CX Leadership Elusive in Australia

Customer experience (CX) in Australia has been sluggish, with a few standouts. According to Forrester’s 2019 Australia Customer Experience Index the overall quality of CX has improved this year, but two-thirds of brands are stuck in middling territory that’s measured by Forrester’s CX Index. No companies have yet reached the Excellent mark.

To better understand where Australia’s CX stands and where we go from here, let’s look at the three major takeaways highlighted in the report.

Are there any CX winners?

Forrester’s CX Index scored several Australian industries on several factors: CX Quality, which is the effectiveness, ease and emotions customers have with a brand, and Customer Loyalty which is the compliance, engagement and brand advocacy.

Overall, companies did ‘Good’, but not great. In 2019, good CX rankings went up from 6 to 13 per cent while brands ranking in OK went down from 77 to 66 per cent.

Out of the top four brands, only two retailers saw an increase in scores compared to last year, but the gap isn’t incredible. And they still trailed banks:

1. ING Direct -- 75.2
2. Bendigo Bank -- 74.4
3. JB Hi-Fi -- 74.3
4. Officeworks -- 70.0

The biggest leap is multichannel retailer JB Hi-Fi which jumped 7 points from last year. But if we look at Excellent territory, it stands at a whopping 0 per cent change from last year. And even the top two brands, ING Direct and Bendigo, which have been consecutive leaders in Forrester surveys, have been stagnant.

In short, there are no real CX leaders to emerge in Australia.

The three L’s

The report states that since there are no standout brands, that leaves us with three types of brands for customers to interact with:

Languishers: High-scoring brands like ING and Bendigo who have rose up but failed to make any more significant gains over time. This is about 16 per cent of the brands in the report.

Locksteppers: Ranking in at over half of the Australian brands surveyed, these companies have gone up and down the rankings without making a standout impact.

Laggards: Almost a quarter of the brands surveyed, these are companies that have continued to stay near the bottom of the rankings.

At this current state, brands seem doomed to repeat a repetitious cycle of customer experience mediocrity unless something is done.

We need to unlock quality experiences

According to the report, the key to breaking out of the CX rut is focusing on emotional relationships with customers. The report breaks it out mathematically, a formula of positive experiences like confidence, happiness and valued versus annoyance, frustration and disappointment. The top performing brands had about 12 positive experiences for every 1 negative experience, meanwhile the bottom brands had 1 positive experience for every bad one.

If you are hiring associates who are not fully prepared for this type of work or have a pessimistic outlook, they will not only perform poorly, but also spread these harmful interactions to both their coworkers and recipients.

If brands want to move up they need to consider all the emotional aspects that make up a satisfied customer, not just if they are happy. The report stated that brands need to make customers feel both valued and confident to unlock better loyalty.

Australian brands that understand that more needs to be done to create memorable moments with their customers will be the ones to take the first step in breaking out of our flatlined CX. That will pave the way for our future CX Leaders.