Most Australian and New Zealand organisations rate their ability to deliver customer experiences as not very advanced or immature, well behind the global and regional levels, according to Adobe’s latest research.

But the marketing giant says Australia’s banking industry is an exception – in some cases the envy of the world for customer experiences at scale.

Turning the broad gap around though will be a challenge, Adobe says, because one third of local organisations have not incorporated any of the major or emerging CX technologies, like real time personalisation, enhanced payment options, IoT, or AI. 

That is despite relatively high prioritisation of CX and a good understanding of its value in Australia and New Zealand. 

To close the gap and catch up to CX leaders – which Adobe’s research suggests make more money – local organisations need to “fracture” their organisational silos, shift to a more integrated technology stack, and leverage emerging tech like AI and machine learning to reduce low value tasks, according to Scott Rigby, Adobe’s APAC head of digital transformation.

Speaking to Which-50, Rigby said some of the gap between ANZ and the rest of the world could be put down to the self-assessment component of the survey – ANZ organisations tend to be more “self critical”.

But, Rigby says, APAC organisations are also typically still laggards when it comes to CX technology investment compared to the US and EU, notwithstanding some notable exceptions.

“There are [also] plenty of businesses here that are shooting the lights out in respect of their CX capability and leading the way. The banks in ANZ are a good example. 

“Quite often we see other financial institutions around the region as well as globally look at what’s happening within this market to say, you know, I want to replicate the degree and scale in which they deliver CX.”

Source: Adobe

There is also a benefit to Australia’s hesitation on CX technology, Rigby says. Unlike many organisations in the EU and US which invested heavily in best of breed technology early last decade, many local organisations held off, Adobe’s APAC leader says.

Now they are better placed to invest in a more integrated technology stack, according to Rigby.

“We’ve seen that [best of breed approach] pivot entirely to ‘We need integrated technology, ideally from a single vendor on a platform, because we’re spending far too much time trying to hold the technology together than actually getting value out of technology and delivering better experiences to customers.’”

“APAC has benefited from that [pivot].”

Rigby, whose company rolled out such a platform locally for the first time this year, argues the integrated approach will provide further value as new technologies and data sources emerge.

Experience leaders make more money: Adobe

Adobe’s digital trends research, now in its tenth year, again suggests the link between customer experience and business goals. According to Adobe, brands delivering leading customer experiences are three times more likely to have “significantly exceeded their 2019 business goals”.

But most brands aren’t doing that, at least at a high level, according to the research which surveyed 13,000 marketing, advertising, ecommerce and IT professionals around the world. And APAC in particular is struggling with CX.

Only 7 per cent of APAC organisations consider themselves mature in delivering CX compared to 11 per cent from the rest of the world. In Australia and New Zealand, Adobe’s data suggest more importance is being placed on CX – nearly a third see it as their main differentiator – but most local organisations still rate themselves as not very advanced or immature.

According to Rigby, the few local CX leaders are taking an iterative approach to customer experiences, backing it up with data or “digital KPIs” across the organisation.

“Benchmarking that [customer experience] with data in real time and then pivoting on the experience they are providing,” Rigby says. “Testing out different experiences for the customers and doing that at scale has really helped them evolve the customer experience much quicker than competitors in the market.”

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