, Hong Kong

Enhanced digital relationships amongst key drivers for better performance, says SHINEWING (HK) CPA Limited partner

Andy Wong mentioned that businesses that can navigate through the pandemic have great capabilities in technology adoption.

Esteemed professional Andy Wong is currently SHINEWING (HK) CPA Limited’s PRC-HK Business Coordination Partner and IPO Leader. He has 30 years of experience in assurance and business advisory services and has considerable working experience in the international and Mainland China markets.

Wong leads various projects in restructuring, business mergers and acquisitions, financial due diligence, as well as audits and IPOs of listed companies in a wide range of industries. In recent years, Andy has successfully assisted many Mainland China and Hong Kong enterprises successfully listed on the HKEX.

He mentioned that after two years from the disruption of the pandemic, there are new challenges that continue to strike the business world, such as trade and geopolitical tensions, changing work patterns, new sustainability imperatives, and the slow pace of economic recovery, which “have forced businesses to find new or alternative paths to profitability and growth.”

The partner added that the surge in people in Hong Kong adopting digital-first initiatives means it has become crucial for businesses to continuously innovate to provide convenient digital solutions for their customers.

Wong sat down with Hong Kong Business to discuss businesses’ ventures into their respective digital transformation journeys, how companies should improve on adaptability and crisis management, as well as his expectations for the entries in this year’s International Business Awards and National Business Awards.

What are your key performance indicators for measuring businesses’ growth and success in customer experience? How can they improve on these indicators?

Customer experience, which is the sum of all customers’ interactions with the business, is critical information for a business to know. Businesses may not improve something that they do not understand well, and they will not understand something comprehensively if they do not somehow measure it. Hence, identifying and measuring the right customer experience key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics helps businesses to monitor and analyse customer relations by considering their overall perception and satisfaction. 

Customer satisfaction, employee experience and culture, and operational efficiency are some of the crucial KPIs for businesses to focus on developing a robust measurement framework that helps tie customer experience improvement to business outcomes at each step of the way.

Businesses should have the ability to collect customer and employee perception data to measure the success of their customer and employee experience improvement initiatives.

How do you think the customer experience landscape has fared since the onset of the pandemic? Are there any trends to watch out for?

The pandemic has driven changes to the customer experience that we could never have expected. During the global pandemic, the need for businesses in every industry to demonstrate empathy, trust, and safety to customers and prospects has never been more imperative. Whilst developing face-to-face connections with clients has always been at the heart of the customer experience, in the pandemic period, many businesses have instead steered towards a feature-rich, customised digital marketing tool as the key communication platform to improve client engagement and loyalty.

During the time of COVID-19, it has been brought to many businesses’ attention that more efforts on improving adaptability and crisis management in a more sustainable way are the keys. Businesses have been implementing different measures to pull through the slump brought by COVID-19, which disrupted businesses and consumers’ behaviour to a great extent. 

It is noticeable that the trend for traditional businesses to embrace digital transformation has been growing for years now, and the pandemic clearly increased the speed of this trend. We could see that companies that could successfully navigate through the pandemic have great capabilities in the adoption of technology. The integration of digital transformation and AI into business expands connectivity and even promotes online sales. A long period of community lockdown has inevitably blocked the traditional B2B connection, and so it has opened up opportunities in technology. Enhanced digital relationships with clients through virtual platforms and big data have emerged as the key drivers for businesses to deliver better performance.

What do you think are the challenges that companies are currently facing in terms of customer experience? How can they address these?

After more than two years of pandemic disruption, new challenges continue to strike the business world. Trade and geopolitical tensions, changing work patterns, new sustainability imperatives, and the slow pace of economic recovery have forced businesses to find new or alternative paths to profitability and growth.

The pandemic has indeed triggered a global spike in the growth of e-commerce sales and online businesses as worldwide lockdowns forced consumers to turn to the internet for ordering daily necessities such as groceries, food, and other essential services.

Although these challenges have spelled new opportunities, there is no doubt that business leaders find it even more challenging to navigate a world of uncertainty and make reasonable plans for the unpredictable future. Businesses should be able to identify the changes in the macro-environment, understand their employees, suppliers, and customers, innovate their processes, take advantage of the latest technologies, and adopt flexible strategies.

With companies venturing into digital transformation initiatives, how do you think these can help in making the customer experience more unique and seamless?

Now, businesses across industries and geographies increasingly operate in the digital space. And a new digital landscape is conducive to enhancing the customer experience in a more innovative way. Fast-expanding global cloud communications platform is also leading the way by providing some of the most innovative communication solutions shaped by the current challenges.

The surge in people in Hong Kong adopting digital-first initiatives means it has become crucial for businesses to continuously innovate to provide convenient, easy-to-use digital solutions for their customers to do any transactions or orders from home.

Besides, from mask and vaccination mandates to in-person and hybrid work, customers' lives have been altered significantly. These day-to-day life changes continue to drive innovation in products and services. As more customers stay at home and get used to the digital consumer experience, online subscription services and direct-to-consumer experiences will become a key investment objective for businesses. Ultimately, customers are enjoying convenient and flexible direct customer relationships through digital tools like apps and ecommerce options. 

What advice can you give to businesses that are in the process of developing their customer experience projects?

Innovation means a new method, or way, to solve an old problem or existing process with the aim of increasing productivity or efficiency. In an increasingly volatile world, businesses are encouraged to take a data-enabled holistic view of their financial, social, and environmental performance in order to be able to adapt and be resilient. 

Leveraging cloud technologies, businesses can transform their workflows into intelligent, networked, sustainable approaches and make data-based decisions that help them respond rapidly and stay relevant. In addition, sustainability is no longer optional but a key to long-term business success. As Hong Kong businesses increasingly focus on developing sustainable operations to support business growth, meet the expectations of customers and business partners, and fulfil relevant regulatory requirements, it is clear that sustainability must be a part of any business transformation.

What qualities will you be looking for in this year’s entries?

Resilience, agility, and adaptability will be the fundamental and core attributes to be possessed by an outstanding business. It is critical for a business to have a prompt response to the changing market conditions. Even better, the candidates should demonstrate a certain extent of creativity and innovation, showing their contributions to the international and national economy.

It is impressive and makes me glad to see lots of innovative entries submitted by the candidates in this year’s Hong Kong Business Awards 2022. These entries have broad coverage of innovative and practical elements in their projects, which demonstrate the great corporate social responsibility of the enterprises.

Some of the innovative products are well-designed to address the challenges and difficulties brought by the pandemic. These demonstrate how businesses persevere and stay resilient during challenging times. They also create shared value and a positive image for the market in order to bring positive influence on people’s lives. 

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