On behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry, I wish you, the CX leaders attending this Forum, a pleasant morning.

Today, in this CX Leaders Strategy Forum, you will update each on how you can fine-tune and improve your customer engagement in a digital-first era.

The customer is always right, as the saying goes. So, what have customers been saying? Let’s look at the findings of a Rakuten Insight customer survey. During the pandemic, 41% of respondents said they made more purchases online. More respondents, or 57%, said they would continue to buy online because it is more convenient than going to a physical store. Those polled rated customer experience using e-commerce sites as “overall positive.”

What about goods and services providers? What are their reactions to the new normal? Some answers can be found in the 2021 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report. Two-thirds (66.7%) said their organization’s strategy and operating models are strongly aligned to deliver and optimize the customer experience (or CX). About one-third of the organizations polled (29.5%) believe customers are more satisfied when businesses engage them more.

Post-pandemic, most Southeast Asian digital players are expanding their market by deepening engagement with existing customers. This is according to Google, Temasek, Bain and Company’s e-Conomy SEA Report 2022.

In the Philippines, it helps public and private providers of goods and services understand where consumers are heading. According to the Rakuten Insight survey conducted in June 2022, more than a third

(37%) of the Philippine respondents have not changed their online shopping behavior; their online shopping frequency remained the same for the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in the more restrictive 2021. Only 26% said they shopped less during this period.

How can businesses ride this wave of more digitally savvy customers while meeting their changing needs? Moment’s Customer Experience in Asia-Pacific Report identified the following as the top three CX trends: (1) Enhancement of Digital Customer Experience; (2) Use of Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots; and (3) Establishment of Customer Loyalty and Retention.

At the Department of Trade and Industry, we continue to develop and advocate for programs that support these trends, particularly for MSMEs, which account for the vast majority of our constituents.

On the first trend of Enhancing Digital Customer Experience, we have established the BNRS Next Gen program, the CTRL BIZ Reboot Now, and the Digital Maturity Toolkit.

The Business Name Registration System, also known as BNRS Next Gen, is a web-based portal that enables sole proprietors to register their business name (BN) from start to finish. They can conveniently and digitally download the Certificate of Business Name Registration, pay the fees, and submit their application. Other government agencies, as well as the public at large, can also check the validity of particular business registrations, as they are publicly available.

Meanwhile, the CTRL BIZ Reboot Now is an e-Commerce program launched at the start of the pandemic. This is a webinar series designed to help MSMEs transition their businesses from offline to online. The CTRL BIZ sessions covered approximately 300 topics, including Branding, Digital Marketing, Customer Lifecycle Journey, and Data Analytics.

Lastly, DTI’s Digital Maturity Toolkit is a three-minute, free diagnostic test that provides instant scorecards and recommendations after submission. This toolkit also assists our regional offices and Negosyo Center business counselors in assessing and assisting MSMEs in their digital transformation journey.

The second trend is the Use of Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots to improve customer experience in both the public and private sectors. How? By using technology to connect with customers in a more personal way. Our Trade and Industry Assistant (TIA) is DTI’s response to the large volume of business and consumer welfare concerns submitted to us. TIA is a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to respond to customer queries in real-time. TIA is currently responding to questions about business name registration and consumer complaints, which are the most common concerns we receive from the public. Eventually, TIA will also be able to answer queries related to other DTI services.

The third trend is the Establishment of Customer Loyalty and Retention. In this case, digital experiences serve as practical tools for acquiring and retaining customers. To address the growing number of consumer complaints about prohibited, restricted, and regulated products being sold online, the Department issued Joint-Administrative Order (JAO) No. 22-01, or the Guidelines for Online Businesses; it reaffirms the rules and laws that apply to online businesses and consumers. The JAO aims to boost consumer trust in business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce transactions. It advises e-Commerce platforms, electronic retailers, and online merchants on the rules, regulations, and responsibilities that must be observed when conducting online business. The goal is to protect consumers from deceptive, unfair, and unethical acts and practices.

Still, on the third trend, DTI has been advocating for the passage of the proposed Internet Transactions Act. To strengthen consumer-merchant protection, the bill proposes to establish an E-Commerce Trustmark and a registry of online businesses; these two key components will regulate internet transactions and safeguard both consumers and businesses.

In closing, let us remember that, in the end, we all are customers. We all use a variety of products and services. This digital-first era is changing our customer experience for the better.

Thank you, and have a good day! *

Date of release: 08 February 2023