7 things Australian businesses need to know about the ‘Missing out’ report

Tue 21 March 2017

Putting customers at the centre of your organisation creates enduring customer relationships and encourages ongoing support for your business.

However, the Australian community is diverse, customers are more empowered than ever, and competition for the dollar is fierce. Getting customer-centricity right is big business.

In March 2017, The Australian Human Rights Commission launched an eye-opening report, Missing out: The business case for customer diversity in partnership with Deloitte Australia.

Disappointingly the report suggests a gap in knowledge about what customers want and need. It also states that customers will abandon transactions and companies that aren’t inclusive of their needs, and they are telling others to do the same.

Much like our own Disability Confidence Survey, the report shows that while many organisations have a positive attitude to supporting customers with diverse needs, they simply don’t know what to do, and don’t take any action until they are asked.

Missing out highlights the benefits of making customer diversity and inclusion a priority, and outlines how to make pro-active changes to become more welcoming.

Here are our seven key takeaways from the report.

1. Most diverse customers have experienced discrimination

Surveyed customers from Non Anglo-Celtic backgrounds, with disability or identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual were significantly more likely to say that they had experienced discrimination by one or more of the organisations they interacted with in the last 12 months.

The same group were also more likely to have been treated less favourably than less diverse customers.

2. Most diverse customers are not providing feedback

The majority (over 80%) of surveyed customers who have an Indigenous or Non European background, disability, identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual or who practice a noticeable faith often do not provide feedback about how organisations can better meet their needs, suggesting information gaps.

3. Less than half of customers believe they are treated respectfully

Less than half of those surveyed (41%) believe that organisations treat customers respectfully, regardless of their personal characteristics. In addition, only 46% agreed that organisations try to understand the unique experiences and needs of diverse customers, including minority groups.

4. When not treated respectfully, diverse customers are simply walking away

1 in 5 surveyed customers ceased a transaction in the past 12 months because they were not treated respectfully or fairly, and 1 in 3 for customers from an Indigenous background, identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual, with disability or who practice a noticeable Faith.

5. The power of reputation

Surveyed customers from an Indigenous background, with disability and identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual were three times as likely to avoid an organisation and twice as likely to dissuade others because of an organisation’s negative diversity reputation.

Conversely, diverse customers who have had a positive customer experience are likely to notice, appreciate and retell that story to others. 1 in 2 customers surveyed who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual or who practice a noticeable Faith, say that their buying choices were positively influenced in the last 12 months by an organisation’s reputation as supportive of gender equality, marriage equality, people with a disability, older people or cultural diversity.

The group were also twice as likely as comparator groups to recommend an organisation to another person based on its reputation as supportive of equality and diversity.

6. The needs of diverse customers are often unmet

1 in 3 surveyed customers from Indigenous or Non-European backgrounds and people with disability, and nearly 1 in 2 customers who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual and people who practice a noticeable Faith, say their customer needs were often unmet over the past 12 months.

7. Customer diversity and inclusion is a shared responsibility

So, what can organisations do to become more inclusive of diverse customers? According to the report, this depends on how far along they are on their diversity and inclusion journey.

For mature organisations, integrating diversity practices into customer practices is a collaborative effort between the marketing, Human Resources (HR), and environment, social and governance (ESG) teams. Less mature organisations may need help getting customer diversity onto the radar from external suppliers.

Looking to improve your organisation’s inclusion of people with disability? Contact us today to find out our range of consultancy services.

The full report, Missing out: The business case for customer diversity, is available on the Australian Human Rights Commission website.

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