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Lack of customer trust could spell trouble for SA's brands


It’s been said that a customer-centric company is one that does everything in its power to meet its customers where they are at any given time. With shifting economies and ever-changing customer demands, tactics like being willing to adjust prices, building loyalty programmes or accommodating the digitally savvy consumer go a long way in building customer loyalty.

Building trust among consumers, however, takes consistent, concerted effort from brands at virtually every level of the customer journey. How willing is your brand to communicate with the customer after purchase? And how much time is taken to explain contracts and policies?

In a recent study by PwC South Africa, 84% of business executives surveyed believed consumers trusted their firms however only 27% of consumers were willing to say that they did.


A customer centric business is one that shows consumers that it is fully transparent. One of the ways that businesses can do this is through customer education, which is so important. There might be jargon or terms and explanations that consumers might not always understand.

“In the case of a product or service containing terms and conditions, for example, companies should take the lead by asking how they can help consumers better understand the fine print.” says Mishaya Chettiar, Executive Head at Everything.Insure. “Aim to demystify your product by helping the consumer understand what they are buying, how to use your product, and the associated costs around your product or service. Being fully transparent will go a long way in showing consumers that you care and maintaining their trust,” she adds


Glenn Gillis, CEO of Sea Monster Entertainment, says that “Loyalty is probably more relevant today than it’s ever been. By now, everybody should have some sort of reward scheme. The question is, what does loyalty mean beyond just rewards? Here the critical thing is around valuing customers time and their engagement, not only their purchasing.”

Today, it is still relevant and critical for companies to value their customers’ time and engagement through experiences that go beyond just transactional interactions.

“Games are a great way to do this and can help companies build brand equity and communicate their brand purpose in an authentic and relevant way. Loyalty also means that you as a company understand the lifetime value of a customer and that you’re not only engaging with them in a short term way, but you’re actually looking at your relationship with them over time,” adds Gillis

Customers are buying from brands for reasons beyond just product and price. In totality, loyalty is about gathering data and insights, knowing the customer better, and then using that information not against them, but with them to better serve their needs.


“Being a customer-centric company entails prioritising the customer in all business decisions and strategies. In 2023, this approach will hold greater significance than before. In today’s fiercely competitive and dynamically changing market, customers have gained more empowerment, knowledge, and expectations.” comments Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Africa, at technology firm, Zoho

“Consumers anticipate personalised experiences, seamless interactions, and exceptional service. A customer-centric organisation comprehends these evolving customer needs and concentrates on cultivating enduring relationships grounded in trust, satisfaction, and loyalty.” he ends

By placing the customer experience at the forefront, companies can establish a distinctive position amidst competitors, drive customer advocacy, and nurture sustainable growth. In an era where customers possess endless options and wield substantial influence through social media and online reviews, adopting a customer-centric approach is imperative for attaining success and longevity in the business landscape.

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SME Tech Guru
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SME Tech Guru

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