Forrester report: Australian CX less terrible but still bad

Published on the 27/11/2019 | Written by Jonathan Cotton

Australian customer service - poor

Great customer experiences are often key to business profitability. So why doesn’t Australia seem to get that?…

Forrester’s new Australia 2019 Customer Experience Index – a survey of Australian customers to gauge their attitude towards their experiences interacting with brands –  shows low quality interactions almost across the board.

Surveying some 8,000 Australian customers on 31 brands across the banking, retail and superannuation industries, as well as government at the federal level, the survey attempts to measure how successfully companies deliver ‘customer experiences that create and sustain loyalty’.

This year’s results show slight improvements being made, but progress is being measured in inches, not miles: Last year just six percent of the brands surveyed received a ‘good’ rating for their customer experience. This year that number rose seven points, to the better (yet still miserable) 13 percent of brands delivering good customer experience.

Elite brands build loyalty; CX laggards foster resentment.

As with last year, no business received an ‘excellent’ rating, or even improved their scores enough to warrant mention, but that’s just an opportunity for improvement, counsels Forrester.

“With approximately two-thirds of brands in the OK category and 18 brands clustered close together, firms have an opportunity to differentiate themselves and gain a competitive advantage by moving up to the good and excellent categories,” say the researchers.

The highest ranked companies this year were ING Direct, beating last year’s leader Bendigo Bank for the top spot, with JB Hi-Fi in third place.

According to Forrester’s findings, the top performing Australian brands provided customers with an average of twelve ‘emotionally positive experiences’ for each negative experience.

The lowest-performing brands provided less than a single emotionally positive experience for each negative experience.

But even a minor improvement in a brand’s customer experience quality can add ‘tens of millions of dollars’ of revenue, says Forrester, by reducing customer churn and increasing wallet share.

“Additionally, superior CX leads to reduced service costs and lowers the cost of customer acquisition through word of mouth,” says the research and advisory firm.

So there’s room for improvement and opportunity to do so – but where to begin?

Brands need to ‘infuse positive emotions’ in their interactions with customers to make an impact on customers’ perception of their CX quality, says Riccardo Pasto, senior analyst at Forrester and author of the report.

“Brands that want to achieve CX leadership should focus on emotion,” he says. “How an experience makes customers feel has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than effectiveness or ease in every industry.”

“Elite brands build loyalty by making customers feel confident, happy, and valued; CX laggards foster resentment by making customers feel annoyed, disappointed, and frustrated.”

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