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Australian brands face customer experience challenge: global report

MEDIA RELEASE: 24 September 2019: Australian brands are in tough competition when it comes to providing an outstanding customer experience, with financial services dominating other sectors, according to the KPMG Customer Experience Excellence 2019 report.

While Singapore Airlines took first place for the second year in a row, it was Financial Services firms which dominated the top 10 brands in Australia, accounting for seven out of the 10 highest ranked brands led by RACQ Insurance (#2) and Bendigo Bank (#3) and PayPal (#4). Dan Murphy’s (Grocery Retail, #8) and Subway (Restaurant & Fast Food, #10) completed the top 10.

The KPMG Customer Experience Excellence 2019 report is based on one of the world’s most extensive studies of consumer preferences, and surveyed more than 2500 Australian consumers about their interactions with over 110 local and international brands. It shows that brands that deliver a strong experience, in addition to being authentically, community-led are viewed as delivering intrinsic customer value, which is higher-order value than the product or service experience in isolation.

Customer experience scores in Australia reflect good but not great delivery, according to consumers. In the 2019 study the average CEE rating in the Australian market was 7.14 out of 10, with about three-quarters of companies clustered between 6.5 and 7.5. The overall CEE rating in Australia was only marginally higher (0.04 points) than last year’s result.

CEE performance by sector
Consumers are not only looking at a brand’s competitors to set their expectations of customer experience. Instead, they are looking across sectors and wanting the best experience they receive in any one sector to be matched by all the other sectors.

Grocery Retail maintained its leading position for customer experience and improved its overall score to 7.4 out of 10 over the past year.
Financial Services has overtaken the Non-Grocery Retail sector since last year to become the second highest rated industry sector, with an overall ranking of 7.3. This ranking was driven by the strong performance of financial services brands in the top 10, as well as smaller brands and fintechs.
Utility companies have been laggards in customer experience but improved strongly over the past year, though it remains near the bottom of customer experience rankings in Australia with a CEE of 6.75.
Public Sector customers are getting an experience a long way behind commercial CX. The sector ranked the lowest of all industry sectors with a CEE of 6.47.

Amanda Hicks, Partner in Charge – Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory, KPMG Australia says Australian businesses are struggling when it comes to taking a holistic approach to delivering an excellent customer experience.

“Responsibility for the customer experience of each channel sits 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,” she says.

“Customer experience has been heightened as a topical conversation in the Australian market through increased attention over the past 18 months in areas as diverse as aged care and financial services. Traditional Australian organisations, which 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 organisations will be successfully translating their physical presence into a digital blueprint that captures the essence of their brand.”

Brands that “cast their experience net” further than immediate customers make up 8 of the 10 top Australian organisations in the CEE rankings. They do so by embedding purpose-driven values within their wider strategy and corresponding brand promise; consistently prioritising and delivering initiatives that represent the core values of their organisation. The CEE findings depict Integrity (18.8%), in tandem with Personalisation (18.9%) as the strongest drivers of Net Promoter Score (NPS), indicating that brands that authentically connect and build trust (Integrity) with the wider communities they operate in typically out-perform other brands in the
CEE rankings.

The rewards for improving CEE are significant. CEE leaders continue to see unparalleled success:
• The revenue growth of the top 50 brands in measured countries is 54% greater than the bottom 50, at an aggregated level.
• The EBITDA growth of the top 50 brands in measured countries is 202% greater than the bottom 50, at an aggregated level.
• Companies that lead in CX typically have 1.5 times as many engaged employees. Engaged employees are more motivated to go above and beyond to satisfy customers, leading to improved customer experiences.

Top 10 brands in Australia

Sudeep Gohil, Partner – Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory, KPMG Australia says that Australian consumer expectations have moved beyond placing the customer at the forefront of organisational decision making to being altruistic-driven and community-led.

“The Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) findings suggest that brands that are community-led, abiding by collective values and playing an active role in the community are likely to engage customers over brands that are focused solely on building their customer base. It’s evident amongst customer experience leaders across industry that holding an altruistic stance has become common practice and therefore organisations that choose not to be community focused risk falling behind in years to come,” he says.

“The top-ranking Insurance brands in Australia (RACQ insurance, RACV Insurance and NRMA Insurance) have all made significant in-roads in delivering a meaningful customer experience. Members continually praise these brands for the significant impact they have on communities across Australia. They do so by partnering with not-for-profit organisations and charities to practice purpose-driven promises they promote to their respective membership bases,” he added.

Website: KPMG

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