One of New Zealand’s greatest strengths lies in its empathetic connection with customers. Individual interactions are paid considerable attention and many companies have a keen desire to meet people’s expectations in a highly personalised manner.
Indeed, this is a successful endeavor amongst the strongest of the country’s brands. However, for many of the brands who struggle to consistently provide great customer experiences, there is room for improvement when it comes to supporting customer insight with scientific rigor. In this respect, technological considerations and data science capabilities have yet to catch up, and there is room for a more disciplined process to underpin New Zealand’s CX management.
This consideration is all the more important given that many sectors are feeling the pinch of heightened regulatory focus, with a greater degree of concern over the delivery of acceptable customer outcomes. Moreover, an increasing number of international organizations are entering the New Zealand marketplace, raising the bar for what ‘good’ looks like. This is applying additional pressure to the native brands, many of whom now have to find new ways to differentiate through CX excellence.
That being said, a number of standout companies have emerged over the course of the latest study. The first of these is the airline Air New Zealand, which ranks in third place. For this organization, the delivery of a strong CX begins with the employee. Air New Zealand is intent on humanizing its CX through exceptional passenger interactions, many of which tap into the unique ‘Kiwi’ ethos of being good-humored and downto- earth. As a result, a flight on an Air New Zealand plane is typically a warm and welcoming one, with one respondent to the research praising the way its attendants were able to resolve problems “without making a big deal out of it.”
"The results from the New Zealand 2019 leaders confirm that customer experience excellence is a source of advantage. The leaders experience 1.7 times more revenue growth and 13 times more EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) growth than their laggard peers. This payback is critically important in an environment where growth can be hard to realize."43
Customer Experience Lead,
KPMG in New Zealand
Following Air New Zealand is Singapore Airlines, which takes second position in 2019. The airline’s Customer Experience Division is something of a ‘laser-focused’ operation, with a cross-functional team of insights specialists scrutinizing the CX in meticulous detail. The aim of this division is to arrive at a deeper understanding of passengers’ myriad expectations, which can sometimes be as high as they are diverse.
This is symptomatic of Singapore Airlines’ wider CX vision – that is, to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of a first-class travel experience. Inevitably, this involves a degree of flexibility on the brand’s part, with employees being trained to adapt seamlessly in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
Finally, New Zealand’s top-ranking brand is the financial services organization TSB, which lands in first place. Having been founded over 160 years ago, the organization has grown to become the seventh largest bank in the country.
And with this long history comes a certain level of tradition. TSB was founded on the core values of community focus and a sense of working diligently in its customers’ best interests. As such, TSB is owned by a trust, with money being regularly invested back into the communities in which its customers and employees live.
For TSB, this customer-centric method of working is rooted in the employee experience. Having abandoned the more traditional sales-based incentives, TSB measures people’s performance based on how well they achieve positive outcomes for customers. As a result, employees are constantly encouraged to go above and beyond; the brand operates a peer recognition system which gives people the chance to highlight when one of their colleagues goes the extra mile. Good conduct is continually rewarded, and this helps to inspire and motivate other individuals to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
In short, what companies such as TSB demonstrate is that they stand for something more than just ‘being a business.’ This is a key consideration in New Zealand as a whole, where the pillar of Integrity has considerable impact on customer loyalty and advocacy.
However, it’s the pillar of Personalization that is the most resonant in 2019. Companies such as TSB, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand have an obvious proficiency in this area, showing an ability to adapt the CX to the specific needs of the individual. It’s this quality that sets them apart from their peers, and indeed, with continued focus, it will differentiate them from their many international competitors in the years to come.
*43 Experience to Value - 2019 KPMG New Zealand Customer Experience Excellence Report
Air New Zealand