Retail Asia and Zendesk webinar addresses the impact of customer experience maturity in today’s agile retail landscape

Zendesk’s Director of CX Practice laid out 7 best practices that firms should adopt to elevate their CX game.

Customer expectations have skyrocketed over the last couple of years, thereby requiring companies to integrate customer support technologies and processes into their business models. A recent CX research conducted by ESG demonstrated that companies with higher customer experience maturity led to increased retention, more new customers, and overall higher revenues. Given these outcomes, it’s no surprise that customer experience is now what businesses consider as a top priority moving forward.

Retail Asia, in partnership with Zendesk, hosted a webinar entitled: The CX Era: Creating end-to-end digital experiences for retail customers. During the event, senior operations and customer practice professionals discussed the value of messaging for the retail industry and adopting good messaging practices.

Customers as a community

Playasia, a cross border e-commerce website specialising in video games and related merchandise, leverages video streaming technology to create a strong sense of community within its niche customer base. According to Playasia’s COO, Igor Narozniak, the company’s main promise is to supply its customers with specific, hard-to-find products that revolve around all things Japanese pop culture and Anime. 

Igor says that because Playasia caters to a niche market, its goal is to create a space for its customers to express their affinity for the products and cultivate their passion for collecting merchandise with other like-minded people. In doing so, Playasia utilises virtual spaces like YouTube and Discord to not only just promote their products but also interact with their customers. Using virtual YouTubers and Discord, Playasia connects with their customers in ways they’re already familiar with. Not only are these discussion boards used for promotion purposes, but it also serves as a free entertainment channel to keep customers engaged, especially for a market that doesn’t necessarily make high-volume purchases. 

Playasia has seen an increase in customer engagement, retention and satisfaction thanks to its virtual communities. With these tactics, customers tend to repeat purchases, often coming back for higher value items, and inadvertently drive more sales and bring in new customers. Playasia now enjoys “excellent” ratings from its customers on different platforms. 

Using customer insights to develop agility

Malcolm Koh, Director for CX Practice at Zendesk, emphasises the changing expectations of customers brought about by our current realities. Companies are  accelerating their adoption of digitalisation and automation, a necessity to support and respond to customer demands. 

Traditional customer support meant contacting companies and waiting in the queue to be attended to. In that sense, customers are passed on from agents to departments but this process is ineffective, costly and time-consuming. Malcolm highlighted the importance of proactively working on customer service by taking the data and insights to deliver faster responses. However, this cannot be done without integrating the back-end processes across different departments whose collaboration is vital to fulfill the customer service support. 

With the global trend on business digitalisation, Malcolm reiterates the value of endorsing an agile mindset in the organisation to create value-added services with the customer in mind. He compared agility to a muscle - companies must constantly practice this muscle to become better at adapting to changes, and not just under the threat of crises or pandemics. The ESG research also points that champions of CX are 2x more likely to be accelerating major CX initiatives. These champions enjoy better business outcomes by investing in 3 key areas: customer experience, agent experience and business operations. 

Malcolm also shares with the audience some best practices when it comes to improving customer service excellence with personalisation. In order to create meaningful conversations with your customers, companies must first provide the proper technology and tools, as well as training and education to skill up their support teams. While various channels are now available for customers to engage your business, it also goes without saying that there is the 24/7 expectation for response, therefore CX leaders should keep in consideration proper staffing levels, automations and macros, bot interactions to maintain the service standards. With agility in mind, businesses should constantly assess where they are at on the CX maturity scale, and prioritise the areas to help be a CX differentiator. 

Customer experience investment is a key driver of business growth

Malcolm highlighted the importance of customer experience for increasing the bottom line for businesses. A business that puts the customer first will lead to higher customer satisfaction and entice customers to spend more, gradually building loyalty to the company.

The expert group of panelists including Igor Mysliwiec, COO of StyleTribute and Emily Wong, Founder/Consultant for One Phygital agreed that customer experience affects revenue. Together, the panel exchanged insights on the value of customer experience and how it directly affects business outcomes on a huge scale. 

When asked about the use of different communication channels, Emily Wong specifically expressed that more than using several platforms, being consistent in the communication of the brand story is what she considers important, as well as ensuring that all touchpoints remain interactive. Igor Mysliwiec, COO of StyleTribute also mentioned that for them, using these touchpoints meant to understand the activity of its users. He added that companies should be prepared to handle and offer new solutions to their customers even after the pandemic.

Summing up the webinar, Igor said companies should memorise these three simple words: Know your customer. 

“Ever since the beginning of my career I have done that. The products we sell don’t matter. The customer matters. This is the key. The key that is always there and becoming more important in the coming years,” Igor said.

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