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The Contact Centre Management Group (CCMG) Conference

I took part in a panel at the annual CCMG conference, entitled “E-Tailing and its effect on the future of retail” with Bradley Elliot of Platinum Seed and Tarryn Kay of NetFlorist. Much of the discussion was around customer relations and the effect of the POPI Act on collecting, using and storing customers’ data, particularly when that data is sensitive (health, finances, etc). Presently many call centres do business with European clients where the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies. In these cases, model contracts are used to ensure that the call centre applies European law. Tarryn also shared the crisis management strategy that NetFlorist put into place last Valentine’s Day.

On related issues, according to a recent Accenture report, many bricks and mortar retailers are reverting to their stores claiming that ecommerce is too expensive.

The report also looked at South African consumers and found most are keen to leave reviews – 7 out of 10 consumers will leave feedback if asked to and more than 80% of these are positive. This is one of the reasons a growing number of South African companies, particularly big brands, are formalising their review strategies as consumers flock to sites like Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor to get recommendations, read reviews and check star ratings. Collecting reviews and feedback at a store level allows brands to identify strengths and weaknesses for each location and can be used to fix operational shortcomings and identify successes. Increasingly, consumers are writing and checking reviews from their phones via these sites. More than 21 million South Africans have smartphones with GPS – which allows them to do location-based searches for shops and restaurants and then review them. Social media channels are a relatively inexpensive way for brands to standardise their messaging to their customers and respond to and manage the feedback they receive through online reviews. However, these channels need to be carefully managed. Many companies still ignore (at their peril) the peer influence social media exerts.

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Alastair Tempest

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