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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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5 Tips Small Business Owners Need to Grow their Business Online

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Small businesses are embracing digitalization and catering to their customer needs through a variety of online channels. With new technologies emerging such as artificial intelligence, there is no time like the present to help your small business grow by taking advantage of the online world.

GoDaddy in this article shares five tips to help your small business grow with an online presence.

It starts with a domain name

When getting started, check availability of domain names for the desired name. A domain name can be considered a business’ piece of real estate and identity on the internet. It is a way for customers to easily find a business online.

Choosing and registering a domain name for your business that’s memorable is increasingly important in an expanding digital marketplace, as it helps to shape your online business identity. If the .com extension is not available, there are many new extensions available, such as: .shop; .co.; .photography; .tech, to name a few, for you to consider which can help define your business. After choosing a domain name register it with a reliable hosting provider right away.

Build a website

Websites help create visibility for small businesses and act as a home base for your business on the internet, even if you have a brick-and-mortar store. A website can help consumers easily find your business, learn about your product offerings and services, and contact you for more information.

A well-designed professional looking website can offer an engaging customer experience with the use of text along with photo images and video. Having a website gives you control over the messaging about your business and can serve as a hub by linking with your social media channels.

Listen to your customers

The growth of your business is directly related to customer satisfaction. Listen to your customers and pay attention to the needs of your target market. Identify their problems and pain points. How can your offerings act as a solution? Is it possible to develop new products to help solve these problems? Engage for customer feedback and keep an eye on customer behaviour changes and audience interests.

Develop a business support system

By developing a strong business support system, entrepreneurs can benefit from new ideas on ways to address a particular issue or ideas for growth. In addition to close family and friends, consider mentors and business coaches who can provide relevant insights into your business.

Review your business plan

Many entrepreneurs make a business plan at the beginning of their business journey, but do not take the time to revisit it from time-to-time. So, analysing aspects of that business plan like target audience and competitors, examining cash flows and what can make the business profitable, while also checking timelines to reach business goals is all equally essential to help ensure continued growth of your business.


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TECNO Pledges to Transform 100 Football Fields in 5-Year Initiative

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In a bold and visionary move, TECNO Mobile has announced a groundbreaking initiative to renovate 100 football fields across AFRICA over the next five years.

This ambitious project, aimed at enhancing community infrastructure and promoting the beautiful game, reflects TECNO’s deep commitment to the spirit of football.

Notably, TECNO’s dedication to the sport is evident with its recent sponsorship at the just-concluded AFCON 2023, where the brand left an indelible mark on the global football stage.

TECNO Mobile’s association with football reached new heights as the brand proudly sponsored the recently concluded AFCON 2023. As a prominent sponsor, TECNO not only showcased its commitment to sportsmanship but also provided a platform for fans to experience the thrill of the game.

The AFCON sponsorship was more than just a marketing endeavor for TECNO – it was a testament to the brand’s belief in the power of football to unite communities and ignite passion.

Building on the energy and enthusiasm generated by the AFCON sponsorship, TECNO has embarked on a transformative journey to renovate and uplift football fields across diverse communities.

The pledge to renovate 100 fields across Africa over the next five years is a tangible expression of TECNO’s dedication to fostering a love for the sport at the grassroots level.

TECNO’s initiative goes beyond mere field renovation; it is a holistic approach to community development. By creating modern, well-maintained football fields, TECNO aims to provide spaces that encourage physical activity, nurture talent, and foster a sense of community pride.

These fields are hubs for social interaction, where families and friends can come together to celebrate the joy of sportsmanship.

As a brand synonymous with cutting-edge technology, TECNO brings its innovative spirit to the football arena. The renovated fields will integrate innovative solutions and modern amenities, aligning with TECNO’s vision of infusing technology into every aspect of life, including sports.

TECNO’s sponsorship at AFCON 2023 and the pledge to renovate 100 football fields underscore the brand’s unwavering belief in the transformative power of football.

As the fields undergo a metamorphosis over the next five years, TECNO invites everyone to participate in this remarkable journey.

This journey goes beyond the boundaries of sport to leave an enduring impact on communities, fostering a legacy of unity, pride, and passion. In TECNO, football isn’t just a game; it’s a bridge that connects hearts and builds a legacy for generations to come.

 

 


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IFC Partners with Triggerfish to Boost Africa’s Animation Sector

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In order to support the growth of Africa’s creative sector and to bring local African stories to the world, IFC has signed a collaboration agreement with Triggerfish, a globally recognized animation studio founded in South Africa.

Triggerfish creates premium animated content for prominent global studios such as BBC, eOne, Lucasfilm, Magic Light Pictures, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Company.

The collaboration agreement will bring IFC’s market expertise to help Triggerfish with its growth strategy so that it can expand its operations, creating new jobs and opportunities in Africa to upskill local talent, particularly for women and youth.

“We are thrilled to be working with Triggerfish to set the stage for a new chapter of growth,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC Managing Director. “This partnership underscores IFC’s commitment to unlock the potential of creative industries and support economic development and job creation in Africa, particularly for women and youth.”

Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest said: “At a time when the demand for local African content is booming, this partnership with IFC is a significant step that will propel the growth of the local animation sector and position the industry to reach its true potential.”

The global animation and VFX market was valued at US$ 167.9 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach US$ 401.0 billion by 2030, according to a study by Report Ocean.  The sector in Africa faces problems realizing its potential because of challenges accessing funding, a lack of cutting-edge technology, and limited distribution networks.

The partnership with Triggerfish is another important milestone in IFC’s commitment to support the creative industries sector in emerging markets.

IFC recently signed an agreement with Sony Group Corporation to identify investment opportunities in companies in the creative industries in Africa to support new economic opportunities and create jobs. In June, IFC committed up to $75 million to DNEG, a world-leading visual effects and animation company in India to expand its cutting-edge VFX and animation services.

 


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