Professorial Inaugural address: Prof Mercy Mpinganjira
The advent of digital technologies has brought about changes in the behaviour of consumers online and transformed the industry.
According to Mercy Mpinganjira, the Director of the School of Consumer Intelligence and Information at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), digital technologies have brought with them new models of creating customer value.
Professor Mpinganjira pointed out that the ability of any organisation to leverage on these value-creating opportunities requires development of digital marketing strategy that is informed by a good understanding of customers including their expectations and experiences, when she delivered her professorial inauguration address, Digital Technologies and Customer Experience. Prof Mpinganjira's inaugural took place in the University's Council Chambers, Madibeng Building, Auckland Park Kingsway Campus on Monday, 3 September 2018.
Prof Mpinganjira argued that marketing strategies need to aim at facilitating the creation of positive take-away impressions about use of digital technologies by the organisation through, among other things attending to experience environment design issues; managing digital enabled human interactions and being ethical in digital marketing practice.
"In designing the experience environment, organisations need to be cognisant of the fact that the digital environment serves as an important source of stimuli that elicits changes in customers' internal state which in turn affects their behavioural response towards digital products and services," she said.
She highlighted that flow is one important internal state associated with provision of compelling online customer experience. "Research findings shows that organisations can facilitate flow experience by attending to site design issues including site responsiveness, its visual appeal and quality of a sites content. Flow experience in turn exerts significant positive influence on customer behavioural response to online sites."
Prof Mpinganjira explained that with the introduction of web 2.0 human-to-human interaction on digital platforms has become an important part of customer experience. "Ability of organisations to capitalise on the potential benefits of social platforms, such as online communities, depends on the quality of customer experience that they are able to facilitate. To this end findings from research point to the importance of growing social capital by promoting quality content sharing. Fostering of citizenship behaviours as well as trust is also critical to facilitating positive customer experience. "
According to Prof Mpinganjira one of the major risks associated with the use of digital technologies for value creation is that, they often come with high cost to personal privacy. "Findings from the research conducted show that the practices that organisations engage in and how they go about managing privacy issues can have significant influence on ethical reputation which in turn can influence customer-brand relationship quality as well as customer response to marketing efforts. The need for value creation activities to take advantage of developments in the technological environment cannot be over-emphasised, in order to be successful, such efforts need to be informed by the need to never treat technology as an end but as a means to creating positive customer experiences."
Prof Mpinganjira has over 20 years of work experience in Higher Education. She joined UJ in 2007. She is currently the Director of the School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems and a member of the University Senate. Before becoming the School Director, she was in the Department of Marketing Management where she served in a number portfolios including being the Head of Department, Head of Research, member of the Departmental Research and Ethics Committee, Program Manager of the Post-Doctoral Fellow programme among others. Prof Mpinganjira's research interests are in the areas of Consumer Behaviour and e-Marketing. Her work has been published in several books, highly reputable national and international journals as well as conference proceedings. She is an accomplished supervisor of Master's and Doctoral studies