Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 17, 2018


The quality of workplace benefits provided by an organisation can significantly contribute towards the happiness and retention of existing employees.

Likewise, when recruiting, the generosity of a benefits package will have a bearing on the appeal of a business to prospective candidates. Given the positive impact workplace benefits can have on employees, such as improved morale and engagement, it is imperative organisations get their offering right.

Yet, according to research conducted by renowned recruitment company Michael Page, 64 percent of employees feel businesses are investing in expensive benefits that they neither want, need nor use. Interested in job satisfaction, training and qualification firm analysed findings from professional services company Capita, who surveyed 1,894 UK employees to better understand and discover the workplace benefits they most want.

The Knowledge Academy found that UK employees would most like employers to have private medical insurance (42.7 percent) as a part of their benefits package. Thereafter, employees are keen to receive retail vouchers (35.0 percent) to spend at some of their favourite brands. Moreover, life insurance (34.5 percent) and private dental insurance (32.1 percent) feature prominently at the top of the benefits employees place a high value on.

With people more health-conscious than ever before, it’s perhaps unsurprising 30.3 percent of workers think gym membership should be included in any benefits package offered by an employer. On the other end of the scale, gadget insurance cover (e.g. phones, tablets, laptops etc) is the least desired workplace benefit by employees in the UK at 16.3 percent. Slightly above that, 18.5 percent of British employees consider personal accident cover as an important inclusion in a company’s benefits selection.

In addition to this, the Knowledge Academy sought to determine the benefits employees would be most willing to pay for out their own pocket if an employer did not have a given one. From this, travel insurance (43.4 percent) was established as the benefit workers would most pay for themselves if an employer did not make it inclusive in their benefits packet. Life insurance (38.2 percent) and gym membership (28.9 percent) also ranked highly as the workplace benefits employees would be more than happy to splash their own cash on if an employer did not provide them.

Despite being the two most wanted benefits, only 16.6 percent and 12.8 percent of employees would respectively get private medical insurance and retail vouchers if it meant dipping into their own wallet to do so. Contrastingly, even though 26.3 percent of employees would like their employer to give them the opportunity to get regular health screenings, just 8.7 percent would go to one on their own accord. Similarly, only a small percentage would independently fork out on income protection (11.4 percent) and personal accident cover (11 percent) – though neither had a huge demand from employees for companies to provide them in their benefits offering (income protection cover 20.3 percent and personal accident cover 18.5 percent) to begin with.

Joseph Scott, a spokesperson for the, said: “The professional working environment for many employees is more than just about getting the work in hand done and earning a salary. Alongside the enjoyment they gain from their respective role, how well they are treated beyond the monetary level contributes heavily towards their overall job satisfaction. Consequently, this research indicates that employers should be aware of this and aim to have a mix of lifestyle as well as insurance-based products in their employee benefits offering. Additionally, they should take the responsibility to make workers aware of all the benefits available to them and which ones would be best suited to their individual needs.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 17, 2018


Adobe has announced a new President of the firm’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) operations. 

Paul Robson joins directly from his role as President for Adobe of Asia Pacific (APAC) and has a wealth of experience in leading business and digital transformations at executive and operational levels across multiple regions and sectors.

Paul joined Adobe in 2011 and under his leadership, Adobe APAC has undergone significant growth and further expanded into new markets, including India and China. Paul also established and built APAC’s Digital Experience businesses, which contributed to total global Adobe Experience Cloud revenue of $2.44 billion in FY2018, representing 20 percent year-over-year growth. Prior to Adobe, Paul was Vice President and General Manager for HP’s Networking Division across Asia Pacific and Japan.

Adobe Executive Vice President of worldwide field operations, Matt Thompson, said: “As President of APAC, Paul has done a phenomenal job setting and driving our strategy in this important market. I am confident he will make a significant impact on our business in EMEA.”

Garrett Ilg, who has been with Adobe more than ten years in leadership roles and was most recently the President of Adobe EMEA, will return to the US to take on an executive position within Adobe’s worldwide field operations.

This announcement follows Adobe’s release of its Q4 and FY18 earnings. In fiscal year 2018, Adobe achieved record annual revenue of $9.03 billion, which represents 24 percent year-over-year growth.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 14, 2018


One-in-five in UK consumers are desperate for brands to ditch chatbots and live online interactions with Customer Experience representatives, according to new research.

In what should be a wake-up call for organisations, the research by Acquia, nearly half (45 percent) of consumers said they generally find chatbots ‘annoying’ – with 78 percent of consumers saying the problem with automated experiences is that they’re too impersonal.

Consumers’ claims place a considerable dent in marketers’ plans to integrate chatbots with their communications stack, with 80 percent of CMOs saying they already used chatbots or are planning to use them by 2020, according to an Oracle survey.

Marketers are placing such confidence in chatbots that the market is expected to exceed £1 billion by 2024, driven by marketers’ attempts to better understand their customers while processing large volumes of requests quickly.

The conclusions are part of Acquia’s inaugural annual global report entitled Closing the CX Gap: Customer Experience Trends Report 2019, which assesses the state of customer experience. More than 5,000 consumers and 500 marketers across the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and North America provided input for the report.

Sylvia Jensen, VP of EMEA marketing at Acquia said: “Acquia’s research shows that chatbots are part of a broader disconnect between marketers and customers. Chatbots can offer fantastic benefits to both marketers and consumers by solving large volumes of customer issues and queries autonomously and in real time – but too often, they’re implemented in isolation.

“This is the reason many consumers have a negative perception of chatbots. Any chatbot is only as good as the wider customer experience and journey they are part of. Marketers therefore need to ensure that chatbots are fully integrated with the wider customer journey to give customers the personalised, helpful experiences they want.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 12, 2018


Recent figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that almost 600,000 workers are suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018, with 15.4 million working days lost due to work-related stress this year.

With the year coming to an end, Reboot Digital Marketing Agency has investigated the most common reasons why Brits felt stress at work in 2018 and the ways in which they’ve decided to deal with it.

A survey asking 1,274 employees about the most common work stressors revealed interesting figures.

The top work stressor Brits had in 2018 was an excessive workload, with 84 percent saying this was the biggest cause of worry for them this year. Unrealistic expectations came second at 79 percent, as employees feel overwhelmed by the need to constantly impress their superiors.

Seventy-six percent of employees taking part in the survey have been bothered by a co-worker’s lack of competence, while 72 percent struggle to find a work-life balance.

Other stressors that made the list were: lack of progression opportunities (63 percent), lack of job security (59 percent) and a negative company culture (42 percent).

When it comes to the ways in which employees dealt with stress at work this year, the results show the following: 76 percent of people taking part in the survey have confessed that they destress by complaining to another person, whether it’s a friend, family or even a co-worker, while 70 percent admit to taking frequent toilet breaks to get away from their work space. Some have resorted to actively searching for a new job (66 percent) while others have asked to work from home (44 percent).

Other ways employees dealt with work-related stress in 2018 include simply stopping caring (37 percent) and taking regular baths to destress (12 percent).

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 12, 2018


M&S Food has been voted the top supermarket in the 2018 Brand Loyalty Index, released by Sodexo Engage, which looks at how loyal customers are to brands.

This year, 57 percent of 5,000 polled consumers stated they have always had a positive experience with the brand.

The results also revealed that customers identified value for money as the primary driver of loyalty (64 percent) followed by consistency (58 percent) and high quality (45 percent). Customers at M&S say the most important reason they’re loyal to the brand is because of its high quality (75 percent), far outranking other factors. By comparison, Tesco scored at just 30 percent for this same loyalty driver.

Chris Baldwin, Director of Consumer Promotions and Loyalty at Sodexo Engage said: “No single factor determines loyalty. Despite the importance of value for money for supermarket customers, it’s the higher-end option of Marks & Spencer food that tops the table for loyalty, beating not only market leader Tesco but also the budget offerings from Aldi and Lidl.

“On the other hand, when you compare Marks & Spencer food to alternative premium brand Waitrose, the difference between the two is largely explained by exposure – while more Waitrose shoppers felt most loyal to the brand, fewer than half of the people we surveyed had ever shopped there. Customers may value consistency and quality over convenience, but ideally, they want all three.”

Top 10 Supermarkets  
1 M&S Food
2 Tesco
3 Aldi
4 Sainsbury’s
5 Lidl
6 Iceland
7 Morrisons
8 Asda
9 Waitrose
10 Co-operative

Full Top 50 brands ranking    
Ranking Brand Ranking in 2017 Change in place since 2017
1 Samsung 1 0
2 Apple 2 0
3 Cadbury 17 14
4 Kellogg’s 9 5
5 Dyson 4 -1
6 Oral B 7 1
7 Walkers  20 13
8 Marmite 3 -5
9 Dove 15 6
10 Sky TV  6 -4
11 Gillette 8 -3
12 Netflix 10 -2
13 Nivea 22 9
14 Sony 14 0
15 Bosch 12 -3
16 Coca-Cola Newcomer
17 Amazon Prime  11 -6
18 Andrex 18 0
19 Cathedral City 26 7
20 Panasonic 19 -1
21 Sensodyne 21 0
22 Magnum Newcomer
23 M&S Food 27 4
24 Yorkshire Tea 23 -1
25 Galaxy 31 6
26 Head & Shoulders 25 -1
27 Tesco 36 9
28 Aldi 35 7
29 L’Oréal  28 -1
30 O2 16 -14
31 Pepsi 33 2
32 Sainsbury’s 38 6
33 Olay 29 -4
34 Smirnoff Newcomer
35 Kenco Newcomer
36 Lidl 41 5
37 Lynx Newcomer
38 Häagen-Dazs 44 6
39 Gordons 37 -2
40 Iceland 47 7
41 Morrisons 45 4
42 Asda 48 6
43 Thornton’s 49 6
44 Ben & Jerry’s 40 -4
45 Jack Daniels 32 -13
46 Guinness 30 -16
47 Waitrose 39 -8
48 Stella Artois 43 -5
49 Peroni Nastro Azzurro 46 -3
50 Co-operative 50 0


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 12, 2018


Cranfield School of Management, which partners the UK Customer Experience and Employee Experience Awards among others, is celebrating after its MBA and its Finance and Management MSc were named as two of the world’s very best programmes in the new Times Higher Education/Wall Street Journal rankings.

Cranfield’s full-time one-year MBA programme was named 7th in the world and 1st in the UK, while its MSc in Finance and Management was named 6th in the world and 2nd in the UK.

In compiling the rankings, the Times Higher Education worked in partnership with the Wall Street Journal to gather a unique set of performance data from business schools across the world, designed to explore teaching excellence and the student experience.

In total, 114 business schools from 24 countries were ranked in the project, which included almost 23,000 responses to a survey of alumni from each business school.

The ranking is based on 20 factors, encompassing institutional resources, student engagement, teaching environment, and student outcomes.

Professor Lynette Ryals (pictured), Director of Cranfield School of Management, said: “It is fantastic to have the work of our faculty and students recognised by these ranking results. At Cranfield, we pride ourselves on providing leading education that meets the needs of business. You can see this in the business success of our students, following their participation on the programme, through the acceleration in their career paths or through the entrepreneurial ventures they undertake.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 11, 2018


UK shoppers would rather deal with real people, not robots or Artificial Intelligence when it comes to shopping.

That is the findings of a new study by marketing agency Gekko, titled Service not Sci-fi. It found that 81 percent of UK shoppers claim the personal touch has disappeared from retail customer service in modern Britain, with almost a third (32 percent) blaming an over reliance on technology for this decline.

Half of those polled think that companies in the UK are using technology to save money, rather than improve Customer Experience.

Despite living in a world driven by technology, most people don’t want technology at the sacrifice of humans’ opinions and experience.  Only 30 percent said they would like to see ‘smart pricing’ initiatives adopted by retailers, where prices change in real time depending on demand; 22 percent smart mirrors that show a 360 view of themselves; 16 percent a virtual reality changing room; 14 percent augmented reality to help visualise products in the home; and nine percent a talking robot assistant.

When it comes to buying online, 43 percent of UK shoppers have had their screen freeze while trying to make a purchase, so when asked what makes a great bricks and mortar shopping experience, 49 percent of those polled said it was down to having good staff on the shop floor, staff that know the products (49 percent), and staff that go the extra mile (47 percent).

Coupled with this, 61 percent of the nation would prefer to deal face to face when complaining, 59 percent when enquiring or trying to find out more about a product, and 73 percent when getting a refund.

Also, businesses take heed – a third of Brits say that the personal touch is more likely to make a repeat purchase, and more than a fifth (22 percent) claim they always spend more money in a shop if they are served by a good assistant, incrementally adding to sales. Over a third (34 percent) of shoppers stated that a poor experience has driven them to buy from another retailer.

The research also highlights the impact of the decline of the local shop, with a quarter of Brits saying they miss shopping somewhere where people recognise them; 16 per cent confessing they preferred the days when they could talk through a purchase with a someone in-store; and a quarter saying online shopping is less fun than buying something in a real shop.

The convenience of a store’s location is also stated as important by 43 percent of respondents, which means that as retailers consolidate their estates, many will notice the effects, further emphasising the need to carefully consider the experience being provided in-store and the staff needed to deliver the experience.

According to the research we waste almost an hour and a half a month – which is 17 hours a year, the equivalent of more than two days at work – interacting with automated technology, only for a human to have to step in and help.

Bugbears include getting someone to rectify a problem with the self-service checkout, and ringing customer services and dealing with a recorded voice, only to repeat the details to the person you end up talking to.

Little wonder, then, that 51 percent of Brits have slammed the phone down during an automated call, as the system didn’t recognise what they were saying, and 47 percent of shoppers have experienced self-service checkout failure that’s had to be rectified by a shop assistant.

In fact, more than three quarters (77 percent) of UK shoppers admit they’d much rather use a checkout with a person on it, rather than taking the self-service option. More than four-in-ten (43 percent) British shoppers would rather speak to a person than an automated system when making a phone enquiry, with almost a quarter (23 percent) ending up having to complain on social media when their query hasn’t been responded to via the automated service.

Daniel Todaro, Managing Director of Gekko said: “Everyone is talking about technology and innovation within retail, but our research clearly shows that what consumers really want is the human touch.  With traditional retail under more pressure than ever and an astonishing 81% of people feeling that the personal touch has disappeared from shopping, businesses need to focus on the customer experience in these tough trading times to help keep the high street alive.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 11, 2018


With the UK’s withdrawal from the EU mired in uncertainty thanks to Theresa May delaying Parliament’s vote on her Brexit deal, the British Safety Council has reiterated its demand that progress made over the last four decades on workplace health, safety, and welfare standards, together with the protection of worker’s rights and product safety, must not be compromised.

The adoption of EU directives into the UK legislative framework has been instrumental in the continual improvement in these areas, resulting in dramatic reductions in workplace fatalities and injuries, as well as enhanced recognition of occupational health issues.

However, concerns have been raised about the safeguarding of employment protections in the backstop – the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement’s arrangements that will be triggered and hold sway until all parties agree to a comprehensive trade policy.

Lawrence Waterman, Chairman of the British Safety Council, said: “In Parliament, in answer to some probing questions, the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox admitted that these clauses are ‘not enforceable’.

“The politicians, who brought us the assertion that ‘health and safety is a burden on business’ and a commitment to destroy health and safety culture, are now going back on their previous declaration that employment rights and environmental protections are safeguarded under their deal due to the presence of non-regression clauses. It has now been admitted that these clauses are not enforceable internationally by the EU institutions or by the arbitration mechanisms under the Withdrawal Agreement, claiming that this gave the UK ‘regulatory flexibility’ during the backstop.

“This reinforces the British Safety Council’s view that we shall need to watch developments closely to protect hard-won worker protections. We call on other champions of health and safety, such as RoSPA and IOSH, to join with us and others to ensure that our high standards in workplace health and safety are defended whatever the outcome of the shambolic Brexit process.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 10, 2018


December bonuses are the key to preventing New Year resignations, a survey of 1,096 UK employees has found.

The study was carried out by, and found that almost one-in-two workers (46 percent) said having received a bonus or gift from their boss recently would prevent them from looking for a new job.

Almost the same number (45 percent) would be less likely to accept a new job if offered one, if the same had happened.

With workers being more likely to look for a new job in January than any other month of the year, December bonuses couldn’t be timed better for staff retention purposes.

Alan Smith, UK Managing Director at One4all Rewards, said: “It’s interesting to see just how far a token bonus can impact on workers’ loyalty to their employer. Even if you just consider the amount of money that can be lost through recruitment costs when a member of staff resigns – never mind the softer negative impacts and knock-on effects that employees leaving can have, in terms of morale in the workplace – it is clearly something that is worth investing in.

“And thanks to HM Revenue and Customs’ recent introduction of tax exemptions on trivial benefits of £50 per employee or less, it has never been more affordable for businesses to gift staff a little something to make sure they feel valued, ahead of the busiest time of the year for staff departures.”



Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 7, 2018


The annual office Christmas party is falling out of favour with employees, with more than one-in-four admitting they don’t enjoy the festivities.

According to a poll of 1,000 workers by employee benefits platform Perkbox, 29 percent of staff dislike the tradition. The top three reasons given relate to socialising at the event, with 34 percent saying they don’t enjoy mingling with colleagues.

Thirty percent said they found Christmas bashes too “cliquey”, while 27 percent said they don’t enjoy the occasion because they feel “forced” to have fun by management.

Interestingly for bosses, when workers were asked what they would prefer to do instead of a Christmas party if they had the choice, activities within closer-knit groups proved popular – more than one-in-five (23 percent) said they would like a meal with their immediate team. This was followed by seven percent who would like to do a daytime activity with their team.

The same number said they would prefer a night out with their direct colleagues rather than attending a Christmas party with the whole company. In fact, all age groups said they would prefer a meal out with their direct team as an alternative to the Christmas party.

Chieu Cao, CMO of Perkbox, said: “The Christmas party is something that many employers rely on to commemorate the festive season and use to reward staff for their hard work. However, the data shows that actually this Christmas perk is creeping out of favour amongst some sections of the workforce. It is telling that this mostly seems to be due to the social aspect – either because they don’t want to be forced to socialise with colleagues, or because they find this kind of situation where often people will break into groups too cliquey.”

He added: “Whatever businesses choose to do to mark Christmas this year, it is best organised as part of a year-long reward strategy that will help maintain good morale, staff retention and a sense of team.”

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