Simon Cranswick, MD of Anana Africa, and Chantel Botha, CEO of BrandLove, are both members of this year’s advisory panel. In an interview with Kinetic Events the two discuss how companies can stay ahead of the game – Cranswick from a technological solutions perspective and Botha representing the viewpoint of the consumer.
What is your opinion of the overall customer experience (CX) landscape in Africa and how it has evolved over the last year?
Cranswick: When it comes to execution of CX, Africa is an interesting market in that on some things it is actually quite advanced, but in other dimensions still a bit behind the rest of the global landscape. So with historically not having had great access to service through the traditional landline, the African business to consumer market has exploded over the last 15 to 20 years due to the proliferation of mobile devices. Now that these devices have become smart, there is a plethora of ways in which customers can contact a brand and a business can engage its customers. The digital age of CX engagement is upon us and it has brought with it a host of challenges for the not so agile companies and massive opportunities for the dynamic organisations that are embracing it.
Botha: When asked if companies and brands in South Africa are taking customer experience management and design seriously and using it to their advantage to differentiate and build relationships, I would say no. Customer experience as a subject is widely misunderstood. It requires commitment in terms of wide systemic change that includes all departments and with a focus on processes, people and technology.
How much time do you spend catering products/services to individual consumer needs versus to general market needs?
Cranswick: This has always been the challenge… customer interaction hubs have been developed for organisations that have a mass customer/consumer base. The challenge is how does one personalise the service in a dynamic fashion with ‘in the moment context’ around the customer? The answer is the smart organisation must spend time in addressing this as a requirement of their whole CX strategy. Both the general needs of the market and the personalisation of service will be part of any good CX strategy.
What does it take for you to feel like your specific needs are being met versus feeling like a brand is just targeting the general market?
Botha: The skills that are widely lacking when I engage with any brand as a customer are the ability for people to listen and to understand, as well as to anticipate possible solutions to my problem.
Most service consultants listen just enough, while they are punching in details on a computer, with the aim being to quickly respond and to get rid of you. It is rare to get someone who listens to really understand, asks more questions and responds with compassion and various solutions; who really tests those solutions to see which ones will make the customer happy.
I can respond very cheekily to the question of scalable personalisation, but we are just so far from getting the basics right.
What would you say is the recipe for successful CX implementation?
What are the enablers we need to create remarkable experiences?
Insights like these have been used in creating the agenda for the CEM Africa Summit, where the advisory panel and speakers will be sharing their personal experiences, the latest CEM developments and new, cutting edge ideas.