As one of the top five predominantly English-speaking countries in the world, Australia is a common expansion destination for many global companies based in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. But what should companies expect from Aussies in relation to customer service? Here are 5 things to consider when providing Australia customer service...
1) Aussies generally expect inferior levels of service – Some people who visit from other countries, especially in Asia, are surprised by the low level of customer service that can be present in Australia. Where in countries like Japan support will go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction, support in Australia can take a back seat regardless of customer opinion. For example, Aussie customers don’t always expect to get a specific response time when submitting a customer support ticket – agents will respond when they can.
2) Native Aussies have grown up with a casual approach to service – Part of the reason why this lower level of service remains in existence is because it has become part of the culture over many years and most Aussies aren’t used to an alternative. Prompt and precise support simply isn’t given as high of a priority within the Australian culture as some other countries within the Asia and Oceania region.
3) On average, customer service pros make the same as the U.S. – The typical customer service professional in Australia will make around $35,000 (U.S) per year, a wage that is on par with other leading countries with English as their first language. Of course, customers in Australia naturally prefer speaking with people in their own country to solve issues, even if a high priority is not placed on support.
4) Poor perception and expectations can make getting budget tough – Even with similar costs for agents as fellow countries, it can be more difficult to get executive support for customer service initiatives. Traditional customer support is still seen as a cost center within much of Australia and leadership will usually need to be convinced otherwise.
5) The customer support culture is changing and evolving – As more young Aussies enter the workforce and become consumers, the customer support culture is shifting. Especially in B2B (business-to-business) customer support, faster responses are becoming an important KPI and are expected to resolve issue with haste through channels like live chat. More customers are also digitally connected, meaning bad support experiences are more frequently shared with others via email and social media.
How can businesses succeed at customer support in Australia?
The bar is currently set quite low for support in Australia compared to other countries, although it continues to rise. For B2B companies in particular, selecting a collaborative customer support software solution that is built specifically for business will go a long way in making sure the support needs of customers are not only met but exceeded both now and in the future. Sure, it may take some planning to get the buy-in of key personnel to improve support, but focus on the efficiencies of the support software (i.e. can resolve tickets faster) and how changes to support will benefit the business as a whole to counter any skepticism.
In short, Aussies will love you once they experience your exceptional customer support because they aren’t as used to it – you just need a chance to offer it to them. Let your agents get their foot in the door with a casual greeting, then wow them with your quick and accurate responses to their issues. Hopefully you will turn these customers into advocates and get new referral business as a result!