Most say the experience is as important as products and services

By our News Team | 2023

More than 90% of South African consumers in study believe good products and services cannot trump customer service excellence.

Salesforce, a global player in the customer relationship management (CRM) sector, recently released its new ‘State of the Connected Customer’ report. This shares insights from 14 300 consumers and business buyers across 25 countries — including 650 from South Africa.


The study focuses on how AI, digital transformation and macroeconomic trends are reshaping customer expectations and behaviours across the buying lifecycle. Among the important insights from the research:

Customer Relationship Management

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

A changing world is shaking up expectations


Economic and technological shifts are changing customer priorities, behaviours and expectations. Therefore, the pressure is on for brands to step up. 


  • 66% of customers in South Africa expect companies to understand their needs as they change. 


  • 92% of customers in South Africa expect faster service as technology advances. 


Experience remains crucial amidst bargain seeking


Brands have ample opportunity to compete on more than price. 


  • 91% of SA consumers say the experience a company provides is just as important as its products and services. 


  • 66% of local consumers in SA switched brands at least once in the past year. 


  • The top three reasons why they switched brands were: better deals, product quality and customer service. 


Generative AI evokes curiosity 


Customers have a variety of feelings about the rise of generative AI. However, in all 25 countries surveyed, ‘curiosity’ is among the top three.

  • The top three customer sentiments around generative AI in South Africa were: curiosity, hope and excitement.


Trust is paramount as AI expands


Customers expect transparency as companies ramp up their use of AI. 


  • 76% of SA customers are concerned about companies using AI unethically. 


  • 66% of local customers say greater visibility into AI’s use would deepen their trust. 


  • 91% of customers in South Africa say it’s important to know whether they’re communicating with AI or a human. 


“We believe now is the time for companies to build secure, innovative and efficient experiences with trust at the forefront,” says Michael Affronti, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Commerce Cloud at Salesforce.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.