New research from Pegasystems Inc. (NASDAQ: PEGA), the software company empowering digital transformation (DX) at the world’s leading enterprises, reveals half (50%) of Australian organisations surveyed lost customers during the COVID-19 pandemic due to failings in their communications, way above the global average of 36 per cent.
The global study, conducted by research firm Savanta, explored the effect the global pandemic has had on businesses and their ability to adapt in a time of crisis.
The research found a number of organisations experienced customer engagement failings triggered by the pandemic:
- Over half (55%) worry they let their customers down during the crisis
- Three-fifths (64%) conceded they should have done more to help their customers during the crisis
- Over half (56%) communicated at least one message to customers that was badly received and damaged their brand reputation, above the global average of 37 per cent.
Organisations’ failure to sufficiently adapt to the pandemic may be a result of business leaders overestimating the state of their DX efforts.
More than three quarters (85%) of business decision makers said the crisis exposed more gaps in their business operations and systems than they originally expected – even though 81 per cent were well into their DX initiatives and 41 per cent of which assessed their DX initiatives to be in ‘advanced stages’.
The negative outcomes have served as a reality check for business leaders as they’re vowing not to let their lagging technology infrastructure put them at risk for the next crisis.
Eighty one per cent said the pandemic experience has forced them to accelerate their DX plans; 72 per cent will increase the priority level of DX within their organisation; and another 62 per cent will add more DX investment.
With these new DX plans in place, the vast majority (98%) of business leaders feel confident they will be prepared to face a similar crisis if one should hit in the next two years.
Which specific DX projects have risen to the top of their wish-lists?
The survey found the four most popular DX projects needed to prepare a future crisis were: AI-driven analytics and decisioning (46%), AI-driven predictive analytics (45%), cloud-based systems (43%), and customer messaging applications (43%).
Other findings suggest that even with all the problems it created, the pandemic could have some positive outcomes on businesses:
- Change for the better – 76 per cent of respondents say their business learned a lot during the crisis and will permanently change the way they operate for the better.
- Greater empathy – 79 per cent say the crisis taught them to be more empathetic with customers.
- Getting to know you – 70 per cent feel they learned more about their customers during the crisis than they did the previous two years combined.
- Working from home actually works – 77 per cent said remote working has been successful and will likely continue after the crisis ends.
- More productive than ever – 62 per cent reported employees are more productive now than before the pandemic. Thirteen per cent saw a slight dip in productivity and only two per cent report a significant drop.
Pega surveyed more than 1,200 business decision makers around the world (including 206 from Australia) for their perspectives on how their organisation has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The results include responses from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia.
What comments have been made on this research?
“What this research makes clear is that digital transformation can no longer be a ‘nice to have’ for today’s businesses,” said Don Schuerman, CTO and vice president of product marketing, Pegasystems.
“Even those that thought they were digitally advanced now realise they’ve only scratched the surface. Organisations need to reexamine every part of their business for digital readiness or face consequences regardless of whether another crisis of this magnitude happens again or not.”