Three key focal points for Aussie retailers in 2024

A new report has revealed that the retail services industry has ranked best for customer service, with grocery and supermarket coming out on top, closely followed by food and beverage.

However, with brand loyalty on the line and cost-of-living pressures continuing to impact consumers, there is still work to be done to better meet consumer needs.

The Customer Experience Intelligence Report released by ServiceNow, revealed that one-in-three customers are losing trust in customer service and that speed, accessibility, and empathy should be the three key focal points for customer service in 2024.

The study of more than 1,000 Australians, conducted by Lonergan Research, revealed patience with bad service is forcing a ‘brand switch’, with 94 per cent expecting to change their spending behaviour in 2024 as cost-of-living pressures bite.

What’s causing Aussies to switch brands?

According to the study, 82 per cent of the Australians surveyed said that because costs are going up, they have less patience with bad service, which is an increase from 72 per cent last year.

It also revealed that 60 per cent of Australians will buy and spend less, and that 55 per cent will search for better offers, in response to pressures from rising costs and poor service.

When service goes wrong, Australians are also giving organisations less time to get things right, with 59 per cent saying they will take business elsewhere after waiting only two to three days to have their issues resolved.

However, it takes businesses one work week (5.1 days) on average to resolve customer issues.

Simon Bowker, Head of Customer Workflow Solutions for APAC at ServiceNow, says that the time it’s taking to resolve customer issues is hurting people, brands, and employers.

“As the cost of living continues to rise in 2024, fed-up Australians are giving brands less leeway when it comes to resolving complaints,” he says.

In positive news for retailers, the study found that retail goods and services took the title for ‘best customer service’ despite also fielding the highest volume of complaints (62 per cent).

The grocery and supermarket industry has the best average customer service ranking (6.7/10), with food and beverage close behind (6.6/10) and government had the lowest average customer service ranking (5.4/10) with only 18 per cent ranking its customer service good.

Bowker says: “Businesses know they cannot afford service delays or worse to not deliver on the customer promise. It’s an incredible result for a high-volume service industry like retail to rank ‘best for customer service’, while also addressing the highest number of complaints in 2023. It proves that the investments made in customer service support via apps and chatbots are improving experiences for Australians.”

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