Hi Wissam, tell us about yourself, your background?
I am the Group Chief Information Officer of Ghabbour Auto Group since 2014, managing IT operations in MENA. I had 25 years of rich and extensive experience in digital transformation within multinational organizations, including over 4 years of international tenure in Brazil & Kazakhstan.
Before Ghabbour Auto, I served as Chief Information Officer for AMERICANA, Country IT Director for Lafarge, and Sr. Infrastructure & Security Head for GlaxoSmithKline.
In 2020, I was fortunate to be awarded as the “CIO of the Year” from IDC, received the world’s CIO200 award as a legend CIO in Africa, and selected as the best CIO of Automotive in MENA, the Global CIO Forum.
Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews. – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?
Online commerce is the future trading channel for most products. We have witnessed a massive increase in consumers’ demand for online commerce during the pandemic, but it is expected to continue even after the pandemic is over. If working from home is the new norm for work, then e-commerce is the new norm for trading.
Knowing this fact, all corporates should work on utilizing this new direction in their favor. However, building an eCommerce platform is not enough. E-Commerce is not a sales channel. It is a way and strategy for doing business. Accordingly, business processes should be reconfigured to match this new concept. All processes should be more agile and flexible, as well as eliminating operational bottlenecks
On the other hand, corporates should have tools and KPIs to monitor customer response and satisfaction more rapidly. They have to be very fast in responding to any changes in customer behavior or experience.
What is one element that must always be considered when working on a CXM (customer experience management) strategy?
Agility, flexibility, and lean operation should focus on fulfilling customers’ needs as per their expectations. On the other hand, they need to deal with every customer as a separate case to deliver him/her a unique and personalized experience with minimum cost.
Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?
Personalization is the key to win in the e-commerce market. Therefore, we can see many small startups are gaining market share very fast just because they are unique in the experience they deliver to the customer.
Before e-commerce, it was tough for small companies or startups to enter the market, as entry barriers were very high due to market dynamics. With the new era of e-commerce, market and business dynamics have changed. In the old days, the more the corporate is big, the more they can influence the market and reduce costs, which was the key success factor. Meanwhile, large corporates look like big elephants; they have superpowers but move slow.
In the e-commerce era, moving fast is the key. You will always need to be ready to change your strategy, services, or products according to customers’ needs. In many other cases, you will need to develop customer service or products for every customer.
What are some of the ways companies can strive to eliminate the CX Gap?
Agility, customer-centric and lean operations are the key to strive in the new future. The market dynamics have changed, starting from the new small competitors who disrupt the market every day, to the customers who can scan the market in no time while using their mobile to search for alternatives that suit his/her needs.
What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?
One of the best books talking about CX in 2021, which I think everyone should read, is “The Disruption Mindset” by Charlene Li.
This book provides a roadmap to help you take the power of disruption forward into the future of your business. It describes three crucial phases – strategy to help you meet the needs of your future customers, leadership that creates direction and movement towards sustainable transformation, and a culture that not only survives but thrives on change and disruption.
Wissam’s predictions for the future of CX
What are your predictions for trends in customer experience in the coming year?
I believe that the e-commerce market will grow very fast in an unpredictable way. Meanwhile, I believe that we will see plenty of new startups that disrupt this business to widen the market spectrum and provide different and tough competition for the benefit of customers.
On the other hand, I am expecting a parallel boom in the e-payment market as well, as I believe that e-commerce and e-payment are twins, and both will grow massively in the coming few years.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Today in the e-commerce market, you can receive orders and sell to any customers anywhere. So, making the first order will not present your success in this market. Therefore, I believe customer loyalty and willingness to repeat the transaction are the key to measuring success.