Targeting East African Expansion
After a merger or acquisition, it can be tough for a company to get back on its feet. Changes in management styles and differing corporate cultures can slow production and create tension.
But newly acquired Nova Energy, Inc isn’t letting any of those things stop them. With a new CEO at the controls, the Carson City, NV-based exploration-stage oil and gas recovery company has big goals. The company plans to follow several lines of business in the growing East African economy, beginning in Kenya. In fact, Nova has already started several initiatives in the region, including forays into the technology, utility, housing and health products industries.
Strong Leadership, Big plans
Although he was just appointed on February 9, Nova Energy’s new CEO, retired Major General and former Chairman of the Dallas Federal Reserve Hugh G. Robinson, has already installed a new business strategy. In addition to plans to eventually change the firm’s name, Robinson hopes to expand and improve the company’s current East African market.
In the technology sector, he plans to acquire a Kenyan systems integration firm to provide a base of operations locally, and in the utilities market negotiations are already underway to support a wireless meter reading pilot solution for local authority. In the health sector, the company hopes to acquire manufacturing capability, including a nearly completed plant.
Nova Energy also plans to tap into Kenya’s growing housing market. The country is expected to need 50,000 new homes a year, and Nova has negotiations in place to build affordable singe family homes as well as provide financing.
“I anticipate 2010 will be a foundation building year for Nova Energy in Africa. I am confident that Nova will complete two to three acquisitions this year and report meaningful revenue, demonstrating the long-term potential of Nova. I have every expectation that Nova's business operations will expand rapidly and extend well beyond Kenya,” said Robinson in a letter to shareholders.
And with such grand plans on the horizon, there is no better man to have at the helm than Robinson. In addition to his distinguished career in the United States Army and his position as Chairman of the Dallas Federal Reserve, Robinson also served as President Lyndon Johnson's military aide de camp and has extensive executive management experience having held senior positions at Southland Corporation and City Place Development Corporation.
A graduate of West Point with a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Robinson is also on the board of Carmax, Inc., the LBJ Foundation and the Better Business Bureau in addition to his role as CEO of Nova Energy.
In conjunction with Robinson’s appointment as CEO, Nova also became part of the NewMarket Technology, Inc. Greenfield Partnership Program. NewMarket provides systems integration, technology infrastructure services and emerging technology worldwide and uses its Greenfield Partnership Program to speed up the introduction of new technologies into emerging markets around the world. This makes Nova a perfect partnership.
“NewMarket has been working for the past two years to prepare for operations in East Africa,” said Robinson, currently a member of the NewMarket board. “I have had the opportunity to meet personally with the local government in Nairobi. The first project opportunities are already signed under letters of intent.”
“I have met with investors prepared to finance our first project opportunities, and Nova's updated and expanded business plan is the home that has been established for these first project opportunities. Within the NewMarket Greenfield Partnership Program and with NewMarket's two years of preparation work, Nova is staged for rapid changes and developments,” he stated.
With so many exciting operations coming up, Nova and NewMarket are utilizing diverse marketing strategies to get news about their updated business strategy to the investing community. The company recently hosted a webcast which detailed Robinson’s appointment and the new business strategy.
The company has also announced that its profile is available on the New York Times website. “One issue we have unexpectedly faced is recognition by the various brokerage systems that the Company is fully-reporting and listed on the OTCBB. I believe being acknowledgement by well-recognized financial sites such as the New York Times website that the Company is an OTCBB quoted security will help to overcome this issue,” said Robinson.
Re-defining the economics of CX in the new customer journey
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.
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.