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The first CX Day Johannesburg

Customer Experience "passionata" (definition: people passionate about a specific subject area) and professionals gathered on 6 October to show-and-tell and share their stories. Like a Harley Davidson community of bikers on a breakfast run they strutted their stuff.
The first CX day in Africa, featured four speakers from two countries. Claudia Ramsden of ACSA spoke about how technology and a change in customer needs will demand simplicity, speed and convenience. She was followed by Craig Lee (CX strategist, previously Head of CX at Emirates), first on recorded interview and then direct Skype to Dubai.

Here is the presentation from Slideshare:

He shared with us trends that will shape the way we do business and design experiences in future. These trends include macro trends such as:
  1. Gravitation toward the sharing economy e.g. Uber, AirbnB, deliveries, renting not buying, etc.
  2. Values-driven decision making based on questions like how it was grown, who made it, how far it was transported, what ingredients, etc. This matters as much to consumers as it does to the deliverers of service
  3. The rise of the globalista or multicultural consumerism e.g. to buy anywhere in the world and the combination of 3rd and first world technologies to create new apps and access to products
  4. Experience based consumption: an absolute desire for new experience, travel, food, movies, cultures, e.g. emerging markets and travel and the return of authentic craftsmanship
  5. Search for value, not only price. CX offers a key to integrated designed end to end experience that customers see more value in an are prepared to pay marginally more for and feeling VALUED
And micro trends such as:
  1. Everyday services will become digitised e.g. apps for ordering food, supermarket deliveries, parking payments, etc.
  2. Visual communication will be the best way to communicate
      a. Email will be virtually defunct (texting even within companies)
      b. Enjoying on-demand face time with family and friends...when will businesses catch up?
  3. B2B services will be consumerised (aps to help B2B, B2B2C proliferate). Many departments in businesses may become services though apps to more than one company!
  4. Mobile payments will change everything
  5. Renewed focus on privacy. The more connected we are the more we will value and demand privacy and the consumer laws that govern it.
It was an amazing feeling being part of an event that was buzzing on Twitter and constant images and comments reminding us that we are not alone in our aspirations of creating meaningful, memorable and unique experiences. Practitioners around the world shared their sentiments around what will shape cx in the future and what will differentiate and future proof brands.

CX day in South Africa was made possible by the collaboration and vision of a hand full of sponsors that really went out of their way to create a space for cx conversation and sharing.

In and interview with Marisa Scott of The Focus Rooms, we heard that their vision was to create a space where people could experience events that are simple, meaningful and where the anxiety of any logistics are taken care of.

Herewith some of the innovations that makes The Focus Rooms unique:

  • A whole wall in every room that is writable with whiteboard pens (ideal for journey mapping/strategy/planning and brainstorming)
  • Ample parking and people who anticipate all your needs from finding the bathroom to opening a door.
  • Popcorn and smoothies during breaks
  • A receptionist called Monica that waves with both hands that makes you feel like you are an old friend of The Focus Group family
  • Massages during coffee breaks
In the break attendees had a chance to play with Google Cardboard to connect them with the far fetched predictions around the consumer of the future. Some were also asked what they thought of CX Day.

Chantel Botha, from Brandlove, who is also the chairperson of the local CXPA networking events committee for South Africa and the Middle-East then shared with attendees the drivers of consumer needs for 2020 that will demand different leadership, thinking and experience design.

She highlighted the follow technology that will potentially shape how consumers will interact with brands as:
  • Wearables
  • Self-driving cars
  • Smart devices
  • Biometrics
  • Voice activation
She continued by looking at the needs of consumers towards 2020 based on these trends:
  • The consumer of 2020 will want instant everything. SLA (service level agreements of 24 hours turnaround time on an email will be ridiculed)
  • Consumers want you to get personal. Not in a social media stalking kind of way, but in a value adding, know my needs, anticipate my needs kind of way.
  • They want control, because they know so much more and can make informed decisions.
  • Consumers want


  • They are super connected to information, peers and commerce opportunities
  • They are used to constant,

    excellent communication

  • Consumers evaluates options and tracks everything gaining insights from data
  • They listen more to others and values their opinions more than marketing messages
Brands who will win in 2020, will...
  1. Listen to their patrons and the people who they solve problems for. Remove boundaries between brands and the consumers that they are solving a problem for. So clearly illustrated by the recent KLM campaign where they listened to travelers and solved their problems, irrespective of whether they were traveling with KLM.
  2. Surrender control to gain control. If Volvo was just doing business as usual, they would have embarked upon the task of maximizing budget during the super bowl, but instead they hi-jacked the conversation every time their or any other car brand was featured during the super bowl, focusing consumer attention on Volvo and creating a space for more conversation around Volvo.
  3. Create meaning. Brands with a strong, well articulated purpose, will capture consumer hearts. Look at this great campaign that Always orchestrated that shows how viewing girls through a lens of weakness and inferiority, limits what adolescent think they are capable of.
  4. Solve problems for your consumer. This means becoming totally focused and obsessed with your customer's problem, rather than your product or your preconceived solution. The Volvo and Nivea campaigns are powerful illustrations of how a brand can claim a problem space and own it in order to really solve problems in the life of the consumer.
  5. Quick. Everything is getting faster and in future service associates will have little time to think on their feet and solve problems on the go.
  6. Better at basics. We need to consistently become better at the basics. We need to move past satisfied to really creating differentiated experiences that delight.
  7. Cut through the clutter. Many brands are still clinging to the rules of interruption, intimidation and invasion. If I invade your home with my ads, interrupt you and make you feel shamed, blamed or humiliated, I may get your attention for long enough to compel you to choose my brand next time you have a need. This is so last season! By a few years! Even a decade. Interruption won't get your products sold in 5 years. Problem solving, purpose and passionate will.

To improve your brand experience, companies will have to:

  • Connect & reconnect
  • Conceive, conserve & continuously anticipate
  • Craft & continuously reinvent
  • Create & orchestrate
Here is the Prezi online presentation with all the video clips:

In summary, consumer expectations are changing much faster than any of us can adapt. The conversation is taking place now. We know what is coming and we are all working out what this means for our brands and how we will practically respond to these changes. You can no longer use the excuse that you did not know, because you do. What you don't necessarily clearly understand is how to remain in step and how the detail is going to work out. What we know without a doubt is that if you don't respond and have an ostrich mentality and convince yourself that nothing is changing, you will lose the consumer and the problem space that you thought you were claiming for your brand. Don't lose relevance and significance and become irrelevant.

Start now, create the change. Lose the fear of making mistakes.

Let's do Biz