Exceeding Customer Expectations – Summary of Discussion with Muang Thai Life, Bangchak, Jardine and other Industry Leaders in Thailand
In 2020, one of the biggest digital transformation themes we covered was about customer experience and how the new rules of doing business in pandemic times make managing the customer journey even more important.
Customer experience focuses on the relationship between a business and its customers and it includes every interaction, no matter how brief, as it would have the effect of shaping a customer’s perception and feelings about it even if it doesn’t result in a purchase.
There are two components: the brand and the expectations of the customer. As the digital way of life becomes more common, customer expectations have increased and will continue to rise. Instant gratification becomes a very high benchmark that brands need to achieve.
Across Southeast Asia, we looked at how customer experience has impacted different industries - from groceries to telecommunications, and in Thailand, the pool of panelists addressing the topic on “Cost to Serve: Exceeding Customer Expectations” continued to be diverse. I had the chance to catch up with most of the panelists following the discussion at the end of October and the following are some of their comments on charting the customer experience strategy at their organization.
Does Customer Experience Strategy Differs Across Industries?
How different is the customer journey when the purchase is a car or a property, as compared to choosing a restaurant for your meal?
We started off by looking at the stakeholders who are in charge of the customer experience journey at companies where a typical purchase will require multi-year financing. A car and a home are probably 2 of the largest purchases that a person will spend on in their lifetime and choosing the right one usually requires visiting multiple showrooms. COVID19 changed much of that.
Simon Moran, Chief Executive Officer, Motto Auction, said that when they started on their digital transformation journey, they discovered that there was significant distrust amongst car buyers towards the pricing. The team made it their focus to develop trust and transparency in the ecosystem by increasing predictability for the customer. They built Mottoraka, an online website where anyone can access 3 important sets of data: 1) Price guide for new car and second-hand car, 2) Online car marketplace – to enhance the process of car buying and selling, 3) Article on vehicles - to provide knowledge to consumers through reviews and news.
During COVID19, Mottoraka enabled video calls and virtual showrooms and continued to build Mottorake to be a one-stop seamless service platform. Within 3 months, they have become the number two car marketplace with this focus on the customer journey.
Likewise, for the Ananda Transfer App ATA, it aimed to coordinate different data sources into a single platform so as to ensure the quality of the residential condominiums to the customers.
For Jodi Chime, Senior Product Manager (Digital, CX), Jardine Cycle & Carriage, her work with the Chief Customer Officer requires her to look at new digital avenues within the organisation across ASEAN and Greater China. Her team’s key target is to design and build an excellent customer experience from an O2O perspective. With new car sales being impacted, the team has also looked at used car sales and how to create consistent customer touchpoints. In our discussion, we also spoke about mobility as a service. There have been many companies that they have looked at to explore new business models with mobility solution partners and they were impressed with several offerings. However, complexities in the business required further adaptations. Likewise, the diverse units they work with present challenges in the kind of data they can analyse to create strong customer touchpoints. In aligning stakeholder interests, Jodi has to understand the cultural differences in each geographical region and adapt their customer strategy accordingly.
Increasing Coverage of your Healthcare Needs Through Data
In the realm of healthcare, companies like Muang Thai Life have also improved the customer experience of both current and potential customers through data insights and increased customer touchpoints with their expanded ecosystem.
Nadia Suttikulpanich, head of Fuchsia Innovation Centre and Fuchsia Venture Capital for Muang Thai Life Assurance (MTL) drove the development of Asia’s first dynamic pricing health insurance coverage for diabetics and first health insurance coverage through telemedicine. In our follow up discussion, it is clear that Nadia’s team is committed to innovation by exploring collaborations with cross-industry partners to change the paradigm of insurance.
Similarly, Jeremy Ting, co-founder of Naluri, a digital therapeutics solution that combines behavioral science, data science, and digital design to offer health coaching and psychological support for the management of chronic conditions, customer experience goes beyond interactions with the consumers. In their work with corporates and insurance companies, one of the main challenges is how to measure outcomes of programs for individuals with health conditions or are at risk. Through analytics, they are able to identify risk factors and proactively reach out to at risk individuals with a holistic set of solutions that can support behavioral change for a healthier lifestyle, bringing down the healthcare costs for the insurer and corporate.
When a Focus on Customer Experience Provides New Business Revenue Opportunities
One of the Thailand Enterprise Award Presenters was from Bangchak Initiative and Innovation Center (BiiC) who shared their new retail business model with the Yoklor coffee vending machine. In my follow up call, K. Suwat Meemook, Executive Vice President of BiiC, added that they are looking for alternative business models that are aligned with their corporate goal of sustainability. One of the projects he was excited about was Electronic Vehicles as-a-Service. Taking a page out of Gogoro’s success in Taiwan, K. Suwat was upbeat about the potential of this development in reducing carbon emissions, improving traffic and providing a new way of looking at Mobility-as-a-Service.
Nicholas Lin, Experience Director of Privy CRM, also highlighted how their solution aims at revitalising the F&B industry post-covid by helping small F&B owners with customer insights while keeping the platform simple and low cost.
In summary, Rasi Kunapatarawong, APAC Go-to-Market Lead, Hitachi Asia Thailand, said that new business models can be enabled through a co-creation model and through collaborative partnerships. In their corporate vision on building a digital city, it is about enhancing the quality of life of people by focusing on the happiness of people. Across retail, healthcare, mobility, a focus on customer experience will require companies to work together to identify strengths and opportunities to reap new business opportunities.
And perhaps that seamless one-stop vision is something we could all look forward to.
You may watch the full presentation here.