Australian consumers say their tolerance for poor business communication has decreased since the pandemic and are willing to blacklist local businesses who don’t cater to their habits and preferences, according to research from leading communications and payments platform, Podium.

The Business-to-Customer Communications report revealed that convenience trumps cost, with over half of Australians willing to pay more for convenient communication with local businesses.

Almost half (48%) of Australians say as a result of the pandemic and the digitisation of businesses, they have less tolerance for local businesses that don’t offer easy, convenient or customer-friendly means of communication. Meanwhile, more than half (57%) would be less likely to engage with a business if the channel was inconvenient, while 55% would choose a business that offered convenient communication options, even if it was more expensive. 

“Australia is home to millions of innovative local businesses, but in a saturated market it’s not easy to compete on price or product. Our research shows that many consumers now judge businesses based on communication, with many willing to pay more money for a more convenient experience,” Podium country manager for Australia, Dave Scheine said.

“Support for local business is strong and inspiring in Australia, but consumers are clearly losing patience for businesses that fail to cater to their habits and preferences. As global economic headwinds circle, and Australian households become more cautious about their discretionary spending, every lead, interaction and sale takes on added significance for local businesses. Those who recognise how their audience is changing, then cater to their habits with convenient communications strategies, will be better placed to succeed.”

One of the biggest changes comes in how Australians want to interact with local businesses. The average Australian spends almost two hours (119 minutes) a day on their smartphones, with one in four spending at least three hours. Interestingly, half of Australians (49%) say that businesses that use SMS to communicate appear more professional than those that don’t.

Email, once the primary means of communication between businesses and consumers has been surpassed by SMS. Three-quarters (76%) of Australians say they’re reliant on SMS reminders to manage their day-to-day life tasks, while 69% say an SMS reminder has saved them from missing an upcoming appointment. The value of SMS comes as email becomes less impactful. Almost half (46%) of Australians have deleted an email from a business without opening it in the last 24 hours.