Customer Experience Goes Global


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Turn the clock back 20 years and the thought that countries in Africa, India, China and Brazil would be the new up and coming area for economic growth and development over an above Europe and USA would have seemed unlikely. Yet as the USA gradually recovers from economic distress and Europe lays mired in it, a burgeoning middle class is forcing the pace in parts of the world not previously considered important. China, Brazil, Chile, Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya the list goes on of countries that are the new frontier in terms of investment and development.

And of course what comes with this is changing customer expectations.

In our recent Global Customer Experience Research 2011 and client work in Africa, Middle East-Asia and South America Beyond Philosophy have had direct experience of a changing order. From our research we have found that fundamental social and technological change is forcing the pace of customer expectations.

Some of the key drivers in this market include:

  • Technological: with the limited use of fixed line, mobile technologies have enabled consumers to leapfrog a technology and increase their use of social media and hence availability of information on the developed world. In addition, mobility has acted as a platform for easy enhancement of customer experience e.g., the use of M-Pesa in Kenya and the generally superior focus on the customer in telecommunications verticals.
  • Political: increasing ‘good governance’ and globalisation of employment and educational opportunities has enabled top management to bring into their countries best practice from overseas.
  • Economic: a burgeoning middle class with exposure to western standards of service, has raised expectations in country. This is turn has raised the level of competition and hence the need to seek ever better standards of service and experience.
  • Social: part and parcel with economic developments comes an aspiration, a desire to be like more developed parts of the world in terms of Experience expectations.
  • Industrial: with increasing opportunity in these new markets and limited opportunity in their home markets, western brands and companies are seeking to enter these markets. As a result, these companies act as conduits for western best practices in service and experience e.g., through the establishment of international brand standards.

Overall, countries in these parts of the world are at what we call a nascent level of development. At the tipping growth to high growth in Customer Experience and represent the best growth opportunities in the next 5 years. Based on a survey base of 2,106 companies and 53 expert interviews, we found that while the absolute level of development was below countries such as USA, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Australia and Singapore, the relative level of growth is much higher.

Management Implications

Brands need to translate their European/ North American focus into a more global aspiration if they are to avoid long-term failure and slow growth. Companies need to look at best practice examples in countries such as Brazil and those in, Africa, India and China to understand how they can be adapted to differential experience demands and drivers in these countries. Move beyond just a focus on European and North American brands and consider exemplar experiences such as those provided by:

  1. Ludique et Badin and Ipau Bank in Brazil
  2. Rosewood Hotel in Saudi Arabia
  3. Serena Hotel in Kenya
  4. OCBC Bank in Singapore
  5. Air New Zealand and Telstra in the Australia/ New Zealand region

And many more……

To learn more about international Customer Experiences please contact us for a FREE copy of the Global Customer Experience Management Report 2011.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Walden
Steven Walden is Director of Customer Experience at leading CX firm TeleTech Consulting (which includes Peppers and Rogers, iKnowtion and RogenSi). Steven is instrumental in efforts to develop the CX practice promoting thought leadership and CX community engagement and IP development. Prior to TeleTech he was Director of CX at Ericsson, developing their Experience Management Centre and also Head of Research specialising in emotion and journey mapping agency side.


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