Part of a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services — KPMG in Vietnam is one of the largest professional service firms in the country. Its team of over 1,600 experts has served both international and local clients in various industries since 1994.
In this episode of Vietnam Innovators, Hao Tran met with Phuc Nguyen, Partner, Consulting, Head of Customer & Operations at KPMG in Vietnam, to talk about how he and his team define innovation and its connection to world-class customer experience evident in KPMG’s latest report — Vietnam Customer Experience Report 2021.
Nguyen Tuan Hong Phuc or just Phuc Nguyen to his colleagues started his career at KPMG in Vietnam more than six years ago. When he joined, his role was to set up their operations consulting business. A few years in, his present role is about helping clients with not just back office but also front office matters such as customer experience and using digital innovations to better understand customer behavior.
When asked how he defines innovation, Nguyen said it’s “offering a new service or a new product, but it has to add value to the customer.” To him, defining processes, redefining processes and adding value in providing a better experience are all related and an opportunity for enterprises to innovate since customer behavior is changing — it’s not just about the products and services anymore; it all falls down to experience.
In Vietnam, though relatively behind compared to the other markets, the experience plays a significant role in winning the customers’ loyalty. Gen Z and the millennials, in particular, know what they want — innovation in what brands offer and the experience it brings.
DNA of customer experience
KPMG’s annual Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) report identifies leading performing brands and industries in providing exceptional experiences from the consumer's point of view.
The CEE report utilizes six pillars of customer experience to gauge how companies have navigated their business, strategies and activities toward customer experience excellence.
The six pillars — integrity, resolution, expectations, empathy, personalization, and time and effort — are considered the DNA of customer experience. “If you break customer experience down to a more granular level, it all boils down to six qualities that a company has to have to create a positive experience or a negative one if not done well,” he revealed.
In KPMG’s definition, integrity is being trustworthy and engendering trust. Resolution, on the other hand, is turning a poor experience into a great one. With expectations, they mean managing, meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Empathy understands customers’ circumstances to drive deep rapport, and personalization means using individualized attention to drive emotional connection. Lastly, the time and effort pillar refers to creating frictionless experiences.
The KPMG Partner also said that this framework was defined through more than ten years of research on customer behavior.
Nguyen emphasized that these pillars aren’t ranked, which means no one is more important than the others. However, he believes that for each sector and each segment, there’s a top priority. For instance, in financial services such as banks and insurance firms, long queues and tedious forms to fill out can be intimidating to the younger generation. Thus, time and effort is the fundamental pillar to creating an excellent customer experience.
“If you look at the customer journey end to end, there are different touchpoints and for each touchpoint, one pillar may be more important than others. Companies need to define which of the pillars is very important at certain moments throughout the journey.”
In their 2021 CEE report for Vietnam, they go beyond the rankings and explore some of the influencing factors that shape customer experience performance, key considerations for brands to enhance their customer experience as well as a clear direction for companies to take to transform into customer-centric companies and rise as a customer experience leader.
When the global pandemic hit the world, integrity and personalization were the two main pillars that kept consumers loyal to brands in Vietnam, Nguyen said. He also pointed out that empathy is also important during this time and if you put yourself in your customer’s place, you can do great things in enhancing their experience.