May 19, 2020

Feeding Africa's hunger for technology

Africa
expansion
Strategy
marketing campaign
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Feeding Africa's hunger for technology

 Written by Vanessa Barnett of London-based law firm Charles Russell

 At this year’s Worldwide Development Conference Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple would be giving access to the App Store to 32 new countries, bringing the total to 152. 

 Of those 32 new countries there are a number in Africa, ranging from countries like Chad with millions of potential app users to remote Sao Tome e Principe with just thousands.

 Tim Cook also shared some impressive statistics:

  • App Store now has 400 million accounts
  • 650,000 apps are available for download
  • There have been 30 billion app downloads
  • Over US$5 billion has been paid to developers

 What does this mean for Africa?

This is great news for Africa.  Over the past decade there has been an explosive growth in Africa of mobile devices – much more than traditional computer-based technology which requires a lot of ‘in the ground’ infrastructure.  In fact, Africa has very little in the way of legacy infrastructure.  

 A 2009 UN Report showed African mobile phone take up rose by 550 percent in five years with a reach across commerce, healthcare and social lives. Between 2003 and 2008 mobile subscriptions in Africa increased from 54 million to just under 350 million – at the time, the quickest growth in the world.

 Now imagine all those people who are hungry for communication and information have apps. Imagine what could be unlocked with the power of iOS. Africans are hungry for technology and developers will unlock grass roots development talent all across Africa and develop for local needs, local cultures and with that will come an economic boost. 

 What will be interesting to see will be the balance between downloads of big hitting current apps and newly developed local apps.  It is likely that there will be more ‘hard’ apps being developed – around agriculture, micropayments and education – than ‘soft’ apps. 

 What is Apple’s strategy likely to be, and will it work in Africa?

Apple’s strategy will be as aggressive in Africa as elsewhere – it will deploy very slick campaigns which will work very well.  The biggest challenge for Apple’s strategy will be how to localise its messages in that context – Africa is a more diverse continent than perhaps any other in which it has been successful.

 Apple is taking steps which show it means business too, in particular by appointing more official resellers for its mobile devices in Africa in July and August.  Apple has also shown itself to be conscious of the cost of its mobile devices and is investigating hire purchase structures through its African distributors.

 What does it represent for Apple

Apple’s steps into Africa show confidence.  That confidence is well placed, given Apple’s net profit for its last reported quarter was over US$8 billion.

 Apple’s business model is solid – of all the players in the market, it is the most integrated into modern life.  (Look at how many people use Apple products at home but have also switched from Blackberries to iPhones and iPads at work.)  Apple is maintaining its place in the market as the hype continues to grow around the launch of the iPad Mini - a direct rival to Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire. Apple is widely expected to unveil its new smaller iPad at a media event on October 23. Apple will also release a new version of the existing iPad, which will be compatible with mobile provider EE's 4G network.

 What this African expansion represents for Apple is the opportunity to harness significant revenue as African emerging markets flourish.  All adds to the bottom line, and the bottom line in existing Apple territories is less grow-able.

 Vanessa Barnett of City law firm Charles Russell is a leading technology and media lawyer with a focus on Internet and mobile business.  She has advised a number of leading online brands.  She is the only technology and media lawyer on The Times’ Legal Panel, a group of thought leaders in law.  She is on the editorial board of e-commerce law and policy and ranked as a leading lawyer in Legal 500 and Chambers.  She blogs at vanessabarnett.wordpress.com and tweets @vanessabarnett.

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Jun 12, 2021

Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey

CX
customerjourney
Limitless
gigeconomy
Roger Beadle, Co-founder & CEO...
6 min
Roger Beadle, CEO of Limitless looks at how CX can directly Influence revenue generation in streaming services

There’s no shortage of customer service channels for the enterprise to select from today. Regardless of the many new metrics that have emerged – such as customer success, or empathy – cost reduction is still a primary driver in selection criteria.

There are many articles dedicated to how companies can turn customer service and customer experience (CX) from a cost to a revenue centre. The problem is, if you stop there and don’t look beyond cost reduction, you’re limiting the scope for CX to become an even bigger economic contributor in the enterprise.

There is every opportunity for customer service and CX to significantly influence the front end of business, particularly amongst direct-to-consumer subscription-based products and services, such as popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, as well as sports subscription services like DAZN.

In these products and services and others, there are new customer journeys that may drive business growth and revenue. They start earlier and may last a lifetime, so getting things right at the start of the journey is key so that customers have the best experience from day one.

Not only will this help in making customers less likely to reach out for issues-based support further down the line, but these customers will be much less likely to churn, and much more likely to take up new services as they are offered throughout the lifetime journey.

So, what does the new customer journey look like for these services?

Opportunity waiting for the likes of Netflix & Disney

While consumers may have previously regarded customer service as a way to mitigate the inconveniences in their lives, the customer journey is expanding in scope every day. Today there are many more touchpoints available that put CX in a position to drive revenue.

For one-off purchases, traditional CX deployments have not changed significantly in the past few years. However, if you look at the change in the CX relationships we’re seeing with subscription-based products and services, particularly media-based streaming services, it’s clear that these companies lead what quickly become very multifaceted relationships with their customers. These have serious potential to evolve over time for increased economic benefit.

For any sort of subscription-based business, customer lifetime value is paramount, and the requirement to actively manage a continued positive customer experience is critical.

Every interaction is an opportunity, and every data point is a chance to offer more value. Introductory offers can convert to longtime customers. Longtime customers may take up opportunities to upgrade to more premium products or services. They may also appreciate incentives to invite family and friends to become customers. Consumers who like a particular service, for example, may appreciate a recommendation for another similar or complimentary service.

It all starts with customer interaction, and the customer experience journey becomes an opportunity to strategically affect the user base and resulting revenue - which is a far cry from the limitations of call center cost reduction or churn metrics.

How do companies support the new customer journey?

More and more, customers look at the new customer journey as engaging with brands as part of their lifestyles. Many companies are making brand ambassadors available before the traditional customer journey even starts, which is a marked change from a purely transactional relationship associated with a one-off purchase.

These ambassadors, who are often independent users of products or services, are providing trusted pre-sales advice, and that same trusted advice can also function to nurture the customer journey in a subscription-based relationship. Call it ‘GigCX’ or ‘crowdsourced customer service’ or even ‘peer-to-peer customer service’ - it doesn’t matter.

The key is in providing impartial, trusted advice from real users. Think about it: who would you rather get advice from? Someone who has used a product or service extensively, or someone who has been trained to provide customer service surrounding that product or service?

For services such as streaming media, advice from trusted experts with real product know-how could be invaluable. This may not be limited to technical issues, such as what to do when you can’t access your favourite show, or how to access services across various devices. It could be parents helping other parents who are concerned about how to restrict adult content from child viewers, or simply customers who have similar taste in programming who can comment on the benefits of upgraded or premium products. The point is, these experts are easily available at any touchpoint in the customer lifetime journey, creating more chances to add value.

It’s also about tipping customers from ‘passive’ to ‘promoter’ in the NPS scale. It’s an opportunity to turn neutral customers who may be vulnerable to competitive offerings into loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and referring others, fuelling growth. It may ultimately help drive even further revenue by creating customers that are helping to sell the brand itself.

And, while chatbots and automation may play a key role, they are often not able to handle the more complex support needed in the new customer journey. Conversational AI is rarely as conversational as it claims to be, and in the new customer journey, most companies are finding that a mix of automation and people-centric service is an ideal way to nurture the many new touchpoints created.

It’s no longer about trying to replace human capital with automation: it’s about orchestrating a uniquely personalised CX, and proactively engaging during the customer lifecycle to enhance the experience, and to create more long-term value.

At the moment, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power to affect the economics introduced by the new customer journey. We’ll no doubt see this evolve rapidly particularly amongst streaming companies as they use human-centric connections in CX to support the full potential of customer lifetime value.

About Roger Beadle
Roger Beadle is an entrepreneur and business leader who is reinventing how customer service is delivered via the gig economy. After establishing several businesses in the contact centre industry, Roger co-founded Limitless with Megan Neale in 2016. Limitless is a gig-economy platform that addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the contact center industry: low pay, high attrition and access to new talent. Previously, Roger and Megan helped to build one of the largest privately-owned outsourced contact center business in Europe, before selling the business to the global conglomerate Hinduja Group. Roger is an outspoken proponent of digital ethics, worker’s rights and the ‘good-gig:’ which encapsulates gig work for incremental pay versus full time work, skilled gig work, no unpaid time/downtime and zero expenses.

About Limitless
Named a Rising Star at Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program, Limitless is a gig customer service platform, combining crowdsourcing and AI to help global businesses address their biggest customer service challenges – rising costs, increasing attrition, variability in demand and the need for diversity. Brands like Microsoft, Unilever, Daily Mail Group and Postmates are using Limitless’ SmartCrowdTM technology to connect with their most engaged customers, and reward them for providing on-demand customer service that can flex in line with demand. Limitless is one of the world’s first global tech platforms to introduce localised platform terms to protect the rights of its gigging workers. Backed by AlbionVC, Downing Ventures and Unilever Ventures, Limitless is empowering people worldwide to earn money for providing brilliant customer service for the brands they love.

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