SYDNEY: Australia's ad agencies and business consultancies are battling to establish themselves as authorities in customer experience (CX) as mapping the customer journey enjoys renewed focus from brands.

Research conducted by Salmat in 2015 found only one in five (22%) Australian companies has a well-structured CX strategy, while 31% have a plan which no one follows; 13% don't have a strategy at all.

But data and technology developments in recent years have offered new opportunities, and Australian companies such as NAB and Telstra have now included CX metrics - such as net promoter scores - in their corporate bonus schemes.

The renewed focus on CX has seen agencies and consultancies battling it out for a slice of the action. Luke Brown, CEO of Sydney agency Affinity, believes ad agencies are well positioned to compete. (For more read Warc's exclusive report on the battle between agencies and consultancies on customer experience in Australia here: Customer experience: Australia's new branding battleground.)

"We do compete against the PwCs and Deloittes in this area, and we've been winning. So I'd like to think that smarter agencies are able to get into this space," he said told Warc.

Brown believes branding agencies have more of a right to play in the CX space than consultancies.

"Customer experience is brand. We started off as a brand consultancy at Affinity, so we have done lots of brand work, and we've always talked about the experience being part of the brand," he said. "You need to have brand people in the mix because you need to know what constitutes an on-brand experience."

Technology has provided new opportunities for agencies to compete for CX business. "What's new is the data capacity, and for us, that's the exciting thing," Brown said.

"Now we can suggest things and put them into pilots to prove it works in real-time. Because of that we're seeing real traction and relatively big sales growth. That's what is getting people's attention."

Data sourced from Warc