CRM, CX, UX Opinion South Africa

The power of customer-centricity: Building profitability in SMEs

The task of running a small to medium enterprise (SME) involves handling numerous responsibilities amidst a backdrop of administrative duties and heightened customer service expectations.

Customers will leave if they’re unhappy, and customer churn is an expensive problem.

According to Hubspot, it’s five times more expensive to acquire a new customer and customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable.

Existing customers are also more likely to try new products, will spend more on their average order, and are more likely to recommend your business to others, tapping into the potential of word-of-mouth growth which would result in more sales and engendering trust.

The challenge is for your business to find a way of connecting with customers and ensuring they remain delighted and engaged while also keeping a thousand other balls in the air.

The tools and services designed to build customer engagement, manage admin or handle complaints are often enterprise-specific or too expensive to purchase and maintain for an SME, especially the contact centre.

As an SME, you can benefit hugely from having access to contact centre technology, but you need this at the perfect intersection of cost, value and performance.

Cost is, and always will be, one of the primary motivators for the SME.

How can you leverage your budget to gain access to a technology that allows you to provide customers with the same richly integrated levels of service as an enterprise? Or even, provide levels of service and engagement that are better than the competition?

In the South African market cost is particularly important – companies are already battling increased costs within decreasing infrastructure – and yet most of the offerings available locally are delivered by global organisations.

These solutions come at a dollar or euro price tag which is hefty when compared to the rand, and then there are the service and support complications that invariably accompany dealing with an international company.

If your company is experiencing downtime, customers are having a poor experience, or there are issues with the service, you are dealing with a support team in a different time zone.

This means your service provider often can’t resolve issues in real-time and you carry the cost in customer frustration.

It’s a risk that companies are often forced to take due to the lack of options available in South Africa.

The other consideration is value. How much value does the solution offer the business in terms of functionality and return on investment (ROI)?

You want a toolset that allows you to communicate with your customers across multiple channels such as WhatsApp, phone, social media or email, and that ensures communications from all these channels are consolidated to provide comprehensive customer visibility.

Few things are as frustrating for the customer as having to repeat the problem to multiple people on multiple channels before a problem is resolved.

Your contact centre has to give you the right levels of control and visibility so you can tap into that value, and see the ROI in terms of customer retention and loyalty.

Value and ROI are also felt in how well you compare to the competition.

Are your competitors doing a better job of making customers feel seen or served?

Your technology has to work for you by providing you with the tools you need to retain your customers within a richly layered customer experience (CX).

It will not just set you apart from your competitors, but it will give you the foundations from which to grow your customer base and market share.

Finally, you want a contact centre technology provider who can serve your business across all corners of South Africa, backed by a proven track record and solid relationships with trusted brands.

There are promises, and then there are solutions that keep those promises.

SMEs need reliable, relevant contact centre solutions focused on meeting their unique needs within the South African context – cost-effective, efficient, and local.

The future isn’t international, it’s local ingenuity designed to prioritise local growth and innovation.

About Natalie Van Der Merwe & James Guthrie

Natalie Van Der Merwe is head of telephony at Vox and James Guthrie is managing director at Smartz Solutions
Let's do Biz