Unhygienic workplaces are believed to be contributing to employee sickness levels in the UK, research has revealed.
A survey of 1,012 workers conducted by AppliancesDirect.co.uk found that almost half (46 percent) believe that an unhygienic working environment has contributed to making them sick.
When quizzed on the reasons they felt their workplace has made them sick in the past, the majority (68 percent) said that they believed this was due to lack of general hygiene in their workplace, while 62 percent said it was due to colleagues bringing sickness into the office.
With 46 percent of respondents claiming that they’ve had at least one day sick in the past year due to their unhygienic workplace, this would come at a cost of £1.56 billion to UK employers, according to Gov.uk stats.
When quizzed on the least hygienic parts of their working environment, a further 48 percent said it was due to their desk phone, while 45 percent cited their dirty office kitchen as being the reason for them getting sick. Thirty-four percent of workers said this was due to badly washed plates and mugs in the office kitchen, while 28 percent said it was due to unsanitary bathrooms.
Slightly under a quarter (24 percent) of those surveyed said they feel that their dirty desk was the least hygienic part of their workplace, whilst for 18 percent it was their keyboard. A further 14 percent felt that colleagues leaving out of date food in a communal fridge has contributed to illness, and 11 percent of those surveyed felt it was due to pets in the office.
Mark Kelly, Marketing Manager at AppliancesDirect.co.uk said: “I was surprised from our findings just how much office sickness is costing UK businesses annually, with almost half of British workers blaming their workplace for at least one sick day in the past year.
“We carried out some research recently which found that the kitchen was the hub of the office, with 72 percent of UK workers saying this is the most used social space in the office, so it’s concerning to see that almost half of workers believe that this is a space that has made them ill in the past year due to lack of hygiene.
“It’s clear that it’s not just employers who need to keep communal spaces clean, but also that employees need to keep their personal workspaces hygienic to avoid illness from things like keyboards and desk phones.”
New business models for public transport in the UK will result from a digital revolution in the mobility industry, a new report has predicted.
Global digital transformation firm Atos has launched its Digital Vision for Mobility report, which sets out how digital technology has transformed the UK’s transport sector and considers the role of AI, automation, and blockchain in determining the mobility solutions of tomorrow for road and rail, broader public transport, and logistics.
Contributions from ITS-UK, Google, Siemens, KPMG, Worldline, TfL, MyTaxi, and TechUK explain how data is being used as a driver for intelligent infrastructure and how developments such as IoT can be strategically deployed to create more reliable services and more convenient access for transport customers.
The report’s release was marked with a keynote address by Atos UK & Ireland SVP for Strategy & Communications and former Transport Advisor to the Mayor of London, Kulveer Ranger, to an audience at University College London.
“Increasingly with population growth and denser metropolitan conurbations, we see the need to support the mass movement of people and goods with efficient, effective and integrated multi-modal public and personal transport systems,” he told attendees.
“Transport operators are beginning to rely heavily on data: harvested both from within their own networks and systems and from the personal mobile devices of individuals. To realise a vision of truly personal mobility, vast amounts of data will need to be aggregated. This will be a huge technological feat for innovative integrators and digital architects.”
Speaking of the launch of the report, Adrian Gregory, Atos Senior Executive Vice President and CEO, UK & Ireland, said: “More change is now underway across the transport and logistics industry than at any time since the invention of the combustion engine. Vastly increased computing power and hyper-connectivity are helping to transform the operation and maintenance of vehicles and national infrastructure.”
Retailers are being warned that a lack of preparedness for new EU regulations to prevent online fraud could be costly.
The Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules will come into force in September as part of the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2). They will affect online purchases of €30 or more, and will require retailers, banks and payments providers to authenticate customers through something they “have”, “are”, and “know”.
While banks are largely ready for the changes, retailers have been warned that they face trouble ahead, as a recent survey by analysts at 451 Research and Stripe found that less than half of businesses polled expected to be ready by the autumn deadline.
Uncertainty over the UK’s future in the European Union is also adding to pressure on retailers facing major legislative changes while simultaneously being told to expect Brexit on October 31.
Among those urging retailers to address the issue is digital solutions firm Mitek, whose EMEA MD Rene Hendrikse said: “Sooner rather than later, retailers must recognise the need to invest in anti-fraud technologies. With the new anti-fraud rules, every customer will have to be authenticated by at least two of the following criteria: something they have, something they are, and something only they know.
“Come September, this will be necessary for every online transaction. This could include an ID document, a biometric identifier, and a security question, going beyond simply your card details as is the current standard. This introduces an additional layer of security to defend against the threat of fraud from online transactions – but it also presents a challenge for organisations to implement with only months to go.
“Within the next few months, investing in the right technologies and implementing them quickly and efficiently should be top of the agenda for retailers and e-commerce groups. If not, they will find themselves in serious trouble.”
Slow service is enough for more than half of British customers to ditch a brand, according to a new survey.
A poll of 2,000 UK consumers revealed that 56 percent would stop shopping with a brand that forced them to endure slow customer service. The survey by contact centre cloud solutions provider 8×8 also found that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of people have been frustrated at the length of time it has taken a customer service team at a company to solve a problem.
The time it took to get through to someone is the most common reason people lose patience with a customer service team (36 percent), followed by having to wait to get their query resolved (30 percent). Quick and easy access to contact information is also a key factor, as a quarter (25 percent) have lost patience by having to wade through too many screening questions in order to access contact information.
When asked about the types of businesses they are most likely to lose patience with, customers named utilities and telecom firms in the top spot (33 percent), followed by retail (24 percent), and local government (21 percent). This suggests that organisations in these sectors are at the greatest risk of losing customers to slow service.
To help them get an answer in the quickest and easiest way possible, 78 percent of Brits expect companies to provide multiple channels to contact their customer service team on, such as phone, email, web chat, and social media. Despite this, over half (58 percent) of businesses still only offer one communication channel to contact customer service teams – an experience 52 percent of Brits find frustrating.
Mary Ellen Genovese, MD of European Operations, 8×8, said: “We all expect companies to deliver a fast and joined-up response to our queries regardless of their nature. Our research reveals speed is everything – consumers have little patience for slow service and, when frustrated, won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere.
“Businesses that don’t meet customer expectations risk losing out to faster competitors, not just over established channels such as phone and email, but across web chat and social media too.”
The research also reveals that customers expect traditional channels to deliver a faster response rate. When asked which customer service platforms they lose patience with the most, 37 percent said phone, compared to just 12 percent for email and 10 percent for live chat.
Nearly three quarters of marketers and CX professionals (74 percent) are investing in Digital Experience (DX) in an effort to foster long-term loyalty and build better relationships with their customers.
Research from experience analytics company Clicktale, which surveyed 200 marketing and CX professionals across the US and UK, found customer loyalty to be the number one priority for those building a DX strategy. This was followed by a need to understand customer behaviour (67 percent) and a desire to create a clearer Customer Experience vision (67 percent).
For those at a managerial level (CX and marketing managers) improving customer lifetime value was also identified as an important driver of DX strategy.
Speaking of the findings in Clicktale’s Defining Digital Experience report, the firm’s CEO, Sara Richter, said: “As ever more customer interactions are completed via digital channels, marketers find themselves faced with a ‘switching economy’ – in which consumers regularly flit between different brands when they’re dissatisfied with a particular experience. Given this fact, is it any wonder that so many marketers are looking to secure long-term customer loyalty through their Digital Experience approach?
“To achieve such loyalty, however, we as marketers need to think about what it is that our customers need, and to do that requires a strong understanding of customer behaviours. This is where the other key objectives come into play. In order to drive loyalty, marketers must improve their digital experiences. But to do that, they must have a clear vision and the behavioural data needed to back it up. None of these factors can exist in isolation – they must all form part of a single, unified DX strategy and be supported with the right behavioural technologies.”
The International Customer Experience Awards is returning to Amsterdam this year, and potential entrants have just a few days left to take advantage of a special Early Bird Discount offer.
A total of 19 categories are open for submissions, with one Overall Winner title reserved for the entrant scoring the highest result from judges overseeing presentations on the day.
The event – hosted by Awards International UAE & Netherlands – takes place on November 21, with the deadline for entries on August 7. However, an Early Bird Discount offer is available until June 12, allowing entrants to save €100 on their entry fee.
Click here for further details of this amazing offer.
Awards International MD Mark Hamill said: “This unique daytime event, enables businesses from across the globe to compete for the ultimate accolade in the world of Customer Experience. Participating in the Awards is not just about competing and celebrating best practice – these Awards offer a unique opportunity to network with other key players from across the world and to hear what others are doing to solve problems within their country or particular sector.”
As customer concern over carbon footprints reaches fever pitch, Waitrose is leading the way in reducing packaging with a new test store for shoppers to fill their own containers.
The chain’s Botley Road shop in Oxford is offering refill stations for everyday goods such as pasta and cereals, and a ‘pick and mix’ for frozen fruit.
Household items such as cleaning products are also refillable, while wine and beer will be available to customers that bring bottles.
The ‘Waitrose Unpacked’ scheme has also seen the removal of plastic packaging for flowers, and a ‘borrow a box’ initiative allows customers to take part by leaving a deposit for a container that can be returned to the store.
The pilot scheme will run for a period of 11 weeks, with customers able to provide feedback through a survey at Waitrose.com/Unpacked. Social media users are also urged to have their say using the hashtag #WaitroseUnpacked on Twitter and Instagram.
Head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners, Tor Harris, said: “We are determined to build on the work we’ve already done to reduce packaging – and this test will take our efforts to a whole new level as we help the growing number of customers who want to shop in a more sustainable way.
“This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for. We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different.”
Topics covered in this in-depth class include all core Customer Experience competencies, such as strategy and brand proposition; the role of employees in delivering the strategy; customer journey mapping; CX measurement (VOC, VOE and VOP), CX improvement; and CX culture.
The Masterclass is taking place at the Business & Technology Centre in Stevenage on July 8 – 9, while for those keen to take the CCXP exam, a preparation workshop will be held at the same venue on July 10.
Those who book their place before June 10 can save £150 in attendance costs. For further details on any of the CXM Masterclasses, please email Antonija@cxm.co.uk.
Recent Masterclass attendees have praised the course and the newfound skills that will now help them on their career path.
Irina Mostovaya, Service Owner at cyber security firm F-Secure, said: “The true meaning behind ‘Customer Experience’ is often misunderstood. Ian’s Masterclass introduces valuable tools to create a functioning CX strategy and company culture, whether you are just starting out, or are further into your CX development. Real-life examples, together with 24 years of Ian’s practical experience, are the best reasons to attend the Masterclass and discover that the CX is not just an abbreviation, but a science ‘with a heart behind it’.”
Director at Serbian firm Skills D.O.O. said of the Masterclass: “It was above my expectations, which doesn’t happen often. I was absolutely impressed with Ian’s vast knowledge and experience, and would like him to be my mentor.”
Hope Grant, Customer Services Manager at DMG Events, described Ian’s teaching as “engaging and inspiring”, while Libbi Martin, Senior Marketing Manager at Shepherds Friendly Society, added: “It was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed meeting so many like-minded people.”
Further CX Professional Masterclass dates are scheduled for September and November.
Brands have been urged to pay attention to the rise in popularity of Instagram among consumers noted for being ahead of the curve when it comes to tastes in technology.
A survey was carried out at the recent MCM London Comic Con and the recently published results show that 43 percent of attendees said they would choose Instagram over other social media platforms. This was up from 28 percent who selected the photo-sharing platform as their first pick at the previous MCM London Comic Con last October.
Facebook, meanwhile, is now the first choice for 33 percent of attendees, with twitter (16 percent) and Snapchat (just four percent) trailing behind, according to the poll of 1,167 fans carried out by marketing agency Experience12.
Chris Whittle, Founder and Managing Director at Experience12, said: “Fans who attend Comic Con are by and large early adopters when it comes their content consumption habits, which is why speaking with them on the ground at the show is always a really interesting litmus test for upcoming trends.”
Simplifying the complex environment of customer service delivery is essential for businesses in the months ahead, a new report has warned.
Recently published research from CCA, the professional body for customer service, in partnership with Twilio, surveyed over 70 senior customer service executives and found that businesses were challenged in four main areas, namely: evolving and changing skills requirements as customer service becomes increasingly complex; keeping pace with new technologies including artificial intelligence and automation, and how and when to best apply; being agile and flexible in their approach to delivering improved service; and changing expectations about the role of front-line agents.
The rapid advancement of technology, widespread access to the internet, and smartphone culture is driving huge changes in the customer service landscape for organisations. These rapid transformations present real opportunities to engage and build relationships with consumers in innovative and diverse ways. Conversely, they also present significant challenges as users become more demanding, and expect that services are ‘always on’ as well as top performance.
CCA CEO Anne Marie Forsyth said: “Simplifying the complex is much easier said than done. We are experiencing extremely uncertain times and organisations are challenged with investing in customer service and CX when the landscape is continually shifting due to the political environment, technology changes and increasing expectations from customers.
“Established and effective connections across the whole enterprise need to be in place so that customers are dealt with appropriately and in ways that suit them versus the organisation. The challenge for today’s businesses is knowing how to prioritise these challenges, balanced with investment in the most appropriate solutions.
“This research highlights the top issues organisations need to consider when looking to improve the service and experience they offer to customers. Simplifying the complex is not for the faint-hearted and will require smart leadership, intelligent investment and strong engagement across the business.”