Launch of the Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association
SEEK, Red Energy and Yarra Valley Water among backers for a new association created to reverse Australia’s poor customer service
Executives from big Australian brands support the launch of the Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association (ACXPA), an industry association aimed at reversing Australia’s poor customer experiences, addressing high industry turnover and improving employee wellbeing
Melbourne, Australia – August 6, 2023 – Executives from big Australian brands including SEEK, Red Energy and Yarra Valley Water have joined forces to back the Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association (ACXPA), an industry association launched to reverse Australia’s poor customer service standards and ensure customer experience (CX) is recognised by the C-suite for its profit-making potential.
ACXPA was formed by CX veteran Justin Tippett, who is joined by 25 industry leaders all keen to drive change in the industry. Tippett said ACXPA was formed to provide a space for the estimated 1.4 million Australians working in customer service to connect, form ideas and improve the industry, which is in freefall.
“How many of us can recall consistent, positive interactions we’ve had with brands in recent times? I’ve worked in customer service for almost 30 years, and the industry has gone downhill,” Tippett said.
A recent study found Australians were kept on hold for almost 100 million hours last year, and an additional 1.6 million people made customer service complaints compared with 2021. Tippett said these figures paint a grim picture of the industry.
“Company leaders are so far removed from the customer service coal face, and often deploy technology without thinking it through, using customers and frontline agents as crash test dummies,” he said.
“The problem is a disconnect between senior leaders understanding the link between providing a good customer experience and profitability. Rather than seeing contact centres, customer service employees and complaints management as a cost, by factoring CX into your business, leaders have the opportunity to improve sales, customer retention and efficiency, which all deliver an improved bottom line and happier customers. ACXPA is committed to changing this”.
The association also aims to address recruitment and retention challenges in the industry by modelling better experiences for workers, and providing opportunities for ongoing skills development.
“Customer service has long been beset by high turnover rates. The ACXPA brain trust is building solid, repeatable ways to support CX workers both personally and professionally,” Tippett said. “We want people to view the profession as genuine and rewarding, rather than transitionary.”
Big names join the fight against poor customer service
Tippett says over 60,000 unique visitors have already visited ACXPA’s website to engage with its articles, industry insights and live monthly symposiums on best practice tips. Members have also joined in-person events, which have so far taken place in Melbourne and Adelaide. In May alone, the website attracted 850 per cent more traffic than other related industry associations.
One of ACXPA’s board members is Deanne Martin, Head of Customer Experience and Service at SEEK, who joined ACXPA to help ‘shake up’ the customer service industry, which she says can fall back into focusing on cost control metrics rather than investments in CX and EX.
“For too long, customer service departments have been viewed as an unskilled cost for organisations. By collaborating with ACXPA members, I want to encourage leaders to view customer service as talent pools where staff can develop and progress internally. People with strong empathy, critical thinking and problem-solving skills also have a lot to gain from joining the industry. We’ve hired everything from former hairdressers to ex-chefs in these roles, and benefited immensely from their diverse range of skills and perspectives.”
“I’m optimistic ACXPA can bring positive change in the industry, providing a space for people to ask questions, learn, and grow into their next career roles.”
Board member Sarah Young, Manager, Retail Customer Assist at Red Energy, said ACXPA is good way for the industry to tap into the experiences of other experts rather than attempting to solve the same problems separately.
“It’s been interesting to talk with other members about strategies for attracting and retaining talent, and to re-affirm the importance of Australian organisations infusing CX throughout their business. Every employee within Red Energy speaks with customers, and this plays a big part in our success.”
Cameron Preston, Service Team Leader at Yarra Valley Water, has also joined the board to share his 30 years’ customer service experience with industry peers and the next generation. “At Yarra Valley Water, continuous improvement is our mantra, and most often, the pathway is via customer feedback,” he said.
Tippett said the association’s immediate priority is building out the state-based committees to run local in-person events, supplementing the national online events.
To find out more about ACXPA, visit: https://acxpa.com.au/about-acxpa
ACXPA helps Australian businesses to elevate their customer experiences via voice, digital and in-person channels by empowering their employees with the skills, industry insights and professional support networks they need to succeed.
ACXPA is backed by leading CX experts from brands including SEEK, Red Energy and Yarra Valley Water. Members have access to live, online monthly symposiums and workshops, in-person networking events, world-class training, downloadable templates, members and suppliers directory, support forums and groups and other practical resources.
Watterson for ACXPA
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