Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 6, 2018


New research has revealed that 37 percent of consumers buying telco products are persuaded to opt for cross-sell opportunities such as TV and broadband packages after seeing deals online.

However, the findings by retail & telco technology experts Conversity show this figure stands at just eight percent for purchases made in-store when customers receive advice from a sales representative. This underlines how there is room for improvement in this area across all sales channels, and indicates a clear opportunity for retailers to empower their staff to deliver an omni-channel experience in a more effective manner.

In particular, the survey – which polled 1,000 consumers from across the UK – found that when focusing purely on millennials, the number of people persuaded to make additional purchases rose to 40 percent, and up to 42 percent for those in four-person households. This further underlines where physical stores should focus their efforts, and the opportunity to make a difference in this area, especially given the dominance of these demographics.

Laura Arthurton, CEO at Conversity said: “Selling mobile phones and contracts might be the bread and butter of any telco, but cross-selling related products and services – particularly persuading customers to choose a quad play bundle – is the holy grail. If you can cross-sell effectively and pull market share away from the established players, the potential for further growth can be massive.

“Our research shows that there is still room for improvement across the omni-channel when it comes to cross-selling. Retailers must empower their staff and they must be able to offer a unified experience across the omnichannel in order to maximise results, especially given the eagerness of larger households and younger generations to take advantage of these options.”

To support this point further, almost three quarters of consumers (74 percent) consider in-store sales associates taking time to understand their needs as important. This indicates a clear desire for personalised guidance as part of the in-store customer experience.

Alongside comprehensive training for staff to help them make the most of customer interactions, technology such as intelligent guided selling technology can be used to encourage more informative, productive dialogue between customers and sales staff. Having this technology to hand enables staff to deepen the relationships they have with the customers who value human contact the most.

Arthurton added: “It is clear that consumers are now often spoilt for choice when making complex buying decisions – therefore persuading customers to consider TV or broadband packages alongside mobile phone purchases is about going that extra mile to make sure consumers are given the right guidance at every stage of the buying decision. While online inevitably plays a crucial role in consumers’ everyday life, it is clear from our research that the human connection still has a crucial role to play.

“By embracing a more comprehensive approach to guided selling and personalisation, telco retailers can make sure that they are able to offer the right products and services to the right people, at the right time, which reduces the chances of them jumping ship to a competitor, and increases the chances of telcos being able to compete on much more than just mobile phones and contracts.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 5, 2018


A new survey reveals that more than half of restaurant customers would eat food made by robots – if it tasted good.

The Refuelling Rituals survey – published by London-based international customer experience and branding agency I-AM – states that 56 percent would consider robot-made food. Fifty-nine percent also said they would be happy to see more technology in restaurants if it meant an improvement in the dining experience.

Whilst people are still eating out and ordering take-aways, 49 percent of them say they are now cooking at home more than they used to, making this a key growth area – especially in the realm of meal-kit services. Some 54 percent cite the main benefits of meal-kits as a good way to learn new recipes while 40 percent favour them as a less wasteful option. Meanwhile, 74 percent of those surveyed say eating out inspires them to cook at home more.

The survey of 2000 18 to 45-year-olds living in UK urban areas reports that ‘dining is about’: being social (76 percent); getting away from the kitchen (73 percent); special occasions (69 percent); eating something unable or unwilling to cook (64 percent); and eating something new (62 percent).

Jon Blakeney, Group Managing Director at I-AM, said: “As technology-powered ordering systems become ubiquitous, restaurants and other eateries are beginning to think about automating the back end. Like retail, automating parts of restaurants can mean more profits and more efficiency. In a landscape where margins are tight, it means more breathing space to offer better service, more interesting recipes and entertainment.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 5, 2018


Customer Experience Magazine is partnering with the Call & Contact Centre Expo, Europe’s largest and most comprehensive event connecting industry professionals with the tools, techniques, and systems revolutionising the world of customer engagement.

Coming to London’s ExCeL on March 27 – 28, the event will see experts from the likes of Microsoft, BT, SAP, EA, Oracle, and IBM on hand to enlighten visitors with the very best CX guidance available, while an array of the industry’s biggest brands and most innovative suppliers will be showcasing the solutions shaping the future of the contact centre.

We are also very excited to be partnered with the newest member of the Call & Contact Centre Expo family, the Customer & User Experience Expo. Making its London debut this March, the show will offer all the tips, techniques, innovations, and strategies you need to take your customer centric CX strategy to the next level.

Tickets to the event are available for free on the website, and Event Director Paul Webb said: “Your free ticket to the Call & Contact Centre Expo will also give you unprecedented access to the Customer & User Experience Expo, as well as the B2B Marketing Expo, Marketing Technology Expo, and Sales Innovation Expo; with a combined lineup of 1,000 cutting-edge exhibitors, 500 educational seminars and 200 interactive masterclasses, this is going to be a show like no other.”

For Call & Contact Centre Expo exhibiting and sponsorship enquiries, email

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 4, 2018


Leading insight agency and CX specialist Kantar TNS has agreed a new partnership with Bupa UK worth £2.5 million to support the healthcare specialist develop its Customer Experience programme.

The four-year contract will see Kantar TNS working across Bupa UK’s insurance, health services (wellness centres, health clinics, Bupa Cromwell Hospital), care services (care homes and retirement villages) and dental care businesses to develop state-of-the-art customer feedback and engagement tools. The ambition is to use the insights gathered from this programme to continuously review Bupa UK’s offer and ensure it remains focused around customer needs, encouraging long-term loyalty and advocacy.

The programme will draw on technology provided by Kantar TNS’ software partner, Medallia, helping Bupa UK to move beyond traditional survey research methods to combine this with analysis of real-time data. One of the benefits of the Medallia platform is that it includes automatic, real-time text and sentiment analysis of customer responses, which helps to inform subsequent questions they are asked. 

This will also allow Bupa UK to build a much more detailed picture of individual experiences, customer concerns and where its services can improve. 

Representatives of Kantar TNS have been involved in judging at the UK Customer Experience Awards over the years, including the most recent gala event in London.

Tim Pritchard, Managing Director of Customer Experience at Kantar TNS, said: “The health, care and wellbeing market is booming, with new entrants trying to grab a foothold in this dynamic sector. What sets operators apart, however, is their ability to provide a first-class Customer Experience.

“Bupa UK recognises this and has invested significantly to make sure it continues to lead the market.  We look forward to working with the business in this next iteration of its CX programme, helping its teams to improve the way they track and respond to customer feedback – whether from patients, relatives, corporate subscribers or individual policy holders.”

Sean Risebrow, Director of Customer Experience at Bupa UK, added: “Our vision is to be the world’s most admired healthcare company, putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.  Listening to customers, and then acting upon what they tell us, is the key to building exceptional Customer Experience. Our partnership with Kantar TNS and Medallia gives us the CX expertise and advanced technological tools we need to ensure that we continue to respond to our customers’ varied needs. We aim to be best, delivering a market-leading Customer Experience, that helps people to live longer, healthier and happier lives.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 3, 2018


The 2018 Brand Loyalty Index from Sodexo Engage has revealed that technology brands continue to dominate when it comes to customer loyalty and building those all-important relationships that promote future sales.

Promotions and giveaways, alongside product experience, have been the main drivers in how loyal consumers are. Maintaining their position from last year, Samsung and Apple take the top two spots in the Index, while Dyson and Sky TV also make it into the top 10 for the first time (5th and 10th respectively). Meanwhile, streaming service Netflix falls out of the top line-up altogether, with rival Amazon also dropping 11 places to 17.

The research also highlights that the relationships technology brands share with customers are now showing signs of maturing. Sky TV (79 percent), Apple (78 percent), and O2 (70percent) are all developing long track records with consumers. When it comes to loyalty, over half (51 percent) of Apple users and six-in-ten Dyson customers (58 percent), feel their loyalty is rewarded.

However, rising numbers of consumers report having had a poor experience with some tech brands which is a particular concern in a sector where quality counts. In last year’s Index, more than half of those surveyed said they have never had a negative experience with these brands. Today only Samsung, which tops the Index, maintains that claim.

Chris Baldwin, Director of Consumer Promotions and Loyalty at Sodexo Engage said: “The rise in negative experiences when it comes to tech products is hardly a surprise – consumers use these brands all the time. With about a third of consumers on their Apple or Sky products every day (31 percent for each), there’s much higher chance for them to encounter problems which impacts their loyalty to the product.”

Technology brands have seen the biggest drop when it comes to customer loyalty; eight-out-of-10 of the tech brands in the Index have seen declines of 10 percent or more, followed closely by Samsung and Sony who saw a decline of nine percent. More than half of customers also said they would be very likely to switch if another brand was offering a promotion, prize or freebie.

Chris Baldwin added: “With so much competition, maintaining a loyal stream of customers when it comes to a tech product is hard to achieve. These brands are often dependent on a continued cycle of quality items and services to keep their customers on board. In today’s world, loyalty is a tricky thing to hold onto, but promotions and giveaways are proven to be a major opportunity to keep consumers engaged with the product and help build a larger customer base.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 3, 2018

Software solutions firm Aptean has joined the UK Complaint Handling Awards as a sponsor ahead of the 2019 event in the heart of London.

The global company, which helps streamline the operations of over 2,500 organisations in 54 countries, has joined a distinguished list of sponsors for the event, including Resolver, Ecoscheme, and Henley Business School among others.

Aptean is known for Respond; a tailored case management software solution which is suited to organisations of all sizes with a need for an efficient and proven method to run their customer feedback operations.

The 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards is taking place at London’s Park Plaza Hotel on March 8 and will see Finalists representing some of the UK’s best-known businesses compete in 19 categories before an Overall Winner is announced.

Categories in this year’s event reflect the rapidly-evolving complaint handling processes and skills utilised by organisations aiming to boost Customer Experience.

These include Innovation in Complaint Management, Artificial Intelligence, Customer Insight Strategy, and Best Use of Customer Insight & Feedback.

The ceremony will also see awards presented to the Best Complaint Handling Team of the Year, and Best Complaint Handler.

Meanwhile, Finalist presentations will be scrutinised by an expert judging panel comprising of representatives from across the Complaint Handling and Customer Experience sectors. A representative of Aptean will be joining the panel for 2019, to cast an expert eye on the strategies of those hoping to secure a coveted award.

The event is hosted by Awards International, holders of a Gold Trust Mark awarded by the Independent Awards Standards Council.

Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “It’s an honour to welcome Aptean as a sponsor for 2019. To have an organisation with their standard of excellence involved serves to take the awards to the next level, and their participation is to the benefit of all entrants and Finalists.”

A spokesperson for Aptean said: “We are proud to be involved with the 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards. We’re looking forward to celebrating effective complaint handling and those that have successfully used Respond to deliver exceptional customer service.”







Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 28, 2018


Retailers do not know who their most loyal customers are and cannot therefore know if their loyalty strategies are inspiring prolonged customer advocacy, it has been revealed in a new study.

Research by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Collinson, has found that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of retailers are not actively leveraging their loyalty programmes to know which customers are in fact brand advocates.

Surveying decision makers at organisations with revenues exceeding $300 million, the study also found that just over half (55 percent) of retailers track and analyse what happens when loyal customers interact with their brand, in order to improve the overall loyalty experience.

To support the improvement of loyalty initiatives, customer data is key. Yet almost two-thirds (64 percent) of marketing leads surveyed admit they only conduct loyalty-specific market research occasionally to help build a greater understanding of who their best customers are. This suggests that loyalty is taking a backseat for many retailers, with a third (33 percent) of brands saying that their loyalty programme does not cohesively span multiple functions in the business and it is not a top strategic initiative with C-level support.

In a separate body of research conducted by Censuswide for Collinson, which sought to investigate UK consumers’ experiences of loyalty programmes from retailers they are loyal to, it found corroborating evidence that loyalty schemes are not a top priority for brands. Of those British shoppers surveyed, just over a third (36 percent) said they were offered to create a customer profile when purchasing online, rather than check out as a guest.

What’s more, their preferred brands aren’t encouraging further interaction after purchase, as only a third (34 percent) said they are typically invited to join a loyalty programme to benefit from future offers or rewards when making a purchase. Forrester’s research for Collinson confirms this issue, as nearly a quarter (23 percent) of retailers state outright that they do not have a balanced benefits package that rewards, recognises or engages their customers.

These missed opportunities to develop relationships with customers should be a cause for concern among retailers. By collecting their data at key junctures, brands can know their customers better and promote loyalty on the individual’s terms.

Steve Grout, Director of Loyalty at Collinson, said: “We know that consumers’ expectations of retailers encouraging their loyalty often aren’t met. The retail landscape has shifted dramatically in recent years and it is simply not enough anymore to offer products that, by their own merit, keep customers coming back. More needs to be done to earn and retain customers’ loyalty by recognising their needs and rewarding them accordingly. Worryingly, however, it seems many brands haven’t been heeding the warning of the high street’s various struggling retailers.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 27, 2018


Christmas may be the perfect time for gift giving, however when it comes to the workplace many bosses aren’t rewarding or recognising their employees with a token gift, according to new research.

A study of 1,000 UK workers published in the Most Generous Time of the Year Study by employee benefits platform Perkbox, revealed that 30 percent of employees have not received any gift from their boss or manager at Christmas.

Of those who do get a token gift from their boss at Christmas, more than one-in-three (35 percent) said they received a team meal out. This was followed by more traditional gifts, with 29 percent receiving a drink related gift such as a bottle of wine or alcohol, and a further 23 percent who said they receive a food related present like chocolate or a food hamper from their management at Christmas.

Interestingly for bosses, when workers were asked what they would like to get from their boss at Christmas, monetary gifts were favoured – 25 percent revealed they would like a money-based bonus such as cash, a bonus payment in their salary, or a gift card/voucher.

Meanwhile, a similar number (23 percent) said they would like to receive a festive pay rise from their boss as a present.

In fact, all age groups favoured a money-based bonus or a pay rise as a gift from their boss.

Chieu Cao, CMO & Co-Founder of Perkbox, said: “It is perhaps unsurprising to see that there is a disconnect between what employers give and what employees actually want to receive from their boss at Christmas. However, what is also interesting is the number of employees who don’t receive anything from management at all. Employers are clearly missing an opportunity to engage their staff – when they fail to reward and recognise them at Christmas.

“It’s a pity, as there are so many easy ways for employers to show their appreciation, and at a relatively small cost to the business. The positive impact of rewarding and recognising at Christmas would be increased productivity, and improved employee motivation and satisfaction, all year round.”

Top 10 gifts employees want from their boss at Christmas

  1. Money based bonus – e.g. cash, a bonus payment in your salary or a gift card/voucher
  2. A pay rise
  3. A team meal out
  4. An additional day off on Christmas Eve
  5. A drink related gift – e.g. a bottle of wine
  6. An early finish on a Friday/several Fridays in December
  7. A food related gift – e.g. a food hamper
  8. A piece of technology which is not given to you for work e.g. a tablet
  9. Working from home on Christmas Eve
  10. Flowers



Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 27, 2018


Generation Z is prioritising job satisfaction and working for the good of society ahead of income, according to new research.

A report from smartphone manufacturer Huawei, in partnership with Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London, is based on responses from 2,000 18-25-year olds across the UK.

It reveals that a new tribe of working professionals among Gen Z is emerging, dubbed the ‘New Working Order’.

The research reveals that 40 percent of Generation Z are now a member of this new tribe – described as “a breed of self-starters who are using technology to empower and create their futures, turning passions into pounds by combining education with experience to pursue careers that truly matter to them”.

The report revealed that members of the NWO have a strong self-starter mentality, with over half (52 percent) admitting that they already have a passion project on the side, with a further 59 percent saying they are hoping to turn this into their main income stream in the next year. Among the NWO, blogging and freelance writing lead the way when it comes to side hustles (33 percent), followed by running themed social media accounts (23 percent) and vlogging (23 percent). The fourth and fifth most popular passion projects respectively were food and drink “side hustles” such as running a coffee stall, and selling arts and crafts items.

The research also revealed that the majority of the NWO (85 percent) prefer to combine education with experience to help advance their careers, using digital tools such as YouTube and TED Talks to lead their own creative revolutions alongside their university degree. When it comes to working habits, 85 percent of the New Working Order say the ability to work flexibly is extremely important to them, with the same number (85 percent) believing in learning from failure and valuing collaboration and sharing new ideas (84 percent).

Chris Brauer said: “The New Working Order draws on a multi-faceted skillset to initiate action, using both technology and human networks in an agile way that helps them to create. They are innovators, producing ideas at speed and executing them seamlessly, are resilient and responsive to what doesn’t work, and iterative so that they can continue to create.”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 27, 2018


Forty percent of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands think it’s okay to have three or more ‘friction points’ in a customer buying journey – and they could be set to fail as a result.

A new report from ERP platform Brightpearl looked closely at the most common inconveniences that frustrate online shoppers – from losing items in an online basket, to struggling to find products, finding out payment and delivery options are not suitable, or even items turning up late or not at all.

The reality is that direct-to-consumer brands overestimate the patience of online shoppers. Only one-in-five shoppers will accept more than two inconveniences before giving up on a purchase, with four in ten (42 percent) having done exactly that in the last year.

Researchers identified unsatisfactory shopping experiences to be common, despite the confidence of more than two-thirds of brands that believe they offer ‘fast and frictionless’ experiences for their customers.

Brightpearl’s research revealed that 61 percent of consumers have experienced an issue related to buying goods online in the last 12 months. Worryingly for brands, 69 percent of consumers also told researchers that if a shopping experience was poor, they would never shop with the same online store again.

The disconnect between brand offering and buying tolerance could prove risky for brands longer-term, as customer loyalty wanes. Two-fifths (40 percent) of shoppers told Brightpearl that they regularly change where they buy goods, based on their end-to-end buying experience.

According to the study, the biggest gripes for shoppers who have had negative shopping experiences mostly relate to delivery and returns. In the past year, 60 percent of consumers said they’ve bought goods that have not arrived when expected, while 40 percent of shoppers have experienced items not arriving at all. A quarter of shoppers cite items listed as out of stock after purchase, as another major annoyance.

Frustrations also exist for many consumers before they click ‘buy’. High shipping charges would drive away over two-thirds (68 percent) of shoppers from a brand’s website, while unsuitable delivery options would put off over two-fifths (43 percent) of purchasers and over a quarter (28 percent) of consumers wouldn’t order from companies that don’t offer free returns.

In addition, the following major pain points would put off customers from shopping with a brand:

  • A website that crashes, is slow (39 percent) – or is too complicated (30 percent)
  • A lack of product information, poorly designed pages (26 percent) or no reviews (14 percent)
  • Pre-purchase registration requirement (26 percent)

Brightpearl CEO Derek O’Carroll said: “This research highlights a clear gap between brand perception of their customer experience – and what shoppers really think. The disconnect could result in DTC businesses being eaten for breakfast by competitors who offer a more seamless buying journey and better customer service.

“Although brands describe being relatively happy with their own progress, this has not been translated into the same levels of shopper satisfaction – and direct-to-consumer brands now need to up their game. At any moment you risk losing customers, possibly forever, due to friction points in the buying journey. It’s essential to fix the issues that are causing shoppers headaches. Customers demand fast and frictionless experiences, and if they don’t get it they are likely to go elsewhere.

“Becoming a true DTC brand means owning the entire Customer Experience, from discovery to delivery and beyond. That requires systems which help close gaps in the end-to-end experience that are leading to frustrations for consumers, most notably with the delivery and returns phase of a transaction.”

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