Companies in Singapore transforming business models

Photo by Van Tay Media

HubSpot has released new data from a global research survey that indicates companies in Singapore are transforming their business models in response to global megatrends such as generative AI and changing customer expectations.

From economic downturns to the rise of new social channels, businesses have to pivot with the times, all the time. But the AI era is different. Small and Medium Businesses (SMEs) are operating in a new reality, and it requires more than just adapting to change. It requires reinvention.

According to HubSpot’s research, eight in ten (81 per cent) Singapore companies said they’ve evolved more in the past four years than the previous two decades – the highest level of disruption across all countries surveyed. 

In 2024, local companies are navigating a new reality where keeping pace with technological disruption and innovation is critical to business success. Singapore companies are the most likely globally to feel that their current growth tactics are becoming less effective (71 per cent) and are also the most likely across all countries surveyed to agree that the introduction of AI has required them to reinvent (82 per cent) their business. 

Kat Warboys, Senior Marketing Director of APAC, HubSpot, said: “A combination of rising business costs, new technology and evolving customer expectations have impacted the effectiveness of conventional growth tactics among Singapore’s businesses, accelerating a need for reinvention.

“Our research shows that a majority of local businesses agree that personalised, impactful customer experiences, powered by AI and automation, will be vital to their growth in 2024. Long term success will be determined by the ability of businesses to effectively engage with their audiences across multiple channels throughout the customer journey, and demonstrate value to customers to maximise retention.”

Rethinking content marketing…again

Today, customers are everywhere. Their purchase path is fragmented across multiplying channels, and marketers are left facing two major challenges: reach and relevance. Companies need to efficiently meet customers wherever they are, and do it with quality content that’s personalised, unique and valuable.

However, Singapore companies are struggling to meet demands for multi-channel content, with 82 per cent – the highest globally – sharing a need for tools to help remix content from one format or channel to another. Singapore is also the most likely across all countries surveyed by HubSpot to cite an increasing number of channels as a pain point (40 per cent). 

“The data suggests that while reinvention is necessary for success, it is not a one size fits all approach. Brands working to effectively reach audiences must connect with customers on a deeper level by leveraging personalised content tailored for the channels these customers most commonly reside on. While this may not be a simple process, it is a journey that many businesses are on, or need to commence, in order to understand and produce content that best engages customers,” shared Warboys. 

Transforming CX teams into revenue drivers

A separate HubSpot study revealed that nine in ten (92 per cent) Singapore companies agreed that consumers find customer service interactions frustrating. There is a clear disconnect between what local brands think their audience needs, and what their customers and prospects actually want.

SMEs need to double down on keeping existing customers happy, especially since acquiring a new one can be up to 25 times more expensive. This is one of the many reasons a brand’s customer support and success teams play such a critical role in the bottom line.

The HubSpot study also found that 81 per cent of Singapore companies considered customer service and customer success separate functions with distinct goals and responsibilities. This hinders visibility and the flow of information across customer facing teams, impacting the ability to deliver impactful, personalised customer service.

Common challenges faced by customer service teams in Singapore include extracting meaningful insights from customer data (49 per cent), tracking KPIs (46 per cent), ensuring alignment of customer service goals with overall business objectives (38 per cent), as well as ensuring agents have access to accurate and relevant information (34 per cent).

Aligning with Singapore’s strong national focus on AI, the study uncovered that nearly all (96 per cent) local companies are using AI as part of the customer service process. To transform customer service into a more proactive function, about two thirds of (66 per cent) CX teams in Singapore are implementing predictive analytics and AI-driven tools to better anticipate customer needs. 

“In today’s business landscape, change is measured in days and weeks, not years. The speed of reinvention can be daunting, but technology advancements offer a significant opportunity for Singapore companies, especially SMEs, to adapt to new market trends and continue meeting evolving customer needs.

“With consumers expecting personalised experiences that align with their values and preferences, meeting these expectations requires businesses to connect with customers through channels that serve them best,” explained Warboys.