More than half (54%) of consumers in Australia and New Zealand have switched brands because the customer experience they received did not meet the brand promise, new research released by Qualtrics has revealed.

A lower product/service quality (88%) and dissatisfaction with customer service (68%) were also the leading reasons people would stop purchasing from a brand – far ahead of price increases (33%). 

Great customer experiences start with brand, which is defined by everything your organisation does, according to Qualtrics senior manager for customer, brand and design experience – Asia Pacific and Japan, Lisa Khatri.

“It is embodied in the product, the customer journey, and it is delivered by happy employees who are enabled to provide superior services. Take a delivery company, for example – if the company fails to meet a delivery window it promises to meet then employees will have to proactively address issues that arise,” she said.

“Our research demonstrates the clear link between customer experience and brand experience in influencing buying decisions across Australia and New Zealand. Organisations that fail to live up to their promises and the expectations they create will be quickly found out, highlighting the importance of understanding, managing, and addressing the expectations of consumers.” 

The importance of customer experience to brand is further demonstrated by the factors increasing brand trust in 2022, with taking care of customers ranked top, followed by maintaining reasonable pricing, and taking care of employees. Not taking advantage of a crisis and going beyond recommended safety standards round out the top five. 

These findings represent a slight change from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, when taking care of employees and not taking advantage of a crisis were the top factors increasing brand trust. Taking care of customers was the third most popular reason. 

For brands wanting to stay relevant in increasingly competitive marketplaces, product / service quality (83%) and customer service (74%) have twice the impact on consumers compared to marketing and advertising (34%) and responding to public events (30%). 

“To align the brand and customer experience, organisations must first understand and articulate their purpose and how they will bring it to life while ensuring they have the right systems and processes in place to deliver it,” Khatri added.

“After this, it is about identifying the moments in the customer journey that have the biggest impact on their response – whether it’s at the point of sale or the support received through the contact centre. Equipped with these insights, organisations are able to show up in the ways their customers expect when it matters most, ensuring their brand promise, purpose, and values guide every action they take.”