Smart Communications Study Reveals Accelerated Need to Shift to Digital Conversations in APAC due to COVID-19

Consumers Prefer Electronic Communications to Direct Mail by 3:1 Yet Businesses Continue to Fall Short

London and New York – March 16, 2021 – Smart CommunicationsTM, a leading technology company focused on helping businesses engage in more meaningful customer conversations, today announced survey results uncovering consumer and business leader opinions about the current state of customer conversations in the Asia-Pacific region. The research spotlights consumers’ increasing preference for digital interactions with businesses in industries such as financial services, insurance and healthcare, the impact COVID-19 has had on consumer demands, and the discrepancies between what companies think they are delivering and consumers’ expectations.

COVID-19 forced companies to re-evaluate and accelerate digital transformation strategies in order to deliver exceptional customer experiences while also ensuring business continuity,” said James Brown, CEO of Smart Communications. “While many businesses prioritized digital efforts aimed at delivering personalized, omnichannel customer conversations, our study identified several areas in which customer expectations are still not being met and revealed opportunities for businesses to continue to evolve and ultimately achieve a post-pandemic competitive edge.”

Key findings from the new research report, Smart Communications Study: Customer Conversations in APAC, include:

Consumers Have a Clear Preference for “Digital-First” Communications

COVID-19 dramatically changed the way customers interact with companies who no longer could offer face-to-face interactions. So it is no surprise that consumers have responded by expanding their preferences for digital communications. The Smart Communications study revealed approximately three-quarters of consumers prefer digital channels, with one-third making the shift as a result of the pandemic. Three times as many consumers are interested in digital communications compared to direct mail.

Consumers Are Less Satisfied with Communications Than Companies Realize

When it comes to customer communications, several disconnections between companies and the consumers they service were also identified. Whilst over half (53%) of businesses rate the communications they send to customers as “excellent” or “very good”, only around a third (36%) of customers share this view.

Furthermore, only around half of customers state they always or almost always receive communications through their preferred channels, 64% of businesses believe that at least half of their communications are distributed based on customer channel preference.

These disconnects in channel preferences and communication quality should be alarming to businesses looking to strengthen customer relationships and build deeper loyalties. Customers switching to a competitor is a real risk, given that 3 in 5 banking and insurance consumers and two-thirds of healthcare consumers state they would be likely to switch providers if communications did not meet their expectations.

Prioritize Technology Investments to Improve the Customer Experience and Loyalty

More than half of consumers surveyed indicated they are likely to end an interaction with a company if the information collection process that company uses is too difficult. Consumers ranked mobile-friendly forms that offer the flexibility to start and stop without losing information, and that are pre-populated with known details, as key to an effective interaction. To meet the needs of their customers, half of all businesses surveyed are already using progressive forms that adapt based on previous responses.

“Our study confirms that consumers desire more meaningful two-way conversations that are tailored to their preferences by the companies they conduct business with,” Brown added. “Adopting technology to support a seamless customer experience also ensures brand loyalty, business optimization and reduces disruption to customers and employees alike.”

For more APAC survey results and to obtain actionable insights for having smarter customer conversations, download the complete study here.

Survey Methodology:

Smart Communications commissioned Harris Interactive to survey consumers in Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan about communications in financial services, insurance and healthcare. In the fall of 2020, Smart Communications targeted fields of nationally representative consumers (710 respondents) who use companies in at least one of the three sectors and companies (251 respondents) within financial, insurance or private healthcare companies with employees at management level or above and who are familiar with the communications their company sends out.

About Smart Communications

Smart Communications is a leading technology company focused on helping businesses engage in more meaningful customer conversations. Its Conversation Cloud™ platform uniquely delivers personalized, omnichannel conversations across the entire customer experience, empowering companies to succeed in today’s digital-focused, customer-driven world while also simplifying processes and operating more efficiently. Smart Communications is headquartered in the UK and serves more than 650 customers from offices located across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Smart Communications’ Conversation Cloud platform includes the enterprise-scale customer communications management (CCM) power of SmartCOMMTM, forms transformation capabilities made possible by SmartIQTM and the trade documentation expertise of SmartDXTM. In 2021, the company acquired Assentis, a leading European software solutions provider specializing in customer communications management (CCM) with a focus on the financial services industry. To learn more, visit