By Nic Laschinger
Anyone who wasn’t on board for the great tech boom in 2020 and 2021 would almost certainly have found themselves regretting their choices, as digital transformation continues to gain momentum in 2022. But “experience is everything” in the year ahead.
Non-geographic number portability has finally been enabled, following 16 years of debate and recent litigation between Cell C and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).
The new regulations, effective March 7, means that customers with non-geographic numbers (like 0800; 0861 and 087 numbers, for example) can port their business away from Telkom and take it to independent service providers.
This is a great competitive opportunity for independent telecoms companies to innovate, put an end to prolonged network outages and boost call centre productivity for their customers. Businesses that rely on non-geographic numbers can now choose their own service providers based on innovation and service delivery. It’s finally time for service providers to reinvent a customer experience that has been behind the curve for decades.
Cloud computing reinvented
The end-user experience in Africa may be getting a whole lot better for a variety of businesses, as Amazon Web Services opened new data centres in Cape Town and Oracle opened its Johannesburg-based data centre. The new centres have been put into place to offer African organisations efficient workload deployment and data storage options, in competition with GCP (Google Cloud Platform), Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud, among others.
The enhanced competition is good news for local businesses who have more options for their cloud needs and speaks to the growth of the sector here.
“I won’t be at the office today”
Beyond the pandemic, remote working, it seems, is here to stay. And there are convincing statistics to support its viability in the long-term. A recent study from executive recruitment firm, Michael Page, found that more than 50 percent of respondents felt more motivated when they worked remotely and 87 percent shared that their work hours had not decreased.
Homes, coffee shops and co-working spaces constitute the new office ecosystem, better supporting flexibility, work-life balance, employee well-being and functionality. The new trend is being pioneered internationally by corporations like Starbucks, which has implemented the “hotelling” model, with employees reserving space in the office only when they need it.
Fibre connections are faster, more reliable and more readily available in South Africa than they have ever been before. And with more fibre options available to consumers, uptake is at an all-time high, with the likes of Telkom reporting an “aggressive increase in the fibre footprint in (the) latter part of the year” (2021).
The ever-increasing demand for connectivity and the rise of remote working is making fibre the go-to solution, both for businesses and private users looking to stay on top of digital transformation.
Customer Experience matters in B2B
The evolving experience economy has not just seen the B2C experience become more dynamic. Seamless B2B customer experience (CX) is also transforming. The B2B customer experience encompasses the entire brand journey, rather than a singular focus on the customer.
A strong B2B CX strategy has touchpoints with various stakeholders, both internal and external, that contribute to the end product, resulting in a more holistic customer journey, which translates into better customer satisfaction.
With all that’s to come in 2022, this year is already shaping up to be one in which experience takes the lead – from faster connections to better data management and smoother interactions, both in the cloud and the real world. Which is, of course, good news for customers across the board.
Nic Laschinger is the chief technology officer of Euphoria Telecom.
*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites.
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