Recently Ajua, the integrated Customer Experience Management solution for business in Africa acquired WayaWaya, the Kenya-based Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning known for its innovative Janja platform, that enables borderless banking and payments across apps and social media platforms, for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition of WayaWaya allows Ajua to integrate Janja to automate much of the customer experience journey by integrating janja.me product into their product stack, closing the customer experience loop as the smart AI and ML built by WayaWaya gives SMEs the ability to automate responses and give the customer what they want, when they want it.
Launched in 2012, Ajua was built to solve the customer experience gap for businesses on the continent to drive business growth.
Combining technology with the customer experience, Ajua has built a number of innovative products that deliver real-time customer feedback at the point of service, for small and large businesses across Africa.
In a chat with Kenfield Griffith, Founder and CEO of Ajua, he explained to techbuild.africa how customer experience can help shape business better.
What is your overview of customer experience on the African continent?
The cultures across Africa are strongly rooted in human-to-human connections.
What we are seeing on the continent is a significant growth within the fintech payment ecosystem driving the scale of transactions for businesses – digital transactions allow businesses to scale beyond their brick and mortar footfall.
As these transactions scale, so do the number of consumers behind these transactions, and the one-to-one relationships change overnight creating a one-to-many relationship, stripping away the intimacy these businesses once had with their customers.
In addition, consumers are empowered with more choice, and will likely choose the business that reduces friction for them.
For businesses to remain competitive and grow, they have to get to know the customer behind those transactions to understand how to serve them better to keep them coming back.
As such, businesses now have to engage with the customers along the digital journey to remove the friction between them and their customers.
Fundamentally, customer experience on the continent is all about scaling the human-to-human relationships between businesses and customers.
How can customer experience can drive business growth?
Customer experience is the number one differentiator for growth. A recent article by McKinsey puts customer experience as increasing revenue up to 15% and reducing cost at an average of 20% – so net a business improvement of 35%.
Once a business improves on customer experience, the cost to serve also decreases.
How can social media platforms help with customer experience?
Due to the growth of digital and once limited customer experience platforms in Africa, the conversations between businesses and customers are happening online on social media – also businesses are not able to assess or validate when the customer transacted with them or understand if there’s a genuine relationship between the business and the consumer.
Ajua has built the infrastructure for that, integrating directly into these transactions and empowering businesses to have one-to-one conversations with the customers to really change the customer’s perception of their brand. We are bringing those intimate conversations offline.
What role does technology play in driving a better customer experience?
As previously mentioned, due to the growing digital payments ecosystem, businesses are losing one-to-one relationships and moving to a one to many relationships.
Technology’s role is to scale those relationships. In Africa, over 60% of transactions are offline, and as we continue to build the infrastructure to capture those engagements, we enable businesses and customers to connect which drives retention and customer spend for these businesses.
Can you tell us about your product offerings?
We have 2 main products we offer to businesses. With our infrastructure partners such as banks and mobile operators, they get to enjoy our Ajua 360 product, which gives them a 360 view of their customers that drive their market position and accelerate growth.
And for over 90% of businesses in Africa, they become digital businesses with Ajua Merchant which enables them to get direct feedback from their customer, send discounts and personalized messages, accept payments, and register debt – as seen with the launch of MTN EnGauge.
Following WayaWaya’s acquisition, what is the long-term benefit for the company and Africa?
What we are seeing in our markets is that a lot of conversations are happening informally between the business owner (typically one person) and their customers through mediums such as WhatsApp, SMS, telegram, social media.
As you can tell, that becomes an operational nightmare for any business that tries to grow in managing these engagements.
The power that WayaWaya’s products bring, especially Janja to our stack, is the ability to have intelligence (AI) and natural language embedded into these conversations to scale these businesses beyond 50 customers 200, to 500, to 1000 customers while preserving the intimate relationships.
The intimate relationships keep customers coming back to their favorite hairdresser, favorite barber, favorite shop; while giving the customer the comfort of telling others about their favorite shop.
Featured Image: Kenfield Griffith, Founder and CEO of Ajua
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