By Amit Roy Choudhury
Can organisations keep on ignoring the importance of social media as a channel to engage customers and other stake holders? "They most certainly cannot," says Bruce Eidsvik, Genesys' Asia Pacific managing director.
Genesys is a multimedia collaboration and conferencing services company.
Founded in 1990, the company was acquired by Alcaltel-Lucent in 2000 and its ownership was recently transferred to a company controlled by the Permira Funds with participation from Technology Crossover Ventures. Genesys operates as a stand-alone company and has 1,800 employees worldwide.
Globally, it has more than 2,000 customers and 200 global partners.
"Social media has increased the ability and ease of reaching out to a big base of consumers. It has shifted the balance of power into the hands of customers, giving them a very public platform to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a brand," Mr Eidsvik told BizIT.
This opens social media as a new communication channel for handling customers' expressions, and its importance has to be recognised by organisations, he adds.
Singapore is the company's regional headquarters. "Asia Pacific continues to grow in importance for Genesys as it has become the fastest growing region for our business, with a third of our growth coming from here."
The company has a direct presence in eight countries including Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan. Some of its key customers include StarHub, Maxis and Shangri-La.
Mr Eidsvik observes that the strength of social media is further magnified by the rise in mobility - with the penetration rate of smartphones increasing in Asia Pacific. Nielsen's Smart Phone Insights Study has ranked Singapore as the country with the highest smartphone penetration in Asia.
Social media use on smartphones has provided an important avenue for sharing and accessing real-time information.
For example, if a customer has a bad experience with an organisation, he or she can tweet about this immediately and the negative impact can be much larger than before, Mr Eidsvik points out.
Asia Pacific still lags behind the rest of world in the adoption of social media engagement and mobility solutions "as part of a customer experience strategy in Asia Pacific is still behind the rest of the world", Mr Eidsvik says.
He, however, notes that the regional landscape for customer service on social media platforms is very fragmented. Countries like Australia, Japan and Singapore are a lot more advanced compared to emerging markets like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
"Singapore is a mature market and the customer experience solutions adopted here are more advanced and sophisticated and we are seeing a greater integration of social media in organisations' customer service strategies. This is a similar trend to what Genesys is seeing in countries like Australia and Japan."
On the flip side, he adds, we are seeing a different trend with emerging markets.