Tamer Farouk, Regional Senior Director – East and West Africa Applications Sales Leader at Oracle
Nowadays, customers can easily access product and service details through their devices at any time and compare competitors’ offers. Mobile devices, applications, machine learning, automation, and other technologies allow customers to get exactly what they want when they want it. Furthermore, these new digital technologies have led to a change in customer expectations, creating a new kind of modern buyer — always connected and aware of what technology can enable.
With the new types and levels of engagement that new technologies provide, customers generally rate organisations according to their digital customer experience. They make their impressions known publicly on various social and digital media, and they consider the comments of others when making a purchasing decision. This type of consumer-to-consumer interaction is forcing companies to rethink their approach to customer interaction and customer experience.
Customers expect highly targeted messages, which organisations can only deliver with a data-driven marketing strategy. Advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data and analytics (including predictive analytics) will allow organisations to create new customer experiences and new sales models.
In Nigeria for example, Diamond Bank (the country’s fastest growing retail bank) launched a digital assistant to reach more customers and deliver a much better personalised experience. Based on past interactions, the digital assistant (named Ada) offers more relevant and timely solutions catering to the specific needs of the individuals using it. This digital transformation has seen the bank target a broader range of customers with more unique product offerings.
Data the cornerstone for transformation
Digital transformation initiatives are accelerating disruptions in customer experience. Agility is another key factor in the new marketing approach, which can be supported by machine learning and AI. Organisations can create more demand with personalised marketing campaigns, as competition in the new digital marketplace will require speed and agility. Companies should also leverage structured and unstructured data for determining customer profiles, as well as predictive analytics to anticipate potential customer experience scenarios.
Another example is Nigerian-based United Bank for Africa also launched a digital assistant service last year. The assistant, Leo, covers 17 African countries and has one million subscribers. It enables users to access basic banking services and the AI engine also has Facebook and WhatsApp banking capabilities. Fundamentally, it empowers its customers to take charge of their bank accounts and be less reliant on call centre agents or going into branches for assistance.
Organisations are now including customer experience roadmaps in their business strategy. Customer experience transformation can be a pre-designed process, and marketing teams can collaborate with IT, finance, and operations teams to help prevent unnecessary investments to establish realistic and aligned strategies.
Leading provider of mobile telephony solutions in Nigeria, Globacom (GLO), had to find a way of optimising subscriber and network information to better understand customer behaviour. In the ultra-competitive mobile market, digital transformation was fundamental to accomplish this. It implemented a big data analysis solution that enabled the company to capture, store, and analyse data 40x faster and save 13 million call centre minutes per year by providing first-call resolution to customers.
By keeping in mind that every department plays a vital role, companies can take a more holistic approach to customer experience. A positive customer experience has the potential to increase revenue through greater competitiveness and positive brand perception. Good brand perception, in turn, motivates employees, who feel proud to work for a well-known and successful company.