South African firms stepping into the Digital Age
In Africa,there are few corporate companies that embrace and advocates the integration between digital space in the insurance and banking industry, especially in an era where the African societies are becoming more interconnected due to the emergence of a global digital economy.Providing the customer with ability to compare the type of products offered on the market will give them access to information that was not available in the past while a more informed and educated customer base will demand better and different type of services.Businesses in Africa must find a new competitive advantage to stay ahead of the game and building a customer-centric approach focusing on sales acquisition, customer satisfaction, and customer retention needs to be well executed to create that competitive advantage.To have strong digital strategy is an important factor in an increasingly customer centered world placeIn a chat with a South African insurance and banking expert few days ago, he shared with me his deep thoughts and insights on the importance of adapting to the digital age without sacrificing the core business values.
Africa and in particular South Africa plays an important role for corporate companies to reach their regional footprint. In whole of Africa itself, the rainbow nation is ranked in the top tier countries, which makes insurance and banking business one of the most important growth areas in Africa.In the banking and insurance sectors, South African companies are known for being prudent, emphasizing risk management as their long term growth strategy. According to the expert, despite such company’s strong risk culture,insurance firms in South Africa are also highly progressive in how they views technology, as it is embedded as one of the pillars of their overall strategy.“We embrace the digital era with open arms in South Africa as we believe that social media is reshaping the way business is done,” explained expert as we downed our coffee.In cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth to mention but a few, sales representatives today can simply load the potential customer’s data to a touch screen laptop and use the online system to find the types of products that will suit the customer’s needs.
Technology enables South African companies to integrate on and off line applications coupled with electronic signature by using a combination of mobile phone and internet to obtain approval on-line.According to the Johannesburg based banking and insurance guru, the final impact on corporate companies has included a reduction of overall turnaround time from weeks to hours and has provided the opportunity to reach a much larger footprint to connect to remote areas that were not possible to reach in the past.“Moving towards a digital process will improve South African banking and insurance companies service quality exponentially,” expert exclaimed enthusiastically.In East African region, studies by an American consultants last year highlighted that the typical brick-and-mortar way of selling in general is going to be slowly replaced by digital processes.In Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania, digital economy is allowing certain parts of the population to have access to information with just a click of a mouse and that will slowly change the basic concept of selling.