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Live Human Agent Continues to be Crucial in Overall Customer Experience despite Rise in Automated Self-Service in Malaysia

  • Brands in Malaysia deliver a moderate customer experience (CX) below the APAC average
  • Malaysians still prefer live human agent support via online live chat, social media, or over the phone



As 89.6% of the total Malaysian population are internet users today, global cloud communications platform, Infobip today released a commissioned study prepared by Forrester Consulting to understand how human and automated engagement has evolved. The study seeks to highlight whether the dominance of digital transformation has given rise to self-service and automated support or are customers still expecting real-time personalized services and interactions from live human agents.

Titled “Redefining Human and Automated Engagement – How APAC Consumers Have Impacted The CX Agenda”, the custom study involved 1,210 participants across mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Forrester also examined customers’ preferred touchpoints across five-purchase stage journeys and analysed respondents’ preferred mode of engagement, their interaction with brands in the past 6 months and provided suggestions on strategic components that are essential to building a hybrid customer experience infrastructure.

Despite the availability of chatbots and automated self-service support, many respondents indicated that their most recent customer service experience involved interacting with a human agent for support request. 23% of them have spoken with a human agent via live chat on its website/mobile application while 36% respondents have spoken with a human agent over the phone.

Narrowing to Malaysia, the level of customer experience (CX) by brands have been rated as moderate, with a score of 3.8, below the APAC average of 3.9. Neighbouring countries like Indonesia (4.1) and Thailand (4.2) registered a higher score in CX experience, while Singapore lags slightly at 3.7. There is still a habitual reliance on live human support and Malaysians prefer to communicate with live human agent either through online live chat (45%), via social media (45%) or over the phone (43%).

While reaffirming how hybrid touchpoints is key, distinguishing between the unique needs of customer personas are fundamental for brands to deliver a positive CX. This study identified four distinct personas that emerged in the digitalization age, whom decision-makers must consciously cater to in their digital and in-person engagements. 41% of surveyed Malaysians fall into the ‘Affluent Hybrid-Shoppers’ persona and consumers within this persona are comfortable switching between digital and human touchpoints. This indicates a rather balanced preference by Malaysians when it comes to receiving customer support from brands, posing an opportunity for brands to better strategize their play of a hybrid CX experience to meet the needs of customers today.

Guray Ozturk, Business Development Director of Infobip Malaysia, shared that “while Malaysians prefer a balanced form of engagement with brands when it comes to service support, be it through automated service or speaking to a live human agent, it becomes essential for brands to first understand where their audience are before investing the resource into either automated or a customer service support team.

Although WhatsApp is the most-used social media platform by 93.2% Malaysians, our whitepaper released last year found that only 55% of companies use Facebook-owned WhatsApp Business to manage customer support,while 46% of respondents cited that there is not enough digital support by companies to effectively utilise available digital platforms. This indicates that brands will need to assess, re-evaluate, and deploy a hybrid omnichannel CX solution capable of engaging customers anytime, anywhere. This will also be a key driver to their revenue growth in the long run,” Guray added.
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