Report: Australian customer experience good but not great

KPMG survey finds values-driven brands rank higher with consumers who expect good experiences to be consistent across industries

Customer experience in Australia is good but not great, according to consumers surveyed for the 2019 KPMG Customer Experience Excellence report.

The report ranks the top 50 brands in Australia for customer experience (CX). For the second year in a row, Singapore Airlines came out on top as the brand rated highest for CX among those surveyed. Rounding out the top five were RACQ Insurance, Bendigo bank, PayPal and Afterpay.

According to KPMG, brands leading on customer experience are community-led, values-driven and rate higher than brands focused solely on building their customer base.

"Traditional Australian organisations, which are often tied to legacy ways of working, are struggling to match the digital experience offered by new market entrants," KPMG Australia partner in charge - customer, brand and marketing advisory, Amanda Hick, said." The future challenge for these organisations will be successfully translating their physical presence into a digital blueprint that captures the essence of their brand."

KPMG's report is based on a survey of more than 2500 Australian consumers about their interactions with over 110 local and international brands. It found those that deliver a strong experience, and are authentic and community-led are viewed as delivering intrinsic customer value, which is a higher-order value than the product or service experience in isolation.

KPMG also has an overall customer experience rating, which remained flat in the 12 months since the last report. The rating this year is 7.14 out of 10, with about three-quarters of companies clustered between 6.5 and 7.5, and only marginally higher (0.04 points) than last year’s result.

Explaining the results, Hicks said 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 said.

In terms of customer experience ratings by sector, the report shows grocery retail remains the top performing vertical in Australia, achieving an average sector score of 7.4. Financial services have taken second spot from non-grocery retail compared to last year, although KPMG puts much of that change down to the strong performance of smaller financial services outfits in the wake of the banking royal commission.

Utility companies have been laggards in customer experience, but improved strongly
over the past year, though the sector remains near the bottom of customer experience rankings in Australia with a rating of 6.75. Public sector ranked the lowest of all industry sectors with a score of 6.47.

KPMG also identified three central themes of Australian customer experience. Service with integrity is the headline theme and KPMG finds customers rate community-centric brands as CX leaders in Australia that exemplify authenticity through altruistic initiatives that reflect the intrinsic values of Australian society.

Secondly, holistic, enterprise-wide customer transformation is necessary to improve customer experience at scale, provided there’s a clear CX strategy supported at the executive level. To succeed it must reflect the core needs of the customer base and drive a customer-centric cultural change, according to KPMG.

Finally, brands wanting to excel at CX need a seamless digital experience and digital transformation efforts must be geared toward this and reflect the brand’s unique identity.

It’s not simply a case of brand competitors setting consumer expectations, according to KPMG, but their customer experiences across all of the organisations with which they interact.

“They are looking across sectors and wanting the best experience they receive in any one sector to be matched by all the other sectors,” said Hicks.

Top 10 CX leaders by brand

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. RACQ Insurance
  3. Bendigo Bank
  4. PayPal
  5. Afterpay
  6. ING
  7. NRMA Insurance
  8. Dan Murphy’s
  9. RACV Insurance
  10. Subway


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