The World Cup 2010: Lifting the spirits of a nation
The prospect of playing host to the mostwatched sporting event on earth – the FIFA World Cup – is mouth watering and the competition to host the tournament is, perhaps unsurprisingly, fierce. Already, English papers are dominated by the FA’s bid to host the event in 2018 or 2022, having famously failed in an attempt to host the 2006 competition.
“Hosting the World Cup is big business,” explains Martjin Kuipers, Managing Director of Mammoet Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd, talking about how the 2010 World Cup – to be held in South Africa – is boosting the country’s economy. “My company is certainly benefitting.” Indeed, as South Africa gears up to host next year’s ‘tournament of champions’, stadiums are busily being upgraded and built – great news for firms like Mammoet. “We are doing our bit,” Kuipers adds. “It makes you proud to be South African.”
Kuipers isn’t the only South African taking pride from the World Cup bid. The third instalment of a six-wave public opinion tracking study carried out by international research company SPORT+MARKT, on FIFA’s behalf, soon after the final whistle at the FIFA Confederations Cup in June, suggested that South Africa is more than ready to host the event and recognises the legacy such tournaments can leave behind. The key extracts from those findings were that 87 percent of those surveyed felt their country will be ready to host the World Cup, while an impressive 93 percent said they were proud that South Africa is host. Another significant figure was that 85 percent of those surveyed said the event will bring long-term benefits to the country.
Danny Jordaan, the man charged with organising the World Cup, and one of those convinced of the long-term benefits of the tournament, recently spoke to goal.com of his belief that the World Cup will – like those before it – stimulate future economic growth. He feels it will “bring people together and will have a major impact in building racial harmony,” and revealed his joy at seeing blacks and whites, rich and poor, mixing and sitting together at football matches during the summer’s Confederations Cup. He also dismissed concerns over transport, accommodation and crime during the event. “It is an experience that many people have never had,” he explained. “The doubting Thomases are now believing the Thomases.”
Indeed, off the field, for South Africans, the success should be far greater, far more important, and lasting. Already, billions have been pumped into infrastructure improvements on public transport, roads and telecommunications. “It [the World Cup] will certainly raise South Africa’s profiles abroad,” says Joshua Ngoma CEO and co-founder of Tranter Holdings and a leading South African black mining-industry personality.
Benefits will also come in the shape of tourism, which is expected to boom during the tournament. “They’re anticipating between 200,000 and 300,000 overseas tourists coming to the country during the World Cup,” says Dave Erskine, CEO of Erbacon, a leading South African construction firm which is currently working on the promenade at the entrance to the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban. “It’ll be a huge boost to the economy and it’s going to expose the country to a few hundred thousand people who’ve never been here before; we’re certainly looking at the return visits after the World Cup.” Already 9.5 million tourists visit South Africa annually.
Lingering doubts do remain, however, and crime is one major concern for visitors. One England fan, who wishes to remain anonymous, told me of his ‘fear’ of being ‘set upon’ by bandits and instances like the Egyptian team hotel being broken into during their match with Italy at the Confederations Cup (according to reports in the Guardian newspaper) hardly inspire confidence.
There are concerns too about inflated prices in South Africa as a result of the tournament and the new tourists it will bring. Erskine comments: “I’ve got no doubt that it will be a very successful World Cup despite some concerns in the media. Over the past year, we’ve had some fairly large sporting events, not on the scale of the World Cup, but we had the Confederations Cup and the Indian IPL League, which was brought over here at short notice; both of those sporting events went off very well. The World Cup is obviously on a much larger scale but all the stadiums are on track and expected ahead of schedule.
“Accommodation was thought to be a problem,” he adds, “but that seems to be resolved – there’s a whole network of accommodation providers – and I do think the country is in the position to stage a very successful tournament.”
Despite Erskine’s optimism, there is real trepidation that certain South Africa cities will be unable to accommodate travelling spectators.
Hotels in Polokwane, one of the lesser-known of the 2010 FIFA World Cup host cities, for example, are rare. This will force football lovers to take rooms in hotels some distance away, with Cape Town and Johannesburg expected to take the brunt.
Regardless of the politics or debate surrounding next summer’s highly anticipated tournament, South Africans are determined to enjoy the event. Irrespective of any concerns about crime, infrastructure or anything else – including the Bafana Bafana’s performances on the pitch – the World Cup has a history of uniting and I, for one, am looking forward to it. The South African government has shown great commitment and all parties involved are working around the clock to ensure South Africa and Africa deliver a flourishing World Cup which will leave a lasting legacy.
FIFA and its President Sepp Blatter took a gamble when awarding the tournament to South Africa, but it will pay off. World Cups are obliged to leave a positive legacy and it is legitimate to suppose that it will make a more lasting impact in South Africa than a wealthy economy of Western Europe. The tournament will ultimately make a huge profit for FIFA, whose income from broadcast rights is astronomical. The benefits to a nation are harder to specify but South Africa should do just fine. The World Cup after all is much more than football or finance – it has the potential to lift the spirits of a nation.
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.