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Working Hard to be Understood | 1

(29th May 2020)

With many businesses re-examining their entire business models due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the customer experience component has re-emerged as an important aspect for every business looking to pivot during these unprecedented times. To really examine the way one interacts with customers, a business is required to examine each of the core aspects of a business.

The rich linguistic diversity of Africa adds another wrinkle to this process, as making sure that customers can communicate in their native language becomes of significant importance.

Understanding Customers

Making sure that your customer is understood should be the main objective for every business. What good is a business without its customers? Yet somehow, there are still businesses that do not properly understand the needs and desires of their customers. The African market makes this even more complicated as the linguistic assortment of each of Africa’s nations means that even within one country there can be language barriers.

The first step to truly dealing with customer wants can be to put oneself in their shoes, to truly understand how it would feel to be misunderstood by a business. It is through this that one can understand how the customer then views the business after not being understood, and how unlikely the relationship is to progress.

Language

As previously mentioned, a key factor in understanding customers in the continent of Africa is language. The magnificent range of languages across the continent can make it slightly more difficult for entrepreneurs and businesses to communicate with every single customer. The struggle of working across a language barrier is that at least one party will always be working in their second or third language. This means that at least one party will not be totally satisfied with the outcome of their negotiations, as they will not be able to wholly relate their wishes.

We believe that there must be a process of compromise to make sure that both parties are able to relate their desires in the most complete way possible. This may require concessions on the part of the native speakers, but it is the path most conducive to a good result.

to be continued

André F. Nisin is a French entrepreneur and businessman.

After studying at La Sorbonne, King’s College London and Trinity College Dublin, he worked in the software industry for several years. In 2018, he founded Gusoma Technology and Gusoma Publishing Companies.

Tune into André Fouda Nisin’s daily webinar to hear him discuss more about the importance of language and how we can change the narrative.