Understanding Early Adopters a Key Part of The CX Puzzle

Home to some of the world’s earliest adopters of new technologies, understanding the evolving needs and preferences of consumers living at the digital edge in Singapore will be critical as the country works to reposition itself for a post-pandemic world.

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  • With ecommerce sales growing faster in Southeast Asia than anywhere else in the world, organisations in Singapore have an unprecedented opportunity to lead the digital charge and reap the rewards for years to come. Central to capitalising on this is understanding the expectations and experiences the early adopters of new technologies are having, especially when it comes to digital wallets.

    While understanding the customer experience for early adopters has always been valuable, it is growing in importance as products and services become increasingly digitised, and the speed of delivery accelerates. In order to better attract, retain, and serve customers, brands need to quickly and confidently get ahead of the expectation curve as part of their customer experience programmes.

    Early adopters influence a growing proportion of consumers

    In Singapore, 20% of respondents to the recent The Customer Experience Edge Singapore 2023 report from the Centre for Experience Management say they try new technology services and products before others. These groups of early adopters who prefer mobile apps and digital interfaces are likely to influence others in their recommendations and complaints. In fact, this subset of users could be influencing another 40% of consumers who say they wait to hear about others’ experiences before trying it themselves.

    For instance, the report shows people who self-identify as early tech adopters adopt more digital behaviours—such as using a digital wallet at a physical shop and have a higher intention to use superapps in the future. Similarly, digital is fundamental to the innovation Generation Z and Millennials want to see from brands—particularly seamless experiences across devices and tailored communications.

    While Baby Boomers and Generation X have a greater preference for more innovations around human touch—which needs to remain a key focus of the customer experience conversation—these groups also demonstrate a strong preference to conduct more services using mobile apps.

    To further highlight the importance of digital in capitalising on the ecommerce boom in Southeast Asia, superapps are being used by 35% of people in Singapore at least a few times a week. Additionally, the top six use cases for super apps all relate to making a purchase: shopping for items other than groceries (43%); shopping for groceries (35%); ordering food (24%); ordering a car or taxi (23%); making a purchase in a physical shop (18%); and arranging for items to be delivered (17%).

    The customer experiences to prioritise

    An immediate area brands can look to learn from early adopters is digital payments. Digital payment frequency is high, and the use of superapp payment wallets—digitally and in-person, and among all age groups—is on the increase. Simultaneously, digital payment providers have some of the most loyal and satisfied customers in Singapore, which suggests they are delivering a superior customer experience to others.

    Alongside staying abreast of payment options and integrating them into their service delivery, brands must ensure they regularly capture consumer feedback using digital payments to ensure the experience meets their needs and is a seamless journey regardless of channel.

    Another area brands need to listen to consumers around is mobile app use. Mobile is becoming the first port of call for shopping and servicing, and there’s an increasing expectation for more services to become available through this channel as people search for more self-serve options. By regularly listening to feedback from early adopters using mobile apps, brands can easily and quickly identify and fix usability issues, better identify common tasks that can be delivered through the app, and uncover ways to deliver more mobile-first experiences.

    Lastly, brands need to prioritise delivering a seamless experience across devices and interactions. Central to this is identifying common customer journeys and how they switch between channels and knowing when to step in to offer greater support, such as more human-like interaction, in order to resolve the engagement effectively.

    Early intervention generates better customer outcomes

    Brands in Singapore and Southeast Asia that make listening, understanding, and acting on feedback from early adopters a key pillar within their customer experience programmes are well placed to grow market share, loyalty, and satisfaction as consumers embrace new digital offerings. Early adopters are expected to have an increasing influence on all consumers. By understanding their evolving experiences and expectations with digital and multi-channel offerings, organisations can rapidly identify and resolve friction points before they become broadly adopted.


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