Asia-based Companies Prioritize Customer Care To Get Through Downturn

In this economic slowdown, companies may resort to cost-cutting and manpower reduction, but they continue to invest in one area of their business – and that is retaining their customers. Customer satisfaction cannot take a backseat regardless of what economic condition we are in.

Customer care involves putting systems in place to maximize your customers’ satisfaction with your business. It should be a prime consideration for every business – your sales and profitability depends on keeping your customers happy. Happy customers more often than not means business to a company.

But during tough times, customer service actually goes a notch higher.

Results from IDC’s Asia/Pacific Advanced Customer Care and Retention (ACCR) 2009 poll of Asia-based companies indicate that although most are reducing or freezing their investments in IT during this economic downturn, 20% of the respondents will still invest in IT solutions that can help them increase earnings. This trend is seen most clearly among larger enterprises and especially in China. Companies that are focusing on growth are significantly more likely to explore the more advanced areas of customer care. Nearly half of the respondents saw the main value of ‘Customer Care’ as being a way to generate revenue, and many are ready to go beyond traditional customer relationship management.

New advanced customer care tools such as customer analytics, customer database management and new web-based tools, are much more on the agenda for these types of companies. They tend to appreciate the value of customer targeting and engagement more than companies with a more reactive approach. These solutions can make a huge difference to how companies position themselves for the future and may be the most important IT investment a company can make in today’s economic climate.

Despite the impact of the economic downturn, IDC’s poll showed that the top business priority of more than half the companies surveyed was to increase earnings over cost control. In fact, less than 25% said that they were focusing more on cost reduction. At the same time, nine out of 10 companies said they had increased their focus on the customer because of the economic downturn.

In another ACCR survey focusing on what Asian Generation Y consumers expect from their customer care experiences, the respondents indicated that traditional customer care methods are inadequate. When it came to seeking technical support for IT gadgets, 62% said they had gone to someone they knew personally and more than half had sought help on online forums.

The survey highlighted how important the web has become in how companies connect and engage with consumers. It also revealed that as many as 20% of young Asians actually prefer to seek help in ways that circumvent the companies they bought their products from. This means that companies will need to be more imaginative in how they engage their customers if they want to maintain relationships with their customers.

So take good care of your customers. They are the lifeblood of every business. God Bless us all!

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