Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 5, 2018


The UK Customer, Digital, and Employee Experience Awards have received the Gold Standard Awards Trust Mark from the Independent Awards Standards Council.

The honour was bestowed on hosts Awards International for their trio of ‘Experience’ awards, along with the UK Complaint Handling Awards and the UK Business Awards.

Awards International is one of the first awards event organisers in the UK to receive the coveted accreditation, which rewards ethics and transparency throughout the entire awards process – from when entries are first submitted, to when winners take to the stage to accept trophies.

Awards International events – including the flagship UK Customer Experience Awards, which this year takes place at London’s Wembley Stadium on October 11 – feature independent judging panels, allowing for a rigorous but fair judging process, ensuring the winners represent the best in each category.

The Independent Awards Standards Council (IASC) is a not-for profit organisation made up of stakeholders in the awards industry. It was established with the aim of raising standards and perceptions of trust in awards as a whole, for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Congratulating Awards International on its achievement, Chris Robinson, Co-Founder of the Independent Awards Standards Council, and MD of the world’s first award entry consultancy, Boost Marketing, said:

Awards International events are exemplars in how awards should be operated. Their attention to every detail, from the transparency of the scoring system, to the briefings provided to judges, to the quality of websites, the clarity of the entering process, and the quality of customer service throughout, is exemplary. I hope more schemes will aspire to this level of service and also earn the Gold Standard Awards Trust Mark.”

He continued:

The need for the Trust Mark, and the elements within an agreed code of conduct, are based on research by Boost Marketing that gained input from both awards entrants and organisers. According to Boost’s research, the average score given by businesses when asked ‘how well does the awards industry meet your needs’ was just 5.7 out of 10. But around 80 percent of businesses entering awards would be influenced by an independent accreditation scheme when picking awards to enter.

It found that transparency was essential, and that most awards organisers were willing to consider such a scheme. The research also showed that perceived trust in the judging process used in an awards scheme is one of the most influential factors for businesses in picking schemes to enter.

The big picture for the IASC is that the UK aspires to lead the world in business awards, setting the standard to which the rest of the world aspires. This will improve the credibility and thus popularity and impact of awards schemes, for the benefit of all stakeholders within the awards industry.”

Meanwhile, Neil Skehel, CEO of Awards International, said:

Thank you to the Independent Awards Standards Council for this incredible honour. This is fantastic recognition for the work we do to ensure every awards programme is carried out to the highest standard with the most credible judging process possible. Thank you to everyone who has helped us develop our events over the past decade, and we will continue to reward and celebrate business excellence and innovation in the UK.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 1, 2018


UK tech firm Syntasa is helping businesses provide tailored digital experiences thanks to the use of sophisticated AI Assisted Customer Analytics. The firm was among many in attendance at the recent Adobe Summit 2018 digital marketing conference in London, and CXM caught up with Syntasa’s Senior Product Marketing Director Anthony Magee to discuss the future of Digital Experience and the use of Artificial Intelligence on providing it…


1. Tell us about Syntasa and the ideas behind the company

Syntasa was born from a need for organisations to get a handle on their disparate data sources, transform them into powerful actionable intelligence, and do so all in their own existing big data environment.

We set out to never become yet another cloud platform promising to deliver every part of the Customer Experience. Instead we believe data is such a valuable strategic asset that unlocking its superpowers should be in the control of the organisation.


2. Your firm utilises AI in innovative ways to help businesses better understand their customers. How much further can AI go when it comes to comprehending customer behaviour?

I’ve worked in many data and CRM leadership roles, both agency and client side, and a common misconception across all is that automation will solve the problem of actionable customer intelligence.

In fact, marketing automation and single customer view are amongst some of the most overused and yet underdelivered projects across organisations. I see it as a breeding ground for more problems, often:

  • Collecting more data and creating more silos
  • Costing the earth to store all your data in yet another cloud
  • Creating a bigger divide between marketers, developers, and data scientists
  • Never quite delivering that bottom line benefit that the ‘Proof of Concept’ had promised

It’s imperative to recognise that AI has many applications, but at its heart should be rooted in the core principle of optimising the status-quo. At SYNTASA we call this AI Assisted, where AI works next to our clients teams as trusted co-worker, co-creator, and advisor.

This enables us to blend the benefits of human and machine for a truly optimal Customer Experience, recognising that ‘data-driven’ requires virtual intelligence within the creative process, but recognises that AI needs human intervention to truly close the loop (think: collect, understand, activate).

AI and machine learning are intrinsically interlinked; we’ve only just scratched the surface in AI Assisted modelling being used for deep pro-active analysis, detecting discovery insights and activating AI driven decisions agnostic of channel or technology. The journey analytics model is understandably a popular choice amongst CX and UX professionals; with AI this detects automatically the optimal path and pain-points in the user journey, applying behavioural context to otherwise generic experiences.

‘AI Assisted’ is algorithms sifting through billions of records to apply context and understanding (combining User ID graph with intent, asset, and message taxonomy) to create a Customer Experience learning loop (AI assisted is the heavy lifting to super-power the creative process) to activate, test, learn, and auto-optimise offline, online, anywhere.

With 81 percent of executives predicting that by 2020 AI will be working alongside their human workforce as collaborator, co-creator, and trusted advisor (Accenture Interactive Survey 2018, of 6,300 business and IT executives), I’m excited by the possibilities of what we call AI Assisted Technology. Our roadmap focuses on the data and decisioning workforce, ensuring that they have the additional superpowers to support the evolution of Customer Experiences.

This means the virtual analyst and data scientist will be a thing of reality, providing AI tools and workflows to assist in data management, Customer Experience analysis, and recommended actions based on predicted outcomes. Not only this but we want to simplify the process of transforming data into intelligence that can be used by experience makers to enhance the journey, removing all of the pain from the process of becoming a data driven enterprise.


3. Where are businesses going wrong when it comes to Customer Experience? What are the common mistakes your firm assists them in rectifying?

Businesses are diversifying their touchpoints so fast in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses that their experiences are suffering. This is resulting in fragmented and disconnected messages that are not context aware and fundamentally don’t recognise that relatedness and relevancy are the lifeblood of great experiences. Data, of course, has a huge role to play in demonstrating to experience professionals the pitfalls in their experiences – where and what changes need to be made.

Experiences in context and not in isolation are critical, and I continue to see not enough holistic experience design across organisations. Why do we still have separate product owners who don’t truly collaborate? Retailers with checkouts, product pages, and recommendation engines that are isolated by device/channel?

My client, Rob McLaughlin of Sky *, recently discussed personalisation with me during a co-presentation at a forum. He explained that personalisation is an overused term and likened it to meeting a colleague you’ve known for years – you wouldn’t dream of rocking up at a party and ignoring them or saying ‘Hi I’m Anthony, who are you?’. That’d be rude, yet businesses are doing this every day to their existing customers and visitors; he added that his bank still tries to sell him the same credit card with a better introductory offer when he already has it!

Businesses need to utilise data as a unifier across their experiences; we see massive benefits being realised from our omnichannel journey analytics and it’s often the much needed catalyst for focusing teams on the true end-to-end customer journey which of course touches many channels – with upwards of 71 percent of consumers using multiple connected devices instore and online.

The challenge is recognising that relevancy is the aim over consistency; many brands still consider syndicating the same banner/message/offer across their channels as a win. However, real-time intelligence often highlights changes in intent and context that deems the syndicated content no longer relevant. So brands needs to shoot for the stars and aim for true relevancy with consistent design and UX applied.

4. What are the future challenges retailers and eCommerce will face as technology develops further?

Simply knowing what to adopt and when. Retailers need to be careful not to adopt technologies for the sake of it; certainly personalisation and decisioning can be truly transformational but can also create challenges. I see many retailers and pure plays monetising relationships, injecting advertising into experiences, and of course GDPR forces a positive step backwards in my opinion.

However, whilst many technologies including voice, chatbots, and algorithmic personalisation are exciting, businesses need to have a clear experience strategy for planning how and when to adopt these. Now I’m not risk averse, SYNTASA shares my vision of continuous test and learn at-scale, however this requires critical thinking between marketers, experience professionals, and data teams. This is where we’re bridging the gap in knowledge and action-centred intelligence.

5. What do you think will be the ‘next big thing’ in Digital Experience?

For me this has to be AR, which depends on AI Assisted data (so no surprise why I’m excited about it) but also, with experiences being historically isolated without context and relevancy, I truly see AR as the opportunity to connect online and offline in a truly immersive way. Given that AR is now widely available at a fraction of the cost it was a year or so ago, I see this as the opportunity for all brands to refresh their Customer Experience.

I’m truly passionate that AR can be leveraged for many use cases from retailers offering explainers, ranges, and personalised pricing instore to sports broadcasters, giving viewers the best interactive seat in the audience without them leaving their living room.

My word of caution is that this has to be adopted by brands that are tackling the brilliant basics of their existing experience in parallel, like a poorly designed IA, impersonal content, and irrelevant/disconnected CRM activity.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 31, 2018


Businesses urgently need to prepare for the influx of ‘pitiless machines’ into customer services, it has been warned.

Next-gen experience firm, Servion Global Solutions has highlighted that as uptake of smart speakers and voice assistants continues apace, consumers are increasingly using them to shop for goods and services on their behalf, and for information and advice.

Servion predicts that by 2025, three quarters of customer service interactions will be driven by such platforms. The impact of smart speakers and voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, is already being felt in sales, with the screenless, ‘brandless’ marketplace posing new challenges for brands. As these channels rapidly grow in influence, Servion warns that companies must now face up to the challenge of incorporating smart speakers and virtual assistants – which are not loyal to any one organisation – into the pre-and-post-sales customer experience, or risk being outstripped by competitors.

Businesses need to face up to the reality that customers, particularly younger demographics, don’t want to call or email them anymore, and even chatbots will be too much for some. Consumers want the convenience of speaking to their surroundings and getting an answer quickly,” commented Shashi Nirale, SVP & GP EMEA, Servion Global Solutions.

Whether it’s asking for advice on holiday destinations, comparing mortgage rates, or querying their electric bill – more and more we will see customers using smart speakers and voice assistants to make their decisions for them. These machines are pitiless – they are not loyal to a single brand or service provider, nor are they swayed by marketing. Companies must prepare now to integrate voice into customer experiences and pre/post-sales environments or go the way other of other companies that were unable to adapt to new technologies and channels – think Blockbuster, Maplin, and Toys ’R’ Us.”

The pressure on businesses to build nuanced and predictive interactions through voice is growing as a generation of millennials – armed with disposable income and a healthy scepticism of traditional sales and marketing – enters the marketplace. Organisations from utilities, to public sector, to healthcare companies, need to understand this generation’s communications preferences – younger generations are even reticent to use text and chat to communicate with a company.

As speech recognition and neurolinguistics continues to advance, humanoid, natural conversations with machines will become normal and familiar. This means that the user’s trust in a voice assistant to make a purchase decision on their behalf or make a dependable recommendation will grow.

Shashi added:

The past 10-15 years have shown businesses what happens when they fail to respond to new technologies. Just as the shift to ecommerce killed off numerous high-street stalwarts, the evolution of smart speakers and voice assistants will kill businesses that ignore them as a channel. Businesses and brands must realise that in an increasingly commoditised world where technology moves fast, Customer Experience will be everything. Business must build distinctive, relevant experiences, backed by technology that can tailor and personalise responses to each user. As we deepen our trust of, and further our relationships with, this technology, businesses urgently need to find a way to incorporate these pitiless machines into their customer experience plans.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 30, 2018


As summer heats up, so too does your ability to hone skills in a wide range of areas thanks to Masterclasses offered by CXM.

Throughout the second half of 2018, expert-led Masterclasses will train participants to perfect abilities in delivering Customer Experience, Employee Experience, and effective event management.

What makes these events unique is the sheer talent overseeing the classes. These include one of the world’s foremost experts on Customer Experience, Ian Golding, and ‘Mr Employee Experience’ himself, Ben Whitter.

Customer Experience

Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) Ian, who is the CEO and Founder of Customer Experience Consultancy, will lead participants in the next Customer Experience Masterclass on July 2-3, before hosting a CCXP Exam Preparation Workshop on July 4.

Taking place at the Business & Technology Centre in Stevenage, the Masterclass will provide students with case studies, exercises, and stories to sharpen the skills required to succeed as a CX professional. This is a highly popular course and a chance to learn from the UK’s top CX personality, who is currently riding a wave of success thanks to his new book, Customer What? The Honest and Practical Guide to Customer Experience.

Attendees can expect to focus on all core CX competencies, including strategy and brand proposition; the role of employees in delivering said strategy; customer journey mapping; establishing a customer-centric culture; and much more.

Meanwhile, the one-day CCXP workshop will see Ian offer the best preparation possible for those seeking CCXP accreditation and aiming to pass the exam first time.
Ian was the first person in the world authorised by the CXPA to teach CCXP accreditation skills and is responsible for helping create around a quarter of the world’s qualified CCXPs.

Another two-day Customer Experience Masterclass led by Ian will be held on October 22-23, and a CCXP Workshop on October 24.

Also, an exciting new CX Masterclass is on the horizon, led by multi-award winning CCXP business leader and founder of CXellence, Manuela Pifani.

The 2015 UK CX Professional of the Year will oversee the Customer Strategy & Design Thinking two-day course, that will enable participants to get to grips with different strategy and design methodologies, and teach how to align organisations behind the delivery of a consistent Customer Experience.

The course will feature case studies and exercises that will aid participants in designing their own customer strategy, and successfully embed it within their own business.
The dates for this Masterclass will be revealed soon, so please keep an eye on Customer Experience Magazine for details.

Employee Experience

Flick Hardingham is the Director of Habit, and works with organisations to supercharge their people power through cutting-edge Employee Experience and training. Past and current projects include supporting digital transformations at Barclays Bank and Accenture; Design Thinking for HR training at the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management; innovative leadership for Deliveroo; and delivering a new model of collective leadership for the NHS.

Her half-day Masterclass, Design Thinking for Employee Experience, will take place on July 5 at Huckletree Shoreditch in London, and on September 21 at the same venue.
The class will see participants examine best practice and explore how human-centred Design Thinking can be used to create a productive and meaningful Employee Experience.

An exploration of the five stages of the Design Thinking process – Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Iterate – will occur, to help participants improve current processes and boost engagement.

Meanwhile, the CEO and Founder of the World Employee Experience Institute, Ben Whitter, will lead the Employee Experience Masterclass at the Park Plaza Riverbank in London on September 10 and again on November 12.

Participants will learn the tricks of the EX trade from Ben, who is known in the industry as ‘Mr Employee Experience’ – and deservedly so – for his ability to help bring out the best in businesses when it comes to hiring and retaining staff.

Over the course of the day, participants will discover how to build outstanding employee experiences that contribute to key business metrics and deliver invaluable results.
Everything from pre-hire to retire is covered and the training has already been successfully delivered to hundreds of delegates worldwide.

Event management

Sarah Halfpenny is the face of Sarah Halfpenny Events and one of the UK’s most sought-after event management experts.

She is now heading up two exciting Masterclasses. The first is Event Strategy and Planning, that will cover meaningful event objectives, understanding audiences, forging partnerships, and content creation.


Her second Masterclass, Event Project Management, covers the fundamental elements required to project manage an event from concept to completion. Participants will learn all aspects of event management, from constructing an event brief and developing a project plan and schedule, to delivering it on time, in budget, and on-brand.
Both classes will be held at the Business and Technology Centre in Stevenage.
Event Strategy and Planning will be held on July 3, with Event Project Management on July 4. The classes will also be held on September 25-26, and on November 7-8.

Meanwhile, CXM Masterclasses are also available as in-house training sessions, that can bring the experts to your place of business. To learn more about in-house training availability, and to make bookings, email, or call 0207 1937 483.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 29, 2018


Motivating staff to ‘think like owners’ was one of the key factors in helping Startle achieve success at the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards.

The firm, which helps brands provide outstanding digital venue experiences, won the Employee Engagement – Growth by Design award at the gala event earlier this month at London’s Park Plaza Hotel. The event was hosted by Awards International and sponsored by Benefex, with the help of other partners.

Startle was recognised for its unique approach to business growth; namely, how it operates completely remotely and achieved 400 percent financial growth in its second year. With an EMI share scheme that means all employees are owners of the business, Startle aims for motivated team members who ‘think like owners’, meaning there is great care and consideration for costs across all departments, helping to set the company up for further future growth.

Head of Operations and Co-Founder of Startle, Adam Castleton, said:

To have Startle recognised not only for our dedication to a unique Employee Experience, but how this aids the business in achieving excellent levels of growth, is a testament to the great work all of our team put in. Proving that it’s possible to run a multi-million pound business that operates globally from our homes signifies the future of employee experience, and demonstrates our commitment to providing an excellent work/life balance for all of our employees.”

Congratulating the winners, Neil Skehel, CEO of Awards International, said:

We are truly inspired by the incredible talent showcased once again at the UK Employee Experience Awards. This year we have seen many outstanding examples of businesses which are breaking the mould and creating working environments that are truly supportive and engaging. This amazing event gave us the opportunity to acknowledge those companies and celebrate with both the finalists and the winners.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 18, 2018


Some of the best businesses in the UK to work for have been honoured at the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards.

Taking place in the heart of London at the Park Plaza hotel overlooking the Thames, the spectacular day-long event saw the winners of 22 categories take to the stage following a morning of detailed presentations before expert judging panels.

Firms, including some of the best-known brands in the UK, outlined strategies and initiatives that lead to high staff satisfaction and retention rates, and explained how this translated into customer satisfaction and even boosted profits.

Attendees also enjoyed a day of networking opportunities and met with representatives from the event’s influential partners. This year, they included employment engagement specialists Benefex; global professional services provider FDM; Cranfield School of Management; Therapy Solutions; and the new venture from awards judge Donna O’Toole, August: The Awards Consultancy, the world’s first online course designed to help firms win awards and significantly raise their profile.

Meanwhile, also partnering the awards was The World Employee Experience Institute, and its founder Ben Whitter, AKA Mr Employee Experience himself, met with finalists throughout the day and also took to the stage during the gala ceremony to share valuable insights.

The event was also sponsored by children’s charity Barnardo’s, which outlined to attendees their amazing work in rescuing victims of child sexual exploitation.

The highlight of the day was the award presentations, which saw wholesalers Bidfood UK take home the coveted Overall Winner title after an outstanding victory in the Team of the Year category.

Other notable success stories includes London’s Jubilee Street Practice, which won Overall Best Employee Engagement, and the Holly Private Hospital in Essex, which won an amazing three category titles: Employee Engagement – Values & Strategy; Reward & Recognition; and Talent Management.

Speaking with Customer Experience Magazine, Ben Whitter said:

“Employee Experience is one of the most important aspects of business in the UK, and this event is the premier celebration of that.

“I have heard of some truly amazing EX initiatives in the run-up to today’s event, and I was lucky enough to tour the HQ of finalists to see for myself exactly why they deserve to be here today competing for these titles. They are all raising the standard for other businesses and I salute each and every one of them.”

Meanwhile, Matt Nathanielsz of Benefex added:

“EX is a massive trend in industries after years of being overlooked and undervalued. It’s great to see so many companies making the experience for their employees so special.”

Judges were also “hugely impressed” with the presentations. Judging Chairperson Hina Sharma, Head of Communications with Pitney Bowes UK, said:

“What was most impressive for me and many of the judges was how the finalists linked their employee engagement initiatives to overall business success. That standard of entries was exceptional. Well done to all who entered.”

Neil Skehel, CEO of hosts Awards International, added:

“It was fantastic to see so many inspiring companies who are leading the way in effective employee experience. Congratulations and thank you to all of our finalists, winners, and judges. See you again next year.”

Employee Engagement – Recognition & WellbeingStaysure

Employee Engagement – Growth by Design – Startle

Diversity & Inclusion –  Sky

Employee Engagement – Values & Strategy – The Holly Private Hospital

Employee Engagement – Transforming through EX – Jubilee Street Practice

Employee Engagement – EX Design – Manpower Group

Health & Wellbeing – Let’s get healthy

Insight & Feedback – Sparks Grove and FCA

Learning & Development – BT Business and Blue Sky

Reward & Recognition – The Holly Private Hospital

Talent Management – The Holly Private Hospital

Innovation in Recruitment – Marketing VF

Business Transformation & Managing Change – Homeserve

Organisational Development – BT Business and Blue Sky

Thought Leader in Employee Experience – Rebecca Robinson, Sparks Grove

SME – The Holly Private Hospital

Technology for Productivity – LifeWorks

Agency of the Year – Manpower Group

Leader in Employee Experience – Marketing VF

Team of the Year – Bidfood UK

Overall Best Employee Engagement – Jubilee Street Practice

Overall Winner – Bidfood UK

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 14, 2018


The finalists for the 2018 UK Digital Experience Awards have finally been revealed, and the line-up promises an exciting day of insightful presentations and tough decisions for judges.

The UKDXAs are one of the highlights of the Customer Experience calendar, celebrating the businesses and organisations providing the best digital experiences for customers across the UK and beyond.

This year, the event takes place in London’s Park Plaza Hotel on the banks of the Thames on July 12, and finalists will compete in 18 categories covering every aspect of expert Digital Experience.

These include Best Online User Experience B2B and B2C, Software as a Service, Best Use of SEO, and Best use of AR or VR.

Among the big names competing for the coveted titles this year are Sky, Three UK, Lloyds Banking Group, Tesco Bank, and BT.

Meanwhile, this year’s exciting judging panel includes Gordon Rimmer, Director of Marketing at Connect Managed Services; Paul Blunden, the CEO and Founder of Usability 24/7; and Kate Thompson, Managing Director of Business 3.0, among many others.

The event is hosted by Awards International, and CEO Neil Skehel said:

The UK Digital Experience Awards has risen to become one of the most important industry awards events of its kind, thanks to the spectacular growth of DX as a concept for businesses in the last few years.

“Customers are continuing to engage with brands digitally, and the challenge for companies is to provide the best, and most innovative touchpoints along the way, translating into exceptional Customer Experience.

“The awards celebrate the best customer journeys in a field that will only continue to expand as ever-more people choose to shop and interact with businesses through smartphones, tablets and other devices.”


UK Digital Experience Awards 2018 Finalists
Category Finalist
Financial Services: User Experience
  • Jumio and Monzo
  • Wipro-Lloyds Banking Group
  • Right Indem Limited
  • Click Consult
Financial Services: Innovation
  • First Direct
  • Divido
  • Tesco Bank
  • Alta Pay, a Valitor Company
Customer Reviews & Feedback
  • Feefo Holdings Ltd
  • Novus
  • Micheldever Tyre Services Ltd T/A
  • Strategiq Marketing Limited
  • Tesco Bank
Data Analytics & Insight
  • Feefo Holdings Ltd
  • Wipro Digital
  • Three UK
  • Sky UK
  • Unit4 prevero
Leisure & Tourism
  • Novus
  • Seatfrog
  • Sagittarius – Red Carnation Hotel Collection
  • Ethos Farm
Best Use of AR or VR
  • George P Johnson
  • Virgin Experience Days
Mobile Strategy
  • Aston Barclay
  • Resilio
  • EE
  • Three UK
  • Octopus Energy
  • Nelson Bostock Unlimited
Not for Profit & Charity (Including Public Services)
  • Staffordshire County Council
  • PA Housing
  • Dotlabel
  • Valtech Limited
  • HMA
  • Click Consult
Software as a Service
  • Wipro Digital
  • FoundIt!
  • StaySafe
  • Proteus
  • Mention Me
  • Redstone Connect Labs
  • MVF
Use of SEO
  • Receptional Limited, Liberis
  • Receptional Limited, Discount Supplements
  • Impression
  • Micheldever Tyre Services Ltd T/A Protyre
  • Click Consult
Personal Entertainment & Telecoms
  • Three UK
  • BT
  • Kitty
  • Sky UK
  • EE
Best Online User Experience B2C – Retail
  • Mamas & Papas Ltd
  • EE
  • Three UK
  • Octopus Energy
  • The Underfloor Heating Store
  • Micheldever Tyre Services Ltd T/A Protyre
Best Online User Experience B2C -Best Digital Customer Journey
  • McCarthy & Stone
  • FoundIt!
  • Dotlabel
  • Amigo
  • Jumio and Monzo
  • Vortex Commerce on behalf of Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group
Digital Team – Transformation
  • The Share Centre
  • Three UK
  • Micheldever Tyre Services Ltd T/A Protyre
  • EE
  • Wipro Digital
Digital Team – Digital Marketing/Campaign
  • Impression
  • George P Johnson
  • Amigo
  • Virgin Trains
  • Mamas & Papas Ltd
  • The Underfloor Heating Store
Best Online User Experience B2B
  • Absolute Design Associates Ltd
  • HMA
  • BMJ, with Box UK
  • MVF
Digital Change and Transformation – Software
  • Mamas & Papas Ltd
  • Novus
  • The Share Centre
  • Three UK
  • drp for Worcester Bosch
Digital Change and Transformation – Digital Engagement Platforms
  • drp for Worcester Bosch
  • Active Digital
  • BMJ, with Box UK
  • Grovelands Consulting
  • drp for Jaguar Land Rover x


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 22, 2018


UK Customer Experience Awards sponsors Confirmit are helping to deliver a revolutionary patient-centric approach to healthcare as part of an exciting new collaboration.

Voice of the Customer experts Confirmit are working with specialist healthcare consultancy 7i Group Ltd to harness their Market Research and pharmaceutical sector knowledge and expertise to enable an enhanced approach to drug development and the evolution and delivery of medicines, devices, and treatment protocols.

7i will use Confirmit’s text analytics solution, Confirmit Genius, to listen to what patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) are saying publicly about treatments, collating, analysing, and interpreting unstructured data from sources such as patient forums and blogs to identify themes and sentiments. This data is gathered in strict accordance with GDPR regulations (including informed consent) and Market Research codes of conduct, and is then combined with proactively generated structured feedback from surveys, SMS, voting apps, and other data sources in Confirmit Horizons.

This will allow 7i to present pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, and healthcare providers, with deeper insights into the attitudes and beliefs of patients and HCPs via Confirmit’s real-time dashboard, Reportal.

Andrew Sellick, Managing Director at 7i Group said:

“Publicly sharing thoughts, opinions and experiences online is increasingly part of everyday life. It is often the environment in which patients and HCPs are most likely to express their views on a medicine or device in a ‘real world’ setting. It is logical, therefore, to harness this publicly available evidence to get a better understanding of the true patient experience. There is also a great opportunity to gather opinions from HCPs and to share this insight with healthcare companies and healthcare providers, enabling them to improve treatment protocols, medicines and medical devices.

“We believe that the combination of Confirmit’s leading-edge technology with our expertise in healthcare will enable the development of a new, innovative approach to generating ‘in-the-moment’ insight from patients and HCPs alike. Continuous online listening, combined with the more traditional Market Research approach, will provide valuable insights which will ultimately contribute to improved patient outcomes. It is this drive to enhance the lives of patients that is at the heart of the collaboration between Confirmit and 7i Group.”

Commenting on the collaboration, Tim Hannington, EVP at Confirmit added:

“We look forward to working with 7i in providing the pharmaceutical industry with the holistic view it requires to put the patient at the heart of improving existing medicines and future drug development. We are confident that Confirmit Genius will provide the sentiment analysis capabilities 7i requires at scale and that Confirmit Horizons will support 7i’s expansion into new territories as it enters new markets.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 20, 2018


While the high street reported the steepest year-on-year drop in footfall since 2010, UK online retail sales have experienced dramatic growth.

Online sales grew by a storming +18.9 percent year-on-year (YoY) in March, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Marking the highest year-on-year growth since November 2016, March’s results round out a hugely successful first quarter, which saw average growth perform well above the 2018 forecast (+15.3 percent vs. +9 percent).

A number of key factors helped drive the month’s online sales – starting with the continued cold weather from the ‘beast from the east’, and ending with the early Easter bank holiday. Far more significant of the two, weekly analysis showed that growth doubled in the final week over Easter – surging from a steady +13 percent to +27 percent.

While all sectors showed year-on-year growth in March, there were a few standout performances. Likely linked to the bank holiday weekend, both Clothing and Beer, Wine and Spirits saw increases of +17.2 percent and +27.3 percent respectively. For Beer, Wine and Spirits this was the highest jump in the last five years. Perhaps less predictably, Electricals also had a very strong month, reversing a five-year trend of decline to record growth of +21.9 percent. In a month where Samsung launched its Galaxy S9, this could signify a concerted effort by smartphone manufacturers to increase their promotions.

Andy Mulcahy, Strategy and Insight Director at IMRG, said:

“It’s possible to read this month’s results as a simple story of online continuing to benefit from the decline of the high street – which is nothing new of course, but it may be that we are seeing an acceleration of this as we’ve moved into 2018. At the same time it could just be a blip – Easter falling in March will likely have pushed up online growth (and, by extension, it may come in far lower in April) plus the weather has at times brought heavy snowfall and prolonged rainfall.

If the strong growth is sustained into April, it would be tempting to conclude that we may have entered a new retail era – where store portfolios are going to be reduced faster under a far more radical programme of store consolidation than we have seen thus far, with digital transformation going high up board agendas and more ‘Digital Transformation Director’ job titles appearing.

But what does that mean for the high street? It’s important to remember that shopping centres have generally performed better than high streets recently, so it’s not that physical retail spaces can’t work. The question is – if retail were to start again entirely from scratch tomorrow, what would a retailer’s physical space look like? Would they be shops in the traditional sense, using all the space to market stock? Would we actually even create high streets again?”

Bhavesh Unadkat, Principal Consultant in Retail Customer Engagement with Capgemini added:

“While the comparatively stronger growth of multi-channel retailers this month further supports the weather’s role in driving footfall away from the high streets, it also highlights the potential value and relevance of maintaining some form of physical presence in addition to a digital one. The trick for retailers is to figure out how the two can successfully work in combination, and what role each must play. We’re already seeing the start of this interplay in the trend for showrooming, but that is just one possible innovation of many.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 16, 2018


Pub chain JD Wetherspoon will face “negative repercussions” for “ignoring” customers by shutting down their social media channels, it has been warned.

The company ran over 900 accounts on platforms including Twitter and Facebook, and has said the decision on Monday morning was taken over concerns the accounts were being used to troll MPs.

The staunchly pro-Brexit brand announced the move in a now-deleted tweet by Chairman Tim Martin, who wrote: “We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business. I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever, and this is the overwhelming view of our pub managers.”

However, the move has been criticised by Customer Experience experts Medallia, whose VP EMEA Sean Farrington, said:

Social media represents a way for people to share their views and opinions on anything and everything. In the world of commerce, to close the door on this vital channel and ignore the very powerful voice of the customer, is a highly risky strategy.

When used well social media acts as an additional earpiece for brands, enabling them to get insight into what their customers like and don’t like. It provides a platform to engage with customers in a positive way. It allows brands to hear the stories behind customers experiences and to proactively make changes to enhance them. Indeed, Medallia’s research* of the hospitality sector has found engaging with social media reviews boosts a company’s bottom line.

Love it or loathe it, social media is a part of our world now. We live in a 24/7 always on society that loves to share and loves to voice their opinions. Blocking access to a tool such as this could have negative repercussions for a brand, something Wetherspoons might find out quicker than they’d like.”

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