Applying CX in Africa: What’s Universal & What Needs to be Tailored?

By May 12, 2021 No Comments

I was pleased to be able to sit down with Nayab Rafiq (CEO, Pinnacle Middle East) as part of Zendesk’s Happiness Roadshow. Nayab and I discussed the unique customer experience landscape across Africa – and not every part of this big continent is the same!

Internet use: A major factor

It’s no secret that access to the internet kick-started the customer-centric movement. And with so many of us online 24/7 thanks to the widespread use of smartphones, internet usage can help to assess the evolution of the CX in Africa.

Compared to Europe and the United States (90%+), internet use across Africa still lags behind – and varies widely. 62% of South Africans are internet users, while only 24% of those in East Africa report using the internet. This, of course, will greatly impact consumers’ access to different product and service options and their ability to hold brands to account via social media, etc. For these reasons, CX in Africa is still evolving as a business practice, but things are changing. Quickly.

Africa’s relatively low rates of internet connectivity are growing exponentially. In West Africa alone, there was a 17% increase in internet users from 2019 to 2020. Connected consumers will demand better experiences, pushing organizations to reflect on their customer experience and explore the possibilities of digital CX. As the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, businesses need to stay agile and continue to consider the potential roadblocks for their customers.

Making meaning in a digital world

With technology use on the rise, businesses are discovering new ways to deliver messages to their customers, whether that be as text, audio, or video. According to research by KPMG, 45% of consumers would prefer a digital means of interacting with brands going forward. While this isn’t too surprising given the necessity of digital communication during the COVID-19 pandemic, humans are social creatures and need face-to-face interaction!

As more consumers rely on – and prefer – digital communication, organizations need to ensure that the intention of their message is delivered successfully. As we strip away non-verbal cues (80% of communication is non-verbal) with video, audio-only, or text-only, the likelihood of misinterpretation will increase. In order for brands to “take control” of these digital messages, they may have to take an extra step to ensure clarity.

Nayab and I discussed the implications of digital communication for CX, how social media will impact the landscape, and much more in this interview.

Julia Ahlfeldt

Author Julia Ahlfeldt

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