Australians, now more than ever, are relishing in the convenience of e-commerce and digital media. To satisfy today’s dynamic and digital-first business environment, we need to constantly evolve. Which raises the question: how can IT evolve, adapt, and grow, not just to ‘keep the lights on’, but also to deliver to business expectations and drive growth?

A recent ITSM benchmark survey conducted by Freshworks, measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) for the IT industry across 62 million tickets, 86 countries, and 4,200 companies, has produced valuable insights into the current, and future, dynamics of the retail sector and IT.

The Australian retail industry

The report found that retail and e-commerce IT departments “fix it fast”, achieving the highest first contact resolution rate at 73%, across all countries. This is a critical customer service metric as it measures the number of customer contacts that are resolved on the first interaction. Unsurprisingly, with such a high number of quick customer resolutions through beneficial IT systems, the retail industry had the highest global customer satisfaction (CSAT) score of 97%, with ANZ coming in second across the six global regions, with a 97.05% CSAT rating.

Having internal software solutions, where the IT system complements your business and delights your employees, is inexplicably essential for success. ANZ is no exception, recording the second-highest customer satisfaction rating whilst APAC has the lowest. This is likely the case because ANZ has always been an early adopter of technology, investing in multiple platforms to help solve requests. What we are now witnessing is a shift to role and department-based investment, outside of IT. This means that with the right investment, high customer satisfaction doesn’t rely on highly trained, technical IT employees. 

What’s more, it takes ANZ businesses almost a whole day (23.79 hours) to resolve IT requests, making it the second slowest of all regions. Despite this, the ANZ retail industry still records the second-highest CSAT score. This is reflective of ANZ having one of the best talent markets in the world and highlights the importance of the human element in ANZ. People make the difference. The time for resolution is not a surprise, as many SaaS platforms have become complex and must quickly shift back to more user-friendly and scalable solutions. 

In the retail industry, the real users of IT are rarely IT professionals. Instead, the IT pros are more likely to be customer service experts. It is apparent that for these professionals to acquire an agile ITSM solution that can standardise their IT service delivery, it must be a fast and integrated experience for the employees on the channel of their choice. In 2022, fit for purpose requires automation.

Prior to the shift in the business ecosystem caused by the pandemic, Australian companies invested heavily in bloated and expensive solutions. Retail organisations were not immune, and many were ‘sold the sizzle’ of their ITSM solution, burdened by being sold the dream and being left unable to fulfil the most basic functionality. During a period of mass upheaval, Freshworks continued to delight customers with intuitive systems, built with the user in mind, ensuring affordability, security and scalability.

What’s next?

Automation is becoming the holy grail of business with personalised automation further raising the bar. In 2021, companies leveraging automation achieved resolution times 22% faster than those who did not. Similarly, companies offering a catalogue of IT services through their ITSM software reduced resolution times by 17% compared to those who did not. 

Companies are taking notice and rapidly adopting more advanced technology. Nearly 25% of ITSM integrations included bots and workflow automations — a 40% increase compared to 2020. 

In a retail environment, employees are predominantly at onboarding stages, with a corresponding level of IT skill and understanding. Businesses must integrate ITSM systems that are right-sized, scalable and secure. In light of the skills shortage and talent crunch Australia is currently experiencing, relying on costly, specialised resources is no longer a viable option. Intuitive and automated systems mean employees can onboard quickly, without months of training and upskilling. 

Ben Pluznyk is director and country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Freshworks.