Navigating Communication Channels and AI Impact

Discover the latest insights on consumer confidence, evolving communication preferences, and the impact of AI in shaping customer experiences.

Toku, the leading cloud communications and customer experience (CX) software company in the Asia Pacific based out of Singapore, has just revealed fresh findings indicating that three-quarters of Singaporean consumers now feel more confident in identifying scam calls and SMS compared to a year ago.

The Customer Engagement Report 2023 by Toku, surveying 1,000 residents in Singapore, sheds light on consumer-brand interactions. The surge in confidence among consumers in identifying scams is credited to concerted educational initiatives by private entities and government policies.

Thomas Laboulle, Founder and CEO of Toku, highlighted this shift: “Singaporean consumers have significantly heightened their awareness of scams over the past year, impacting their trust levels in communication channels and altering their behavior in engaging with brands.”

Empowering efforts in education and policy have bolstered consumer confidence significantly. A striking 91% of respondents believe that organizations are actively educating the public about scams, enabling them to effectively recognize and thwart such attempts.

An influential government initiative, the SMS Sender ID Registry (SSIR), mandated brand registration with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore for SMS identity verification. 87% of consumers acknowledge the SSIR’s role in simplifying legitimacy checks for received SMS, with 63% experiencing a reduction in spam or scam messages.

Despite an increased ability to recognize scams, the research indicates that this awareness doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk of falling victim. Surprisingly, 36% of millennials still click on suspicious SMS links marked “Likely-SCAM,” representing the highest proportion among age groups.

Laboulle emphasized, “These findings align with data released by the Singapore Police Force, showing that individuals aged 20 to 39 comprised over 50% of scam victims.”

Consumer preferences in communication channels have evolved. SMS remains preferred for OTPs, bank alerts, and appointment reminders, while WhatsApp gains traction for marketing messages and order updates.

Given a choice, a majority (62%) prefers using an organization’s official app for issue resolution or information gathering, rather than visiting a website, writing emails, or contacting customer service hotlines.

While email and messaging dominate for updates, phone support becomes crucial for issue resolution. Around 75% prefer contacting a phone agent for urgent payment or finance matters, and two-thirds seek phone support for product and service issues.

Most consumers (62%) favor human agents due to their ability to provide immediate clarifications and effective solutions. There’s a high expectation of 24/7 human customer service, with 53% expressing frustration when unable to access it easily.

However, attitudes might change as AI-driven chatbots and agents gain popularity. Presently, 46% are comfortable interacting with AI virtual agents on the phone, a figure expected to rise.

Laboulle concluded, “Understanding consumer preferences is key for organizations. The rise of generative AI offers a chance to reinforce trust and create more personalized customer experiences by handling repetitive tasks and supporting human agents with vital information and context for better service.”

In a landscape shaped by evolving consumer confidence, communication preferences, and the rise of innovative AI solutions, the imperative for companies to adapt becomes even more pronounced. Nurturing trust, understanding nuanced consumer choices, and leveraging AI capabilities to enhance service provision represent pivotal strategies for organizations seeking to meet evolving customer expectations. As the realm of customer engagement continues to evolve, the synergy between human-centric support and AI-driven advancements emerges as a promising avenue to foster lasting trust and deliver unparalleled customer experiences in the digital age.