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.
In Kenya, Longhorn Publishers experienced connectivity issues with its onsite applications that had a negative impact on customer experience. As a leading provider of learning solutions on the continent, it had to resolve these challenges as quickly as possible. It migrated to a cloud environment that not only shortened the procurement cycle, but enabled the publisher to launch its ebook store, elearning platform, and apps in the market resulting in a more engaging environment for its customers.
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 a recent survey conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) among businesses in East Africa, 34 per cent of respondents indicated that their organisation is considering marketing innovation with the aim of improving customer experience. The leading sectors for adopting technology or seeking innovation in the service of customer experience in East Africa are government and transportation.
For example, the Kenya Revenue Authority invested in a cloud-based CX solution for improving the process of filing tax forms and stand out as another successful example of a customer experience project in terms of customer service 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.
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.
Kenyan IT solutions provider Smart Applications International had to find a way to ensure the accuracy of the data on its biometrics identification and medical insurance automation application platform. This was vital to provide customers with a more reliable way of accessing their data. By transitioning into a cloud environment, it could digitally transform its processes and boost customer engagement thanks to an always available and accessible database.
Farouk is Regional Senior Director - East and West Africa Applications Sales Leader at Oracle.