The volume of customers giving feedback directly to brands after a bad customer experience in Australia declined in 2023, according to new research released today by Qualtrics. A drop in feedback on bad experiences has not resulted in happier customers, however, with findings also showing consumer trust (- 4% to 71%), advocacy (-3% to 69%), and intent to rebuy (-4% to 69%) all fell over the same period.
Findings in the 2024 Consumer Experience Trends Report from Qualtrics – based on more than 28,000 responses globally, including 1,200 in Australia – show almost three-quarters of consumers (72%) do not share feedback directly with a brand after a bad experience, up 6 points from 2021. In contrast, half of consumers say they will tell their friends and family, 28% will give feedback to the company, 14% will leave an online review, and 13% post to social media.
It’s not just after bad experiences – consumers are giving less direct feedback after good experiences. One-quarter of consumers (27%) will give feedback to the company about a good experience, half will tell their friends and family, 19% will leave an online review, and 13% post to social media.
While consumers may be giving brands less direct feedback, they continue to share their experiences in less direct ways across a variety of channels and times, such as in call centre conversations, in online reviews, online, and in-person. By tuning into feedback in the places where customers are giving it, organisations can create a more authentic view of their customer experience and surface insights that may not have come up in a traditional survey. And this shift in feedback habits highlights an opportunity to build a deeper understanding of what customers want and need, and the critical need for businesses and governments to expand the ways they listen to and respond to consumers and citizens.
“Australian consumers expect more than ever from the organisations they engage with, but fewer people are sharing direct feedback about the experiences they have with organisations. Brands need to find new ways to capture valuable customer feedback in all the places where it’s being shared – like on social media, call transcripts, chat logs, and review sites – and combine it with operational data – such as average spend and visit frequency – to gain insight into what consumers are doing and better understand how to serve them better,” said Moira Dorsey, Principal XM Catalyst, Qualtrics XM Institute.
The Consumer Experience Trends in Australia in 2024
The Qualtrics study shows consumer expectations are on the rise heading into 2024. Providing a seamless experience across every channel – from shopping online through to calling customer support or using a chatbot – is now table stakes. And, as AI becomes a bigger part of daily life, consumers are putting a premium on human connection and rewarding brands that deliver exceptional digital support with their dollars and lasting loyalty.
The shift in how consumers give feedback is one of four trends highlighted by Qualtrics set to define the consumer experience in 2024:
- Human connection is the foundation of a winning AI strategy
- Great service beats low prices in the battle for customer loyalty
- Digital support is the weakest link in your customer journey
- Consumer’s don’t give feedback like they used to, so companies must listen in new ways
A winning AI strategy must address consumers’ fear of losing the human connection
While organisations are focused on adopting and deploying AI to build deeper connections with customers – such as by identifying and rapidly responding to issues, writing communications or personalising experiences and recommendations – Australian consumers are less excited about the changes. Slightly more than one-third of consumers say they are comfortable with AI-powered services and communications (compared to 48% globally), expressing concerns with a lack of human connection, misuse of personal data, the possibility people will lose their jobs, and service quality.
The majority of consumers still prefer to interact with brands via human channels (64%) instead of digital (36%), and the most successful initial AI strategies will see organisations use the technology to power transactional engagements and equip frontline employees with the tools, insights, and ability to deliver higher levels of customer service.