Less than half (45%) of Australian CX professionals have a well-defined CX strategy, according to the inaugural State of the CX Nation report from Ipsos and Ashton Media.
The report is a first-of-its-kind for Australia’s CX industry, noted that brand alignment and CX strategies were critical for 83% of Australian CX professionals, and just 21% said they had an accountable CX governance structure.
Conducted by Ipsos between May and July this year, it is designed to set the benchmark for customer experience in Australia, allowing organisations to leverage the insights to support their critical CX business decisions.
The report focuses on identifying future trends, best practices, challenges facing CX leaders in Australia, and the evolving nature of customer experience. It highlights the growing responsibility for CX in organisations to deliver unique, differentiated, personalised and privacy-compliant experiences for customers.
The report also revealed that CX professionals surveyed were overwhelmingly clear about the need for brand and CX alignment – 84% of those surveyed said aligning brand and CX strategies were critical.
Respondents said in order to improve, CX teams needed to move from the sidelines to the centre of operational decision-making.
Additionally, the report revealed just one in five CX professionals believe their organisations are consistently incorporating customer feedback into their product and service design, despite the fact that two thirds are collecting feedback and taking steps to directly respond to customers.
Encouragingly, 64% of respondents said they had some knowledge of their customer journey and profiles, but most acknowledged there was still a long way to go in incorporating CX into business as usual – more than half (55%) of CX professionals agreed that CX was like a “fish out of water” without any clear ROI, while half of those surveyed said many benefits of CX initiatives continue to go unmeasured.
CX teams are also feeling the pressure to demonstrate a return on the customer experience, with two thirds of respondents saying they need to show a connection between CX and ROI to secure budget.
The Ipsos report also found that many organisations are actively experimenting with AI and are planning to use it within their businesses to gather critical customer data. Additionally, most CX teams are excited about the future of AI, planning to use the technology to help them grow and expand customer bases.
As CX teams prepare their strategies for next year, most are set to focus on data and analytics, customer loyalty and retention, and customer journey mapping in 2024.
Lance Webb, Ipsos CX Director ANZ, said: “As researchers and CX enthusiasts, we know our world is changing, we have witnessed seismic disruptions powered by digital and data, and the merging of physical and digital environments to ‘phygital’, which is raising the bar for customer expectations.
“Customers now compare the experiences they receive not only against direct competitors but also against the likes of Uber, Amazon and Apple. Customers’ expectations have become liquid, where new expectations of standards for product and service experience are being created by brands in completely different categories. It was a natural fit to partner with Ashton Media for this new landmark research report which will bring insights relevant to Australia that will help CX leaders make informed future business decisions.
“It’s also an exciting time for CX investment in Australia, as businesses increasingly recognise the value of delivering exceptional customer experiences. The landscape is undergoing significant growth and transformation as companies embrace digital channels, leverage cutting-edge technologies like generative AI, and enhance data analytics capabilities. I’m excited to see what the future holds for the nation’s CX offering.”
Tim Stuart-Harris, Ashton Media commercial director and co-founder, said: “Ashton Media is proud to be partnering with leading global customer experience experts Ipsos on this research piece which is unique to the Australian market. Having produced ANZ’s leading CX, customer insights and contact centre conferences for more than 10 years, we pride ourselves on delivering unparalleled insights into the CX industry with inspiring speakers, highly targeted content, and the most senior delegations in the region.
“We see the State of the CX Nation report as a natural extension of our conferences, a highly targeted in-depth piece of research that will identify the key challenges facing CX leaders in Australia and highlight the changing nature of customer experience and the growing responsibility of CX within organisations.”
Ipsos Managing Director, Liz Harley, said: “Working in the CX space is very exciting at the moment. With the increasing number of factors impacting businesses, such as cost of living, digital channels, AI, ESG, employee engagement, how to measure ROI and tough competition, it is more important than ever to strategically consider the customer experience.
“One of the key findings of the State of the CX Nation report is that now is the opportune time to position CX experts at the core of businesses, moving the CX team from the sidelines to a fully integrated and aligned position, supported by a board-level champion who can lead and influence the company’s strategic direction. By ensuring the seamless integration of the CX strategy with the overall business strategy, it will set a new benchmark for leadership in driving business growth.”
The State of the CX Nation report is based on survey data collected from 160 CX professionals nationwide, along with in-depth interviews with national CX leaders in various sectors including finance, insurance, automotive, retail, healthcare, consumer packaged goods and telecommunications.
The report is set to be released annually.