New research produced by Qualtrics, “2021 Australian Consumer Trends”, highlighted that consumer satisfaction exceeds the global average. The survey examined the perspectives of 1000 consumers in Australia. Three-quarters of consumers in Australia (74%) said they were satisfied with their brand interactions, in comparison to 66% globally.
According to Vicky Katsabaris, director of XM Solutions and Strategy, Qualtrics, the current level of consumer satisfaction in Australia demonstrates the impact of adopting new digital technologies and the importance of aligning the brand with the interests and values of customers and employees. She says, “When we look at the new behaviours adopted during the pandemic that continue to grow in popularity, each one is digital – from banking, shopping, contacting customer service, using streaming services, and even doing an online exercise class. Consumer satisfaction is also higher in industries that experienced an uptake in their digital offerings last year, such as grocery stores (82%), medical providers (80%), and online retailers (79%).
Separate research from Bain & Co found that even though 54% of people in Australia who tried to buy groceries online failed at least once during Covid-19, digital still delivers higher customer satisfaction.”
“As we move forward from the pandemic, the eyes of the world are on Australia with consumers in the country giving the rest of the world insight into how habits are changing as restrictions lift. It means regional CX leaders have an opportunity to define the future of customer experience globally by designing the new products and services aligned with evolving consumer expectations, and then continuously improving them,” says Katsabaris.
New opportunities and challenges for consumer brands
There’s a huge opportunity for those organisations able to innovate and respond to the changing needs of the market and their customers.
“First and foremost, high levels of consumer satisfaction positively impacts trust and advocacy. For example, Qualtrics research found 94 per cent of consumers who rate a business as “very good” in customer experience are likely to purchase again. The same amount of respondents said they would recommend a brand that offered a “very good” customer experience”.
“The shift to digital and continual improvement of the user experience on these channels is presenting significant business opportunities. Take Volkswagen Group Australia. When faced with the prospect of closed showrooms during the pandemic, the company quickly launched an online store for people to buy cars. Within six months this new go-to-market offering had delivered online sales of $36million, and it is now a key pillar in the company’s customer experience. Uber Eats’ decision to expand its delivery services for convenience stores, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol is another example of the new opportunities available.
Increasing levels of online shopping is seeing online-only retailers go from strength to strength alongside established brands that are prioritising digital. The online furniture retailer Koala is a great example of an organisation that is continually improving its customer experience by using insights across its brand and products – including concept ideation and testing, product development, and ad-campaign testing – to optimise go-to-market strategies.
- Consumers went
digital, and most of them are not going back. Having embraced new digital channels for most
engagements during the pandemic, there is now a clear differentiation between
what behaviours consumers will continue to show and where they will revert.
- Consumers in Australia are going back to face-to-face engagements for more personal interactions, such as online education and medical support, or catching up with friends and family.
- While Australians expect to now do more transactional brand engagements through digital – such as online banking and shopping, and contacting customer service – consumers said they expect to use online grocery and restaurant delivery services less than during the pandemic. While these services expectedly peaked during 2020, the shift back for some outlines how consumer considerations extend beyond convenience.
- Customer service is an important differentiator. Consumers are more discerning than ever about their purchasing choices, and organisations need to do more than market the quality or price of their products and services: 20% of consumers would prefer to buy from an organisation that treats them well, and 13% would make a purchase based on corporate social responsibility.
- Consumers increasingly expect great experiences across multiple platforms. Organisations need to invest in delivering quality customer service and meet customers where they are—whether that’s online, in-person or somewhere in between: 36% of consumers expect to resolve support issues over the phone, 24% in person, 20% through online chat, and 20% through self-service methods.
- Satisfaction breeds trust and advocacy. Positive experiences inspire greater levels of trust and advocacy among consumers. Consumers who have good experiences with organisations in critical industries — such as education systems, hospitals/medical clinics, and government agencies — are more likely to trust them. And when consumers trust an organisation, they’re more likely to recommend them to friends and family, helping to attract new customers. Industries that satisfied consumers’ transactional needs, such as entertainment and food, are the most likely to be recommended based on a positive experience.
Full version of the global report: 2021 Global Consumer Trends