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Small businesses hold key to great customer experience

Small businesses hold key to great customer experience

The 2016 CommBank Retail Insights report has some surprising revelations about what it takes to create a great customer experience, and who is getting it right.

Most retailers understand how important a great customer experience is to the success of their business, but how can you be confident you’re getting it right?

To help answer this question, we recently conducted the second bi-annual CommBank Retail Insights report, surveying 1,000 consumers and interviewing more than 380 decision makers from small, medium and large retailers across Australia.

What we found was, as online retailing continues to grow, customer expectations are evolving – requiring businesses to adapt and keep up.

How important is customer experience?

The report research found that delivering a positive experience remains paramount amongst retail businesses, with 83% of retailers ranking it a very important part of their business strategy. Only 5% of retailers ranked the importance of customer experience less than 7 out of 10.

Surprisingly, only a third thought that they were doing it very well, with pure play online businesses rating themselves above multi-channel retailers – suggesting that some retailers are struggling to provide a seamless experience in store and online.

Results further showed that getting the customer experience right was well worth the effort, with 39% of businesses who rated their business as having an extremely good customer experience, also seeing a significant increase in sales revenue over the last twelve months.

Getting customer experience right

With new technology, customers are increasingly becoming channel agnostic — what matters is that they can buy wherever and whatever they want. So it’s essential to have a seamless customer experience whether your customer is online or walking into your store.

Good customer experience doesn’t just happen. Our report showed 96% of businesses who rated their customer experience as very good also nominated personalisation as a key part of their business strategy. A surprising revelation was that it wasn’t the big and well-resourced retailers who excelled — 75% of top performers had a turnover of under $10 million. The report also showed an inverse correlation between size and increased customer spend as a result of personalisation, which is good news for smaller business.

In further good news for small businesses, research found smaller retailers often already have the necessary tools to compete against their larger competitors. If you think about it, most companies start small – with just a few stores, then grow to become regional or national.

In order to get a great customer experience however you need to go the other way, personalising from national down to regional and local — right down to the level of the customer. It’s complete reverse engineering- trying to grow big, while making sure you are creating a customer experience that is personalised on a smaller level. 

For more detailed insights, download the full Retail Insights Report.