May 19, 2020

How To: Grow Retail Footprint By 1000% in Sub-Saharan Africa

Localisation
Africa marketing
Africa retail
Africa supply chain
Skills Junction
3 min
How To: Grow Retail Footprint By 1000% in Sub-Saharan Africa

DHL has taken an innovative approach to growing its retail footprint to achieve a 1,000 percent rise in less than three years.

The company’s number of service points has increased from 300 to over 3,300, not by building its own bricks and mortar branches but by partnering with local business owners who act as DHL resellers.

Thousands of vendors now allow their customers to send DHL shipments alongside their normal offerings; all of which benefit from commission on all DHL sales and an increase in foot traffic.

Sumesh Rahavendra, head of marketing for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, explained: “It’s really a win-win approach. We having given these small shop owners a unique business opportunity to grow their revenues and gain credibility by aligning themselves with an international brand. If they do well, we do well.”

The company is willing to partner with any entrepreneurial business that sees value in becoming a DHL reseller, and all partners are provided with a complete branding kit and go through an extensive training programme to ensure compliance with the supply chain giant’s requirements and procedures.

DHL has also forged similar partnerships with larger companies such as mobile network operators, retail business centres, supermarkets and fuel retailers.

The company has subsequently found that partnering with existing vendors is more cost effective than building its own branches, while it also enhances localisation. An entrepreneur in Ghana can send a sample to a client in the US from the same place he picks up his daily newspaper, whereas a mother in Mauritius is now able to ship a birthday gift to her son in France while her car is being filled up at the fuel station.

“Through the passion and energy of our 4,000 employees across Sub Saharan Africa, we have changed the perception that DHL only caters for multinationals and big business,” Rahavendra continued. “Our retail customers no longer have to sit in traffic to send a document or parcel, but can literally find a DHL service point right around the corner.

“Perhaps most gratifying is the fact that we are empowering business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs across Africa with an additional opportunity to earn money and live better.”

He tells the story of a DHL reseller in Kenya whose mobile phone accessories shop is located right opposite a DHL corporate-owned store. When asked why customers would ship with her rather than go to the fully-branded DHL outlet, she said the average person relates much better with her shop, perceiving it to be affordable and less formal than the one across the road.

Rahavendra concluded: “In a continent like Africa, where the informal economy rules, a company’s retail strategy cannot revolve around high-end shopping malls.

“You have to operate on a level where customers can understand, feel and relate to your product. You really need to ensure that your brand connects to the average person on the street.”

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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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