CX expectations continue to rise and AI scepticism remains prevalent – report
Half of Australian consumers have higher CX expectations than a year ago and 71% still prefer human engagement over AI.
According to the ‘Zendesk Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report 2019’ released today, companies across the world are failing to keep up with ever-increasing customer expectations.
The report found that a strong majority of Australian consumers (88%) view customer service as a key factor when making a purchase decision – weighted equally with price and product/service offerings (88%). Global customer satisfaction has also taken big hits over the past five years, down 2.2% globally to 92.5% and down 0.94% to 95.13% in Australia in 2018.
Australian consumers also seem to have higher CX expectations when compared to the global average, with companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Uber setting a high standard.
Half of Australian survey respondents reported higher expectations than only a year prior, compared to the global average of 46%. The report found that Australian consumers value fast replies from brands and agents able to address issues at all hours of the day – with 53% of respondents saying 24/7 availability is key, compared to 36% globally.
While fast responses are a primary priority of Australian respondents, Zendesk says in Australia consumers can be left waiting nearly an entire day (22.8 hours) for a first reply, with 7.3 hours being the average positive first-response time.
“A great CX is now a huge part of Australian consumers’ purchasing decisions,” says Malcolm Koh, APAC CX strategist at Zendesk. “Consumers want fast and easy solutions, and the dip in customer satisfaction shows it’s clear that Australian businesses need to up their CX game.”
The report also found that consumers highly value online resources – such as FAQs – that allow self-service answers before having to contact customer support (56%).
Despite this fondness for self-service options, consumers still, however, appear sceptical of technologies such as AI-driven customer service. According to the report, 71% of consumers would still prefer to interact with a human agent rather than AI; though consumers have indicated they feel AI is helpful in solving simple issues (56%) and in providing 24/7 support (51%).
While some consumers are open to the benefits of AI in customer service, Zendesk says some still struggle to understand it, with more than half (56%) of respondents saying AI makes customer support interactions more confusing.
“It’s no longer a question of if but when businesses will start deploying AI to improve their CX,” says Rod Moynihan, ANZ director of Zendesk.
“Already in Australia, our customers are seeing the benefits of AI, from cost reduction to improving efficiency. The challenges are there, but with the right strategy and commitment to ongoing improvement, I believe these can be easily resolved.”
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