Companies in Asia Pacific that have invested in their customer experience (CX) over the past year are 10.3 times more likely to have maximised their resiliency and are five times more likely to have grown their customer base, according to new research from Zendesk, in partnership with Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).

For the 2021 State of CX Maturity Report, ESG built a CX maturity scale to identify common patterns and behaviors that separate high-maturity CX organisations (Champions) from three levels of less-mature companies (Starters, Emerging and Risers).

There also continues to be a clear correlation between improved CX maturity and the benefits of increased customer satisfaction (CSAT), faster response times, and effective customer service. Notably, the study also calls out the connection between CX maturity and greater business growth and revenue.

This connection is most pronounced in APAC, with midsized and enterprise Champions from the region 4.7 times more likely than Starters to have grown their customer base over the past six months, and 10 times more likely to have increased per-customer spend significantly over the same period.

Most respondents in APAC (90%) agree that CX innovation is required to protect their business from competitors and over half (56%) see the value of data and recognise they could do more to use customer data to expand sales opportunities and business growth.

APAC Champions are 7.4 times more likely than Starters to be using service data extensively. When used, that data is delivering results for APAC Champions, which are 17.3 times more likely to identify the impact on sales success as “game changing”.

Agent turnover, technology, flexibility and wellbeing all emerged as areas of investment and focus for teams over the course of the past 18 months. This led Champions to move quickly to implement tools to support overwhelmed service teams including increased use of public cloud services (66%); more flexible remote work policies (64%); expanded mental health/wellbeing initiatives (64%); more flexible working hours (60%); and the adoption of new collaboration tools (60%).

Larger APAC businesses have also increased customer visibility in the past year, with 43% saying they have achieved a “single source of truth” when it comes to customer profiles compared to 25% a year ago. A closer look at APAC Champions found that they are 6 times and 9.4 times more likely to deliver excellent customer visibility and cross-channel visibility, respectively, to agents than Starters.

As a result, APAC Champions are 4.3 times more likely to have excellent agent retention and 72% higher agent productivity than Starters. That said, staffing turnover continues to be a challenge for more than one in three APAC organisations, up from 23% in 2020.

Between accelerating CX investments and adapting service policy changes earlier in the pandemic, Champions in APAC are 10.3 times more likely to believe they made the right investment and policy decisions during the pandemic to maximise their resiliency.

Globally, Champions are three times more likely to prioritise delivering conversational customer experiences that can build deeper customer relationships. And in APAC, Champions unanimously agree that pivoting to a more conversational experience with customers is a key goal for their teams – signaling the shift away from transactional service focused purely on resolving tickets.

Organisations in APAC have increased the number of service channels year-over-year from an average of 7 to an average of 7.8. Many anticipate that preferences and changes will continue to shift as well: 73% of APAC organisations predict that chat and social channels will be most used by customers in the future, up from 54% who say this is the case today.