered regularly or on predefined dates,” he said.

Lotte Rental is also able to analyze customer information and behavior in real time, allowing it to build unified customer profiles. This allows the company to deliver contextual, curated content and targeted offers aimed at increasing conversion rates.

When developing a complete CX strategy that involves partnerships, it’s crucial that partners also understand the CX economy, Heo said.

“It’s important that partners share customer segments and customer personas,” he said. “More importantly, customers visiting our partners share a purpose for their visit. In the case of Myomee, customers can look beyond price to a more satisfying CX.”

For Lotte Group — Lotte Rental’s parent company — COVID-19 has amplified a consumer trend known in Korea as “untact”; where brands utilise technology, such as AI chat bots and unmanned kiosks, to reduce person-to-person contact.

Lotte has focused on strengthening the online capabilities of the group’s retail domain through its ‘LOTTE ON’ an ecommerce online mall integration app for its portfolio of brands. The company also expects its robot-run, automated logistics centre, the “LOTTE Auto Fresh Centre” to play a critical role in a post corona era.

“Humanity have reached a historic turning point caused by COVID-19. In addition to overcoming the current crisis, LOTTE is focusing its efforts on establishing strategies to cope with the new world after the situation has calmed down,” said the company in a statement.

Pure Fitness: extending CX by mixing categories

Effective CX can involve the pairing of distinct product and service categories, especially when it comes to the leisure and entertainment business, said business and brand strategist Martin Roll.

Roll highlighted Singapore’s Pure Fitness gym as a good example of CX that “successfully blurs the lines between categories.” The company launched its first immersive fitness experience at one of its centres, fusing virtual reality of scenic locations with exercise. Pure Fitness said gym-goers have had an 80% positive response rate to the new experience.

“The Trip experience is a cycle class in which high-definition video is projected onto a screen in a purpose-built studio,” Roll explained. “Patrons get to ride over steep glaciers and through a space-age city enjoying an interesting mix of exercise, gamification, and fantasy.”

Although the Singapore Government’s move to ease the nation’s COVID-19 lockdown in June did include the reopening of fitness clubs and gyms, Pure Fitness ramped up their digital presence and introduced virtual versions of over 200 Group Fitness classes including freestyle programmes to keep their members engaged through immersive digital experiences.

Roll also pointed to the Japanese business First Airline, which gives passengers an in-flight virtual tour and culinary expedition to a country of their choice.

“Flights are no longer just a means to get to new countries—they’re also the gateway to new experiences, and holidays are now becoming opportunities to learn new skills, follow an influencer’s digital footsteps, or get fit,” Roll said. “This merging of multiple experiences is what successful brands of the future will have to cater to.”

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Topics: CMO by Adobe, Digital Transformation, Retail, Travel & Hospitality, Trends & Research, APAC