The term “experience economy” refers to how people are spending their money on experiences rather than commodities, driven by the notion that events are more memorable and play a bigger part in how we view ourselves and the world than our possessions do. The shift to an experience economy has the power to not only change how we spend our time and money, but also to promote inclusion and to democratise happiness. For companies to rise above the noise and gain an edge over their competitors, brands need to create relevant experiences that match the needs of their customers. Whether we are talking about the customer experience, the patient experience, or the citizen experience, it is imperative that organisations understand ever-changing and evolving customer needs.
Today, brands no longer hold the power, customers do. Customers have many options to choose from at their fingertips, together with the resources to educate themselves and make better decisions around purchases. Hence, it is critical for brands to deliver a remarkable experience and make customers want to continue doing business with them, as customers are the best resource for growing brand awareness.
Complex customer journey
From a local perspective, Ugandans’ customer journeys are becoming more complex, as they include both online and offline touchpoints supported by mobile devices. It is therefore more important than ever for brands of all sizes to focus on delivering an omnichannel customer experience.
According to the Digital 2022: Uganda report, internet penetration stood at 29.1% in January this year (about 14 million users) and social media uptake at about 6%. These figures reveal that 33.85 million people in Uganda did not use the internet at the start of 2022, meaning that 70.9% of the population remained offline.
Despite the relatively low internet penetration rate in the country, there is a growing percentage of digital transactions happening online, and Uganda is also witnessing a change in customer behaviour that sees consumers routinely researching and planning purchases online before completing them offline. Increasingly, this research, planning and even ordering of items happens via smartphones.
Opportunity for brands
This is an opportunity brands should not ignore. More than ever, creating a seamless omnichannel experience is important in Uganda’s complex offline/online customer journey. Customers want to be able to receive SMSs but would also like to receive rich content via WhatsApp or emails – depending on connectivity and access to data. This creates a market for the digital customer who wants a seamless experience between the online and offline touch points along the customer journey.
These trends highlight massive opportunities for both private and public sector entities in Uganda. Traditionally, we tend to think that the goals of private and public sector organisations are different, but they are not. Both seek to serve their customers in the best possible way, at the right place, right time and with the right product or service.
By offering a superior and outstanding customer experience, entities in both the private and public sectors can get closer to their customers and serve them faster and better while positioning themselves to grow their customer base in a secure and reliable way.
The Ugandan market offers much opportunity for local organisations to partner with a solution provider that can deliver the technology to help them reduce points of friction, forge stronger relationships with their customers, making customer acquisition and retention easier and, by association, increasing the life-time value of their customers.