For cash-strapped Southern African businesses in a post-pandemic world, retaining customers has never been more vital. Remember that customer acquisition is 5X to 25X times more expensive than customer retention. Now more than ever, SA businesses need to hold on to their loyal supporters and prevent potential lifelong customers from jumping ship to a competitor – local or otherwise.
So how are we doing?
According to Rogerwilco’s 2021 South African Digital Customer Experience Report, there’s huge scope for improvement – especially in terms of how much money retailers are leaving on the table. The report, which is conducted annually in partnership with market research company ovatoyou, found that 96 per cent of respondents would be encouraged to purchase more if they received a better customer experience.
Combined with high levels of cart abandonment (another key indicator that the CX is lacking) these two areas, the report said, “account for in excess of R30bn in lost sales – a figure more or less equal to South Africa’s current e-commerce market.”
In other words, South African companies could be doubling their profits by investing in CX and customer acquisition.
What should we be doing better?
Here are some key findings from the South Africans surveyed, and actionable takeaways for business owners, website developers, and anyone interested in improving their CX:
- 98 per cent go online to gather information before making some purchases, even if only 15 per cent consistently make the final purchase this way.
This is an important finding for online retailers, physical stores, and combination brands alike. Having clear, useful content information about your products and services on your website increases your chances of making the sale – whether straight away or later on.
- 22 per cent of South African customers who abandoned a transaction cited trust as the reason.
If your website doesn’t display perfectly on a mobile device, show a clear commitment to safeguarding your users’ data and privacy, or if your payment options are even slightly glitchy, consumers will go elsewhere. For South African brands, demonstrating that you are POPIA compliant is crucial.
- 55 per cent of consumers seek peer reviews or mentions on social media when looking at products.
Consumers are no longer willing to accept what you say about your brand – they want proof. This means building a strong social community, and encouraging satisfied customers to spread the word should be a key focus for brands.
- 31 per cent of South Africans said they would spend more online if shipping was cheaper or more convenient.
Convenience is king! If you want to increase conversions and boost loyalty, focusing on how you can make deliveries faster and cheaper (even in outlying areas) is a wise investment.
As a customer experience expert and Rewards Programme Manager at ShopriteX, Kia Abbott, puts it this way. “Convenience is a universal currency for all customers.”
- 56 per cent said they would increase their business with a brand after a positive experience. 78 per cent would share feedback with friends and family.
This is where any investment in CX really pays off when it comes to brand ambassadors who spread the word to others, whether through online reviews (free digital advertising) or through word of mouth. You only have one chance to make a first impression. That applies online too. Whatever your customer’s first experience with your brand is like will be the deciding factor in whether they come back again, or not.
Additional resources / further reading:
- Interview with Zendesk South Africa’s Maxime Blanchard and Erica Hall on the findings of their latest 2021 CX Trends Report and the implications for South African organisations.
- The current state of CX in South Africa
- The future of CX in Africa