Aussie CX: All Talk, Little Action

Australian companies are talking a lot about improving their CX through digital channels. But consumers remain unimpressed.

According to a recent Forrester survey of 9,003 Australian consumers, only the banking sector was rated as “good” for CX. That rating has not improved in any meaningful way since 2017.

Improvement was incremental across the board. But insurers, retailers, pension providers, and the Federal Government lagged far behind banks.

The Government sector, in particular, performed worst. More than 50% of survey respondents rated its CX as poor, a figure that has not improved in two years.

The message for Australian organizations is to "stop decorating and start renovating." They also need to invest in foundational capabilities and not tweak front-facing experiences.

Real Investment is Low

Organizations want to fix apparent faults. But their approach is driven by cost savings rather than a commitment to change.

The way forward is for CX professionals to make a case for CX transformation. They need to make it the driving force behind digital change. It is not all about technology either. Forrester saw the human component of empowering employees as instrumental to improving CX.

The survey results were presented at the Forrester event CX Sydney 2019 last week. Vikram Sehgal, the vice president for APAC Data Strategy, pointed out that the CX results come in the context of a market where a respectable 76% of Australian firms said they were embracing digital transformation.

CX is up there as a crucial motivating factor. Thirty-eight percent in another survey of 79 Australian DX executives nominated CX as one of the top benefits they sought. It was second only to cost reduction, which was cited by 39%.

This is way higher than other perceived benefits such as product and service innovation (22%), improving IT capabilities (29%) and growing revenues (29%).

Despite this, only 29% of Australian companies were investing in the digital experience they deliver to customers, Sehgal said.

Multichannel Touchpoints

Forrester also looked at how Australian consumers interact with companies across multichannel touchpoints.

In the banking sector, which is a leader in CX, 38% of customers interacted through digital channels. It was second only to the pension industry where the figure was 39%.

The Government sector, which ranked last for CX, also had a high number of consumers interacting through digital only, at 36%. Thirty-one percent of consumers used both digital and nondigital channels, while 24% used nondigital ones.

The figures suggested that Australian Government agencies lagged behind the private sector. This is despite Forrester rating the Australian Government higher than other Governments. Forrester research identified the Australian and Canadian Government sectors as comparative CX leaders. But they also estimated that they are up to 9 years behind the private sector.

Incremental improvements through chatbots and AI-based solutions help. But the key lies in understanding transactions and customers journeys at websites.

In contrast to Government, the retail sector is doing a better job at CX. Even though 59% of Australian retail consumers interacted with providers through nondigital channels, the sector ranked as "ok" for CX in the Forrester survey. This was significantly higher than pension providers and Government.

Digital Resistance Remains High

Forrester also segmented the 9,003 consumers it interviewed into five categories. It was based on their level of digital sophistication and level of empowerment.

The categories ranged from the 24% “progressive pioneers” at one end of the spectrum to the 15% “reserved resisters” at the other end.

The progressive pioneers are, on average, 37 years old. They consumed around 40% of their services through hybrid channels and 30% through digital only.

Interestingly, the percentage using digital-only channels across all five categories was reasonably stable. It only varied marginally from an average of 20%.

The large variations came in the use of hybrid and digital channels. More than 50% of reserved resisters stuck with nondigital channels, almost double that of the most sophisticated digital users.