May 19, 2020

Is green growth the answer?

East Africa
Climate Change
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Is green growth the answer?

“Business as usual is dead. Green growth is the answer to both our climate and economic problems,”said Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, back in March last year. It seems this sentiment is one shared among many – and Africa is no different.

Not only can green business respond to the public’s rising concern for sustainability, but there are also enormous financial gains to be had, a chance to contribute to the continent’s green targets and an opportunity to have an overall positive impact on the environment.


It is clear, when looking across the rest of the world, that a strong environmental stance is good business practice. And it seems Africa too is coming up to speed with this realization. In fact, this year’s Green Business Africa Summit & Expo (GBASE) in Nairobi, Kenya is operating under the theme ‘Sustainable Business as Vehicle for Africa’s Economic Growth and Social Uplift’, demonstrating a real effort to transform sustainable business in Africa.

Once known as the ‘green city in the sun’, Nairobi hosts the global headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and, during May and June this year, will again be awash with green as GBASE and Nairobi Green Week (NGW) take place. In fact, Kenya is leading the way in green business, with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declaring 2010 to be “green year” for the country in his New Year’s message: “Let us make 2010 the green year for Kenya”.

NGW, a first for East Africa’s green business hub, will involve the Nairobi business community, government and quasi-government institutions working on a common public-private partnership. The country will set out to embrace green and sustainable business, while enhancing the global green economy.

Similarly,GBASE is Africa’s first event to bring issues surrounding sustainability in the business environment, as well as green corporate social responsibility, to the continent’s mainstream. By outlining the many current and future green African business opportunities, the summit will set out to provide an insight into developing and enhancing profitable and sustainable business enterprises and practices.

However, although Kenya and many other African countries are making real headway in the green business arena, some believe Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), renewable energy projects with initiatives aimed at producing green energy remain largely underexploited in Africa. 

The UNEP assessment, published this March, stated that the growth in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under the Kyoto Protocol is “uneven”, with Egypt and South Africa claiming the lion's share of the continent’s 120+ carbon market projects up and running or in the pipeline.

However, it did highlight Kenya and Uganda as exceptions, with the number of CDM projects underway in these countries climbing from just two in 2007, to 15 and 12 respectively. In comparison, many African countries, including Zambia, Madagascar, Cameroon and Mali, only have one or two CDM projects, while Equatorial Guinea is among several countries that have none.

The results, described as “modest” when compared with Africa’s massive potential, reveal a cause for concern, as highlighted by UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner: “The growth of the carbon markets in Africa are both cause for optimism, and cause for concern.

“In order to realize only a few percentage points more of the massive potential for wind, solar, biomass and waste into energy schemes, action across a range of challenges needs to be stepped up,” he said. Steiner drew attention to private and trans-national banks and individual governments as being partly responsible for this, saying that there is a great deal more they can do “to make clean energy investments more attractive through innovative loans and forward-looking policies and smart market mechanisms”.

John Kilani, of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat on behalf of the organizers of the Africa Carbon Forum, said that the groundwork has been laid for Africa to increase its participation in the carbon market. “You are bound to do business [under the Kyoto Protocol’s CDM] when you bring all of the key market players together: the investors, buyers and sellers. This [Africa Carbon] Forum is therefore bound to boost the number of carbon offset projects in Africa,” he said.

If Africa’s reinvigorated efforts and optimism materialize, it is estimated that the number of CDM projects in Africa could total around 245 by the end of 2012. And with the price of carbon at just over $13 a ton, these could be worth over $475 million; leading Africa to the ‘green economy’ status it is aiming for.

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Jun 12, 2021

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

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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