Connecting with your customers across APAC
Traditionally brands have segmented their customer bases by demographic factors such as age, and used this information to drive specific customer experiences for each group. However, this only goes so far, as age isn’t always a good guide to customer needs. For example, 45% of APAC consumers are millennials, but that doesn’t mean they all have the same needs, wants and desires.
To provide an alternative way for organizations to better segment their audiences, Forrester recently launched a framework of five consumer categories:
- Progressive Pioneers – who lead demand for product and experience innovation
- Savvy Seekers - who are among the first to learn about innovation and score high on new product engagement
- Convenience Conformers - who adopt product and services based on convenience when these become popular
- Settled Survivors - who are slow in adopting new products and services and are motivated by adaptation rather than trends
- Reserved Resisters - who are the least enthusiastic about product or experience innovation
The groups are rated based on their willingness to experiment, the devices they use, integration between digital and physical channels, information consumption and self-sufficiency.
Applying this model across five APAC countries (Metropolitan India, Metropolitan China, South Korea, Australia and Japan) Forrester’s research found that the majority of consumers are looking for innovation from the brands they deal with. Over 6 in 10 of Metropolitan Chinese and Indians see themselves as Progressive Pioneers for example, with a further 29% classed as Savvy Seekers. This means they:
- Have high expectations for digital customer experience and want fast, simple service
- Are mobile-first, with it being their main device for interaction and communication
- Are vocal on social media and heavily use reviews and peer recommendations when choosing what to buy
- Are always looking for innovation and new experiences – and are happy to pay for it.
So how can APAC brands ensure that they are appealing to these emerging consumer segments? Here are five ways to keep the Progressive Pioneers and Savvy Seekers happy:
1. Value their time
Consumers want fast answers to their queries, on their digital channel of choice. So make sure that you are able to deliver information quickly, consistently and accurately. Look at channels such as self-service and chat to give instant answers, ensuring that time-poor consumers don’t have to wait for a response to their email or social media messages.
2. Learn from them
As well as being valued, Progressive Pioneers want to feel involved in your brand and the services you provide. So make sure that you are listening to them and learning in order to improve your offering and launch new products. Analyze the questions they ask and use the information to evolve your customer journey to make it as seamless as possible.
3. Keep innovating
These groups are addicted to the new, and will quickly desert you if you don’t feed their appetite for innovation. Ensure that you have strong processes in place to encourage internal innovation within the customer experience and are continually taking steps forward to outpace the competition. Remember that achieving superior customer experience is a journey – not a destination.
4. Match your channels to their needs
Obviously consumers want to have conversations with you on digital channels such as social media, chat and email. Make sure that you have the resources in place to deliver responses at the speed they demand – and bear in mind that in many cases they expect you to be on hand 24 hours a day to provide an answer, rather than just keeping office hours.
5. Be personal
In return for great experiences, tailored to their needs, today’s consumers are happy to give up more of their personal data, provided it is kept safe and used to improve the service they receive. Therefore don’t keep customer information in separate silos or systems but bring it together, and share it with customer service agents so that they have a complete picture of the consumer and their past history. This allows the personalized service and experience that these groups are looking for.
With consumers becoming ever-more demanding, APAC brands have to get a better understanding of their needs and use this knowledge to design the right experience for them, whichever group they fall into. Otherwise they’ll simply switch to rivals, hitting your revenues and damaging your reputation, wherever you operate in APAC.