Financial Services and Retail Top list for Customer Experience Excellence in Hong Kong, KPMG survey finds

Companies urged to embrace technology to tackle supply chain challenges

Companies urged to embrace technology to tackle supply chain challenges

Hong Kong, 6 December 2021 – Customer experience improved across all sectors in Hong Kong this year despite a challenging economic backdrop, a KPMG China survey finds. As customer expectations have rapidly evolved during the pandemic, brands have had to amplify their efforts to deliver a superior customer experience in a bid to differentiate themselves.

The overall customer experience score rose from 6.8/10 in 2020 to 6.84/10 in 2021. Among all sectors, financial services and retail (non-grocery) are the top-performing sectors in this year’s study. The findings are based on a survey among 1,100 consumers in Hong Kong, who were asked to rate their experiences with over 60 brands that operate across five industries: financial services, grocery retail, non-grocery retail, travel and hotels, and entertainment and leisure.

Three key themes emerged from the 2021 edition of the KPMG Hong Kong Customer Experience Excellence Report, namely, expectations for digital experiences are more similar across generations than ever before, customers value touchpoints beyond traditional brick-and-mortar, and they prefer purchasing from brands with values that are aligned to their own.

Financial Services

Financial services scored 6.94/10 in terms of customer experience in 2021, ranking first among all sectors. The survey found that traditional banks are facing digital challengers and the pandemic has forced them to rely more on their digital channels. Many banks that had not invested heavily nor prioritised these digital channels were caught off-guard. Those that had invested in online channels fared better and are showing a higher Customer Experience Excellence rating. Fintech players such as virtual banks were included in the survey for the first time this year and have been given the opportunity to demonstrate their brand promises of offering seamless digital experiences. Their strong branding has placed pressure on traditional banks, but operational realities have resulted in Customer Experience scores in line with the sector average.

The survey also showed Integrity as the highest performing Pillar for banking, with traditional banks performing slightly higher than average as they have also acted on ESG-related initiatives. 

Isabel Zisselsberger

Isabel Zisselsberger, Head of Strategy and Operations for Financial Services, Hong Kong, KPMG China:

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Change is still the key word in the banking sector. Spurred on by the pandemic and disruption from virtual banks and other fintech players, the industry continues to embrace customer experience and digital transformation.

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Retail (Non-Grocery)

The non-grocery retail industry scored 6.92/10 in the study. Brands in this sector are increasingly expected to deliver a seamless experience as consumers in Hong Kong value experiences that go beyond traditional brick-and-mortar touchpoints. As a result, brands need to capture their attention across many different channels and serve customers along the whole value chain, from brand awareness on social media to the last mile delivery. Going forward, retailers’ ecommerce strategy must turn into an omnichannel one; retailers must provide seamless experiences supported by both brick-and-mortar and digital touchpoints.

Alice Yip

Alice Yip, Partner, Head of Consumer and Industrial Markets, Hong Kong, KPMG China:

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The shift towards ecommerce has continued in Hong Kong over the past year, with older consumers almost as likely to make online purchases as their younger counterparts. Retailers must focus on offering a seamless omnichannel journey as today’s digital consumers expect a consistent experience regardless of whether they are interacting with a brand through their physical or digital channels. This strategy will enable retailers to connect their data across all touchpoints and gain a deeper understanding of who their customer truly is.

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Similar to the survey findings for financial services, customers not only value the product itself, but also a retailer’s brand purpose and how it helps customers and communities to live a better life. Brands need to be aware of that and invest in their environmental and social impact, as well as governance, as such factors are likely to play a bigger role in the “Integrity” and “Expectations” Pillars in the future.

Anson Bailey

Anson Bailey, Head of Consumer and Retail ASPAC, Head of Technology, Media, & Telecoms Hong Kong, KPMG China:

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What is your purpose? Customer experience excellence goes beyond the purchasing journey. Customers want to associate with brands that share their values and are doing the right thing for the communities in which they operate.

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The survey indicates that customer experience excellence is a key long-term driver of value for lowering acquisition costs, costs to serve, and establishing a stable community of clients. Ultimately, it will have a positive impact on the bottom line.

Organisations in Hong Kong are rethinking their customer offerings in a bid to adapt to changing behaviours. The survey found three key themes emerging for the city’s “New Normal” customers:

Customer expectations toward digital experiences are now more similar across generations than ever before: Accelerated adoption of digital channels among even non-digitally savvy customers has raised the bar on what constitutes a good digital experience. The survey that found that 64% of consumers aged between 55-64 have made an ecommerce purchase in the past month compared with 80% of young adults (aged 25-34), indicating that the digital savviness gap among generations is narrowing.

Customers value experiences beyond traditional brick-and-mortar touchpoints: Social distancing and stay at home measures forced brands to engage more creatively with their customers online and shifted perceptions about the types of digital experiences that can be enjoyed at home. Customers in Hong Kong now value experiences that go beyond traditional brick-and-mortar interactions. Organisations need to think about how they can deliver hybrid experiences that integrate physical and digital interactions.

Customers in Hong Kong prefer buying from brands that are aligned with their own values: Customers in Hong Kong value brands that consistently demonstrate that they live up to their ethical, social and environmental promises and commitments. For the first time, “Integrity” was the highest performing Pillar for four out of five sectors compared with just one sector last year. According to the research, 73% of respondents are willing to pay more for brands that they see as being ethical or giving back to society.


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