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Consumers report higher satisfaction with omnichannel brands

Despite widespread investment in digital initiatives, Australian retailers still end up disappointing consumers more often than delighting them, according to new research from SAP Australia.

The software company found that while businesses are providing better digital experiences than in previous years, 35 per cent of consumers still say they are unsatisfied compared to 31 per cent who say they are delighted.

This was one of the findings included in the 2017 Australian Digital Experience Report, which SAP released this week.

The report is based on results from more than 4,000 Australians who rated more than 11,000 interactions against 14 attributes in eight industries: retail consumer, retail grocery, telecommunications/internet service providers, insurance, banking, utilities, media and entertainment and air travel.

Retail grocery brands led the way, with the biggest improvement in their combined digital experience score from -4 to 10 over the past 12 months.

This was followed by the banking, media and entertainment and retail consumer industries, which also returned positive digital experience scores.

Air travel achieved an overall score of 1, which means it has an almost even split of delighted and unsatisfied customers, while insurance, telecommunications and utilities all have more unsatisfied customers when it comes to digital experience.

For the second year running, Netflix was singled out by Australians as having the best digital experience among all brands. Other leaders include online retailer Kogan, Vodafone and Suncorp Bank.

“The digital performance of brands in Australia has significantly improved since we first launched the study in 2015. When we look at industry-specific scores, retailers are clearly equipping themselves with innovative digital capabilities to prepare themselves for future disruption, such as the impending local launch of Amazon,” said Colin Brookes, president and managing director of SAP Australia and New Zealand.

Omnichannel improves satisfaction

This year’s report shows how brands can improve their digital experience scores by delivering an omnichannel experience.

Brands that engaged with customers across multiple channels saw a lift in Net Promotor Score (8 per cent versus -1 per cent) and customer loyalty (43 per cent would remain loyal versus 38 per cent), versus those that offer a single channel.

But managing experiences across multiple channels can be a challenge. Omnichannel experiences disappointed  29 per cent of consumers, compared to just 16 per cent in single channel.

“Consumers no longer view each brand interaction in isolation – they want a consistent experience at every touch-point. The best performing brands across industries are looking outside the box and ensuring each consumer interaction is optimised, personalised and, above all, delightful,” said Stuart O’Neill, head of SAP Hybris Australia and New Zealand.

Forty-three per cent of consumers use at least five channels to engage with brands, including physical stores, contact centres, mail, websites, live chat, social media and mobile apps.

And consumers reported higher satisfaction on digital channels – websites scored the highest rating, followed by email and mobile apps – than offline ones like shopfronts, contact centres and mail.

However, newer technologies, such as social media and live chat, offered the lowest levels of satisfaction for digital channels.

“We need to remember consumers are individuals with preferred methods of engagement. Providing an optimised experience across all channels ensures that, no matter where they choose to reach you, they have an experience that meets their expectations,” said O’Neill.

“This is increasingly important with the number of international brands launching in Australia, many of which are defined by robust omni-channel experiences.”

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