Australian consumers are more likely to be dissatisfied with the digital experience offered by business than otherwise, although perceptions have improved significantly over the last two years according to the authors of the SAP 2017 Australian Digital Experience Report.
The message for business is to focus on delivering a consistent experience across a few channels initially, rather than splitting their effort across too many fronts. Companies that try to do too much too soon are actually hurting their brand equity with consumers, according to Stuart O’Neill, Head of SAP Hybris, ANZ.
Overall Australian companies are doing a better job on the CX front although the headline mark remains negative. That said the overall perception is approaching at least a neutral view.
The Digital Experience scores have improved 10 points each year since the study began, however, that’s a better result than it might appear. Customer expectations have also increased during that time making the benchmark harder to achieve, O’Neill told Which-50.
Originally held in 2015 the key finding that first year was that there was a huge gap between leaders and laggards when it came to customer experience, he said.
“And that gap was significant enough that it was affecting business performance.”
According to O’Neill, “Those businesses which were performing really well where getting incremental revenue, their brand image improved and they were moving ahead leaps and bounds. But the rest were being left behind.” He also said many companies at the time were focused on Net Promoter Scores but few took that to the next level and determined how it related to business benefit.
By 2016 the research suggested that companies were starting to get a return by simply focusing on getting the basics right. The overall score improved from minus 24 to minus 14. But there were still big gaps in performance.
“The message in the second year from consumers was simply ‘Let me get through the website and through the digital interaction in one piece and make it simple and easy for me to come out the other side.’ But a lot of companies still hadn’t got that right.”
The study also found that pure plays were doing a much better job than omnichannel businesses. This year, however, the results suggest that companies who can deliver two to three channels really well are garnering rewards.
“These days we expect mobile and desktop as standard, we expect consistency of the experience and that includes consistent pricing, and we want the experience to be contextual,” said O’Neill.
Room to improve
The study found for instance that Australian brands and organisations are still struggling around ‘social media’ and ‘live chat’, where despite money being spent, the experience as deemed by the consumer is not living up to expectations.
The report also suggests that consumers are typically using at least five channels in most engagements but that brands do a poor job at integration.
“Most (87 per cent) interactions involve more than one channel. Digital experience scores are also higher when more than one channel is involved. However, findings show brands are delivering better digital experiences through a single channel than when multiple touch-points are involved – highlighting room for improvement.”