If branding is about making promises and setting expectations, customer experience is about keeping them. Unfortunately, according to a recent study by Qualtrics, many Australian brands are failing to live up to expectations.
The Qualtrics study surveyed 1000 respondents across Australia and New Zealand where more than half of them (54%) said they have switched brands because the customer experience they received did not meet the brand promise. 88% said they would swap brands due to lower product / service quality, 68% for dissatisfaction with customer service, and only 33% would swap due to price increases.
“Great customer experiences start with brand,” said Lisa Khatri, Senior Manager for Customer, Brand & Design Experience, Qualtrics, Asia Pacific & Japan. “Your brand is defined by everything the organisation does. It is embodied in the product, the customer journey, and it is delivered by happy employees who are enabled to provide superior services. Take a delivery company, for example – if the company fails to meet a delivery window it promises to meet then employees will have to proactively address issues that arise.
The report highlights how brand experience is closely connected to customer experience, where the success of one is very much dependent on the other. A poor brand promise will starve a great experience, leading to lower customer acquisition. On the other hand, a poor customer experience will break a great brand promise which will lead to losing customers.
“Our research demonstrates the clear link between customer experience and brand experience in influencing buying decisions across Australia and New Zealand. Organisations that fail to live up to their promises and the expectations they create will be quickly found out, highlighting the importance of understanding, managing, and addressing the expectations of consumers.”
In making a purchasing decision about a brand, customers will combine and connect every relevant interaction, bit of information or message, to inform their decision. In a customer’s mind everything has been woven together. But when organisations design their marketing and CX strategies, they often lose sight of this connection.
Experience key to trust and awareness
The importance of customer experience to brand is further demonstrated by the factors increasing brand trust in 2022, with taking care of customers ranked top. This was followed by maintaining reasonable pricing, and taking care of employees. Not taking advantage of a crisis and going beyond recommended safety standards round out the top five.
These findings represent a slight change from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, when taking care of employees and not taking advantage of a crisis were the top factors increasing brand trust. Taking care of customers was the third most popular reason.
For brands wanting to stay relevant in increasingly competitive marketplaces, product / service quality (83%) and customer service (74%) have twice the impact on consumers compared to marketing and advertising (34%), and responding to public events (30%). “To align the brand and customer experience, organisations must first understand and articulate their purpose and how they will bring it to life while ensuring they have the right systems and processes in place to deliver it. After this, it is about identifying the moments in the customer journey that have the biggest impact on their response – whether it’s at the point of sale or the support received through the contact centre. Equipped with these insights, organisations are able to show up in the ways their customers expect when it matters most, ensuring their brand promise, purpose,and values guide every action they take,” added Khatri.