One of SA’s top UX and Market research Agencies is expanding its services into the biggest economy in Africa. With the highest population growth rate, and the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria with its natural resources and largest mobile market has become a popular destination for foreign investment on the African continent. With this growth comes the increase in commercial needs and trends including the needs for effective market research, innovative user experience design (UX), efficient customer experience (CX) and employee engagement (EX) platforms and measurements. Interact RDT intends to both satisfy and drive this trend.
Interact RDT is a south African based change agency specializing in market research, customer experience, employee experience and User experience. Born in 2004 to a business world that was just waking up to the age of the consumer, their goal was to drive positive experience into the world for the benefit of the brand from the perspective of the consumer. As leaders in the CX space and market research industry they have partnered with some of the biggest names in South Africa as well as multinationals in Nigeria. Through their strategic and innovative processes, Interact has been successful in helping companies identify, measure, design and manage customer and employee experience and usability initiatives.
Economy And The Need For UX
Although agriculture and manufacturing sectors contribute to Nigeria’s economy, it is largely serviced by the oil sector due to a rich supply of natural commodities. This over reliance is what plunged the country into a recession in 2016 after the global drop in crude oil prices of 2014. A more diversified economy is essential for future sustainability. Telecoms and ecommerce are both candidates in this regard but they will need to effectively satisfy customer needs by offering sound UX design and strong CX.
Nigeria’s recovery of 2019 was largely due to growth driven by the telecoms industry. (Worldbank.org). The high penetration of smart phones together with the general surge in ecommerce in Africa at large, contributes to Nigeria showing the highest “googling” rates across the continent (Internet world report) Nigerians are now more than ever surfing the web, marketing, and purchasing online. Ecommerce is here to stay, and although online payment facilities are still less than perfect, companies need to adopt a digitized approach to reaching and interacting with their customers if they don’t want to be left behind. Clear and market appropriate UX features are essential for targeting the right audience and ensuring online experiences are optimized and user-friendly.
Challenges As Opportunities in CX
As an emerging market, business in Nigeria faces certain challenges. The instability of the power grid, continual insurgencies, limited cyber security and tech infrastructure, as well as customer and skills attrition, to name a few. (nairametrics.com). Nigeria also has key socio-economic factors to consider, such as a very large rural population with minimal access to education and lending facilities. Couple this with their economic transformation and growth forecasts and it presents unique implications for companies already vested in the area as well as new arrivals.
Companies will need to develop strategies to successfully navigate the rapidly changing, complex and uncertain terrain that accompanies a rebased economy. It also means exploiting the growing trends in digitization and technology in business. Companies need to competitively differentiate themselves to stay ahead of their competitors. This involves consciously focusing on key objectives, a deep understanding of the customer segments, product portfolios and geographic areas in which they operate(Deloitte.com)
In an economy where commercial competition is driven by customer experience, it is vital that suppliers and corporates focus on creating meaningful customer engagements. “Nigeria is a vastly underserviced market from a UX and CX perspective. Thus there is great opportunity to provide world class service into a hungry market” says Dave Benjamin CEO and co-founder of Interact RDT.
Population Trends and Employee Experience
Customer experience and employee engagement are all about understanding people and their modes of interaction with business.
Nigeria is a culturally diverse multi-ethnic society. Due to a forecast population expansion, it is expected to become the third most populous country in the world by 2050 (capita: translation and interpreting) with 62 percent of the population being younger than 25 years of age. A young population means a high demand on experience and education and this need is increasing at a rate greater than the government’s ability to accommodate. As a result a large portion (%) remains below the poverty line. The northern, more rural part of the country has traditionally experienced greater levels of poverty, lower education and less access to financial resources. Having conducted research in Nigeria before, Interact is well acquainted with the local nuances and knows how to reach key audiences even in the most remote locations over-coming electricity and connectivity challenges often characteristic of these areas.
The expected population boom also means a growing middle class consumer base with increased spending power and a desire to access global trends thus driving digital and ecommerce markets and a desire for successful customer experience. A concern of skills attrition among middle class Nigerians is a reality. If education and experience requirements are not met, the country will lose a large part of their population to other countries that are better able to satisfy their needs. Providing sustainable job opportunities is another essential. Companies need to focus on their stakeholders, including their employees, as execution of strategy is largely done through people. Offering an inclusive employee experience that goes beyond baseline satisfaction is key to attracting, motivating and sustaining your talent.
Already having engaged with multinationals in Nigeria, and being an African company with an understanding of how African markets and trends differ from the rest of the world, Interact aims to engage the resources and skills already available in Nigeria and build their competence in CX, UX, EX and market research expertise.
Written by Yael Benjamin and Geoff Mellet of Interact RDT