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Businesses must harness the power of conversational experiences to enhance customer engagement and personalisation

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By Siddharth Bawa, Account Executive at Infobip

Delivering exceptional customer experiences has become crucial for businesses, with an increasing number of organisations recognising that omnipresence – offering continuous, personalised journeys on customers’ preferred channels – is key to attaining success. By embracing omnichannel communication strategies, businesses can bridge the gap between physical and digital interactions, while also reducing complexity and maintaining a personalised touch. Businesses are thus shifting their focus towards conversational experiences that enable bi-directional interactions.

Research by Accenture shows that nearly 80% of CEOs have changed or intend to change how they manage client engagement using conversational AI technologies, while a study by Deloitte found that brands that lead in personalisation improve customer loyalty 1.5 times more effectively than brands with poor personalisation.

Ultimately, conversational experiences can contribute to successful customer engagement and personalisation because humans crave connection above all else. The need to be acknowledged and understood is driven by our inherent psychological makeup. A case in point was a recent initiative by a local chocolate manufacturer to help address South Africa’s low child literacy rate by deploying a conversational chatbot that enabled learners to access stories in their home language via a mobile device. In turn, children could also submit their own stories to the chatbot, which would be added to the collection. A high engagement rate and the ultimate success of the project saw this being rolled out as a fully-fledged corporate social responsibility project by the company.

Tangible benefits

When conversational experiences are incorporated with hyper personalisation – the process of tailoring a product, service, or experience to meet the needs and preferences of individual customers – businesses can reap various tangible benefits. These include customer acquisition, cost efficiency, revenue increase and marketing return on investment. However, the biggest benefit is customer loyalty, which leads to a long term mutually beneficial relationship between client and organisation.

Yet, despite these benefits, there are still some key challenges that South African businesses face in delivering personalised messages through conversational channels.

For example, in the banking sector, many organisations still have legacy systems. Adapting these systems to current customer experience requirements is proving to be quite a challenge in many cases. Many of the challenges arise from a legacy silo structure which is still present in several banks.

In the realm of customer support, Infobip’s analysis reveals a shift towards seeking assistance on familiar conversational platforms used with friends and family. This shift underscores the preference for instant and immersive messaging experiences, evident in the remarkable 91% increase in WhatsApp Business Platform interactions for customer support. This is where we as Infobip are seeing composable platforms becoming increasingly relevant, as they can orchestrate content from multiple sources and publish it to any digital channel.

It is important that companies adopt an approach that will reduce the complexity of communication while maintaining personalised experiences in a conversational strategy. To do this, businesses should avoid the inherent difficulty of trying to manage multiple different communication channels and instead seek to unify them on a single conversational communication platform.

Key functionality

When selecting a platform for this purpose, businesses should look for key functionality, such as access to a customer data platform where they can orchestrate customer information and craft personalised journeys. They should also seek a drag and drop chatbot building tool that will enable them to generate intelligent, intuitive chatbots that can be used for support, lead generation and cross-selling. Lastly, organisations should also look for a cloud contact centre solution where their clients can transition from automated responses to a live human agent to address more complex queries.

By successfully harnessing these technologies and functionalities, a company should be able to leverage their communication platform to deliver real-time, personalised two-way conversations to their clients.

Seamless agent takeover

While the right technology, such as intelligent chatbots, is key to driving conversational experiences, organisations must also put in place strategies or techniques to ensure seamless agent takeover for a more personalised support experience in conversational interactions. This is essential because people do not want to become stuck in an endless loop and they want to have the ability to speak to a human if they start experiencing challenges in terms of what they want to achieve.

As such, organisations should adopt a strategy where agents can see the dialogue that the customer has had with the chatbot, giving them an understanding of what the customer requirement is. Many organisations now have specialised agents that sit behind the chatbot, so that a specific query can be diverted to someone who is capable of resolving it quickly when the need arises.

Even though technology is thriving and continues to evolve in all directions, we still need to maintain the human touch. Technology and automation are there to assist us as employees and customers, not to take over. Therefore, merging chatbots with the human experience is a balance that organisations need to carefully maintain.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Nigeria Makes Giant Strides in Economic Growth and Continental Leadership with the Launch of Guided Trade Initiative Under AfCFTA 

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Nigeria has embarked on a historic endeavor with the launch of the Guided Trade Initiative under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signaling a pivotal moment in boosting intra-African trade and fostering economic diversification. Spearheaded by President Bola Tinubu, this initiative is anticipated to unlock an estimated $50 billion in economic opportunities for Nigerian businesses.

President Tinubu underscored AfCFTA’s transformative potential, positioning it not merely as a trade pact but as a catalyst for industrialization, equitable growth, and continental prosperity. Nigeria is steadfast in creating an enabling business environment that fosters innovation and enhances the competitiveness of local enterprises across diverse sectors.

The launch event, supported by international partners such as the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ), celebrated Nigeria’s leadership role in AfCFTA’s implementation. The Country Director for GIZ Nigeria and ECOWAS, represented by GIZ ECOWAS Cluster Coordinator, Svenja Ossman, highlighted Germany’s commitment through the ECOWAS AfCFTA project, aimed at bolstering the implementation framework across West Africa.

“We are pleased to witness Nigeria’s official commencement of trade under the preferential regime established by AfCFTA,” stated the GIZ country director. “Germany acknowledges Nigeria’s proactive stance in advancing regional economic integration and pledges support in aligning national efforts with ECOWAS-coordinated AfCFTA strategies.”

The GIZ ECOWAS AfCFTA support project has been pivotal in providing technical assistance to Nigeria through the AfCFTA National Action Committee, now called, the Nigeria AfCFTA Coordination Office (NACO). This support includes the development of a comprehensive Action Plan aimed at optimizing trade facilitation and maximizing opportunities for Nigerian businesses, including women and youth entrepreneurs.

“We commend Nigeria’s dedication in preparing the AfCFTA implementation Action Plan,” continued the GIZ country director. “In collaboration with relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), we anticipate finalizing this plan to ensure robust financial and institutional support for its successful rollout.”

Emphasizing the importance of collaboration, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, National Coordinator of NACO, highlighted the transformative impact of AfCFTA on Nigeria’s economic landscape. The conversion of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA into NACO underscores Nigeria’s commitment to effective AfCFTA implementation, including finalizing tariff concessions to enhance competitiveness within the continental market.

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, reiterated Nigeria’s dedication to leveraging AfCFTA for industrial growth and job creation. Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, emphasized the strategic importance of the Guided Trade Initiative in propelling Nigeria’s economic growth and fostering regional integration.

President Tinubu concluded the event by affirming Nigeria’s commitment to assuming a leadership role in continental and global trade through AfCFTA. Beyond immediate economic gains, AfCFTA promises a transformative future for all Africans, grounded in collaboration, innovation, and the collective strength of the continent.


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TAFTA’s TALP-X Paves Way for Young Creatives

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Terra Academy for the Arts (TAFTA), Nigeria’s leading creative education academy, last Sunday showcased its transformative impact on young talents across the country.

Founded with a mission to educate and upskill young Nigerians in various creative industries, including animation, art business & entrepreneurship, scriptwriting, sound design, and stage lighting, TAFTA has become a beacon of empowerment.

Since its inception in 2022, TAFTA has empowered over 24,440 young Nigerians across Lagos, Kano, and Ogun states with invaluable theatre arts and entrepreneurship skills. Notably, TAFTA has successfully integrated 9,165 youths into the workforce, with 5,156 young women securing employment or gigs in their respective fields.

Under its flagship initiative, the TAFTA Action Learning Project (TALP-X), TAFTA, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and Utica Capital, hosted an unforgettable evening at Terra Arena in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Featuring five spectacular stage plays, the event not only entertained but also highlighted the depth of talent nurtured through TAFTA’s programs, creating an experience that truly made the attendees say, ‘We Outside.'”

The evening kicked off with a soul-stirring performance by Wisdom Joe, whose renditions of classics such as “Coat of Many Colors” and “Mr. Jailer” set the stage alight.

This was followed by powerful spoken word pieces by Adeoye Adelakun, who gave a poignant eulogy of Yorubaland, creating an electric atmosphere from the start.

The stage then came alive with the captivating storytelling of the first play, titled “Nocturnal.”

The audience was transported into a riveting tale of a dysfunctional couple who, despite their differences, successfully resist outside intervention and pressures.

Following the thunderous applause, the students of the academy presented a thought-provoking contemporary drama, “Hues,” exploring women’s empowerment through collaboration. As the night progressed, the energy in the room only intensified.

The audience roared with laughter during “Kolo,” a thought-provoking social commentary on sanity. This hilarious play offered a satirical look at two madmen who, realizing that madness is more affordable, ultimately choosing to embrace insanity.

The heartfelt performance “Maami,” a touching comedic portrayal of familial bonds during a wedding fundraiser, added layers of depth and emotion. The night culminated in “Hello,” a gripping dialogue between God and Lucifer inspired by Adele’s classic song, leaving the audience mesmerized and inspired.

The highlight of the night was the overwhelming support and enthusiasm of the attendees, who filled the venue with cheers and applause throughout the performances. Their energy elevated the atmosphere to new heights.

If you missed this unforgettable event, do not worry. There is more to come!!! TALP (TAFTA Action Learning Project) X is a stage play event held every quarter.

Follow @Tafta_academy on social media to stay in the loop about upcoming performances. This is your chance to be part of a transformative cultural experience that celebrates creativity and empowers the next generation of Nigerian artists and entrepreneurs.

Also, if you are a Nigerian youth with a passion for the arts, a new cohort is starting August 8th, 2024. Visit the TAFTA website to stay updated on the call for entry and other news. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from the best and brightest in the industry and to develop your talents to their fullest potential.


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NIGCOMSAT, BON Partner to Enhance Broadcasting Services

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NIGCOMSAT Limited, Nigeria’s satellite communication infrastructure provider, says it has begun a collaborative partnership with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) to provide uplink services.

NIGCOMSAT, BON Partner to Enhance Broadcasting Services

This was disclosed in a statement issued by Aisha Bantam, spokesperson, NIGCOMSAT Limited,  on Wednesday. The company said this strategic alliance aims to improve the quality and reach of broadcasting services for BON members across the country for a period of three months.

According to Bantam, the development which aligns with the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy under the supervision of the Minister, Dr. Bosun Tijani, will see NIGCOMSAT leverage its state-of-the-art satellite technology to empower BON and its member organisations.

“This partnership will enable BON to seamlessly access NIGCOMSAT’s reliable and high-performance uplink services, ensuring their broadcast signals are delivered with unparalleled quality and consistency to viewers nationwide,” Bantam said.

Mrs. Jane Egerton-Idehen, managing director/chief executive officer, NIGCOMSAT Ltd, said the company is committed to driving digital transformation and enhancing connectivity across Nigeria.

She said: “By collaborating with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, considering the strong influence it has in the media space and its contributions to the development of the society, we have the opportunity to elevate the country’s broadcasting landscape and bring the benefits of satellite technology to millions of Nigerians who rely on these vital services”, she added.

“The collaboration will commence immediately with NIGCOMSAT’s technical team working closely with BON to integrate their systems and ensure a seamless transition. This partnership underscores NIGCOMSAT’s dedication to supporting the growth and development of Nigeria’s media and communications sectors, ultimately empowering citizens with access to reliable and informative content,” the stated noted.

 


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