It’s not every day that a major company in a country like Africa makes headlines for having a lot of bad customer support.
But in 2017, that was the case when Gap, the world’s largest retailer, launched its first online chat tool.
It was an awkward transition for the company, which has struggled to find ways to engage customers and quickly adapt to changes in the technology landscape.
“When we launched Chatroulette in 2009, it was a completely different beast, a completely new way of working with customers,” Gap’s chief financial officer, Chris Chabot, said in an interview with the Financial Post last month.
“It was a bit like trying to get customers to use your mobile phone, you know?”
Chad has had to make some tough decisions about what to do with Chatroultas social media presence, which Chabots predecessor, Tim Sorensen, was happy to call the best in the business.
Chad was a very social country, and the first time we went online, we were a bit of a novelty.
So we made some tough calls on social media.
It wasn’t always a good idea.
And the problem is, you need a social network to grow.
“We need to be in touch with our customers,” Chabotes told the Financial Review.
“If you’re not in touch, you’re losing customers.”
Chatroulet is the brainchild of the former Gap chief, who now works as a senior vice president at Google.
The app connects customers with tech-savvy customers and can be used for things like scheduling appointments or finding discounts.
The idea is that customers will have more control over their time with their online shopping experience, making it easier for them to get what they need.
“What is it about Chad, the country, the people and the culture that makes them great customers?”
“You need a lot more control on how you interact with them.”
In addition to Chatroule, Chabota told the FT that Chad has built a team of more than 40 people in the past few years to help customers.
But while Chad’s success has been driven by the technology industry, it is a society where gender roles are much more prevalent than elsewhere.
“The fact that Chad is an African country, I think that’s probably the biggest difference between us and the rest of the world,” Chavs said.
There’s also the culture of social media, which is an issue in the African continent as a whole.
“There’s this kind of culture of the Internet,” Chagots colleague, and Chad native, Hilda Sosia, told the magazine.
“I don’t think we’re as connected as we could be to our friends and our family.”
Chad’s Chatroullette has been downloaded over 1.4 million times.
But the real test will come in 2019, when Chad is expected to launch a new online shopping app called Chaimba, which will let customers find products online.
That will likely be an easier sell for Chabotos and Chavskis management team.
But for now, Chad’s move to make its own online shopping platform is a step forward for the country.