Poor customer experiences are threatening brand loyalty, with nearly one-third (31%) of consumers in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) opting to take their business elsewhere after a dissatisfactory interaction last year, according to the latest study from global cloud leader in experience orchestration, Genesys.

The highest CX expectations are among Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) consumers with 80% switching brands after receiving between two and five frustrating customer service interactions. Also, over half (52%) become enraged by a dropped call compared to just 25% of respondents in Japan and 21% in China, for example.

Expectations about what makes a great customer experience (CX) are rising faster than most organisations can keep up with, and consumers aren’t afraid to walk away when their needs aren’t met.

One-quarter of APAC consumers have lost their temper during a business interaction; some (13%) had experiences so bad that they were driven to tears. Less than half (41%) of APAC consumers have felt highly valued after a call, and this figure is even less in ANZ at 35%.

ANZ consumers are nearly three times more likely to be upset by a dead-end chatbot than consumers in either Japan or South Korea. Across the APAC region, nearly two-thirds of consumers (63%) say they would only buy or prefer to buy from companies aligned with their values and willingly pay more in the process. The exception is ANZ, where just 37% of consumers would be prepared to pay such a premium.

”It’s clear from the State of CX report that customers are willing to take their business elsewhere if their interactions with businesses are not handled quickly, professionally and with an empathetic approach,” Genesys vice president for Australia and New Zealand, Mark Buckley said.

“Business and CX leaders must therefore shift their focus from business-centric, ‘inside out’ to people-centric, ‘outside in’ decision-making. In practice, this involves adopting technology to deliver proactive, predictive, and hyper-personalised experiences to deepen their customer connection across every marketing, sales, and service moment on any channel.”

Better chatbot and employee connections start with knowledge. While chatbot use for customer service is on the rise, so is consumer frustration. In fact, while close to half (44%) of the surveyed CX leaders across APAC say they currently use proactive chatbots to engage website customers – a higher percentage than any other region in the world – only 20% of consumers find chatbot engagement an extremely satisfying experience. Consumers cite not being able to reach a live agent from a chatbot and having to repeat a conversation they had with a bot to an agent as their top frustrations.

According to CX leaders, the biggest challenge to delivering seamless experiences is the lack of carryover of customer context from one channel to another. To resolve this, most organisations recognise they need stronger capabilities to coordinate every consumer touchpoint. Almost three-quarters (74%) of CX leaders in APAC say that implementing a customer experience platform that integrates systems is their top technology priority for 2023.

With digital channel use accelerating, on a global level, email has overtaken voice for the first time as the most common method to reach customer service (72% using email versus 68% using voice). However, just 12% of APAC respondents overall selected email as their top-ranked channel for CX interactions, since it typically does not result in a first-contact resolution.

When given a choice, APAC consumers still prefer a call, with voice interactions as the primary choice of communication overall. However, preference for this channel falls quickly based on customer age (Almost half of baby boomers prefer voice compared with just 20% of Gen Z), requiring organisations to evolve their customer engagement model for this digital generation.