Australian companies are on the cusp of a customer relationship crisis

Many Australian companies lack the ability to provide a top-tier customer experience and they are at risk of losing business because of it, writes Jason du Preez.

The pandemic has made customer retention paramount, with heightened risks of incumbents losing customers and revenue to their competitors. Customer engagement is more important than ever for Australian businesses.

The pandemic has dramatically accelerated a number of customer experience trends in Australia, including online shopping, tap and go, self-service and contactless delivery. Being able to meet customers, where, when and how they want to shop is crucial along with empathy and understanding.

Likewise, market challengers need to remain flexible and nimble to compete for new business. But many Australian businesses lack the necessary tools to provide the kind of customer experience that will keep them competitive.

Our recent CRM and Sales Impact Report found that 50 percent of Australian businesses cannot access aggregated data across marketing, sales and service systems and a massive 82 percent agree that a consolidated view of customer information across the whole business is critical in delivering optimal customer experience (CX), but yet 52 percent report their current customer relationship management (CRM) system isn’t fit for purpose.

Australian businesses need to deliver on CX

Many Australian businesses lack the necessary tools to provide a modern, fast, frictionless CX across in-store and digital that is vital to remain competitive. For the most part, Australian businesses have a fragmented, dated and distorted picture of their customers affecting the level of service that they can deliver and severely impacting their ability to grow and anticipate and respond to emerging customer trends.

To transform CX into a competitive advantage, Australian companies need to replace their current hazy view with a sharply focused picture that’s rich in breadth and depth that can help them delight their customers, anticipate their needs, respond to shifting preferences and increase customer lifetime value.

A complete source of truth

Over half of Australian businesses reported that, over the last 12 months, customer churn has increased and 53 percent of Australian businesses admit they don’t know which customers are likely to churn as they lack the necessary insights into their customers.
The inability to access customer data in a single view across all functions and aspects of the business is a major impediment and source of frustration for many customer service and sales teams. Without access to a complete source of truth, companies cannot optimise the customer experience nor manage expectations required to minimise churn.

What is needed is a connected and comprehensive customer view enabled by technology to provide additional insight. The lack of a high-definition customer view is why a massive 95 percent of Australian businesses reported their organisation is currently using some AI to augment existing processes. Customer clarity and an AI data-fueled CRM is crucial to reduce customer churn, understand the changing customer needs and preferences and help keep Australian companies competitive and innovative.

Digital transformation, heightened competition, and customer expectations present Australian companies with a critical choice – improve their CRM and boost CX, or risk losing market share.

Jason du Preez is the senior vice president, APAC, at SugarCRM.

Photo by Bit Cloud on Unsplash.