Since 2013, the Teleperformance Customer Experience Lab (CX Lab) has undertaken research in a number of countries around the world, including China, across 15 industries. Overall, Teleperformance found that customers in China are generally more satisfied than in previous years with their customer service experience. Attitudes to the customer experience (CX) are changing fast in China and this applies both to the expectation that customers have and the importance that brands attach to CX.
This means that Chinese customers are becoming more likely to recommend a brand and remain loyal customers. Customer experience with the customer service accounts for almost half of their intention to remain loyal or recommend a brand.
When contacting a brand, there is still a preference for voice calls in China and this is common across all generations. However, it is important for brands to understand the value of messaging. 43% of China’s population use messaging platforms. WeChat is a messaging platform that has dominated that market, with over 800 million active users worldwide as of October 2016 (and almost 98% of users are under age 50). To leverage the sheer volume of people on the platform, WeChat has turned itself into an all-in-one solution for much more than messaging. In terms of practical needs, the platform includes bill paying, reservations, e-commerce, and money transfer.
As Forrester Research notes, it is only a few years since the Chinese customer experience was quite poor and far from innovative. Today, Chinese brands have become so innovative that China leads the work in innovative CX: brands from the US and Europe are visiting China to explore where they will go next.
Forrester believes that the Chinese consumer is leading this wave of change. Because the consumer in China is much more demanding, they are forcing brands to be more innovative—they are pulling brands along, rather than just accepting the CX provided. Forrester identifies three major trends that they believe will change and drive customer service in China in the next couple of years:
- Trend No. 1: Technology enables seamless customer journeys. Leading businesses in China will adopt a wide range of technologies to improve the ease, speed, and convenience of interactions. CX is not the only way brands can differentiate their products, but a high level of CX will be expected—fail on CX and customers will avoid your brand.
- Trend No. 2: Distinctive lifestyle elements create memorable experiences. Experiences are more than just transactions; they’re about entertainment, discovery, co-creation, and engagement with friends and social media influencers. Consumers in metro China are attracted by brands that incorporate distinctive lifestyle elements into the experience.
- Trend No. 3: Transparency practices earn customer trust. Chinese consumers increasingly focus on product authenticity and safety. Today, lack of information transparency— mostly due to the complex supply chains connecting producers and manufacturers to consumers—compounds consumer distrust and makes it difficult to verify whether product safety and authenticity scandals rest on a foundation of fact or rumor.
These three trends are very important. Trust, a focus on experiences, and seamless journeys are all changing how customers engage with brands in China. As the Teleperformance data indicates, China is already a highly evolved CX market, but innovation is taking place faster in China than anywhere in the world. Expect change to arrive soon and expect the consumers to be asking for it constantly.
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