Price is no longer king in Asia

PHOTO: Price is no longer king in Asia

HONG KONG - Consumers in Asia are fed up with poor service standards and are willing to pay more for a good customer experience, according to a survey which punctures the received wisdom that "price is king" in the region.

Decades of economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region have heightened people's taste for service, but a majority of companies are failing to deliver, according to the survey conducted for analytics firm Verint.

With few exceptions, Asian companies are portrayed as having rude staff and inflexible procedures.

More than 50 per cent of respondents in all the industries covered in the survey said they had been frustrated by poor standards, such as rude staff, slow service and red tape.

"It's no longer a question of having access to goods and services. Now they have choice and disposable income...so service becomes the new differentiator," Mr Wilson Chin, Verint's marketing vice-president for the Asia-Pacific, said.

The survey, conducted by market-research firm Ipsos, polled more than 5,800 people from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Japan. The survey found that only 24 per cent of respondents valued price over service, while 45 per cent were willing to pay a premium for a higher-quality experience.

Mr Chin said the results shattered the notion - particularly prevalent in developing economies - that consumers value price above all else.

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