​Report reveals gap between digital experience and consumer brand expectations

Recent SAP research finds Australian brands have improved their digital performance but work is still needed to deliver digital experiences that truly delight customers

Many brands are still delivering lacklustre digital experiences that are resulting in poor customer satisfaction, a loss of loyalty and advocacy, a new report claims.

SAP’s 2016 Australian Digital Experience Report revealed 40 per cent of Aussie consumers are unsatisfied with their digital experiences. The research was based on a survey 3500 Australians rating almost 9000 digital interactions against 14 digital experience attributes.

While digital transformation is top of mind for Australian businesses, there is still a sizeable difference between digital experiences that delight consumers and what Australian brands deliver. One thing that came up was the importance of having more personalised, customised and predictive services, SAP’s vice-president of marketing for ANZ, Jennifer Arnold told CMO.

“The expectation has become more than just give me ease of access, it’s now – well you need to start knowing me better and customising the experience better,” she said.

According to the report, most brands have improved their digital experience scores this year. However, only three from an index of 40 companies managed a positive score, and no single industry was able to cut into positive territory.

“There is a huge focus on brands needing to build a good customer experience,” Arnold said. “The digital customer experience should be the top priority for brands. So I think the more brands focus on this area, the more investment they can put into it.”

The report also revealed consumers are nearly five times more likely to remain loyal to a brand than those who are unsatisfied. Arnold saw this as presenting a massive opportunity for brands to embrace.

“The research has found year-on-year that the digital experience is really effecting business outcomes more than ever before, and there are far greater customer expectations now, so it has a greater impact on customer’s willingness to make a recommendation for a brand,” she said.

“It also has a greater impact on loyalty, so it is becoming absolutely core to interactions companies have with their customers. And that relationship is moving into many more digital environments.”

Arnold said having a great digital experience is not just about what your website looks like, or having a great mobile platform.

“It’s about the customer experience you’re giving all the way through the customer journey,” she said. “It isn’t just the sole remit of the marketing organisation, it’s marketing working in combination with people who provide great service and support.”

Another finding in SAP’s report was a clear correlation between consumers’ willingness to provide private information when they are delighted with the digital experience.

“Brands need to consider how to use customer data in a way that is respectful and useful,” Arnold continued. “The more a brand can give value back for the information that a customer provides, and give them more delightful experiences off the back of that, the more the customer is prepared to give them. So it all comes back to respectfulness.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

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