Major Australian brands including SEEK, Red Energy and Yarra Valley Water have joined forces to back the Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association (ACXPA), an industry association launched to reverse Australia’s poor customer service standards and ensure customer experience (CX) is recognised by the C-suite for its profit-making potential.

ACXPA was formed by CX veteran Justin Tippett, who is joined by 25 industry leaders eager to drive change in the industry. ACXPA was formed to provide a space for the estimated 1.4 million Australians working in customer service to connect, form ideas and improve the industry.

“How many of us can recall consistent, positive interactions we’ve had with brands in recent times? I’ve worked in customer service for almost 30 years, and the industry has gone downhill,” Tippett said.

A recent study found Australians were kept on hold for almost 100 million hours last year, and an additional 1.6 million people made customer service complaints compared with 2021.

“Company leaders are so far removed from the customer service coal face, and often deploy technology without thinking it through, using customers and frontline agents as crash test dummies,” he said.

“The problem is a disconnect between senior leaders understanding the link between providing a good customer experience and profitability. Rather than seeing contact centres, customer service employees and complaints management as a cost, by factoring CX into your business, leaders have the opportunity to improve sales, customer retention and efficiency, which all deliver an improved bottom line and happier customers. ACXPA is committed to changing this.”

The association also aims to address recruitment and retention challenges in the industry by modelling better experiences for workers and providing opportunities for ongoing skills development.

“Customer service has long been beset by high turnover rates. The ACXPA brain trust is building solid, repeatable ways to support CX workers both personally and professionally. We want people to view the profession as genuine and rewarding, rather than transitionary,” Tippett added.

Over 60,000 unique visitors have already visited ACXPA’s website to engage with articles, industry insights and live monthly symposiums on best practice tips. Members have also joined in-person events, which have so far taken place in Melbourne and Adelaide.