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Experience is as important as products & services

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), the global leader in CRM, today released the new State of the Connected Customer report, sharing insights from 14,300  consumers and business buyers across 25 countries — including 650 from South Africa.

The report uncovers how AI, digital transformation, and macroeconomic trends are reshaping customer expectations and behaviours across the buying lifecycle.

Key insights from the research include:

  • A Changing world shakes up expectations. Economic and technological shifts are changing customer priorities, behaviours, and expectations. The pressure is on for brands to step up.
    • 66% of customers in South Africa expect companies to understand their needs as they change.
    • 92% of customers in South Africa expect faster service as technology advances.
  • Experience remains crucial amidst bargain seeking. Brands have ample opportunity to compete on more than price.
    • 91% of consumers in South Africa say the experience a company provides is just as important as its products and services.
    • 66% of consumers in South Africa switched brands at least one in the past year.
    • Top 3 reasons consumers switch brands in South Africa:Better deals, product quality and customer service.
  • Generative AI evokes curiosity above all. Customers have a variety of feelings about the rise of generative AI. However, in all 25 countries surveyed, “curiosity” is among the top 3.
    • Top 3 customer sentiments around generative AI in South Africa: Curiosity, hope, excitement
  • Trust is paramount as AI expands. Customers expect transparency as companies ramp up their use of AI.
    • 76% of customers in South Africa are concerned about companies using AI unethically.
    • 66% of customers in South Africa say greater visibility into AI’s use would deepen their trust.
    • 91% of customers in South Africa say it’s important to know whether they’re communicating with AI or a human.

“At Salesforce, we believe now is the time for companies to build secure, innovative, and efficient experiences with trust at the forefront,” said Michael Affronti, SVP & GM, Commerce Cloud at Salesforce. “And insights from today’s ‘connected customers’ are an essential guide for how to do that.”


Data is from a double-blind survey of 11,000 consumers and 3,300 business buyers conducted from May 3 through July 14, 2023. Data was collected from respondents in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. Additional methodology and survey demographic details can be found in the report.