SMEs prioritise the cloud and customer lifetime value

A new report reveals half of the SMEs surveyed in the Asia-Pacific view the cloud as the most efficient way to optimise the customer journey and reduce business challenges associated with legacy infrastructure, integration and costs. In fact, 87 per cent of SME participants are considering a move to the cloud to ensure lower CAPEX, reduced total cost of ownership, flexibility, scalability, ease of use and fast deployment.

The survey, commissioned by omnichannel CX and contact-centre solutions provider Genesys and carried out by Frost & Sullivan, involved more than 400 business and IT decision makers and analysed SMEs’ business impact, priorities, and technological maturity.

While there is a definite market appetite for cloud-based solutions, the study found respondents rate a wide range of other emerging technologies as higher priorities in the next one to two years. SMEs surveyed ranked an omnichannel strategy as having the most immediate impact on business, with 51.4 per cent desiring a solution that delivered a connected customer journey across both voice and digital channels. This is followed by accessibility and mobility solutions and applications of artificial intelligence (AI) such as machine learning and digital assistants.

Gwilym Funnell, Managing Director of Genesys Australia and New Zealand, said, “SMEs often list legacy infrastructure, integration complexities and high cost as the biggest hindrances in allowing them to modernise their customer service delivery with digital channels, chat and voice bots, automation and more. With a modern cloud platform as the foundation of their customer experience strategy, SMEs will have the infrastructure needed to rapidly access new technologies and benefit from an expedited speed-to-market without the need for massive upfront investment and significant in-house IT resources.”

The study also showed one in three SMEs put Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) ahead of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, indicating greater market maturity. This is followed by better employee engagement and satisfaction.

However, despite the buzz surrounding new digital capabilities and the fact that 60 per cent of respondents agree that a solid customer service strategy is indispensable to gaining a competitive advantage, the study showed SMEs in Asia-Pacific are cautious in their approach. Over 52.3 per cent of respondents believe that digital disruptions occurring across industries would only have minimal impact on their customer engagement strategy. With the exception of Australia, New Zealand and India, SMEs in most of the 13 countries polled shared a similar perspective.

“SMEs in the Asia-Pacific region tend to have a wait-and-see attitude towards implementing new technologies for customer interactions due to often constrained technical resources and budget. This disconnect is limiting SMEs’ ability to stay ahead of their customers’ expectations and differentiate from competitors. With our proven migration path to the cloud, Genesys has made it easy and fast for SMEs to propel their customer experience forward by accessing new technologies that enable them to produce the business results that count the most, like increased revenue, sales and customer satisfaction,” Funnell said.

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