Australians prioritise customer experience in 2021

While an increasing number of consumers have moved online for their shopping, that doesn’t mean retailers can slack off when it comes to customer service.

Zendesk Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2021 shows that the customer experience is increasingly crucial to business success. In fact, recently releases data shows that over one in two (55 per cent) Australian customers will spend more for better online experiences and nearly three in five (57 per cent) will do the same for better customer service.

For many Australians, a positive experience is the difference between nurturing customer loyalty or switching to a competitor, says Wendy Johnstone, COO APAC, Zendesk.

“We’ve seen companies in APAC embrace digitalisation at an incredible speed this year in response to the dramatic shifts in the operating landscape they’ve had to navigate,” she says.

“Customer experience has never been more important and we think this accelerated adoption of technology is likely to continue in 2021.

“Organisations need to ensure they have the right strategies, processes and technology in place to empower customer support teams to deliver outstanding experiences and drive business success.”

Empathy and the values of a business influence customers’ purchasing decisions. Over half (59 per cent) want customer service agents to be empathetic, while just under half want to buy from companies that prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion, and two thirds want to buy from companies that are socially responsible.

Online experiences will continue to play an important role in 2021 following the switch to digital during the pandemic. The research found that two out of five Australians used a new channel to engage with customer support in 2020, and over half (57 per cent) will continue to use it moving forward.

While many Australian companies have embraced customers’ switch to digital and accelerated technology adoption, there is still room for improvement.

Stay ahead of the digital curve: Companies are adopting technology at light speed and it’s adapt or get left behind. Organisations identified as ’high-performing’ in APAC based on customer service metrics such as CSAT and reply speed, are more likely to have adopted omnichannel solutions, with over half (54 per cent) offering self-service in addition to other key channels including phone, email or messaging, compared to just 20 per cent of low performers. 

Be part of a more conversational world: As customers adopt new behaviours, the soaring popularity of messaging apps opens the door for more streamlined, conversational experiences. Sixty-nine percent of customers in APAC have tried a new way to get in touch with customer service in the last year. For many, that includes using messaging for support requests over apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which have spiked significantly during the pandemic with social messaging up 117 per cent in APAC since February 2020.

Realise the power of employee experience: In an increasingly distributed world, companies must rethink how they work smarter across teams. Many employees still don’t feel like they have the right tools to succeed in this new and often distributed environment, whether it’s keeping track of their performance indicators, staying connected with their colleagues, or feeling supported by their companies.

Set teams up for success by emphasising agility: Facing continued volatility, service and support organisations must find ways to keep up with their customers. Customer experience leaders cited the ability to quickly adapt to the evolving needs of customers as their biggest challenge in 2020 and the highest priority going forward.

Make it easier for customers with a focus on customer experience: Unprecedented in speed and scale, the recent surge in online channels puts pressure on companies to meet rising expectations as customer experience takes centre stage. The vast majority (74 per cent) of customers in APAC say they are willing to spend more with a company that offers a good customer experience, while 75 per cent will still take their business elsewhere following bad experiences.