More than half (62%) of companies across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) plan to increase their investments in solutions to improve the customer experience (CX) by up to 50% by 2024. 22% even plan to increase spending by up to more than double for technologies such as analytics, personalisation, and smart assistants. These are the key findings of a recent survey for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review Connections with support from SAS, a global leader in analytics and AI solutions.
The expectations for return on investment (ROI) are correspondingly high. For MEA, the forecast is a 100% increase from currently 19% to 38% within the next 24-months.
So-called “CX champions” in the MEA region are predominantly skilled in developing and managing CX by embedding their customer experience initiatives into an enterprise-wide digital strategy. In MEA, more than two-thirds (72%) believe that their company has already successfully implemented this integration.
Cross-cutting, collaborative approach
An important factor for a successful customer experience is the allocation of responsibilities to cross-departmental teams that make recommendations to managers. Among the survey, the proportion of participants from Europe and MEA who already realised this, is around 70% in each case. The decisive factor here is, among other things, documented CX workflows, which around 65% of EMEA companies have established.
Similarly, solutions and platforms that support collaboration are needed to create a single base of information and to centrally manage CX processes.
Across the MEA region, 56% of companies believe that their organisations provide collaborative software and platforms that allow cross-functional teams to manage CX processes from a single point. This is lower than the European average of 63% which is similar to the global average of 64%.
Among the likely reasons for this is that companies in MEA face a distinct set of challenges, including their typical organisational cultures, when trying to build momentum for CX collaboration. Furthermore, companies in Africa face additional hurdles.
Many African companies have yet to eliminate the tedious, repetitive tasks that prevent their customer-facing employees from delivering top-quality CX. Moreover, most African companies must strictly adhere to ISO quality standards and other regulations or risk losing their business licenses. Such requirements leave many business leaders with little time or energy to focus on much beyond their essential duties.
68% of MEA participants say that straightforward access to a human and live chat will play a key role among CX technologies in the region over the next two years. This is followed by other success factors like personalisation technology (67%), and cloud-based computing and edge computing (both at 66%).
“When it comes to the quality of their CX, companies in the MEA region often still lag behind their international competitors,” says Andreas Heiz, Director of Customer Intelligence Solutions, EMEA, at SAS. “Technology can help create more momentum for CX. To achieve this, companies need comprehensive data expertise, a so-called Minimum Lovable Product (instead of Minimum Viable) and a suitable leadership culture.”
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