Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 10, 2019
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3min245

The axing of UK social media accounts by cosmetics giant Lush could lead to more retailers turning their backs on the channels and embracing live chat, it is predicted.

The high street favourite, which has over half-a-million followers on Instagram, over 400,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook, and over 200,000 followers on Twitter, has urged customers to contact them only by email, phone, or through its website via a live chat system.

The move is the result of the firm being “tired of fighting with algorithms”, and a spokesperson said: “We don’t want to limit ourselves to holding conversations in one place, we want social to be placed back in the hands of our communities – from our founders to our friends.”

However, Lush North America has confirmed its social media channels would remain in operation, while the UK company has said it will look at a new approach to social media communication through use of hashtags and influencers.

The decision has been described as a “bold move” by Sandra Schroeter, the Senior International Product Marketing Manager at LogMeIn, who said it was in line with current consumer trends.

“It also highlights the many benefits of choosing live chat to support customer engagement,” she said.

“In fact our recent survey found that 71 percent of businesses believe online chat with either a human agent or a chatbot will be among the most common channels used by customers in three years’ time. Live chat enables retailers and businesses alike to respond to customer queries with speed and in real-time. Perhaps more importantly, it enables businesses to own the conversations and speak to customers directly.”

She added: “Lush’s bold move in the UK should inspire more retailers to embrace live chat to connect with customers more directly.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 9, 2019
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3min256

UK Complaint Handling Awards winner Capita has joined forces with innovators Artificial Labs to deliver disruptive insurance tech that digitises the end-to-end insurance lifecycle, reducing manual processes and making insurance frictionless.

Artificial provides digital solutions to clients across the insurance sector, enabling them to leverage new technology to improve their internal processes, price more accurately, and deliver exceptional user experience.

Following extensive due diligence by Capita – which at the recent UK Complaint Handling Awards in London won titles including Best Customer Relations and Remediation (pictured above) – tasked its corporate venture unit, Capita Scaling Partner, with selecting Artificial for investment.

Capita will provide a dedicated business development team to enable Artificial to scale rapidly and deliver their digital solutions to retailers and insurers globally.

Jon Lewis, CEO of Capita, said: “Artificial are at the forefront of tech innovation in the insurance market. We want to use our strong presence in insurance and retail to tap into that growth potential and deliver better outcomes for our clients and their customers. This partnership reflects our commitment to bring innovation to our clients.”

Artificial’s digital solutions strengthen Capita’s existing insurance offering, and opens new distribution channels for clients to increase provision across customer bases.

The solutions create a digital customer journey with straightforward purchasing and claims processes. It harnesses machine learning to increase the accuracy of risk pricing, and enables rapid claims resolution through automation. The company is run by a world-class team of data scientists, software engineers, and insurance industry experts with a strong delivery track record.

Damian Arnold, CEO of Artificial, said: “Everyone at Artificial is excited by our strategic partnership with Capita and the potential opportunity we will create together. We believe our partnership will dramatically increase the scale and pace of change we can deliver.

“The insurance sector is undergoing significant change and our exceptional team has developed proven digital solutions which deliver tangible benefits to our customers from day one. We are continuing to invest in our machine learning capabilities, which will provide our customers with a competitive edge in the future.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 9, 2019
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4min415

New research among British businesses examining employees’ attitudes toward digital transformation, innovation, and cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, reveals confusion about the true meaning of ‘digital transformation’ and a high degree of scepticism about their employers’ appetite for digital innovation.

The research, conducted by YouGov amongst employees at 500 businesses with 50 or more employees, on behalf of Cherwell Software, reveals that 57 percent of employees don’t know the correct meaning of ‘digital transformation’: 20 percent of respondents could not hazard a guess at its meaning, and 12 percent thought it meant moving to a paperless office.

This research focuses on the view from the workforce itself and its findings go a long way to explain why the 2018  Dell Digital Transformation Index placed the UK in 17th place in its adoption of digital transformation, lagging way behind emerging countries like India, Brazil, and Thailand.

In a further blow to the image of UK businesses, the survey highlights a reluctance to adopt cutting edge technology.  According to the survey, just nine percent of businesses are viewed by their workforce as being digital innovators, whilst 64 percent of employers only take on new technology after it has become widely available.

“It’s obvious that not enough time is being devoted to communicating with employees to develop their understanding and involvement in the process of digital transformation,” said Oliver Krebs, Vice President of EMEA sales for Cherwell.

“Unless business leaders bring their teams along with them on this journey British organisations are likely to fail and our ability to compete in the global market place will be severely compromised.”

Mixed reaction to Artificial Intelligence

Meanwhile, reactions to adoption of AI in the workplace were mixed: 34 percent of employees were confused (five percent), threatened (21 percent), or saddened ( eight percent); 20 percent were optimistic (16 percent) or excited (four percent); and 30 percent were intrigued – suggesting once again that leadership teams have not effectively communicated and engaged their team in the adoption of new technology.

Cross-departmental integration

Central to the success of most digital transformation projects is ensuring a consistent and integrated approach to the use of processes and data across all departments. Yet the survey reveals that just six percent of businesses’ data and processes are very well integrated across all departments, and 42 percent have not integrated inter-departmental data and processes well.

Andre Cuenin, Chief Revenue Officer at Cherwell said: “The research demonstrates that UK businesses still have a lot to learn in terms of planning and implementing digital transformation and their adoption of new technologies like artificial intelligence if they want to shed their image of digital innovation followers. The deep level of confusion and miscommunication amongst employees must be addressed by industry leaders.

“This may be due to the fact that digital transformation is frequently pigeon-holed as an IT issue, whereas in reality it should be seen as an initiative that involves everyone across the business, from the board, down to the most junior employee.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 9, 2019
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4min345

Nearly half of brands have introduced a dedicated Digital Experience (DX) team to help shape their Customer Experience and journeys across digital channels.

That is the findings in a new report by from experience analytics leader Clicktale. The study, titled Defining Digital Experience shows that 48 percent of brands now have a DX team in place to oversee their strategy. 

It explores the current state of DX, with the help of 200 marketing and CX professionals working in some of the world’s leading US and UK brands. The report examines how brands are building a strategy around Digital Experience, including who is ‘owning’ the function, and how they’re harnessing new technologies.

Until recently, marketing and digital departments have taken the lead in DX responsibility, with 31 percent of respondents claiming ownership lies with marketing, and 27 percent saying it lies with their organisation’s digital team, the report outlines.

Now, dedicated DX departments are more common than data science teams (44 percent) but still behind design/UX and digital analytics teams (54 percent and 52 percent respectively).

The report also describes how the ownership of Digital Experience is still a shared affair in many organisations. Nearly half (44 percent) of respondents claim that digital Customer Experience is merged with other departments. This is also the case for digital analytics and insight (40 percent), design and UX (32 percent), and data science (29 percent).

Clicktale CMO Sara Richter said: “Digital Experience is now a key differentiator for businesses, almost ahead of the products they sell and the prices they charge. Many businesses today get few actual face-to-face interactions with customers. So, if brands want to foster loyalty and repeat revenue, it’s becoming ever more important to understand customers beyond just demographics and purchase history.

“Assigning a dedicated team may be a great first step to building this understanding, but without the right data and analytical ability, it’s difficult to create and shape an effective digital experience approach. Only by gathering true behavioural data and having technologies and analysts in place to draw insights from that data can brands begin to understand their customers on a more intimate level. That in turn will empower brands to build and optimise digital experiences that better serve customers and drive repeat revenue.”

The 2019 UK Digital Experience Awards are taking place in London’s Park Plaza Riverbank on July 12.

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 8, 2019
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2min240

UK Complaint Handling Award winner Thomas Cook has extended its partnership with customer review tech experts Feefo to cover the UK travel giant’s sporting experience brand, Thomas Cook Sport.

Building on a three-year relationship with Feefo – which in 2015 won a UK Digital Experience Award – Thomas Cook Sport will deploy their AI-powered, invitation-only insight platform. Feefo’s solution enables customers to post real reviews about the experiences they have had at some of the world’s greatest and most glamorous sporting events, such as the Wimbledon Tennis Championships or Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.

Rob Slawson, Head of Thomas Cook Sport, said: “As a company dedicated to giving our customers amazing experiences, we value transparency and openness above all else, which makes Feefo the perfect partner. Our customers will now be able to share hugely valuable and real opinions with us and fellow sport-lovers because of Feefo. We always listen to our customers and this gives Thomas Cook Sport an opportunity to gather actionable insight that will be used to improve Customer Experience.”

Feefo stands apart from other review platforms through its transparent, invitation-only approach and the power of its disruptive technology. Only real customers can post reviews, whether good or bad, providing a wealth of analytics that fuel smarter business decision-making.

Feefo CEO Matt West added: “We are thrilled to be partnering with such an exhilarating brand. Our technology empowers brands to engage more smartly and more intimately with their customers than ever before. Through the agility of our smart technology, we extract the true value of customer opinion, increasing a brand’s reputation for trustworthiness and transparency.”

The 2019 UK Digital Experience Awards are taking place in London’s Park Plaza Riverbank on July 12. 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 5, 2019
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4min260

Organisations must stop shying away from the inevitable, and instead take active steps towards creating a sustainable, Inclusive Culture, a new book on Employee Experience insists.

For modern businesses, diversity and inclusion are much more than just ‘tick box’ exercises. Organisations without adequate inclusivity and diversity policies can no longer hide, and must face the uncomfortable truth that their policies lack effectiveness.

In her new book Closing the Gap, diversity and inclusion expert Teresa Boughey outlines why society is no longer accepting rhetoric and promises in the place of solid action to build an environment that is both motivating and inspiring not only for employees, but customers too, who all want to feel proud to be associated with the organisation.

Furthermore, every single individual in the workforce should be treated with equal amounts of respect, feel genuinely supported by their managers and should never need to hide who they really are.

Closing the Gap provides business leaders, directors, and HR professionals with clear, practical guidance both for those taking their first steps and those already on their journey; presenting an opportunity to ‘evaluate progress’ and embed inclusive practices into all future strategies. Teresa utilises her “tribe5 Diversity & Inclusion” methodology to provide practical advice to any organisation seeking to transform their office culture.

This methodology guides the reader through taking stock of their current situation and raising awareness of what needs to change, to inspiring and involving all stakeholders, building for the future and embedding positive practices in all strategies.

Within these five steps, Teresa clearly illustrates the importance of many different aspects that impact the diversity and inclusivity of an organisation, including talent management, unconscious biases and male advocacy.

Embracing inclusivity and diversity not only ensures employees are supported and engaged, but also enables any business to stand out from their competitors, whilst crafting a positive brand identity as a welcoming organisation.

Teresa explains that Closing the Gap is the perfect read for any business professional seeking guidance at any point in their inclusivity journey.

“It is never too late for a business to stop and consider the impact of their policies on all members of the workforce and make meaningful changes to ensure all employees, both present and future, feel like an integral part of a positive force for good,” she said.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 4, 2019
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2min569

The Customer Experience Professional Masterclass is taking place this month, and now is your chance to sign up for the two-day event led by author and international CX consultant Ian Golding.

Ian, founder of the Customer Experience Consultancy, and author of Customer What? The honest and practical guide to customer experience, will take participants on a journey of learning CX skills and strategies, with the use of relevant case studies and practical exercises.

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 April 23 and 24, while for those keen to take the CCXP exam, a preparation workshop will be held at the same venue on April 25.

Meanwhile, attendees of the April CX Professionals Masterclass will be invited to attend an evening get together at the Sala Thong Thai restaurant in Stevenage. This will take place on April 23, and attendees will be joined by Ian Golding himself, and Neil Skehel, Founder of Customer Experience Magazine.

Further CX Professional Masterclass dates are scheduled for July, September, and November.

For further details on any of the CXM Masterclasses, please email Antonija@cxm.co.uk.

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 3, 2019
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3min308

2018 UK Customer Experience Awards finalist Confirmit has been recognised at a prestigious US awards event for Employee Experience.

The Tech Culture Awards recognise the “best-of-the-best work cultures within the technology sector, highlighting organisations that are committed to continuously improving the work-life balances of their employees” and this year awarded a gong to Confirmit, which is among the world’s leading SaaS vendors for multi-channel Customer Experience, Employee Engagement, and Market Research solutions.

As a seasoned technology business, Confirmit – whose Director Philip Durand also judged at the 2018 UK Customer Experience Awards finals in London’s Wembley Arena – offers the stable and secure environment of a well-established company while retaining the agility and entrepreneurial spirit of a fast-moving company.

Employees work closely together, despite being based in several offices around the world, and the company offers an excellent working culture, strong career development opportunities, and the ability to make a real impact in the organisation and with clients.

Heidi Brumbach, Executive Vice President for Global Human Resources at Confirmit said: “At Confirmit, we’re very proud of our culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing. We’re honoured to be recognised for our efforts in cultivating a flexible and enriching environment that promotes employee development and encourages innovation. Our collaborative approach internally has been proven time and time again to deliver top-notch service and reliable guidance to our customers.”

The Tech Culture Awards are hosted by TMC.net, whose Group Editor-in-Chief, Rich Tehrani, said: “The mission of these Tech Culture Awards is quite simple. We have surveyed and selected companies who are looking for the best and brightest tech talent and are willing to go the extra mile to provide what they believe is the ideal tech culture.

“Confirmit has demonstrated that they are committed to growth through providing a truly distinct and upbeat environment, rewarding employees for their contributions, and focusing on work-life balance.”

Entries for the 2019 UK Customer Experience Awards, which will be held in London on October 10 are now open, across 24 categories.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 3, 2019
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4min244

As physical retail spend comes under increasing threat from online channels, ‘supermalls’ are set to outperform the total offline market over the next five years, as their destination appeal will ensure that growth is resilient, according to new research. 

A report by analytics firm GlobalData, ‘UK Supermalls 2018 – 2023reveals that supermalls retail spend will rise seven percent out to 2023 as they divert spend away from lacklustre and often neglected town centres. Supermalls are able to offer the best offline alternative to online shopping in terms of product and retailer range, which will bolster the growth of the location as consumers become accustomed to a vast choice.

Emily Salter, Retail Analyst for GlobalData, said: “Clothing and footwear drives the bulk of spend at supermalls, accounting for 59.1 percent in 2018, and retailer investment will ensure this continues as a number of players open and refurbish stores in supermalls, such as Primark’s recent opening in Bluewater.

“Primark is the most visited clothing retailer in supermalls – 30.2 percent of supermall visitors browsed a store – as its discount credentials appeal to a wide range of shoppers, and it continues to expand its presence in such locations, becoming a new type of anchor retailer.”

The wide range of retailers, leisure, and food services drives the destination appeal of supermalls and means that such locations will be better protected from store closures than town centres as major players including Arcadia, Debenhams, and Marks & Spencer look to close numerous branches in the next few years.

Salter added: “Supermalls hold the most appeal for younger consumers, as more 16-24 year olds have visited them in the past 12 months than any other age group. The retailer selection is well suited to young shoppers, as supermalls are often dominated by mass market clothing and footwear retailers, such as H&M and Zara.

“To remain appealing to this demographic, it is essential that the retail and leisure offer is frequently refreshed with new and exciting brands. Pop-up shops and flexible food service options, like street food style eateries, can be valuable mechanisms to offer continual variety and maintain appeal as a social destination.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 2, 2019
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3min315

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems spending will reach $5.2 billion (£3.9b) in Europe this year – a 49 percent increase over 2018, according to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide.

AI solution adoption and spending are both growing at a fast pace in Europe, where companies are moving beyond experimentation to the actual implementation of use cases. In fact, 34 percent of European companies have already adopted or will have adopted AI by the end of this year across a wide variety of use cases, according to IDC’s European Vertical Markets Survey 2018–2019. By 2022, European spending in AI will reach $13.5 billion, reflecting fast-growing interest in AI technologies.

Andrea Minonne, Senior Research Analyst at IDC Customer Insight & Analysis in Europe, said: “Many European retailers, such as Sephora, ASOS, and Zara, as well as banks such as NatWest and HSBC, are already experiencing the benefits of AI – including increased store visits, higher revenues, reduced costs, and more pleasant and personalised customer journeys. Industry-specific use cases related to automation of processes are becoming mainstream and the focus is set to shift toward next-generation use of AI for personalisation or predictive purposes.”

Matt Hooper, SVP at customer communications specialist IMImobile, added: “It’s encouraging to see automation and Customer Experience driving increased investment in AI. Automation is key to achieving significant operational efficiencies and delivering proactive, end-to-end customer communication – yet most companies are only touching the tip of the iceberg. Currently, very few companies are truly automating customer
 communications end-to-end, as a result of data being spread across different business systems and the complexities of integrating NLP and AI capabilities.

“In many cases, at some stage in their journey, customers are either required to change communications channels, interact with a different department, or simply wait days for a transaction or interaction to be completed. For companies to fully
realise the benefits of automation and AI, they need to build and have visibility into the end-to-end customer journey. Only then can they drive proactive two-way customer communication.”




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