South African organisations looking to gain a decisive edge in 2019, must focus on going above and beyond to anticipate and act upon customer requests. That is according to research from Avaya Holdings Corp and Davies Hickman Partners, which revealed that 93% of South African consumers believe large organisations should make customer contact easier, while 69% said that convenience is more important than price. These figures outpace the respective global averages of 79% and 63% respectively, indicating a growing demand for ‘SuperServe’ organisations in the country.
The report also found that South African consumers expect a higher level of engagement from the organisations they interact with, with 90% wanting an immediate response from the organisations they contact.
“South Africans increasingly demand ‘SuperService’ from the organisations they do business with,” said Danny Drew, Managing Director – South Africa, Avaya.
“The research indicates that customers will remain loyal to organisations that provide outstanding customer service across every channel and make communication easy.
“Based on this research, the path to becoming a SuperServe organisation involves taking on a number of considerations. The most obvious is that SuperServe organisations will provide easy and immediate responses to customer queries across any channel; the best will provide the same high level of service through instant messaging as they do through phone support.
“The self-service model is also being revised, with the leading companies implementing new technologies that empower customers, rather than offload work onto them. These companies will also augment new channels with AI and predictive analytics, and they’ll extend stellar customer experience across the entire enterprise, meaning employees are just as empowered as the customers they’re serving.”
In line with their demand for more convenient and proactive service, South African consumers expressed an openness for large organisations to adopt emerging, advanced technologies such as AI and predictive analytics. Over four in five say they like it when organisations notice if they’re having difficulty with a process, and 80% want AI to notify them if there’s a problem with a product or service. Additionally, South African consumers expressed trust in the algorithm; 52% want AI to make better recommendations about new products and services.
Voice remains a cornerstone of the customer experience. Almost three-quarters of South African consumers prefer using the phone to explain customer service problems, and 71% say they get the best answer to queries by using the phone. This preference for voice as the primary user interface also extends to the latest technologies as over 63% of respondents said they’d like to use a smart speaker such as an Amazon Echo to access customer service, while 80% would like to use voice biometrics to bypass identification and verification questions.
Although South African customers crave a personalised service experience, the report goes on to caution that SuperServe companies must be careful around the use of personal data. The results show that consumers buy more from organisations that make it easier to do business with them, but 91% worry about security when giving out credit card details over the phone. What’s more, 87% believe that large organisations are not handling their data securely.
“Too often, protecting personal data inevitably means poor customer experience as extra layers of interaction, data or passwords are required,” added Drew.
“SuperServe organisations will utilise technology to help enhance security whilst improving customer ease going forward.”