Tuesday, 04 May 2021 12:57

Consumer behaviour changing, study finds


Australian companies are poised to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and this recovery will usher a change in consumer behaviour, according to a study. As customer sastisfaction soar, the study recommends "companies should adapt to the new normal" to deliver different experiences to attract and retain loyal consumers. 

Consumer behaviour and expectations are changing in Australia, and businesses should provide new experiences to meet the needs of consumers today, according to a new research by Qualtrics.

The new study conducted by Qualtrics Experience Management (XM) Institute titled 2021 Australian Consumer Trends examined the perspective of 1,000 consumers in Australia. It highlights “how companies will need to revise their business plans to deliver great online, in-person, and hybrid experiences to attract and retain loyal consumers.

Vicky Katsabaris, Director of XM Solutions and Strategy, Qualtrics Asia Pacific and Japan, gives her insight on the study. "As we move forward from the pandemic, the eyes of the world are on Australia with consumers in the country giving the rest of the world insight into how habits are changing as restrictions lift. It means regional CX leaders have an opportunity to define the future of customer experience globally by designing the new products and services aligned with evolving consumer expectations, and then continuously improving them", she says. 

Bruce Temkin, Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute, affirms the research findings.

“The research shows consumers are not going back to the way things were”, he declares.

“Consumers have adapted to a new, digital-first landscape, and the experiences they have with brands across digital channels directly impact their purchasing decisions. Organisations need to prepare for the future instead of trying to recreate the past.”

Here are highlights from the study:

● Consumer satisfaction in Australia exceeds the global average. Three-quarters of consumers in Australia (74%) said they were satisfied with their brand interactions, in comparison to 66% globally. Out of the 18 countries surveyed, Australian ranked fifth in satisfaction—behind India, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the UK. Streaming services (83%), grocery stores (82%), and medical clinics (80%) scored the highest levels of satisfaction.

● Consumers went digital, and most of them are not going back. Having embraced new digital channels for most engagements during the pandemic, there is now a clear differentiation between what behaviours consumers will continue to show and where they will revert.

○ Consumers in Australia are going back to face-to-face engagements for more personal interactions, such as online education and medical support, or catching up with friends and family.

○ While Australians expect to do more transactional brand engagements through digital platforms such as online banking and shopping, and contacting customer service, consumers said they expect to use online grocery and restaurant delivery services less than during the pandemic. While these services expectedly peaked during 2020, the return to new normal outlines how consumer considerations extend beyond convenience.

● Customer service is an important differentiator. Consumers are more discerning than about their purchasing choices, and organisations need to do more than market the quality or price of their products and services: 20% of consumers would prefer to buy from an organisation that treats them well, and 13% would make a purchase based on corporate social responsibility.

● Consumers increasingly expect great experiences across multiple platforms. Organisations need to invest in delivering quality customer service and meet customers where they are—whether that’s online, in-person or somewhere in between: 36% of consumers expect to resolve support issues over the phone, 24% in person, 20% through online chat, and 20% through self-service methods.

● Satisfaction breeds trust and advocacy. Positive experiences inspire greater levels of trust and advocacy among consumers. Consumers who have good experiences with organisations in critical industries—such as education systems, hospitals/medical clinics, and government agencies—are more likely to trust them. And when consumers trust an organisation, they’re more likely to recommend them to friends and family, helping to attract new customers. Industries that satisfied consumers’ transactional needs, such as entertainment and food, are the most likely to be recommended based on a positive experience.

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Kenn Anthony Mendoza

Kenn Anthony Mendoza is the newest member of the iTWire team. Kenn is also a contributing writer for South China Morning Post Style, and has written stories on Korean entertainment, Asian and European royalty, Millionaires and Billionaires, and LGBTQIA+ issues. He has been published in Philippine newspapers, magazines, and online sites: Tatler PhilippinesManila BulletinCNN Philippines LifePhilippine StarManila Times, and The Daily Tribune. Kenn now covers all aspects of technology news for iTWire.com.

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