As South African customers lived more of their lives online throughout the pandemic, the need to create a better customer experience rose sharply.
Between 2019 and 2020, online interactions between South African customers and businesses soared from 38% to 64%. With this digital pivot came a host of new desires and expectations.
Digital-first customers instinctively gravitate towards seamless customer experiences. 86% of South African consumers want consistent interactions across a company’s departments, while 89% said that experience is as important as the product. And 74% believe businesses need to make significant improvements when serving and supporting them.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the companies best placed to meet new expectations have used the pandemic as a catalyst to break down data silos with data integration initiatives and create customer experiences enriched by new customer insights.
But while the pace of change has been fast, it needs to pick up speed. 95% of South African customers expect companies to accelerate their digital initiatives as a result of COVID-19.
In this post, you’ll meet two South African Trailblazers who’ve been creating exceptional customer experiences through their commitment to data integration. And discover why the recent implementation of POPI—South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act—is an opportunity to draw even closer to your customers.
Read on to discover how your peers are integrating data to create customer experiences that customers really love.
Like many insurance providers, Liberty Group’s efforts to improve customer experience were hampered by data silos. Before a claim could be processed, customer data had to be gathered from multiple dispersed systems.
Today—and many data integrations later—Liberty has built a single view of its 3.2 million customers. It can give them what they truly value—prompt support just when it’s needed most.
Data integration is now a vital source of innovation across the organisation. As Liberty Group’s Integration Lead Tim Rossouw says, ‘Business and product owners have started giving us innovative ideas on how to do things more seamlessly. Our APIs have become like Lego blocks that we re-use to deliver new processes faster.’
Rossouw’s top tips include:
Give yourself a single view of your customers by integrating backend systems that store customer data.
Start small, integrating around a single use-case, before rolling out wider data integration initiatives to other business processes.
Extend the benefits of data integration to your customers by opening up more options for self-service.
Top Dog Education provides distance learning solutions to 3.5 million students throughout the world. It’s seen student numbers more than double every year since 2018 when its first learner logged on.
According to Top Dog’s co-founder and CTO, Ryan Swartzberg, data integration has been critical to its success. With the Salesforce Platform enabling automation of administrative processes (including lead management and reporting), Top Dog’s instructors are free to focus on their students. Data integration has also empowered Top Dog to offer its students self-service options, via its website.
As Swartzberg puts it: ‘Salesforce is helping us tie our data together to make smarter decisions and focus on the customer’s best experience.’
Top Dog stays on top of its global business with Heroku hosting its web and mobile apps, which allows the company to to easily connect to Service Cloud using Heroku Connect. With data flowing freely in all areas of the business, Top Dog can track everything from the correlation between a student’s engagement with various features and exam performance, to the most popular channels and fastest growing regions.
Arthur Goldstuck, South Africa’s expert on how technology is affecting business and society, sees the recent implementation of POPI as a fantastic Customer Experience opportunity for businesses. ‘The relationship between businesses and their customers becomes a collaboration where customers feel they’re providing data in order for the organisation to serve them better.’
To make the most of POPI, Goldstuck recommends the following:
Give customers a sense that you’re on their side.
Ensure customers know how their data will be used to add value to their experience.
Use your data policy to position yourself as a positive presence in their lives. Be their friend and supporter.
Businesses that unify their data are in a better position to deliver better customer experiences – and leave the competition behind.
Working with incredible Trailblazers like Liberty Group and Top Dog has allowed us to develop a three stage data transformation framework. Make sure to note these down.
An API-led integration approach allows businesses to unlock and share data wherever it is, integrating relevant insights into everyday operations. It allows every department to improve the customer experience and frees IT’s time up to add more value elsewhere.
Give users, not just analysts, the power to use data their way. Businesses can empower their employees with a data culture where they’re part of the conversation and have a high-definition view of their customers, allowing them to make better decisions.
To create seamless customer experiences and applications, businesses need to be truly data-driven. Integrating data enables you to simplify and automate complex processes and empower both your customers and internal teams – making it easy for your business to provide outstanding customer service.
So if you want to follow in our Trailblazers’ footsteps, and see the impact of Salesforce on your business, why not learn more about Heroku, Mulesoft or take a Service Cloud guided tour.
Unleash the power of data to create extraordinary customer experiences, in spite of social and economic disruption. Take your guided tour of the Salesforce Platform now.