By Carolyn Lyimo
As the telecommunication infrastructure roll-out continues to lag and Internet penetration remains relatively low in Tanzania, an increasing number of businesses are experimenting with digital communication channels. This is largely done in an effort to bolster their digital transformation efforts and ultimately deliver an improved customer experience (CX) to their end user customers.
While the country’s internet penetration rate doubled between 2013 and 2019, it is currently only at 46%. Moreover, while out of the 42 million mobile voice subscriptions registered in 2018, only about half of these devices were used to access the Internet, indicating the relatively high reliance on feature phones.
Traditionally, local businesses largely engaged with their customers base via traditional channels such as face-to-face, voice and SMS, but as telecoms service providers continue to ramp up their infrastructure, more options are opening up. As a result, organisations are exploring channels such as mobile apps, WhatsApp and even Instagram.
Despite this, the large-scale adoption of enterprise online communication channels such as WhatsApp Business and Facebook Messenger, as well as chatbot technologies, remain relatively constrained for now. This is due to the low penetration of smartphone and Internet access.
However, current 3G and 4G deployments by mobile operators in the country bode well for smartphone growth. In turn, the infrastructure rollout will no doubt accelerate the rate of digital transformation that will enable Tanzania’s businesses to enhance their CX by delivering an omnichannel experience that is tailored and personalised for their customers.
Disruptive new players
Organisations are increasingly becoming aware that customers have easy access to a range of homogenous products and services, and that industries are constantly evolving and becoming saturated by disruptive new players with new business models that redefine the way sustainable revenue streams are structured.
Hence, a well-executed CX is a crucial driver for managing customer attention, without which organisations cannot build strong brand loyalty among their customer base and risk losing out on sustainable revenue growth.
It is, therefore, key that enterprises tap into technology advancements that enable business performance improvements and enhanced CX through easy accessibility to services and faster query resolution.
Digital transformation is paving the way for more convenient self-services products, which in turn are positively impacting CX. The uptake of omnichannel platforms are particularly pronounced among service industries, as these platforms enable customer service departments to manage multi-channel interaction over a single interface, across a customer preferred channel.
At the same time, businesses across various service verticals appreciate the benefits of a digital and scalable omnichannel, such as a cloud-based Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solution, that can be deployed without incurring capital expenditure (CAPEX).
Many organisations are sensitive about capex and investing in cloud-based solutions means they do not have to buy physical infrastructure or have inhouse IT resources. Additionally, most businesses have cyclical demands, so a CCaaS solution enables them to better plan for spikes in customer demand and manage these seasonal volume demands based on customer trends.
Omnichannel communication platforms offer a host of other benefits too, including a unified workspace for organisations’ CX teams, and the ability to manage conversations in single platform, as well as building a conversation history to ensure that customers do not have to repeat their queries.
By deploying omnichannel solutions, businesses can ensure better customer engagement by being able to differentiate themselves from their competitors and establishing positive and long-lasting customer relationships.
These days, customers dictate the terms of business communications through the channels of their choice. Millennials are the customers of today and they have a strong preference for digital platforms. Communicating with them via traditional channels will not get their attention.
With a better CX, organisations are able to give their customers better support and thus retain them, and businesses are increasingly learning that customer acquisition is far more expensive than retention.
The writer is the Country Manager at Infobip Tanzania