Just like Charles Darwin had warned centuries ago, African businesses have no option but adapt with time or else perish.
“Before the internet blew up, branding was all about being known because if I shouted loud enough people would know about me and they would believe what I had to say since they had had no way of validating that, as long as they saw my billboard at every corner they knew this is the best because that is all they knew, information was limited and they didn’t have the voice of the consumer,” Louis Majanja, Chief Product Officer, mSurvey told Business insider Sub-Saharan Africa.
A lot of African households don’t have the luxury of enjoying excesses and every day it is a struggle to balance between sharing meager resources with unlimited wants, a feat African mothers have since perfected through painful and worthy experience.
Consumers in Africa are usually more compelled to purchase only what they absolutely need. A phenomenon which has since forced businesses to be extra efficient with their meager resources.
Businesses here would kill to get the luxury of understanding just who their customers are, how do they like to be treated, what can the business improve on to get them coming back over and over again and in cases where mistakes happen how can these businesses be made aware before the story spreads like wildfire and god knows Africa is full of dry bushes ready to blow up at the smallest spark.
Welcome to the age of the customer where it is no longer not so much what the brand does but what the consumer says the brand does.
‘Words are mightier than the sword’ has never been more accurate with the advent of the internet and information age.
“With the Internet now, everything has changed, and roles have been switched, brands are now at the mercy of consumers who are increasingly getting empowered by the day and now wield power to either build or destroy a brand just by their words,” says Majanja.
Businesses are, however, slowly evolving and adopting smart solutions in a bid to stay ahead of the game and increase customer loyalty.
mSurvey, Africa’s Integrated Customer Experience company connecting businesses to their customers in real-time is now giving businesses a shot just at that by offering them a chance of understanding who their customers truly are by investing in customer analytics.
“For example, if today I want to buy a car the first thing, I will do is I would go google, I will look at the brand and see what they say and then now go to the ground to see the real picture on the ground from the people who love cars and what they have to say about this car, what are people’s reviews about this car, maybe even ask questions there and then decide if this is the car I want and so that has become really important because the power is now in the hands of consumers because they have information. So, it’s no longer enough to say I am the best it’s what people say is the best,” explains Majanja.
It is no longer an option for businesses to know their consumers' lifestyle preferences and spending habits. Businesses also need to establish the satisfaction and loyalty levels of their customers and demographic information in order to transform their products and services according to customer needs.
“what mSurvey really does is to help businesses understand their customers and hear what their customer has to say because what they say is what they tell other people,” says Majanja.
The challenge for businesses has often been when seeking access to this crucial information. Often times, even with an existing customer database, there is a problem of getting quality insights.
Customer information tends to get mixed up as a result of originating from several sources including internal company systems and third-party services making them vary in consistency, quality and more.
mSurvey has since solved this challenge by building its customer analytics module which gives a business access to a single, consolidated view of a customer.
“One of the things we do and which we are big on is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a customer loyalty metric that enables businesses to determine how likely their customers are to recommend their products and services. NPS is almost like a mirror of what is going on in real life in terms of how people receive your product or brand,” says Majanja.
NPS has been adopted by more than two-thirds of fortune 1000 companies such as Amazon, Apple and Sony just to name a few.
All this results in a business being able to create better messaging that appeals to their target audiences which at the end of the day ends up making them more efficient by saving them unnecessary marketing costs.
“The negative draw more business away and so if you are driving people away you have to spend more money on advertising now compare that with the promoters out there who are telling other people good things about your business and as a result end up bringing in more people which means you are spending less on growing your business, so the age of the customer and what we are doing at mSurvey mirrors that and shows businesses how to tap into that,” Majanja says.
At the end of the day when all is said and done, where the rubber meets the road in all this is the fact that mSurvey’s ‘real business’ is really all about giving businesses a fighting chance of survival, another chance to ensure the lights are on and that banner ‘open for business’ remains hanging on the door.
In a continent where competition is always stiff and where you always have to be ahead of the game, mSurvey at least gives businesses the luxury to Shape up or Ship out by understanding what their customers really want and that is sometimes more than what businesses can ever ask for.