Australian SMBs are not doing as well as they think they are when it comes to customer service, according to a new report from Zendesk.
With the nation’s ongoing digital disruption, declining brand trust, and customers’ increasing values-driven decision-making, businesses are finding it more difficult to differentiate themselves – but focusing on customer experience (CX) could be the key.
Customer expectations are on the rise, with each experience now being compared to global giants like Airbnb and Uber, regardless of size or industry.
Consumers are looking for brands that enhance their customer experience, from the speed and ease of support requests, to seamless information sharing, and the ability to communicate via channels they are already familiar with.
“Customers believe their needs are pretty simple – they want service that is quick, efficient, and convenient. With mobile phone penetration at an all-time high, and the majority of Australians now having an active online presence, they assume that companies are equipped to meet their expectations,” said Zendesk APAC customer-in-residence Malcolm Koh.
“Small and mid-sized businesses need to place a higher focus on integrating customer support channels – particularly across digital platforms – if they want to remain competitive.
“Our data shows that the small and mid-sized businesses that are seeing the fastest growth are those that are embracing omnichannel platforms designed to offer seamless interactions across multiple channels.
“It’s not just a better experience for customers, it also makes support agents’ tasks easier which boosts a business’s efficiency.”
Most businesses understand the importance of incorporating these tools and strategies, however many are struggling to keep up, particularly when it comes to embracing digital solutions. Zendesk’s data shows that while more than two-thirds of CX leaders at small and mid-size businesses say they measure success based on providing multiple ways to contact customer service, only a third are truly omnichannel.
According to Zendesk, today’s digital world brings greater opportunities for businesses to respond to the new experience economy. Data integration, customised responses, and a complete picture of customers’ past activity are important factors to achieving a seamless experience, but the research reveals a disconnect in the ability to understand customer data across the business.
“The first step in bridging this data divide is to bring all the business’s data sources together, and break down the silos between functions so that you can pull out the unique insights that will help you understand your customers better,” said Koh.
“Secondly, adopting new digital technologies that allow you to be agile, scale and personalise your service is the secret sauce to help businesses stay ahead of this new normal in customer experience. Embedding an omnichannel approach will ensure your business is closing the gap between customer perception and reality.”
Key report findings
● 64% of SMB leaders globally agree that using data sources to create customer profiles helps them provide better service, however over 30% of Australian SMBs don’t know what tools they use to do this.
● Just 19% of Australian SMBs are using social media to provide customer support compared with 28% globally, and only 4% are leveraging e-commerce solutions compared with 12% globally.
● 85% of SMB leaders globally say they gauge their teams’ effectiveness based on how quickly they response to an initial inquiry. However, Australian SMBs reported an average response time of between 10 and 20 hours when they began implementing Zendesk solutions.