Many organizations are putting effort into CX initiatives in Australia, although not all of these are proving to be effective. Often, it’s the holistic approach that’s lacking, with responsibility for the CX of each channel sitting in siloed business units in many Australian companies. This means there’s a lack of overall strategy, or indeed a sense of what ‘the big picture’ looks like.
This is important. It can mean organizations risk being perceived as not truly customer-centered or customer-first in approach. And when consumers feel that their interests are not being well looked after by the organizations they interact with, they can and will publicly complain. As we have seen over the course of the past few years, in some sectors they will also demand greater government or regulatory intervention.
Given the recent significant scrutiny placed on some sectors in the Australian market, it is not surprising to see that the CX pillar of Integrity is one of the biggest drivers of advocacy in Australia at 18.8 percent, with only Personalization marginally ahead at 18.9 percent. Companies that are able to tailor the CX to the specific needs of the individual (such as Singapore Airlines and Afterpay), whilst also doing so in a transparent and ethical manner, are the ones that Australian consumers are most likely to gravitate towards.
In addition, a good multi-channel experience is increasingly important to consumers, and there’s a general expectation that companies will be able to offer a seamless service across a myriad of platforms. However, this is proving to be problematic for some Australian organizations, particularly those legacy companies that adhere to the more traditional ways of working. In many cases, they’re being superseded by (relatively) newer brands such as Afterpay and retailer The Iconic, which have built their CX from the ground up with digital channels at the forefront.
Despite this, there are companies that appear to keep their fingers on the pulse of what the Australian consumer expects. For example, Bendigo Bank, which ranks third in the 2019 study (consistent with its performance in 2018), has managed to achieve this position by being recognized by respondents for the pillar of Empathy in particular. This can perhaps be attributed to customer facing initiatives such as Tap-On Tuesdays, where eligible Bendigo Bank Mastercard customers were offered free train, rail and ferry services across Sydney in April 2019.
"Customer experience has been heightened as a topical conversation in the Australian market through increased scrutiny over the past 18 months in areas as diverse as aged care and financial services. Traditional Australian organizations, who are often tied to legacy ways of working, are struggling to match the digital experience offered by new market entrants. The future challenge for these organizations will be successfully translating their physical presence into a digital blueprint that captures the essence of their brand."
Partner in Charge - Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory,
KPMG in Australia
In addition, Bendigo takes part in a number of philanthropic initiatives, such as partnering with Emergency Management Victoria to establish a community relief fund for those affected by fires in the south east. It also offered discounted interest rates and fee waivers to those customers affected by North Queensland’s floods in February 2019.
The financial services organization RACQ Insurance was highly rated by Australian consumers for the pillar of Integrity and ranks in second place in the Australian 2019 study. RACQ Insurance is part of The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) group that offers a range of products such as roadside assistance, insurance, banking and travel. As a member-owned mutual organization, RACQ is focused on giving back to the community: RACQ’s foundation has helped over 190 community groups since its inception in 2011, and it has so far approved AU$680,000 (US$460,000) in funding for various community organizations.
Furthermore, RACQ is investing in CX innovation. In 2019 it became the first Australian company to utilize Voigle Voice technology – a service which allows motorists to use smart speakers, cell phones or in-car applications to access RACQ’s Fair Fuel and Road Conditions websites. In practice, this means that a customer can use the Voigle Voice to find out where the best fuel price may be in a particular suburb or check the road conditions on certain routes before traveling.5
However, the brand highest-ranked by Australians is Singapore Airlines - an aviation company that ranks in first place in three out of the four countries that feature it in the research. The brand also ranked in first place in Australia in 2018.
Singapore Airlines was recognized by Australian consumers across each of The Six Pillars – and in particular ranked highly for technological innovation. The airline has focused on the pillar of Personalization with its KrisWorld entertainment system, and in addition, has partnered with Bang & Olufsen to offer wireless headphones. This service offers over 1,800 television, movie, music and game choices, but passengers are able to customize the service for their own needs. They can create individual user accounts to save their preferences, and this means they can ‘bookmark’ films they might be halfway through watching, and resume them when they board their next flight.
It is this type of technological innovation which is prompting the legacy companies to reappraise their approach to CX. This is because many Australian consumers are perceiving such innovations to be ‘the new normal,’ and expect to see them in a first class CX. Therefore, any company that can grasp this, and deploy innovation and customer centricity across an organization, will have taken the first step towards an Australian CX revival.