KPMG customer experience report puts retail brands at the front as finance brands drop back

Australian consumer expectations have become more nuanced during the Covid pandemic, with personalisation and empathy now the essential building blocks of a sustainable customer relationship, according to a new report from KPMG.

The KPMG Customer Experience Excellence report surveyed over 20,000 people globally (and over 3000 in Australia) to evaluate which brands delivered the top customer experience.

In 2020, the research showed that Australian consumer sentiment had gone ‘back to basics’ as a result of the pandemic, with an increased focus on home gyms and offices, digital retail and alcohol. This year, brands that clearly orchestrated personalisation and empathy such as Mecca and Bendigo Bank topped the list.

KPMG customer, brand and marketing advisory partner-in-charge, Carmen Bekker, commented: “Personalisation continues to be recognised by Australian customers as the number one driver for customer experience, having the most impact on both advocacy and loyalty. The brands that bring together purpose with personalisation and can demonstrate that they go beyond ‘know me’ to ‘understand me’ and will continue to win consumer hearts and minds.”

Retail continued to build upon its market leading position across industries in driving customer experience excellence. This is despite retail facing significant second-year pandemic challenges including business impacts on omnichannel store network management, managing channel, customer and supply chain challenges, and meeting customer expectations.

Seven of the top 10 brands came from grocery and non-grocery retail, including fast food and quick service retail. Companies which support the online retail experience were also strongly represented, with Afterpay and Paypal also making the top ten.

Pre-pandemic 2019 saw a number of financial brands in the top 10 including Bendigo Bank, RACQ Insurance and Suncorp. All of which have now dropped out of that group.

Topping the list for the first time is online beauty brand Mecca, which has demonstrated ongoing commitment to customer and employee experience. Mecca rapidly accelerated its digital and personalisation capability alongside physical retail expansion. Its loyalty program Beauty Loop avoids discounts and instead relies on a community of 4.3 million highly engaged customers to share data to create its leading customer loyalty and advocacy program.

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For 11 years, KPMG has been asking consumers about their individual experiences with brands. Over that time, more than 385,000 consumers have been interviewed and almost 3,500 brands have been measured, providing about 4 million individual evaluations across 34 countries to support expertise in customer experience best practice.

The research for this report was conducted via an online survey methodology, completed in March and May this year. A nationally representative consumer sample was targeted with 2505 Australian consumers polled on brands they had interacted with witting the past two months.


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