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New report uncovers opportunities and challenges for A/NZ businesses

Cloud adoption in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) is soaring, with businesses in this region confident about their ability to achieve success despite recent hardships.

This is a key finding from a new report from Genesys titled Asia-Pacific Customer Experience Transformation Readiness Index 2021.

Decision-makers responsible for customer experience strategy were surveyed across six dimensions of readiness: leadership, employee experience, digital experience, business continuity planning, artificial intelligence (AI) adoption and cloud adoption.

The report finds that APAC stands overall at 54% in the Customer Experience Readiness Index, indicating untapped potential for innovation and implementation opportunities in the future.

Business continuity planning has taken on new meaning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic across all industries, especially in markets with large contact centres, Genesys finds.

In fact, almost 63% of companies surveyed across all regions have work-from-home strategies to support business continuity but only a quarter (26%) can support over 70% of agents to function remotely.

In A/NZ, 70% of organisations have medium to high levels of readiness to face any unexpected crisis, significantly higher than the APAC average.

The survey also shows that more than half of the companies (53%) in A/NZ have adopted cloud, the highest across the APAC region. Overall, 44% of companies surveyed have transitioned to cloud contact centres, while 39% intend to do so within the next 24 months.

Furthermore, 71% of companies view agility, scalability, availability to integrate and update new features, and upgrades as the biggest drivers for cloud adoption.

The survey also found that artificial intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a critical pillar of the overall experience strategy. In fact, 70% of companies surveyed across all regions have adopted AI capabilities such as chatbots and voice bots, of which 41% report over 30% automation rates.

In comparison, A/NZ has been slower in AI adoption (62%) than Asian counterparts with only 29% of organisations able to capture automation rates of 30% or more.

The near-term opportunity for AI is in the use of predictive engagement and agent assist capabilities like routing tools, forecasting and scheduling.

Meanwhile, digital experience scores are on par with the regional average. 41% of companies in A/NZ, expanding into digital channels report interaction through non-voice avenues, exceeding 30% of activity.

Of these companies in APAC, 59% achieved either similar or higher Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores or Net Promoter Scores (NPS) from digital, as compared to voice channels alone.

This number was much lower in A/NZ at 48%, indicating that there is a significant opportunity for improvement, the researchers state.

Though companies from A/NZ scored higher than the APAC average across most dimensions, employee experience scores are lower than average by 10% (at 45%), suggesting the need for more emphasis on employee experience management for better readiness.

This result is surprising given the high level of attention paid to this topic by business leaders in A/NZ, Genesys states.

The report also highlights that customer experience delivery is complex and requires orchestration across multiple fronts, utilising the right mix of technology, processes, and people to accommodate the change, according to the report.

62% of companies have established or initiated steps to establish cross-functional teams in place and only 11% is considered effective.

As to be expected, leadership readiness is seen as the single biggest challenge and opportunity for companies in APAC.

Genesys strategic director employee engagement Andy Hardy says, "In Australia and New Zealand, the high uptake of agile business platforms such as Genesys Cloud means our clients are well prepared to transform in an uncertain environment.

"However, just as the logistics, systems and technology required to run world-class contact centres need to be ready to adapt to change, so does our approach to employee experience, which is fast emerging as a key driver for decision making.”

Leaders from six Asia-Pacific (APAC) economic regions had their perception measured in the Genesys Asia-Pacific Customer Experience Transformation Readiness Index 2021.