Companies of all sizes across industries and geographies aren’t equipped to keep up with ever increasing customer expectations, according to a new report from Zendesk.

In Australia, a majority of consumers (88 per cent) view customer service as a key factor when making a purchasing decision. Equally important is price and product/service offerings (also 88 per cent) in the consumer purchasing decision.

The figures are contained in the report The Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2019, released this week.

At the same time, there has been a dip in overall customer satisfaction globally, and in Australia. Over the past five years, customer satisfaction is down 2.2 per cent globally to 92.5 per cent in 2018, while in Australia it has decreased by 0.94 to 95.13 per cent.

Australian consumers have higher expectations of customer experience than the global average, showing the importance for Australian businesses to make CX a key focus in their business. Half of Australian consumers surveyed said their expectations are higher than they were a year ago, compared to the global average of 46 per cent.

In Australia, customers value fast replies and agents who can address their issues around the clock, with over half of the respondents (53 per cent) indicating that 24/7 availability is key, compared to slightly over a third globally (36 per cent). While fast response and resolution is key, some consumers can be left waiting nearly a whole day (22.8 hours) for a first reply, whereas 7.3 hours is the average positive first-response time in Australia.

Malcolm Koh, Customer Experience Strategist, APAC, Zendesk said, “A great customer experience is now a huge part of Australian consumers’ purchasing decisions. Consumers want fast and easy solutions, and the dip in customer satisfaction shows it’s clear that Australian businesses need to up their CX game.”

Customers also highly value companies with online resources that enable them to answer their own questions through self-service before getting in touch with customer support (56 per cent).

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