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Don't trip up your business with these myths

Aug 19 2016 18:24
Carin Smith

Cape Town - There are certain misconceptions about customer experience (CX) that emerging markets should be aware of, according to analyst Qaalfa Dibeehi, vice president of CX at international customer solutions firm Forrester.

He was one of the opening speakers at the 5th annual Customer Experience Management (CEM) Summit which took place at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town this week.

These misconceptions include that customer experience is a luxury, that price is king and that CX is ultimately just a tech issue.

"The term emerging markets is a broad one. To me it means markets or sectors trying to improve," Dibeehi said.

"We are now in the age of the customers. Digitally empowered customers have given rise to a new era. It means customers are driving some of our decisions, whether we want it or not."

Five market imperatives to succeed in the digital era:

- Drive business growth with privacy when collecting data about your customers;
- Transform the customer experience;
- Accelerate your digital business;
- Embrace the mobile mind shift;
- Turn business insights into action.

READ: Why inspiration is a huge challenge for business leaders

"Customer experience is in customers' heads and ultimately it is what the customer says it is. Understand what customers see and perceive instead of just focusing on what you have done in your company," said Dibeehi.

"It is about effectiveness of experience; ease (feeling value from the experience) and the emotion created."

He explained that loyalty is not about a customer sticking with you because you are the cheapest or fastest, but to be happy to stick with you even when your company is in its down cycle or take a bit longer to bring a new product to market.

"Customer experience drives this only if you add the three ingredients of effectiveness, ease and emotion. Remember, revenue growth is only one result of CX," said Dibeehi.

"When customers are widely exposed to what is on offer in the market place it makes their expectation levels go up too. It is certainly not about just having a CX department or mentioning the concept."

An advantage for emerging markets is that CX can leapfrog regarding lessons learnt in the industry elsewhere.

"Whether your business is business to business (B2B) or business to customer (B2C), it is all about person to person. We are getting to some kind of feeling in the human to human concept, regardless whether it is on a digital level or not. The idea that the feeling or perception is person to person is very important," Dibeehi emphasised.

"In the old world the focus was on what a business does and thinks, for instance, that if the company implements something, it leads to certain customer behaviour."

What he calls the new world reality, however, has a focus on what the customer is motivated by.

"One of the myths in emerging markets is that price is all or that one must ask what the customer thinks about the company. What we really need to understand, however, is customers' full life – how they approach the world and not just how they approach your company," he said.

"That is the trick in customer experience. It is ultimately about a cultural transformation in an organisation. It is more about story telling than just about insights."

ALSO READ: SA customers feel they are getting less value

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