In business, there’s nothing quite like knowing you’ve hit the mark with your efforts, and even better, being recognised for a job well done. Since it’s been a tough ‘ how many months/years now?’ of surviving a global pandemic, giving credit where it’s due is an important part of keeping our spirits up.

While we often hear a lot of CX success stories on the international front (and it’s great to learn from them), today I thought I’d put the spotlight on a few CX champions that hail from our very own shores.

So, in this blog post, I’ve cherry-picked a few examples to share with you of local companies that in my opinion have weathered the COVID storm with notable grace, and quite frankly, nailed their CX in 2021.


Sun International 

Boasting premier entertainment and hotel designations across the country, the hospitality group has been quick to adapt to the covid-induced blow to the tourism industry, by keeping their most valued guests at the front and centre. Good call because client retention is far cheaper than client acquisition.

Turning to tech to enhance and improve their CX in 2021, Sun International introduced a nifty little app to help streamline communication for their most-valued guest programme (MVG). The app makes things easier for guests to view best available rates, assess how many reward points they have to redeem, and access important information at the click of a button. Super convenient when you think about how frustrating it can be to deal with outdated websites or waiting on hold while the front- desk scrambles to assist you.

Understanding that their guests want instant access to information in a way that’s easy to navigate, is evident of the group’s commitment to implementing a CX strategy based on customer feedback and insights.

According to Sun International CEO, Anthony Leeming, the users of the app can enjoy a richer, more interactive experience with the brand. Sounds blissful!

The CX lesson?  Make it easy to do business with you.  Stay on top of your customer needs and design your customer experience accordingly.


Arrowhead properties 

Remember the landlord and tenant war that made headlines in the early days of lockdown? Embroiled in arduous negotiations for days on end, landlords and retail tenants argued over the payment of rent. I’ve always found that a big problem in the property sector is the disconnect and trust between the tenant and landlord. Unfortunately, many landlords don’t view the tenant as a customer. This is especially apparent in the retail and commercial space.

One property group that was quick to remember during lockdown that tenants are in fact customers, was Arrowhead Properties. The commercial property group which owns a portfolio of retail, office, and industrial assets demonstrated empathy for what their tenants were going through, and as such, provided approximately R 82 million in rental relief.

With a clear focus on tenant retention, this act of compassion yielded great reward, as the group’s interim results in May last year showed overall client retention of 85%, up from the year before. Arrowhead COO and co-founder, Mark Kaplan, said that they decided to shift strategic focus from an emphasis on sales to enhancing returns on properties through a ’tenant-centric’ approach – putting the tenants at the heart of all property management decisions.

Further to this, the group has made environmental, and social factors an integral part of their business. Their social initiative, Arrow for Change’ was launched in 2021 and has positively impacted communities that have been severely affected by COVID-19.

The CX lesson?  You can’t put a price on customer relationships, and you certainly can’t ignore the power of empathy. Moving into 2022, something to also consider is that being socially conscious is a huge part of how your customer experiences your brand.



I’d be remiss not to give Checkers a mention, given the retail giants insatiable appetite for innovation. It appears the stars aligned when they launched the Checkers Sixty60 app just a few months before the hard lockdown in early 2020, making it the perfect on-demand grocery solution for customers who didn’t want to leave the house.

Rolling out to 146 more stores in the past year alone, it’s safe to say the app has been a smashing success. In fact, I read that it is the number one grocery app in the country. Impressive stuff! So, what’s their secret? Well not only are they aggressively proactive, but they are really good at listening to their customers.

Case in point. As part of their new digital tech hub, ShopriteX, last year the group made their in-store Xtra Savings reward programme available on the Sixty60 app in response to customers asking to have the same deals online. According to Neil Schreuder, Chief of Innovation & Strategy at the Shoprite Group, “ our customers asked, so we listened.” That easy hey? Yes, apparently it can be.

These guys seem determined to lead  the ‘quick commerce’ revolution, and what’s working in their favour is that they just fundamentally ‘get’ their customer. Take their new pilot concept, Checkers Rush,  for example – an automated, cashless, “no queues, no checkout, no waiting” store. Who doesn’t want that?

Okay before I stop CX ‘fangirling’ over Checkers, can we just take a quick moment to acknowledge what an awesome touch the Sixty60 drivers Santa outfits were over the December holidays?

The CX lesson?  Know thy customer, innovate, and most importantly NEVER stop improving your product or service.