Using customer experience as a tool to drive economic development – Interview with Mandisa Makubalo


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Today’s interview is with Mandisa Makubalo, the CEO of Unlimited Experiences SA, the 1st 100% black women owned CX Management Consultancy in South Africa, a global thought leader and book author. Mandisa joins me today to talk her journey and using CX as an economic development tool.”

This interview follows on from my recent interview – The impact hateful and toxic social media content has on your customers and people and what to do about it – Interview with Joel Bailey of Arwen – and is number 423 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here are the highlights of my chat with Mandisa:

  • My goal as a consultant is to use customer experience as a tool to drive economic development in the townships of South Africa, specifically in Cape Town.
  • Big shout out to the Women in CX Community and, in particular, Clare Muscutt.
  • Inspired to reach out to Mandisa directly to invite her onto the podcast because of a recent post she published LinkedIn.
  • In the townships, the experience is not the same as what you would get in the city. For example, some banks in the townships you would find they don’t even have WiFi. But, when you go to the city, it’s a completely different set up.
  • The experience divide is getting bigger and bigger by the day.
  • I’m trying to do economic development by using CX tools to help create sustainable and lasting township-based businesses.
  • Sometimes we equate great experience and great service with how much you pay for something or the size of a business.
  • This morning I had a phone call from an entrepreneur that I had worked with quite a while back. He actually calls me the CX Queen. He started off running a sunglass business where he was selling sunglasses from the boot of his car. However, he was operating a flat pricing model and Mandisa helped him understand that he can price his sunglasses differently based on different customer personas. Helping him develop his customer understanding and how he serves each of his personas has allowed him to expand his business. Mandisa has helped him break into markets he didn’t know existed through customer experience. He is now opening up his second brick and mortar store. That is leading to job creation.
  • Seek to understand your customers.
  • You don’t need fancy technology to do that. Just get into the habit of gathering data ….so you can analyse it, group customers into different personas and understand what value they’re looking for. What are their pain points? What are their needs?
  • It’s important to point out that many people in the business press, industry or commentariat invariably talk about large businesses and large brands when it comes to customer experience.
  • However, the problem is that in most countries large businesses constitute only 5-10% of all businesses and the rest are micro, small and medium sized.
  • One of the challenges is translating CX tools and jargon into a local context.
  • When you deliver in that method and that style, it is more understandable, and they are able to connect with the message.
  • If I have a laptop and the screen that’s already overwhelming. If I’m standing in front of a group that creates a disconnect with the people. We are very community oriented so the workshops that we have are set up like roundtables and I sit amongst them and we just start talking, planning and writing.
  • The future of service and experience will require us to build our connected to our customer through better understanding.
  • Another challenge that lies ahead is how do companies embrace the collective wisdom and power that sits in your customers and employees.
  • Mandisa’s best advice: Don’t try to be clever. Everything that you need is right there in the collective wisdom that sits with your customers and your people.
  • Mandisa’s Punk CX word: Fun, Versatility
  • Mandisa’s Punk XL brand: Capitec Bank in SA.


About Mandisa

Mandisa MakubaloMandisa Makubalo is the CEO of Unlimited Experiences SA, the 1st 100% black women owned CX Management Consultancy in South Africa. She has been ranked amongst the Top 100 CX Global Thought Leaders for 2021, a Book Author, Community Leader for the Women in CX Africa chapter and serves on various boards across the country. She is an Awards Judge and Conference Speaker on topics relating to Customer Experience and Employee Experience.

Mandisa’s role involves working with both domestic and global clients at an executive level with CEOs and Boards of Directors and with business leaders and their teams to provide advice on high-level decisions, identify and solve complex organizational, business and operational problems through the value of CX management. She has 2 decades of experience in both public and private sectors with extensive experience in management consultation and strategy implementation in the area of Customer Experience Management and Employee Experience Management. Her academic qualification includes leadership studies from University of Stellenbosch Business School. She has experience in the petro-chemical industry, consulting industry, waste management, non-profit and for profit industries, retail, financial services, entertainment and media, travel and tourism and telecommunications.

Check out Customer Experience 3, the book Mandisa contributed to last year, say Hi to her on Instagram @makubalomandisa and connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Thanks to GDJ on Pixabay for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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