Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthAugust 1, 2019
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2min674

The UK’s largest independent multi-sector ombudsman, Ombudsman Services, has created a new partner platform to facilitate its communications with businesses operating in its four key sectors of energy, communications, heat, and private parking.

Designed and built by digital agency Code Computerlove, the creative for the new site reflects Ombudsman Services’ refreshed brand identity that was launched on its new consumer platform last year.

Ombudsman Services’ partner site – partners.ombudsman-services.org – features clear and concise information, cleverly presented with the use of bespoke-designed icons and use of video.

It emphasises how Ombudsman Services can help to resolve disputes in an efficient and ethical way, reduce service failure cost, and drive improvements in customer service.

Jodi Hamilton, director of relationships at Ombudsman Services, said: “Improving our digital capabilities lies at the heart of our organisational strategy and the launch of our new business-to-business partner platform forms part of our ongoing programme of digital transformation.

“Further features will be added to the partner site as we base our iterations on data-driven insight and our business customers’ requirements. There is increased competition in our sector, so getting ahead and staying there with regards to our digital presence is a vital element of our growth.

“The aim is to create increased visibility of our services. By giving our business partners a dedicated place to come for useful information, resources and content, we aim to increase B2B engagement across our key sectors. We have worked hard to define both our consumer and business-to-business proposition and our new site is an excellent reflection of our strong brand identity and brand difference.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthAugust 1, 2019
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5min833

UK Customer Experience Awards finalist Capita has appointed new leads for its Customer Management and People Solutions divisions.

The business services leader – which has been shortlisted for a number of categories at this year’s awards finals in London this October, including Team of the Year – has appointed Aimie Chapple as Executive Officer, Customer Management, while Chantal Free will join the firm as Executive Officer, People Solutions.

Both will take up their new posts in October.

Aimie worked for more than 20 years at Accenture, holding a series of senior positions, including UKI Chief Innovation Officer. She is a non-executive director of Learning Technologies Group.

“Capita is at a really exciting stage of its transformation, so this is a great time to come on board,” Aimie said.

“We are also in the midst of a new age in customer management, with advances in automation, AI, and data analytics, providing opportunities to serve customers with new insights. I’m passionate about helping develop and deliver these innovations for Capita’s clients, while also building on the expertise and outstanding service already being delivered by the customer management team.”

Meanwhile, Chantal joins from Willis Towers Watson, where she was Managing Director and Head of Human Capital and Benefits, Western Europe.

 

She said: “I am excited to be joining Capita and to have the opportunity to lead the company’s People Solutions division at this transformative moment. Capita offers an incredible range of human resources tools and capabilities to more than 6,500 private and public sector clients.

“I look forward to deepening Capita’s relationships with its existing HR clients and to helping them prepare for the challenges of the future of work.”

The pair join as Capita continues a very successful 2019 that has already seen the firm win titles including Best Customer Relations and Remediation at the UK Complaint Handling Awards.

Jon Lewis, Capita’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted that two such highly respected and experienced figures as Aimie and Chantal have chosen to join Capita. They are joining the company in the second year of a multi-year transformation, and I am confident Aimie and Chantal possess the skills to help deliver the next phase of Capita’s growth. I look forward very much to working with them.”

Mark Cook will serve as interim Executive Officer, People Solutions until Chantal Free’s arrival. He has joined Capita from Investment Services Group, where he was Global Managing Director. Erika Bannerman, the former Executive Officer for People Solutions, has decided to leave Capita to pursue other opportunities.

Jon Lewis said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Erika for her commitment to leading our People Solutions division during the early stage of our multi-year transformation and, on behalf of Capita, to wish her well for the future.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 31, 2019
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2min572

‘Generic’ or rare praise from managers is turning off the UK’s employees, a new study shows.

Global employee engagement firm Reward Gateway surveyed 500 employees in the UK, and revealed that generic and annual recognition or rewards are inadequate as employees demand to be recognised in more timely and meaningful ways.

Only 18 percent of employees said they liked receiving praise at a single event or function, and 70 percent agreed that their managers could do more to praise and thank them in a timely, specific way, highlighting the importance of in-the-moment recognition.

In addition, 76 percent of employees agreed that motivation and morale would improve at their company if managers simply said “thank you” more and noticed when people do good work.

The research also found a lack of effective recognition in offices in the UK, with over half (52 percent) of employees feeling their manager unfairly rewards certain people over others, while 42 percent agreed they had received a reward that did not reflect the work put into it.

Commenting on the research, Doug Butler, CEO at Reward Gateway, said: “Companies need to be investing in the right kind of recognition and reward programs that fit both the employees’ and company’s goals.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 30, 2019
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3min952

One of the most inspiring winners at the 2019 UK Digital Experience Awards is planning a return to next year’s event as they continue to provide businesses with innovative digital engines for customers to use.

Multinational firm Torry Harris Integration Solutions (THIS) – headquartered in New Jersey USA and with a UK base in Bristol – won Gold in the Not for Profit & Charity (Including Public Services) category.

The team also secured Silver for Best Digital Change & Transformation in partnership with energy provider Pure Planet. The ceremony, hosted by Awards International, took place in London’s Park Plaza Riverbank earlier this month.

The Gold award was presented for digital platform initiative HomeJini, which is powered by Torry Harris’ digital marketplace solution DigitMarket. It democratises digital by harnessing the power of the platform economy to connect the semi-skilled labour pool in India to employment opportunities.

THIS is it: The Torry Harris Integration Solutions team accept their Gold award at the 2019 UK Digital Experience Awards

Meanwhile, the Silver gong was awarded for THIS’ partnership with Pure Planet, which saw the tech firm build a digital ecosystem through implementing and supporting a comprehensive API portfolio. The app for Pure Planet – the UK’s first app-based energy supplier that supplies 100 percent renewable electricity, and 100 percent carbon offset gas – allows customers to track their energy use and receive bills on their smartphone.

Following the firm’s double win, THIS Vice President – Strategic Initiatives, Shuba Sridhar, said: “We are thrilled that our digital marketplace product DigitMarket™ received the recognition it deserves. We are looking to come back next year with a more innovative and impactful story of a Torry Harris-powered digital engine making a massive difference to the customer’s business. Thank you Awards International for organising such a fair and transparent scoring process and a top panel of independent judges.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 29, 2019
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3min704

A global research study has found that businesses in the UK and elsewhere are overrating their Customer Experience, and are underperforming when it comes to providing omnichannel communication.

The 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark report polled contact centre leaders in the UK, US, and Australia. Results reveal that businesses are confident in artificial intelligence’s (AI’s) role in delivering exceptional Customer Experience, but they overrate their own CX performance.

The CX Transformation Benchmark found that 63 percent of contact centre leaders agree that chatbots and virtual assistants make it easier for consumers to get their issues resolved, and 68 percent of those surveyed agree that consumers want to use virtual assistants to interact with them.

However, compared to consumers, businesses give themselves higher net promoter scores for every method of communication tested. Businesses overestimate most channel-specific NPS by broad margins. For example:

Automated assistant/chatbot: While consumers award automated assistants an NPS of -8, businesses estimate they earn an NPS of 25, for a gap of 33 points.

Email: The consumer NPS for email is -9 while the business NPS is 19, for a gap of 28 points.

Text: Consumers give text a -2 NPS while businesses estimate 25, for a gap of 27 points.

Meanwhile, the report shows that businesses are 15 percent more likely than customers to agree that they make it easier for consumers to get their issues resolved in their preferred channels, and that they provide a consistent Customer  Experience across the purchase journey.

While 93 percent of businesses surveyed agree that consumers expect companies to provide a seamless experience when moving between channels, only 24 percent of businesses globally give themselves an excellent rating on allowing consumers to switch seamlessly between methods of communication.

Paul Jarman, CEO of NICE inContact, said: “We are at an inflection point for AI in the contact centre. AI innovations are at their best when paired with the human touch and deployed to address targeted customer and agent experience opportunities. AI in the contact centre has the potential to add significant value to CX outcomes and operational performance.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 26, 2019
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6min926

Today’s cloud-based contact centre solutions make it easier to deliver good customer service whatever the channel. 

The real challenge is how to provide a Digital Experience that stands out from the crowd when there is so much noise and too much choice. Multi-channel or omnichannel? AI or no AI? The rapid proliferation of new technologies and buzzwords is enough to reduce even the most focused organisations to blind panic. Some rush in and digitalise simply because everyone else is doing it while others grind to a state of sluggish inertia because change is scary and ‘it’s always been done this way’ is a safer option.

How do contact centres find the happy medium? How do they build a digital CX programme that guarantees successful customer outcomes? The secret is to keep calm, stay focused and follow a few golden rules:

1. Introduce relevance into the digital equation

Don’t just introduce technology for technology’s sake. Always keep the customer at the centre of the digital design process. Think about the dialogues you have with customers, listen to your agents, become a mystery shopper and try out the contact centre to discover the channels and technology that really work. Then, back this up with the performance metrics that matter.  Customers just want fast, positive results, so align KPIs accordingly. Focus on Net promoter, Customer Satisfaction (CSat) and Customer Effort scores along with customer churn and first resolution rates rather than Average Handling Times (AHTs).

2. Blend omnichannel with AI for complete customer interactions

Exploit the latest innovations in Artificial Intelligence such as virtual assistants, digital assistants, and bots. The beauty of AI is that it offers practically unlimited capabilities to allow organisations to capture customer conversations that vastly improve service levels and even anticipate customers’ needs by up/cross-selling other products based on their previous purchase or web-browsing history – a real competitive differentiator.

The human touch counts when it comes to handling complex matters and emotionally sensitive or personal issues. Blend instantaneous, multi-channel, round-the-clock digital self-sufficiency with personal service. Just be sure to make the hand-over between virtual and live agents seamless.

3. Remove on-screen clutter

A tidy desktop equals a tidy mind and ultimately a tidy profit. However, on-screen clutter such as multiple pop-ups and different applications frequently get in the way of delivering first-class CX. It’s time to take a closer look at the latest agent applications.

These are designed to remove on-screen clutter by linking to enterprise systems, selected third parties, and knowledge bases through widgets. Customisable and flexible, widgets allow every agent to be presented with the information and functionality most relevant to them in any given situation without switching screens or resorting to pop-ups. This provides a single view of customer conversations and accelerates an agent’s ability to improve CX all in one place.

4. Invest in the right people skills

There’s no point spending time and money on the perfect digital infrastructure if your human skills fail to live up to the same exacting standards. When recruiting new agents, or training long-standing experienced team members, look for candidates with high levels of emotional intelligence.

These are the ones who instinctively understand how the customer is feeling and use that information to influence a positive result even when conversations are passed to them from a digital assistant or chatbot. They grasp the importance of bridging the digital and human worlds and their holistic approach is vital to the success of a digital and connected CX strategy.

5. Choose cloud

Maximising cloud-based integration capabilities improves efficiency and builds customer loyalty as a result of fast and highly personalised interactions. A single view of customer interactions aids decision-making and allows proactive management of response times.

What’s more, when it comes to protecting sensitive customer data, the cloud comes into its own. Using a simple web browser, a single sign-on is all that is required and the ability to switch freely between applications and payment solutions to boost security levels.

Breathe deeply, stay calm, and carry on towards the perfect digital CX strategy. Focus on the digital channels that matter to your customers, experiment with the latest AI, and join the dots with agents who effortlessly link both human and digital worlds. You’ll stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 25, 2019
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2min786

A new report analyses the gaps between brands’ perceptions of the Customer Experiences they deliver and the reality.

Zendesk Inc has revealed insights from more than 9,000 small and midsize companies, and while results indicate differences in their ability to meet the growing expectations of customers, one discovery is consistent: fast-growing companies are more likely to take an omnichannel approach, offering a seamless and connected experience for communicating with customers across multiple channels.

Acknowledging the need to provide support over the same channels customers use to communicate with family and friends, more than two-thirds of CX leaders at both small and midsize businesses say they evaluate success based on providing multiple ways to contact customer service.

However, less than 35 percent are truly omnichannel, highlighting that many companies are failing to deliver on the Customer Experience they know is important. In fact, the midsize companies outpacing their peers in growth are nearly 60 percent more likely to take an omnichannel approach to customer service, while growth leaders in the SMB group are 41 percent more likely to be omnichannel.

Ted Smith, head of market insights at Zendesk, said: “Customers don’t think about a company’s size when they’re interacting with support. They expect to be able to reach out on the channel of their choice, and to get their issues resolved efficiently. This expectation applies to all businesses, both large and small. The recommendations in these reports can help small and midsize businesses understand what their fastest growing and most successful peers are doing to deliver the kind of Customer Experience every customer wants.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 25, 2019
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6min711

Despite recent headlines on sexism in the workplace, over half of women in a new survey say they feel empowered, well-managed, and fairly treated in their roles.

The Women in the Workplace 2019 study by The Knowledge Academy found that 52 percent of 1,424 women from across all ages and industries said they feel empowered at work, and 54 percent agree they are paid fairly.

When it comes to advancement in the workplace, 59% of respondents are offered training in their place of work, while a further 65 percent are encouraged to attend training of any kind.

There was a positive response to questions on management, with 69 percent of women surveyed said their manager provides the resources needed to succeed, and an even greater 77 percent said their manager helps them to balance their work and personal demands.

Over half (54 percent) of respondents added their manager creates opportunities for them to showcase their work, while 77 percent believe their manager promotes their contributions to others.

Challenges: Survey respondents have highlighted issues that remain of concern in the workplace

However, although the majority of the feedback is encouraging, the survey highlighted challenges to overcome in certain areas.

For example, 69 percent of women feel they have had their judgement questioned in their area of expertise, while 77 percent of women feel they have had to prove their ability in the workplace more than others. Sixty-five percent say they have been addressed in a less than professional way when at work, and the same percentage  feel they have had their work contributions ignored.

To extend their research, The Knowledge Academy spoke with women in the workplace, to better understand their personal experiences. 

Alice Coleman, a 27-year-old Marketing Officer at Aston University, said: “I didn’t find any difficulties finding work in my local region – I think most organisations consider equality and diversity when employing people now.

In my department, there are more women than men, my manager is a woman, and also the head of the department is a woman, which is really encouraging. However, when liaising with other departments, I feel like as a woman – particularly under the age of 30 – it can be difficult to be listened to, or almost ‘taken seriously’.

During equality and diversity training at my workplace, it was noted that there aren’t many women in managerial positions. Although we’ve made progress, I still think there’s a long way to go in making sure that attitudes towards women are the same as men in the workplace.”

Emily Garner (23), a Content Specialist at Blueclaw, added: “I think one of the main things that attracted me to digital marketing was the workplace diversity, as I know many amazing women who hold prestigious positions within digital agencies, including our own.

“I do feel, during my initial job search, I was overlooked in favour of more experienced and primarily male candidates. But in my current role, I wouldn’t say I’ve been held back by my gender. However, I can’t help but think that I’d be more comfortable being assertive and taking control in any scenario, both business and personal, were I a man.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 25, 2019
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3min714

A majority of young British customers say they would reconsider their spending behaviours if retailers were better at communicating the environmental impact of their purchases.

In new research from inRiver, 1,500 UK consumers between the ages of 16-44 were quizzed on sustainable shopping and buying preferences, and 69 percent said product information detailing the sustainability and environmental impact would make them more likely to purchase.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of people who would purchase products from abroad if they were a cheaper price said they would reconsider this if retailers shared more data and product content about the environmental impact of delivery.

This increased transparency would encourage 60 percent of buyers to reconsider the number of purchases they return. With the issue of ‘serial returners’ costing UK retailers an estimated £20bn a year, providing consumers with a greater awareness of the environmental implications of deliveries and returns could save businesses millions while having a positive impact on the environment

One-fifth of consumers said they only buy sustainable products. Overall, when assessing the key factors considered when committing to a purchase, sustainable packaging (six percent) and materials (six percent), ethical production (five percent), and carbon footprint of delivery (four percent) were all listed the most important, accounting for 21 percent in total. Unsurprisingly however, price (41 percent) and quality (25 percent) dominated consumer preference as the key purchase drivers.

Eco factors are growing in importance for consumers, as 63 percent stated they would stop using a brand due to its detrimental impact on the environment. Moreover, just under half of consumers (47 percent) would be willing to pay more for upcycled products or those made from recycled materials, such as Adidas’ 100 percent recyclable trainer. A further 43 percent would buy these products, but would be unwilling to pay more.

Steve Gershik, CMO at inRiver said: “These findings attest to the importance of environmental considerations for today’s savvy consumers. Buyers want to know that the purchases they make and delivery methods they are sustainable, and are looking to retailers to support these choices. It’s up to businesses to harness this increasing trend and ensure the product information they provide gives consumers a clear picture of what to expect and the impact it may have.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 24, 2019
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3min588

Over a third of people living in Northern Ireland are stuck in a ‘boring or unrewarding’ job, according to a new study.

A poll of 2,000 employed adults found 29 percent say their job is ‘utterly dull’, while a quarter of employees even go as far as to describe their work as ‘soul destroying’.

One-in-five feel there is nothing left for them to learn or accomplish in their role, while 37 percent think they would have a more fulfilling job, if only they had better academic qualifications.

Over half of those living in NI said they had no plans for progression in their current role.

Samantha Rutter, CEO at distance learning provider Open Study College, which commissioned the research, said: “We spend a huge amount of time at work so it’s important to be doing something you enjoy and get some satisfaction from. For some, picking up a steady paycheque is enough to keep them coming back year after year.

“But after a while, even a regular income seems to struggle to keep people engaged and excited about work. After all, you do hear about people with the most amazing and high-profile jobs getting disillusioned with their day-to-day lives.

“Sometimes simply learning a new part of the role or doing some extra training can really help boost what you get back from your job, making it feel like less of a chore.”

The study also found a third of disillusioned workers in Northern Ireland admitted to simply clocking in for the daily grind but have nothing to excite them at work.

Twenty-six percent believe not caring if you are late means you’re mentally checked-out from work, and the same number also think struggling to get out of bed in the morning is a sign you’re not getting much out of your job.

Another one-in-five believe that when you stop making an effort with your appearance, your career is in the doldrums.

Twenty-one percent also believe just staying in the job for the money is a key sign you’re in an unrewarding job. However, a third also believed they could earn more if they had additional qualifications.

Samantha added: “Our results found many people in Northern Ireland believe getting a new qualification can lead to a more fulfilling career. This is true, but there are also lots of other things you can try if you feel like you’re stagnating at your current role.

“Employers like it when workers are actively looking to better themselves, it not only benefits the business but is also a great confidence builder for employees to progress.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 22, 2019
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3min891

Global innovator in customer engagement software Freshworks Inc has been chosen by the UK Government to run its Find a job service.

The company has been chosen by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and will provide the support and service functionality embedded within Find a Job, allowing jobseekers and employers to request help and get their issues managed quickly and efficiently, and enabling vacancies to be filled quickly by qualified applicants.

Find a job was launched in May 2018 to provide jobseekers with access to hundreds of thousands of roles across the UK, making it easier to find and apply for different jobs. As part of the service, the team behind Find a job wanted to provide a simple and easy to use support function that would help anyone that had a problem quickly get the attention they needed. Without this support function embedded into the service, jobseekers would not be able to use the service effectively or leverage the personalised job alerts.

The team at DWP chose Freshdesk from Freshworks to provide support to those that need it, including automation of the processes to save time and reduce potential mistakes, and workflow management to allow team members to collaborate on issues as and when required. The team also use Freshdesk to provide management with information when jobseekers and employers are having problems using the service, helping the service team to redesign elements and make continuous improvements to the Find a job site.

Dally Singh, Product Support Manager at DWP, said: “Implementing Freshdesk has allowed the Find a job service team to work more effectively, as well as giving us data on where people are having problems using the service. This helps us improve and enhance the service continuously, helping jobseekers stay online and quickly find roles that are right for them. The team at Freshworks made the implementation process fast and simple for us, helping us provide an excellent customer experience to jobseekers using Find a job.”

Simon Johnson, General Manager UKI at Freshworks, added: “Running any large online public sector service means thinking about how you will support members of the public at scale. Using cloud services, automation and AI can help solve problems quickly and efficiently, making it easier to help citizens use the service and get the value that they require. Getting data out of these interactions helps everyone improve the Customer Experience over time.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 22, 2019
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4min738

Social housing providers need to learn from organisations like Amazon and Royal Mail if they are to meet the expectations of their customers, according to a new report.

A poll of almost 6,000 social housing customers shows that more than four-in-five people (82 percent) expect the same level of service as they do from other companies; and they expect it, because they’re paying for it.

The new report, titled Great Expectations, was commissioned by social housing provider Acis, which owns and manages more than 7,000 properties across the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Acis joined forces with seven other housing associations – Gentoo, Midland Heart, Orbit, Regenda, Riverside, WDH, and Yorkshire Housing – in what is considered to be one of the largest studies of its kind in the UK. The report features many examples of customers wanting a service more like those delivered by organisations outside of the social housing world.

Greg Bacon, Acis Chief Executive, said: “We commissioned this research to better understand the expectations of our customers and see how we might be able to adapt to meet those expectations. Ultimately, we want our customers to be happy with the service they get from us.

“The message has been received loud and clear. Customers simply want to receive a good service. They want things to be done quickly and they want to be treated with respect. And while it’s important that providers continue to pursue digital methods of communication, many customers still want that face-to-face human interaction. Great service should happen irrespective of the way it’s delivered.”

The report reveals the top ten qualities of great service in social housing:

  1. Repairs
  2. Speed
  3. Maintenance
  4. Listening
  5. Communicating
  6. Problem-solving
  7. Keeping promises
  8. Timeliness
  9. Customer service
  10. Respectfulness

On the back of the findings, Acis is making a series of recommendations for itself and other providers, as well as the government, to implement, including to learn from and benchmark against organisations outside of the social housing sector.

Greg added: “Housing associations need to recognise they do not operate in a bubble – in a social-housing-only world. They need to remember that from their customers’ perspective they are just one of hundreds of organisations their customers encounter daily. There is a perception that it was accepted in the past that people in social housing should accept the level of service they get because they often get their accommodation paid for. This needs to change.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 22, 2019
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8min988

The British love affair with bikes is receiving a boost from a growing number of eco-minded commuters keen to swap their car steering wheels for saddles, and a firm at the forefront of this pedal-powered revolution is Brompton Bicycle, famous for its iconic folding bike design.

The business builds over 45,000 bikes each year in its factory in London, 80 percent of which are exported globally. The brand is associated with its innovative product design and high-quality engineering for its iconic folding bikes.

Yet even a traditional, hands-on crafting company such as this knows the value of Digital Experience, and recently teamed up with Sitecore to offer customers a new way to interact online.

CXM spoke with Brompton’s Head of Customer Experience, Harry Mann (pictured below), to get an insight into the company’s impressive digital transformation journey…

What were the biggest challenges Brompton was facing when it came to Customer Experience?

Brompton has 14 stores across the world, but our customers predominantly make their purchase through our partner retailers. As a result, we found it difficult to gain insight into the customer journey and their individual needs because their data was fragmented. We knew that if we couldn’t use customer data to personalise experiences, we would struggle to build long-standing relationships and brand loyalty and wouldn’t be able to maximise sales opportunities.

In the past, customers could only demo and pick up their Brompton bike from a partner store, so their experience with our brand was often out of our hands. We introduced our flagship Brompton Junction stores and the purchase friction improved, but we still needed to understand the customer more clearly to be able to move them through the sales funnel towards a final purchase.

Our wide network of partners and multiple local websites also meant that customers were receiving a different brand experience depending on where they were in the world, and we lacked consistency across our platforms.

What were Brompton’s goals for personalisation and brand consistency?

As a brand that differentiates its offering through high quality products, we knew that investing in digital channels and providing personalised, multichannel experiences to our customers, regardless of where or how they purchased, was crucial. Brand consistency was also critical, so we chose the Sitecore Experience Platform – a CX management platform – to meet this objective.

The platform was chosen thanks to its ability to scale quickly across the entirety of our retail offering and to deliver personalisation at a local and individual level, factoring in where each customer is on their purchasing journey, based on their tracked profiles.

We wanted to be able to deliver a consistent global brand experience, catering to different audiences with locally translated websites, local content relevant to local trends and in-market behaviour, and the ability to suggest customisation of products.

How has Sitecore helped Brompton to develop a more personalised experience for customers?

For customers ready to build their bike online, Sitecore now allows us to present content that explains each feature, and ultimately leads the customer through the bike-building experience. Using the bike-builder tool, customers can experiment and put together a personalised bike to their exact requirements, choosing from 16 million combinations.

Additionally, Sitecore enables Brompton to make incremental improvements to the content served to customers. For example, we can identify through the online data we collect and analyse, if there are particular pages that are causing customers to leave or if content is ‘sticky’ and should be given greater prominence on the page as customers find it more informative or engaging. The platform’s tools enable Brompton to reconfigure the content and layout at the click of a button and react quickly to customer insights.

Quantitative and qualitative customer data presented clearly through the Sitecore Experience Platform has also played a key role in helping shape the brand’s offline strategy. For example, based on the insight gathered from search data on the website, we have been able to choose the best locations for our Brompton Junction stores.

Furthermore, Brompton can now segment our audience into key customer personas:

  • The builder: who is thinking about buying a Brompton
  • Brompton ‘novice’: who is just getting to grips with their new purchase
  • The ‘known customer’: who is using the bike to commute to work and enjoying the freedom the bike gives them
  • The super-fan: who wants to know about competitive Brompton cycling events

We can adapt the Customer Experience and content to suit the individual based on their segment. For example, the builder could be targeted with a calculator showing how the cost of a Brompton can be offset by not having to buy an annual gym membership or travel card.

What improvements has Brompton seen since implementing these tools?

It has enabled us to deliver a consistent and meaningful experience throughout the whole customer journey. The ability it gives us to own the relationship, even if a customer has bought a bike through a partner, is key for us. With a customer being able to get a bike serviced in addition to simply purchasing the bike, retailers are able to provide an overall ownership experience beyond the point of sale. This is especially important when retailers are struggling to get customers through the door in today’s difficult climate.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 22, 2019
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2min588

Government plans to compensate workers for cancelled shifts have been described as a “step in the right direction”.

The Good Work Plan outlines proposals to compensate flexible staff when shifts are cancelled at short notice and to ensure they are provided with a reasonable period of notice for their allocated shifts. The document also suggests additional protections for individuals who are penalised if they do not accept last-minute shifts.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said of the initiative: “Innovative entrepreneurs and new business models have opened up a whole new world of working patterns and opportunities, providing people with freedom to decide when and where they work that best suits them.

“It’s vital that workers’ rights keep pace with these changes, reflect the modern working environment and tackle the small number of firms that do not treat their staff fairly. We are the first country in the world to address modern working practices and these protections will cement the UK’s status as a world-leader in workers’ rights.”

The proposed measures follow the government’s announcement that it is consulting on creating a single labour market enforcement body, which will strengthen protections for workers and provide them with new rights.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady welcomed the new proposals, but said: “Too many workers are treated like disposable labour. Making sure employers compensate staff for cancelling shifts at the last minute is a step in the right direction.

“But we need to deal with the root of this problem – the explosion of insecure work. That means banning shading practices like zero-hours contracts.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 19, 2019
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4min782

At this month’s UK Digital Experience Awards, the day’s biggest success story involved an online platform behind a swimming revolution taking place across Britain.

Swimtime is the largest independent swim school in the UK, and since its foundation in 1998 has helped thousands of young people take the plunge and learn to enjoy one of the healthiest activities around. The need for Swimtime was highlighted in a 2017 report by the Water Safety Review Group, which found that one-in-three children leave primary school unable to complete a length of a pool.

In a bid to boost the number of competent young swimmers, the Swimcloud platform was introduced by Swimtime, making it easier for customers to book and manage their lessons.

The innovative technology was the basis of the firm’s presentation at the UK Digital Experience Awards at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank, and judges awarded them the highest score in the Transport, Leisure and Tourism category.

That score also turned out to be the highest of the day, leading to Swimtime being named Overall Winner.

Water result: The UK Digital Experience Awards won by Swimtime

Theo Millward, Managing Director of Swimtime, said: “Our Swimcloud platform is truly groundbreaking, delivering a world-class Digital Experience to our customers and swimmers, helping us teach some 20,000 learners every week. We are the first in our sector to deploy such advanced technology including machine learning.

“To see the implementation and our results be recognised against such an outstanding field of major companies – many with vast budgets – was a true honour and something neither I or my team will forget in a hurry.”

H2 wow: The Swimtime team accept their Transport, Leisure and Tourism trophy

He added: “When the Overall Winner of the event was announced, hearing our name read out is something we’ll never forget! It was a very special day for us, and we enjoyed celebrating our victory with a well earned gin and tonic. Thank you to hosts Awards International for organising the event, and we look forward to entering next year to defend our crown.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 19, 2019
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4min656

A new book aims to give women the “space to practice being the best version of themselves” in the workplace.

Author Diana Theodores, PhD is a Senior Consultant with Mobius Executive Leadership and an international performance coach specialising in presence, communication, and impact/influence. Originally from New York but residing in London, Diana is also a Program Director at the Cranfield School of Management, which partners the UK Customer Experience Awards and other events hosted by Awards International.

In Performing As You: How to have an authentic impact in every role you play, Diane aims to provide female readers with the confidence to speak up and be themselves at work, to fight back against what famous coach Nancy Kline described as the “epidemic of obedience”.

Studies have shown that men are 40 percent more likely than women to be promoted, and while women scored higher in 84 percent of leadership competencies than men according to Harvard Business Review research, they make up only 4.9 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.

Meanwhile, almost half of top female execs “feel they must compromise their authenticity as they reach top positions”, the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit Report revealed, highlighting the need for more women to be themselves as they strive for success.

Using techniques from the author’s background in theatre and professional dance, Performing As You is packed with dynamic tools to bring performance techniques to the business stage – including voice, energy, the power of play, and “reawakening the girl in you”.

Whether you are pitching to a board, giving feedback, or speaking to one person or one thousand, by reading Performing As You, women will be equipped with the ability to reclaim their passion and imagination, and have an inner coach that is “louder than their inner critic”.

The author argues that the greatest act of revolution women can perform is to bring themselves fully into every role they play. The world needs more women who can be themselves and Performing As You is packed with the tools and techniques needed to have an authentic impact.

Performing As You: How to have an authentic impact in every role you play by Diana Theodores is out now, published by Rethink Press.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 19, 2019
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3min689

The finalist line-up for the 2019 UK Business Awards has been unveiled, with a host of firms preparing to compete in  London for a title this November.

Hosted by Awards International, which brings events including the UK Customer Experience Awards to the capital each year, the UK Business Awards is a celebration of excellence and innovation in British business, with 18 categories that will see firms present before an expert judging panel in a bid to win.

Among those shortlisted as finalists are Manchester United FC, EDAM Group, HSBC UK, Virgin Trains, and many more. For a full list of shortlisted finalists, click here.

Categories for 2019 include Disruptive Business Model, Team of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Well Being at Work Award.

Known as ‘The Dons’ in honour of Awards International Chairman Don Hales, the even is celebrating its fourth anniversary in 2019, and the ceremony on November 8 at the Park Plaza Riverbank is set to be the biggest to date.

All the biz: The UK Business Awards is celebrating its fourth year

Those keen to attend can take advantage of an Early Bird Discount offer until September 27

Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “We are all about celebrating and rewarding business excellence, and the UK Business Awards have become one of the country’s premier platforms to do just that.

“This will be the fourth year of The Dons, and will be the most significant to date, with a wide range of categories across B2B and B2C disciplines. As ever, the event itself will be a fantastic opportunity to network with business peers and share best practise, as well as celebrate our category champions, and I cannot wait to welcome our finalists and guests to London. A huge congratulations to all those shortlisted.”

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 18, 2019
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3min927

A failure by firms to consider Employee Experience is leading to staff not realising the value of workplace technology investments.

That is the finding of the Digital Wellbeing survey, comissioned by Avanade, which revealed that rather than empowering employees, the proliferation of new technologies can cause confusion, leading to a lack of adoption.

Of those surveyed, only 39 percent are embracing modern workplace technology like Slack, Teams, WebEx, and Skype, while an overwhelming proportion remain wedded to more dated technology like email (73 percent). This is preventing businesses from bringing about the productivity gains and improvements in Employee Experience (EX) they expect from their technology investments.

The study was carried out by YouGov, analysing the working habits of 1,000 UK professionals. It showed that adoption, ROI, and value are all impacted when technology is implemented without consideration for EX. The study also found that while 68 percent of employees react positively to new technologies, only 39 percent actually use them on a regular basis.

Almost two-thirds of employees believe that new workplace technologies are being deployed without consideration of their needs, and they feel this is something HR should contribute in partnership with IT.

Stanley Louw, UKI head of digital innovation at Avanade, said: “We see the workplace as the new frontier for competitive advantage and a driver of sustainable growth. Worryingly, the study shows that while businesses continue to invest heavily in Customer Experience (CX), many are still underinvesting in EX. Considering that employees play a major role in delivering CX this would appear counter-intuitive. Poor EX can also impact engagement, creativity and ultimately wellbeing.

“New technologies offer new capabilities which, not only provide opportunities to improve the way employees work, but also create new ways of working. Successful organisations are those which work with employees to help them understand the relevance new technologies have for them and their specific role, identifying how day-to-day processes and activities can be improved by incorporating these new capabilities.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 17, 2019
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3min1078

Employees in UK businesses are optimistic about the future impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their jobs according to a nationwide study.

The research was carried out by global leader in omnichannel CX and contact centre solutions Genesys, official sponsor of the 2019 UK Customer Experience Awards.

It found nearly two-thirds of employees value new technological tools such as AI in the workplace. In fact, 64 percent of UK employees say it makes them more effective and allows them to focus on other tasks.

The findings reveal an overwhelmingly positive outlook from employees, despite the negative headlines anticipating such technologies would replace humans in the workplace. More than two-thirds of employees say they don’t feel threatened by technology at work. They don’t expect the technology to become a threat anytime soon either, given that 59 percent don’t believe AI or bots will take their jobs within the next ten years.

In fact, employees see AI as pivotal to business success with more than a fifth saying they believe AI or bots will be crucial to their companies ability to stay competitive in the future. While the survey shows that people are more excited about AI technology than fearful, it also found that in the long-term they want assurances from their employers in the form of training. The research showed an overwhelming majority (86 percent) of employees expect their employers to provide training that helps them prepare for an AI-enabled workplace.

Meanwhile, a fifth of employees say they are already working with AI, while just 16 percent report a negative experience of new technological tools in the workplace.

Other findings include 64 percent of employees believing there should be a requirement that companies maintain a minimum percentage of human employees versus AI-powered robots and machinery, and 41 percent of millennials saying they spend 50 percent or more of their time interacting with machines and computers rather than humans.

Steve Leeson, Vice President for UK and Ireland for Genesys, said: “It’s encouraging that the UK’s workers recognise the potential new technologies such as AI have to make their jobs more fulfilling and the value it can bring to businesses.

Some jobs will evolve as human work combines with the capabilities of AI. It’s increasingly important for companies to assess the need for training programs to help employees further skills like creativity, leadership and empathy, which AI just can’t replace.

“Businesses that adopt a blended approach to artificial intelligence, where AI-technologies work in unison with employees, will get the best out of their technology investment and their skilled workforce.”

 

 

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 17, 2019
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3min804

UK businesses have struggled to handle an upswing in personal data access requests since General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, it has been revealed.

Research by business process outsourcer Parseq was conducted following the first anniversary of GDPR, and shows that two-thirds of UK businesses (63 percent) saw an increase in data access requests from customers and their own employees in the 12 months following GDPR’s introduction in May 2018.

One-in-ten (10 percent) businesses experienced an increase of more than 50 percent in the volume of requests. This rose to almost a fifth (17 percent) for businesses with a turnover of £500m or more. Almost nine-in-ten (87 percent) businesses that have seen an increase in requests reported they had found effectively responding to them challenging, citing complexity (54 percent) and cost (54 percent) as the biggest obstacles.

A third (34 percent) of businesses that had experienced an increase in data access requests cited a reliance on paper documentation as a barrier. This figure rose to 47 percent for businesses with a turnover of £500m or more, tying with a lack of time as their second most frequently flagged hurdle after cost.

Under GDPR, individuals can submit a data access request free of charge to receive a copy of personal data that organisations hold on them, along with information on factors such as why their personal data is being used. In general, GDPR requires that organisations must respond to data access requests within one month.

Craig Naylor-Smith, Managing Director at Parseq, said: “GDPR made it easier for people to access their personal data from organisations. With this power at their fingertips, we expected to see that data access requests would rise. However, the fact that so many firms have struggled to respond to the surge in requests suggests that the pressure this has put on businesses has been greater than they anticipated, or that many were simply unprepared for what GDPR would bring.

“It could also have been affected by the August 2019 deadline for consumers to claim back Payment Protection Insurance, with individuals possibly using data access requests to help them uncover information to support their claims.

“What’s particularly interesting to see is that so many businesses state a reliance on paper documentation as a barrier. The digitisation of paper documents can make personal information easier to process and manage, make data access requests easier to respond to and, ultimately, help businesses use data to deliver innovative services in an increasingly competitive, digital landscape.”


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For article submissions:
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Tel: 0207 1932 428

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