SYDNEY – 9 July 2018 – MuleSoft, provider of the leading platform for building application networks, today released the Australian results of “Consumer Connectivity Insights 2018” which surveyed more than 1,000 Australians out of more than 8,000 consumers globally. The report analysed whether organisations are meeting customer expectations for a connected, personalised experience across industries and geographies. The report found that customer loyalty is at risk for organisations unable to provide seamless experiences across all channels and timely access to information.
Consumers Threaten to Switch Providers Due to Disconnected Experiences
More than four out of five (84 percent) Australian consumers believe that organisations in at least one of the four sectors surveyed (banking, insurance, retail, government) provide a disconnected experience. Government services was seen as the worst performer, with 72 percent of consumers saying they received a disconnected experience. This likely is due to a lack of competitive pressure on governments to improve service delivery. While retailers were the best performers, still more than half (59 percent) of Australian consumers said they received disconnected experiences, highlighting more needs be done to satisfy customers.
In private industries, a majority of Australian consumers said disconnected experience would make them consider changing to another service provider or vendor:
- Banks – 61 percent
- Insurance – 67 percent
- Retailers – 67 percent
The level of personalisation varies considerably between industries. In Australia, the most personalised experiences are seen in the finance (70 percent) and insurance (61 percent) sectors. Meanwhile, government services - at all levels - are the least likely to feel personalised, with only 41 percent of consumers saying government interactions feel personalised.
“Across all industries, organisations are falling short in delivering connected customer experiences. Australians are calling for on-demand experiences where their needs are meet in minutes not days,” said Will Bosma, VP of Asia Pacific, MuleSoft. “The risks for organisations that fail to adapt are significant – more than 60 percent of Australians have considered changing a service provider due to a disconnected experience. While only a small percentage actually actioned this threat in the past 12 months, we can expect many more to act on their words if organisations do not act quickly to improve connectivity and personalisation,” continued Bosma.
Chatbot Hype Falls Short in Meeting Customer Expectations
As consumer expectations rapidly evolve due to the entrance of new technologies, delivering a connected consumer experience remains a challenge for many organisations. To improve customer service, one technology area organisations are looking to invest in more is chatbots. According to Gartner, Inc., 25 percent of customer service operations will use virtual customer assistant or chatbot technology by 2020.
Consumer Connectivity Insights 2018 revealed that while many organisations are adopting chatbots, improvements need to be made to ensure this new technology is effectively responding to customer needs:
- 43 percent of Australian consumers have engaged with a chatbot when contacting an organisation over the last 12 months; however, only 35 percent of those who had used chatbots said their query had been completely resolved or answered.
- 27 percent were asked to call a customer service representative directly
- 22 percent said the chatbot was unable to resolve or answer the query as it didn’t have access to the necessary information or systems
- 14 percent said they were directed to a web form
The majority of Australian consumers said they believe there will be benefits from chatbots becoming more intelligent, resulting in a better level of customer service in the future (only 22 percent of Australian consumers said there would be no benefit).
- Half (50 percent) of Australian respondents cited 24/7 customer service and not having to wait on the phone as the biggest benefit of chatbots
In addition to chatbots, Australian consumers expressed some interest in securely interacting with organisations via popular messaging services such as WhatsApp, Viber or iMessage. However, consumers were overall divided on the utility of these services, with retail being the only industry where more than half (52 percent) of consumers expressed interest in using these kinds of communication channels. In banking, insurance and government, less than half of consumers wanted to be able to use these channels to interact with providers.
Australians Are Resilient Despite Difficulties
Australian survey respondents were fairly loyal to service providers across industries despite less-than-optimal connected experiences. The majority of Australian consumers (between 60 percent and 71 percent) said they would not give up on an activity or request, even if the organisation’s processes made completing it difficult:
- Banking – 66 percent
- Insurance – 66 percent
- Retail – 71 percent
- Federal Government – 67 percent
- Local government – 70 percent
Australian consumers were also relatively accepting of the time taken to perform various types of transactions. For example, a majority of Australian consumers believe opening a new bank account (88 percent) or applying for a credit card (76 percent) should be relatively instantaneous – taking under a day. However, most accepted they would have to wait longer for more complex transactions like applying for a mortgage.
Twenty-five percent of Australian consumers said they would like to apply for a loan in under an hour, and 50 percent want to be able to sign up to an insurance policy in the same timeframe. This may suggest that while consumers will accept longer timeframes, they will favour providers that are able to simplify connected experiences, reduce friction and make transactions occur faster.
“Many organisations are feeling the pressure to start creating a connected customer journey, building a single view of the customer across all touchpoints and bringing a customer-centric view to everything they do,” said Bosma. “The Consumer Connectivity Insights 2018 report highlights the challenges these organisations are facing in bringing all the technology pieces together to change the customer experience.”
“An API-led connectivity approach enables data to be integrated from a wide range of systems, both on-premises and in the cloud, enabling organisations to create the most current, 360-degree view of the customer. Some organisations have deployed an application network to support this endeavour seamlessly connecting applications, data and devices via APIs to create reusable services. Organisations who do this well will be the ones who will succeed and engender great customer loyalty,” said Bosma.
This global survey was commissioned by MuleSoft and independently carried out by Opinium Research. The total sample size was 8,019 adults: UK (2,004 adults), US (2,002 adults), Germany (1,001 adults), Netherlands (1,002 adults), Australia (1,010 adults) and Singapore (1,000 adults). Demographic split 18-34 year-olds (2,282 adults), 35-54 year-old (3,029 adults) and 55+ years-old (2,708 adults). Fieldwork was undertaken online between 3-9 April 2018. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adult populations (aged 18+).
About Anypoint Platform
MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform™ is a leading application network platform. It allows organizations to create composite applications that connect apps, data and devices through API-led connectivity to form a flexible application network. Anypoint Platform is a unified, single solution for iPaaS, ESB and full lifecycle API management, both on-premises and in the cloud.
About MuleSoft, a Salesforce company
MuleSoft’s mission is to help organisations change and innovate faster by making it easy to connect the world’s applications, data and devices. With its API-led approach to connectivity, MuleSoft’s market-leading Anypoint Platform(TM) is enabling over 1,200 organisations in approximately 60 countries to build application networks. Click for more information. Or visit MuleSoft
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 Press Release, “Gartner Says 25 Percent of Customer Service Operations Will Use Virtual Customer Assistants by 2020” 19 February 2018: https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3858564