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Subtlety is an important discipline for Austrian brands. Extravagant websites or lavishly-designed business premises typically have little impact on the Austrian customer – at least, not in isolation. To achieve CX success, organizations need to prove that best practice is in their DNA and demonstrate their capabilities across each of The Six Pillars as a matter of course.

This means that a first class CX is a sum of many parts. Indeed, one of the most important of these components is the employee. In Austria – and in many other countries such as the UK and the US – the employee plays a significant role in CX best practice, with Austrian consumers often praising the friendliness and customer centricity of staff members, even in industries that are largely governed by self-service processes.

As such, the pillar of Personalization continues to be a key one for Austrian brands, as the greatest driver of Austrian customer loyalty and advocacy. And yet the pillar of Expectations is proving to be an important pillar too. In the current study, brands are recognizing the value of setting realistic customer expectations from the outset, with the strongest organizations managing to surprise and delight by overachieving. However, success in this area is dependent on the brand having a clear perception of the customers’ needs and wants, and by knowing them more intimately, which is one of the key characteristics of the pillar of Personalization.

"One key challenge for Austrian brands lies in giving the impression that it’s not the creation of a special experience that’s at the forefront of their actions, but the consistent, reliable provision of services in order to satisfy customers’ needs."

Werner Girth
Partner, Customer and Operations,
KPMG in Austria

This is certainly one of the strengths of the pharmaceutical company dm-drogerie markt, which is the third highest-ranking brand in Austria, having risen four places since 2018. The company slogan echoes the voice of the consumer – “Here I am a person, here I will buy” – and this human-centric ethos is reflected in the brand’s proficiency in the pillar of Personalization. As one respondent explained: “I am very happy with dm due to the effort to create attractive and individual offers for customers.”

In addition, the retailer offers around 30 products in the range of natural cosmetics and natural nutrition, highlighting the brand’s integrity and attentiveness to the environment. It also employs staff who are friendly, personable and service-minded. “The individuality of every human being is at the center of attention at dm,” says the brand on its website. “This should be experienced by our customers and employees at dm. But beyond that, we want to be exemplary in our environment by taking responsibility in society, by being a good and exemplary employer, and by paying attention to the health of our employees.”7

Similar values are shared by the optical retailer Pearle, which ranks in second place and is new to the 2019 research. Like dm-drogerie markt, Pearle is built on a foundation of staunch customer centricity, with a mission to drive a deep rapport with its customers by tailoring its services to their specific needs.

“We inspire our customers on a daily basis,” the brand states. “We focus on our customers and place them and their needs at the center of our actions. Advice, service, quality and price are tailored to our customers so that they feel happy.”8

Pearle offers its customers professional advice on product selection and a guaranteed lifetime service. Customers know that Pearle is attentive to any issues and treats them with care at all times.

Notably, Pearle is able to evoke Personalization even at a digital level. For example, it offers a feature where customers can try glasses on from the comfort of their own home, with the website utilizing the customer’s webcam to take a still photo and superimpose the chosen frames onto their face.9

The highest-ranking organization in Austria is the car association ÖAMTC – a position it has retained since 2018. The brand describes itself as the company that offers “the membership that suits you.”10

The CX success of the ÖAMTC is driven in particular by its fast and reliable breakdown service. Patrols typically reach the customer within half an hour, which is above average for a breakdown service; and a very high percentage of the breakdowns they service result in the customer being able to drive away in their own car, preventing the need for organizing a replacement or other alternative. In addition, the ÖAMTC is constantly available for all mobility related issues and its employees are therefore perceived as ‘yellow angels’ by customers.

As one customer stated: “I appreciate the accuracy and competence of the employees. They prove their engagement for the customer whenever I need or contact them, year after year.”

Arguably, ÖAMTC is one of the organizations for whom CX excellence appears to be in the DNA. Its success is largely down to its holistic approach – managing the key lessons of The Six Pillars and demonstrating them in everything it says and does. Services such as its holiday planner, which provides free travel tips and toll road information, are offered as standard, together with its free replacement cars and free legal advice. These are expectations that ÖAMTC sets and frequently delivers on.

Customer centricity, therefore, is the uniting theme amongst the strongest brands in Austria.

Leading CX brands in Austria



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