Responsible use of data, efficient service and the occasional freebie are the best ways for brands to keep customers sweet. Indeed a new study suggests that Australian consumers are tired of heavy-handed targeting tactics.

The SAP Hybris Consumer Insight survey also suggests customers want quick answers with almost half of Australians (45 per cent) expecting a response within three hours. The vast majority (92 per cent) expect their question to be answered within 24 hours.

Failing to meet these expectations has severe consequences, with 72 per cent saying they won’t use a brand again if customer service is unresponsive.

With international brands already renowned for speedy service, and market heavyweight Amazon arriving in Australia soon, SAP Hybris Australia and New Zealand Head of Business, Stuart O’Neill, said local brands must get on the front foot to stay competitive.

According to O’Neill, complacency is the biggest threat to Australian brands. They must respond quickly when customers reach out to them, and do so in a consistent manner whether it’s in store, over the phone, online or via social media.

“A customer’s time is precious and our research shows they have a low tolerance for brands that waste it,” he said.

“This means all contact with a brand should be considered equal. Consumers see no distinction between their experiences in a dressing room, engaging with a chatbot or loading up an online cart. If any of these interactions provide a poor experience, consumers will seek a better one elsewhere.”

Valued customer experiences (and biggest turn-offs)

The research shows Australians view their personal data as a precious commodity, which must be protected and should only be used to improve their level of service.

Surprise discounts and freebies were a hit with 61 per cent of Australians when asked about valuable personalised experiences. Efficient customer service again ranked highly, with more than half valuing appropriate responses that show an understanding of their personal history. Relevant content (47 per cent) is also valued by consumers.

More than three-quarters of Australians (78 per cent) would not use a brand again if their personal data was used without their knowledge, while 68 per cent look elsewhere after receiving unnecessary spam. The top three brand behaviours that bother consumers were too many direct marketing and sales calls (60 per cent), too many marketing and sales emails (56 per cent) and pushing irrelevant content (49 per cent).

“Beyond simply capturing customer data, brands need to analyse, contextualise and act on insights in real time if they’re to truly impress today’s consumers,” O’Neill said.

“Brands that fail to adapt are in danger of quickly becoming irrelevant.”

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