Ever since the introduction of the internet, and online shopping in particular, the relationship between customer and vendor has had the potential to become impersonal, distant, and in some cases strained.
As consumers find themselves bombarded with marketing emails as soon as they make an online purchase, and vendors are relied on to provide as many communication channels for customers as possible, both sides are under pressure.
To mark the first Get to Know Your Customers Day of 2020 we spoke to nine industry experts for their advice on how businesses can keep customers sweet.
The popularisation of the subscription economy
“The subscription economy is booming,” explains Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO at Content Guru.
“Whether it’s movies, music, groceries or even razors, consumers are increasingly turning their back on traditional ‘one time’ purchases in favour of forming long-term relationships with trusted brands.
“As such, it is absolutely critical that all organisations understand how to nurture happy long term relationships with their customers. The demand for ‘as-a-service’ offerings across all sectors is clear, and now the key differentiator for businesses is not just understanding how to reach the right customer, but how to implement a consistent, successful and tailored journey across their entire customer base.
“Organisations at the forefront of today’s subscription economy rely on sophisticated customer engagement technology, such as AI-driven Natural Language Processing, to ensure they can meet changing customer demands as quickly, smoothly and effectively as possible. Increasingly delivered through the cloud, the importance of these contact centre technologies only grows as customers not only expect an attentive and efficient long-term relationship, but one that can take place seamlessly across every channel.”
Go the extra mile
“How many businesses can honestly say that they really know and understand their customers?” questions Jon Lucas, Co-Director of Hyve Managed Hosting.
“And by ‘really understanding’, we’re not talking about an annual customer survey or the occasional check-in – genuinely knowing your customers is about being able to anticipate their needs, solve their problems and help them to succeed.
“Obvious? Perhaps, but for just about every business, taking it seriously comes down to a conscious choice about how important customers are. Ultimately, any organisation of any size that wants to live by a strong customer service philosophy needs to make a commitment – both financially and culturally – to go the ‘extra mile’.
“The alternative would be a business that just ‘survives’ despite customer churn, thinks that winning new business is cheaper and easier than keeping customers really happy, and where reputation is ‘nice to have’, rather than a daily imperative.”
Tom Needs, COO at Node4, furthers this point, stating:
“For any organisation it’s important to always validate the customer service part of the equation, but this is especially the case from a managed service provider (MSP) perspective.
“With the MSP market continuing to grow, it’s vital that MSPs keep pace with changing customer needs and preferences, pairing them with the best technology to champion the type of exceptional service that ensures a customer’s business stays successful.”
“One way of doing this is to own the service level agreements (SLAs) and end-to-end infrastructure, because this gives partners and customers control, visibility, and better service levels. However, the most fundamental element is the customer relationship – knowledge of unique needs and preferences comes with constant engagement. If an MSP can act on that knowledge to deliver a better service that works in line with the objectives of the customer, can anticipate their future needs and do a first-class job should something go wrong, satisfaction is going to remain high.”
Paul Zuidema, Managing Director EMEA at Ergotron explains how it’s not just technology that businesses should be thinking about, but also those products that affect work environments:
“The business world is ever-evolving, but one constant that anchors any business is its customer base,” he says.
“Knowing them and anticipating their needs and preferences is key to business continuity.
“For us, employees working in desk-based, seated office environments are our end-user customers.
“As experts in designing and producing kinetic work environments, it’s important that we understand how to support their health and wellbeing while they’re at work, and promoting better physical and mental wellbeing through the use of the right ergonomic furniture, in the right kind of work environment.
“In a similar way, businesses would do well to also regard their employees as a type of internal customer base, providing the appropriate support and working conditions that will ultimately elevate their business bottom line.”
Reap the benefits of data
“Organisations are continually working to better understand their customers and efficiently deliver tailored services that meet the individual needs of every customer,” explains Krishna Subramanian, COO at Komprise.
“To do this successfully, a business needs to be able to store its customers’ data efficiently and cost-effectively, and extract relevant knowledge from this data.
“Typically, this isn’t too complicated for transactional structured data, but it is often much trickier with unstructured data (such as videos, genomics files, IoT data, etc).
“Increasingly, the majority of a business’ customer data is unstructured, and it’s growing very rapidly. Businesses are now in need of data management solutions that help them understand, successfully manage, and extract value from this overwhelming amount of unstructured data, to keep customers happy and confident in the business storing their data.”
Tulin Green, Senior Director, EMEA Marketing at Commvault agrees.
“In this digital era, customers of nearly every business will interact with them online in some way, creating a data trail. Strong data management is therefore integral to the operation of any business, especially with the increase of technologies that utilise personal customer data to provide personalised experiences online,” she says.
“After all, the business that connects with potential customers best will stand out from the competition.
“However, the increase in customer data being collected and stored also comes with an increased risk. Companies that fail to prioritise data privacy and protection for their business assets – including customer data – will risk not only severe damage to bottom line profits, but to their brand reputation and customer loyalty too.
“To avoid this fate, businesses should prioritise their ability to securely manage all data, and ensure that comprehensive recovery measures are in place.
“In the instance that security measures fail, being able to resolve the issue and get data protection back in place quickly is crucial.”
Keep security threats at bay
“While living in an increasingly networked world has its advantages, it also leaves organisations vulnerable to exploitation by malware, inadvertent employee actions and malicious attacks,” points out Jan van Vliet, VP and GM EMEA at Digital Guardian.
“For security analysts, spotting security incidents arising from within their company, which is arguably their own customer base, is particularly tricky because the attacker may have legitimate access.
“If the credentials being input are valid, the same alarms are not raised as when an unauthorised user attempts entry from the outside. Deploying data-aware cybersecurity solutions removes the risks around the insider threat because even if an adversary has legitimate access to data, they are prevented from copying, moving or deleting it. What’s important when it comes to insiders, in whatever guise, is to be able to detect malicious or suspicious activity and produce real-time, priority alerts that analysts know must be addressed immediately.”
Nir Polak, CEO at Exabeam, highlights how data science can identify unusual activity.
“Securing the network is fundamental to protecting the business and a variety of tools exist to understand traffic flow over a network and to analyse security impacts from that flow,” he says.
“However, despite the capabilities of these tools, attacks and breaches continue to happen. It is time to expand the definition of network profiling to include the riskiest asset on the network: the user.
“Advances in data science, combined with computing power and applied to data already collected within most organisations, can connect the dots and provide a useful profile of network user activity.
“While data science – i.e. Machine Learning – has become an overused buzzword, in practice it can provide very useful answers in certain applications. For example, Machine Learning can discover the connections between seemingly unrelated bits of identities, to create a map of all of a user’s activities, even when the identity components are not explicitly linked.
“Other techniques can create baselines of normal behaviour for every user on the network, making it easier to understand whether each user is acting normally or not. Still other techniques can build better asset models, including which machines are likely ‘executive assets’ and at higher risk of attack. Profiling individual users enables an organisation to understand in great depth and with deep context exactly who is on the network; what they are doing; whether they should be doing it; and what it means to an organisation’s risk and security posture.”
The future in the cloud
“The cloud has brought analytics back into the hands of business users, particularly in HR,” Liam Butler, AVP at SumTotal comments.
“In the ‘old days’, business analytics tools were shrouded in secrecy and owned by IT and MIS as part of the on-premise ERP system. Analytics are now part of our daily life, being used to enable insightful decision-making and to predict business outcomes.
“For example, the linking of workforce management data with training data allows manufacturers to predict workforce capacity planning issues in advance of a product launch, train employees prior to manufacturing demand or move shift patterns to meet demand.”
As demands from consumers grow and the technology landscape becomes ever more complicated, it’s time for businesses to ensure the customers that keep their profits rolling in are satisfied.
Some say there has never been a better time to be searching for employment.
It is true that the whole process has significantly improved, especially with the growth of technology and the internet. Plus, long gone are the days when everyone needed to be in London to find a job, with other cities in the UK growing at a tremendous rate. In fact, Manchester has been the fastest growing city in England and Wales between 2002-2015. So finding jobs in Manchester with online recruiters is just as easy as getting a similar position in London.
With that being said, it can be argued that being successful at the interview stage may be one of the trickiest parts of the course. Especially with recruiters getting more creative these days when it comes to looking for their perfect candidate; which has seen digital interviews become increasingly popular.
Digital interviews, in many respects, are the ideal way to put a potential recruit to the test, so if you’re facing one any time soon, we have some fantastic tips for you.
One of the first things you can do to prepare to nail a digital interview is to put effort into research. There’s a lot of things to study ahead of the conversation, but by making time you will give yourself a better chance of being successful.
Begin by researching the company, learn of the vital information. From there, study the role you’re applying for, as well as doing your homework on the interviewer.
After getting the research done, preparing how you’re going to present yourself is the next step. Research again can help here, especially if you’re able to ascertain the dress code of the company itself or the role you’re applying.
Looking smart is always a requirement, and remember, first impressions count. However, don’t be overdressed. The interviewer is more interested in what you have to say, so don’t let your appearance take their attention away from this.
So, now not only do you know the company, your potential role, and the interviewer you’ll face, you also know how you’ll present yourself too. Now it’s time to call on a friend or two, as you’re going to need to practice ahead of the real thing. Practice digital interviews are essential, especially when using multiple people, as they allow you to refine your approach and work on areas that perhaps need a bit of improvement ahead of the upcoming interview with the employer.
The great thing about practice digital interviews is that they can be recorded and then watched back. It will allow you to get to grips with how you’re presenting yourself, the way you answer questions and everything else which will prove to be prominent on the day. Having the opportunity to have practice runs will give you the chance to perhaps pick up on overusing words or phrases or talking too fast, or too slow.
Now it’s on to the eve of your digital interview. A good night’s sleep will be needed ahead of the event, as not only will you look more presentable, your cognitive function will also be better too. Therefore, you’ll be able to think quicker, provide better answers, and remain calm too. A shower after walking up is essential also, as this will help refresh and relax you, and again have a positive effect on both your appearance and state of mind.
If you use all the tips we’ve provided above, you should be well on your way to nailing your digital interview. Remember, stay calm and focused, and most importantly of all, be yourself and enjoy.
In this exclusive book excerpt for Customer Experience Magazine, the authors explores why CEOs must embrace the new customer economy, or face extinction…
Being customer-led is not a new concept.
The difference today, however, is that being customer-centric is no longer an option – it is a necessity for survival and growth. And, as the principle of customer-centricity has existed for a long time, it has taken many forms, having been reinvented on many occasions to suit the zeitgeist. Same person, different attire.
For example, when Levitt argued in the 1960s that the essence of marketing was all about satisfying the customer, the marketing purists would, in turn, claim the higher ground that sales was short-term, and that marketing was all about building a sustainable business. Hence, today, marketing professionals and leaders still claim to be the ultimate customer champions within any organisation – even if they are viewed upon as a mere executor of product and solution-led communication campaigns. And even, in the worst-case scenario, when marketers have very little customer interaction at all!
Later followed the CX movement, championed by the likes of Don Peppers, where the idea of satisfying customer needs rather than gaining market share for products and solutions became the ‘new’ mantra. Ultimately, this movement spawned today’s huge global community of CX evangelists and experts, including the likes of Jeanne Bliss, Shep Hyken, Annette Franz, the Temkin Group, the CXPA, etc. Also, it gave rise to many voices in the customer communities and the net promoter system (NPS), pioneered by Fred Reichheld, Bain and Satmetrix. It also led to the seminal book by Kerry Bodine et al., titled Outside-In.
In addition to the CX community, there is also a sizeable contingent of Customer Advocacy professionals who champion the cause that a referenceable client base is key to company growth. Bill Lee, author and founder of the Centre for Customer Engagement, rightfully claims the moniker of ‘Customer Advocacy & Engagement King’, a concept which even now is being reinvented and repackaged by technology vendors such as Influitive who are looking to create a new market category under the theme of the ‘Customer-Powered Enterprise’.
Finally, and most recently, is the Customer Success movement, created and championed by the Customer Success platform vendors – first and foremost Gainsight (whose COO wrote the book on Customer Success), but also its competitors such as Totango and consultancy organisations such as TSIA (the Technology Services Industry Association). The Customer Success movement is impressive, amassing thousands of Customer Success professionals at annual conferences in the United States, Europe and Asia. The majority of Customer Success professionals come from a technical support background but have been rebadged and repositioned as customer champions of many organisations, especially in the B2B technology/SaaS world.
In reality, there is a significant overlap between all of these concepts, ideas and customer communities. By way of example, Annette Franz, CX thought leader, wrote an article in October 2018 to describe the difference between CX and Customer Success. She curated quotes from Customer Success thought leaders such as Gainsight and the Customer Success Association in an effort to compare and contrast the two disciplines. After dissecting the two concepts, she concluded as follows:
“It makes me question if the Customer Success role and discipline are really necessary. What do you think? Customer Experience is the umbrella. Get the experience right – listen to customers, understand the problems they are trying to solve, innovate, and design and deliver a better experience – and Customer Success management becomes obsolete, no? After all, it’s all about the customer.”
We have seen this before with the crossover between VoC (Voice of the Customer) and Customer Advocacy professionals. VoC teams state that the golden NPS question – likelihood to recommend – is their raison d’être. At the same time, the ultimate goal of Customer Advocacy professionals is to deliver a referenceable client base to advocate at every step of the customer journey. So, what is the difference?
The simple answer is that all of these communities present valid arguments and have important contributions to make when it comes to helping their company drive customer-led growth. Yet, no single community on its own has the silver bullet when it comes to achieving this. In truth, it is the combined set of activities that will help a company achieve its vision for customer-led growth. To coin a phrase, it is a war on all fronts. And, as we mentioned in the introduction, it is no longer a recommendation, it is a necessity.
As CX leader Claire Sporton puts it, “Investors now look for sustainable growth, not short-term wins each quarter. The M&A community are recognising that a commitment to customer centricity is a leading indicator of sustainable business growth.”
The Angora Rabbit: Why do customer-led transformations often run out of steam?
According to Sporton, “The challenge is that no one would say that the customer is not important – just like the rabbit, every-one will give it a stroke. But when it comes to looking after it, people quickly get bored. And then the fox (the maniacal pursuit of short-term revenue gain) eats the rabbit.”
Sporton makes the key point that the pursuit of customer-centric growth needs to be deeply embedded in the organisation: “There’s no business growth unless people change their behaviours. Two-day change programmes don’t work. Executive leadership must rigorously champion customer-centric values all the time, ensuring that actions are made, and impact is measured. CEOs must create sustainable, viral change.”
CX leader, Shep Hyken builds on this point: “One of the most important factors in driving growth is to establish a simple, clear and easy-to-remember customer vision statement. And then repeat it over and over again, so that everyone across the company knows it and applies it in their day-to-day activities. Leadership must set an example and constantly defend the culture. Whether it’s training, workshops or simply leading by example, the customer vision must be continually re-enforced.”
Take, for example, Horst Schulze, the founder of Ritz-Carlton. His customer vision statement was simple: “We’re ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.’ This statement is still used today, and Ritz-Carlton remains one of the most successful hotel chains ever.”
In summary, it is imperative that customer-centricity be hard-wired into the company’s DNA, culture, operations, processes, products, systems, etc. – ideally, from day 1; but, if that is not possible, then starting tomorrow.
Earlier this month, Ian Golding, Founder of the Customer Experience Consultancy and leader of the CX Professional Masterclass, joined Peter Dorrington, Director of Analytics at TTEC, at a CXPA & TTEC Breakfast Workshop.
In a joint article for CXM, Ian and Peter explore how the advances in CX measurement can curb this trend…
The Past, Present and Future of CX Measurement – Ian Golding
Although companies are using a number of CX measurements and capturing details, the majority are not taking action or worse, applying them incorrectly and so they come to the wrong conclusion.
NPS and CSAT scores are cost-effective and easy ways of getting feedback from customers and an easy way for customers to provide feedback.Many would argue over time they have been shown to be valuable, credible systems for customer-focussed companies.However, many companies are failing to apply them correctly and increasingly they are being used as a tick-box to please stakeholder and shareholders.
Consumer experience is fast becoming a dominant theme for financial services and the FCA is increasingly focussed on quantifiable customer outcomes. To ensure the reliability of measures of satisfaction, they have issued a mandate that results are collected independently and widely published. Improving CX can influence people to switch supplier with the promise of getting better customer service, but consumers need a reliable way of assessing the experience that organisations provide.
More CX measurements will be regulated if companies cannot do it accurately and continue to publish inaccurate results as part of their advertising and brand promotion.
The Voice of Customer (VOC) and Voice of the Employee (VOE) are often listened to and treated entirely separately. Organisations that run VOC and VOE programmes usually conduct them at different times, using different teams – for example VOE is often confused with Employee Engagement. What’s more, they’ll invariably have entirely different objectives and different KPIs against which outcomes are measured. It is vital to check that your employees feel the same way about your service as customers.VOE can provide a vital check and balance to VOC, with a wide disparity between the two being a cause for concern.
VOC and VOE results should be broadly similar.Something is wrong if they are not.Also ensure your Voice of the Employee surveys are anonymous and that something with the results – both programmes should provide the impetus and insight for action.
The most robust CX measurement systems are structured by correlating business processes with the customer journey. If we think of all organisations as a combination of ‘layers’, whilst the top layer is the customer journey, the middle layer is made up of business processes. It is a business’s processes that enable the customer journey to happen. The bottom layer comprises the technology that enables business processes to deliver the customer outcome. However, all too often, it is the technology that is forcing the customer process, so the customer gets whatever that manifests itself as.
For a business to be focussed on knowing what to address to improve the customer journey it must be able to measure “cause and effect”. If you measure how capable business processes are at doing what they need to do, you should see an improvement in the way customers feel about what you do.
Unfortunately, too many companies are mapping customer journeys without measuring their experience of each touch point as it relates to customer needs.
Using Emotion Analytics to Understand What Customers Value, and Why – Peter Dorrington
“Customer experience management is the art and science of coaxing lifetime loyalty from daily transactions.”
“Customers who are emotionally connected with a brand are 52% more valuable than customers who are just highly satisfied”
Harvard Business Review
The above quotes show the power of emotion.
Imagine being able to use that to not only measure how well your CX strategy is doing but to increase loyalty and revenues.
Work in the field of behavioural economics has demonstrated just how dependent on emotions we are for decision-making – even very big decisions, where we think we are acting ‘rationally’. Research into the placebo effect demonstrates just how powerful the brain is in influencing the body and decisions. Emotions are an important part of how we experience and how we make decisions and It is now possible to anticipate the emotional state of every customer, whether you are in an active conversation with them or not.
A lot of organisations have recognised that if CX is the new competitive battleground, not only does it have to be good, but it has to be relevant and valued by the person experiencing it – and therefore you have to address their emotions; what they care about.
TTEC’s research shows that business can make quantifiable improvements in their customer-facing decision-making if they have a way of knowing what the customer feels. At the highest level of abstraction, emotion analytics could support the design of more efficient and effective customer experiences at the strategic level – by putting the ‘relationship’ back into customer relationship management. When it knows that a customer has emotional, as well as practical needs, a business is better able to meet all their needs.
If a business could understand within customer journeys how customers feel at different stages – what might be motivating them, what might influence their decisions – then it is better able design a better experience; resulting in a better experience, higher satisfaction, and all the benefits that brings; increased revenues, lower churn and more powerful advocacy.
Turning CX insights into hyper personalised experiences
One example of how this insight could be used would be in the arena of receptiveness. An organisation could convert the emotions into understanding whether a customer would be receptive to hearing from it. This would therefore influence whether they are marketed to, what is marketed to them and how it is done.
Think of upselling someone from a gold card to the platinum card. But just before we send the messaging, we do a check to see if the person is receptive and it becomes clear they are not – perhaps there has been a transactional issue, or there may be more of an emotional zeitgeist thing where banks are getting hammered in the press.
Not only should we consider emotions in the operational aspects of our business, we need to think about the role they play in the product or service itself.
Elsewhere, there are also implications for the way that inbound interactions are handled. For instance, an organisation may be able to anticipate that the customer will call and that if she calls she will be upset, so the company can put her through to a senior handler who is better at dealing those kinds of conversations (i.e. have high EQ).
The use of emotional insights could also extend into the world of bots and AI, enabling organisations to choose which script to use and which tone of voice to adopt. And the evidence shows that people will pay a premium to those organisations that they believe will make them feel the way that they want to expect to feel as well as which actions could be taken to cost-effectively strengthen the relationship.
Not only should we consider emotions in the operational aspects of our business, we need to think about the role they play in the product or service itself: as well as considering the functional needs of the customer, think about their (changing) emotional needs as well; it affects everything they do and research shows that customers will pay a premium to organisations they think will meet their emotional needs better. And our own research shows that customers are more loyal towards companies that meet their emotional needs.
Finally, TTEC’s research also shows that customer don’t always need a ‘better’ Customer Experience, preferring that the experiences they have predictable meet their expectations on a consistent basis. The implications for organisation is this; it is often better to maintain the level of the experience, but focus on aligning it to customer expectations and reduce the cost and complexity of delivery.
Companies must upgrade their CX measurements to capture customers’ emotions. How customers feel about their experiences with a firm can damage – or improve – their perception of the overall experience and the brand!
Most UKemployees anticipate a positive impact from artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, a new report from Genesys has revealed.
The global leader in omnichannel Customer Experienceand contact centre solutions studied the evolving relationship between employees and technology in the workplace. They found that 64 percent say they value AI, but the exact same percentage believe there should be a legal requirement for companies to maintain a minimum percentage of human workers and for relevant bodies to implement regulation around it.
The survey also found that while employees welcome new technological tools, a significant majority (86 percent) expect their employers to provide training for working with AI-based tech, as less than half of all respondents say they possess the right skills.
When asked whether they would use augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) for job training, more than half (53 percent) of employees said they would be willing to do so. This finding is significantly higher than those who would be open to being trained by an AI-powered robot, with just over a third (35 percent) of employees accepting this method.
The convergence between humans and technology is increasing, as reflected by the fact 41 percent of millennials say they spend at least half of their time at work interacting with machines and computers rather than humans. These findings suggest that when it comes to implementing new technologies, employers will need to find the right balance between tech and human workers.
When it comes to how employees expect to use new technologies, 58 percent would like to use a digital or virtual assistant to support them in managing tasks and meeting deadlines. This appetite for virtual assistants suggests that the widespread use of technologies like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri in workers’ personal lives is opening people’s minds to the possibilities that similar AI-driven assistants can bring to the workplace.
Meanwhile, almost a quarter of workers believe AI will have a positive impact on their job in the next five years, and
69 percent say technology makes them more efficient at their jobs. Forty-three percent say new technological tools in the workplace save time and allow them to focus on other things.
Mark Armstrong, interim Vice President for UK and Ireland at Genesys, said: “Employees across the UK are ready to embrace new technologies in the workplace. The research shows that UK workers understand the benefits of AI and are overwhelmingly positive about its potential impact. It is also evident that employees understand that businesses will need to leverage AI and other emerging technologies to maintain longevity, as only 21 percent believe their companies will remain competitive without it.”
An upcoming webinar will shine a light on how midsize call centres can adapt and thrive in the digital era, with expert advice from Genesys and Frost & Sullivan.
Hosted by Customer Experience Magazine, the free webinar will take place on October 17 at 11am BST, and will feature Alexander Michael, the Director of Consulting at F&S, who will be joined by Genesys’ Nick Wingrove, the firm’s VP of Solutions Consulting for the EMEA region.
The pair will deep-dive into a collaborative report, Midsized Call Centres take a Digital-first Approach, which examines how how call centres in the UK, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands are dealing with the changes in customer engagement and their impact on business.
The whitepaper is part of a global series on how CX is the main factor in call centre operations, and explains how most call centres are taking a digital-first approach to customer engagement, with the majority considering, or utilising, cloud technology to boost performance and meet goals.
The webinar will see Alexander and Nick discuss how mid-size businesses approach CX and which technology trends will shape their operations going forward. The CX approaches of these firms will be compared with that of larger organisations, to provide insight into the most effective methods of customer engagement today.
CXM Editor Paul Ainsworth said: “Competition is fierce, no matter which industry you operate in. Mid-sized businesses face consistent pressures to define and implement strategies that will enable them to successfully acquire and retain customers.
“Knowing how your peers have accomplished this gives you an advantage. Leveraging the results from the recent Frost & Sullivan global mid-market study, you’ll get details on real-world Customer Experience initiatives.”
Businesses in regulated markets don’t have to choose between satisfying their customers and regulators, because compliance and CX isn’t a zero sum game.
Yet with the right tools and focus, they can do both.
Customer expectations are perhaps higher than ever. Conditioned by the interfaces dreamed up by Cupertino’s and Silicon Valley’s finest, we expect things to just work.
And those expectations don’t exist in a vacuum – we carry them with us into other areas of our lives, demanding equally great experiences from banks, retailers, and almost anyone else who provides us with a service.
For example, Salesforce research found 74 percent of consumers are likely to switch brands if the checkout process is difficulty, while 50 percent said they’d go elsewhere if a business doesn’t anticipate their needs or provide an easy-to-use mobile experience.
It’s a particular challenge for businesses in regulated markets who have to carry out due diligence on their customers. These kinds of checks can add friction to an onboarding experience and give already flighty customers reason to abandon sign-up and go elsewhere.
Worse still – regulation is a moving target! To stay compliant, businesses have to continually adjust their processes to keep up with changes in regulation, leading to yet more risk of friction.
In financial services, for example, businesses are currently having to deal with new anti-money-laundering rules (The Fifth Anti Money Laundering Directive), the introduction of the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and ongoing compliance with GDPR.
The consequences of failing to meet these and other regulatory obligations are serious. Those found guilty of breaches potentially face massive fines (GDPR infringement can result in fines of up to four percent of a company’s annual global turnover or €20 million – whichever is greater) and prosecution, not to mention the bad publicity and damage to their reputation.
The cost of poor CX
It’s understandable that a business faced with these challenges might err on the side of caution and in so doing, introduce the kind of friction that makes for a lesser Customer Experience.
But while the risks associated with poor Customer Experience might be less tangible, they’re no less real.
Customer Experience consulting firm Walker predicts that CX will overtake pricing and product as the key brand differentiator by next year. Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCooper’s Future of CX report found one-in-three (32 percent) consumers in the US will walk away from a brand after just one poor experience, while 54 percent say Customer Experience needs improvement at most companies.
Clearly, there’s a big opportunity cost to getting it wrong.
Again, traditional financial services have a particular problem here. Their fintech counterparts are more agile and, without the legacy systems and infrastructures of incumbents, are better placed to create great new experiences for customers – even if they’re subject to the same regulatory requirements.
Cathie Hall, Customer Experience Manager at identity verification specialist GBG, said: “Every single market is being disrupted by people who want the here and now yesterday; who don’t want to wait weeks to open an account; who don’t want to wait weeks to start a service or even get a product. They want what they want now and they want it personal to them.
“And in regulated environments and in a changing landscape, it’s very difficult to get that balance between compliance and the Customer Experience.”
Businesses need to find ways of complying with strict due diligence requirements without making it a chore for their customers, as the best Customer Experiences are frictionless, fast, and intuitive.
Reducing the number of key strokes, auto-populating as much customer information as possible, and performing background checks in real-time removes the burden of onboarding from the customer and speeds up the process, leaving less time or motivation for them to abandon the process.
Using technology to anticipate your customers’ needs and show that you respect their time also makes for a slicker experience that can instil confidence and trust in your brand.
It’s common in retail and other sectors, so if you’re operating in a market that struggles with abandonment, your customers are likely to already expect the same kind of experience from you…and if you don’t provide it, they may go elsewhere.
GBG and Customer Experience Magazine are hosting a free webinar, The Compliance and Customer Experience Conundrum, on October 3 at 11am, British Standard Time. GBG’s Head of User Experience, Henry Thomas, will share insights and CX hacks to inspire attendees.
Customer engagement software firm Freshworks Inc has announced its Freshsuccess customer success management software, delivering an integrated customer view for marketing, sales, support, and success professionals.
From January 2020, all go-to-market teams can leverage unified, holistic data of both accounts and contacts yielding the most up-to-date account activity and health information to identify accounts that are either at risk or ready to buy more goods and services.
With Freshworks’ Freshsuccess, users get detailed analysis of past behaviour to create and configure customer health scores, allowing companies to grow an established customer base, identify any red flags and increase customer retention rates. In addition, Freshsuccess helps teams operationalise customer success in other important ways.
These include keeping customer success teams organised, allowing everyone to centrally manage all of their customer-related activities such as alerts, workflows, and tasks.
Users will also be able to streamline business intelligence and easily identify behavioural trends while uncovering valuable customer insights.
Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshworks, said: “Our Customer-for-Life vision revolutionises customer engagement to take advantage of the never-ending customer journey. Meaningful customer insight doesn’t end at market, sell, and support. You need to engage continuously to get a customer for life.
With Freshsuccess integration, businesses will be able to leverage actionable data across the entire suite of products – including Freshmarketer, Freshsales, and Freshdesk – for predictive analytics, customer intelligence and workflow management to proactively court, close, keep, and grow customers for life.”
In the world of customer contact, the nurturing of a diverse and inclusive culture not only creates a team that reflects the market it is serving, but it generates an environment where people can bring their whole selves to work and unlock their full potential, which ultimately yields productive employees and stronger, more creative teams.
In a recent interview with Helen Gillett, Managing Director of Affinity for Business, and Petra Mengelt, Head of B2B Business Relations at Mash Group Plc, we explored the role of D&I in the world of customer contact and demonstrate how your biggest asset – your people – can set your business apart from the competition.
Here, we explore some of the key takeaways from the interviews.
Why diversity and inclusion can benefit customer contact
For many years, companies have thought of diversity and inclusion as affirmative action or box-checking, but it is everything but that. Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is not an HR issue. Instead, it is about diverse thinking, perspectives, experiences, work styles, and cultural backgrounds, as opposed to counting heads.
Statistics show that organisations that embed D&I in their culture have a distinct advantage to their competitors. Research by McKinsey & Company shows that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are 21 percent more likely to outperform in profitability and 27 percent more likely to have superior value creation. Additionally, the most ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform the least ethnically diverse. Meanwhile, leading consultant John Bersin also shares that diverse & inclusive companies have 2.3x higher cash flow per employee than homogenous companies.
From a customer contact perspective, an environment of diverse cultures combined with individuals of different ages, genders, abilities, and sexualities creates a plethoric pool of opinions, skills, and ways of approaching challenges that work to benefit both the business and its customers. In a setting where unique challenges arise frequently, it is only favourable to have a diverse team that can share ideas and create best practices through collaboration.
How to create a culture of diversity & inclusion in your organisation
When it comes to creating a culture of inclusion, good intentions are a start, but implementation and accountability matter more. It is vital that organisations seek to cultivate a culture of D&I and make it a core part of their DNA. Here, we share three actionable steps to making a culture of D&I a reality in your customer contact centre.
1. Start from the top
Responsibility for affecting change should not be driven by HR. Instead, it starts with business leaders. Accountability is an essential factor in establishing a culture of D&I. When executive leadership incorporate talent as an active agenda item, that’s when it becomes intrinsic in the culture of the company.
2. Communicate to educate
Creating opportunities for employees to learn more about one another as people, rather than just colleagues, is a great way to build a sense of trust and community in your team. Petra encourages a culture of always asking questions to aid this, and also to dispel any negativity that may stem from misunderstandings.
“It’s important to never ever leave anything that stems from cultural difference hanging or unresolved, otherwise there is always a risk of encouraging negative stereotypes. I am always asking questions such as ‘can you explain what you mean?’ to create clarity,” she says.
3. Lead by example
It’s a well-known mantra that people don’t leave companies; they leave leaders. In order for a culture of D&I to thrive, employees must feel as if they are being coached by a leader who truly has their best interests in mind.
As demonstrated by Helen’s own comments on being honest about her journey, an effective way to do so is by leading by example. If a leader can bring their authentic self to work, their employees will feel confident enough to do the same. This can be especially important when discussing inclusion and mental health, as Helen shares: “Having leaders tell their stories lets people know that mental ill-health can happen to anyone and it’s not anything to be ashamed of – it’s ok not to be ok.”
Click the image below to learn more about how a culture of D&I can improve your customer contact experience.
This not-to-be-missed one-day event on September 25 will bring together Gold winners from the annual UK Complaint Handling Awards for a series of panel discussions that will help you improve your brand’s complaint handling techniques and strategies, and offers insight into how to bring your level of customer service to an award-winning standard.
Brought to you by Awards International, the event will be chaired by CEO Neil Skehel, who will be joined by the one-and-only Daniel Ord, founder and Director of OmniTouch International, to oversee the day’s activities, which include discussions from award winning brands including Capita, Three UK, HSBC, and more.
Held at the Park Plaza riverbank, the conference will offer unparalleled networking opportunities to help boost your complaint handling power.
Neil Skehel explains: “This isn’t just another conference – you are an integral part of this event and your priorities will shape what we discuss. It promises to be an educational and inspirational experience for everyone involved.”
For your chance to win, follow these simple steps before the closing date of this Friday September 6:
1. Follow Customer Experience Magazine on LinkedIn
2. Like the contest post
3. Complete and submit the Contest Entry Form below
International event management company Westrade Group has been quick to follow up on the enormous success of its inaugural event with the forthcoming and newly branded OSX, the only outsourcing summit and expo of its kind.
ExCel London will once again play host to the event which takes place on 1 -2 October and offers a unique opportunity for professionals to forge new partnerships that could change the way we do business.
Last October, Westrade Group welcomed over 800 delegates through the doors across the two-day conference and exhibition, many of whom had travelled from Europe and Asia to attend the highly anticipated event.
This year, delegates can look forward to a more open and airier exhibition space which will be carefully crafted into five designated zones:Digital Disruption, which will celebrate those using digital technologies to challenge the status quo; IT Design & Development, which will focus on those developing IT services on web, mobile and CRM/CMS;Customer Experience, which will focus on the importance of delivering high level CX; Business Process Services, where you can meet providers who can help streamline your business and reduce costs; and International, where we will connect ambitious companies looking for exciting new locations to base their businesses.
OSX has already attracted leading names synonymous with outsourcing as sponsors:household names such as Accedia, Innovify, Kogific Consulting Group, and Profitnit.The ‘live’ element has always been key to the success of many Westrade signature events and OSX is no different; an incredible array of talented speakers from across the industry have already been lined up for presenting duties, including Anthony Welfare of Oracle, Rob McCargow of PWC, and Emma Hall of Domestic and General.
Kevin Lloyd, Event Director of OSX, said: “All of our businesses, no matter what the industry, are either being transformed, digitised, automated, migrated to the Cloud, buried under a heap of Big Data, or liberated by the Internet of Things.The convergence of these great domains has created a whole new ecosystem, bringing with it opportunity and challenge in equal measure.
“We believe that OSX meets these challenges head-on and can provide powerful insights into future developments in the world of outsourcing.It’s a meeting place where like-minded attendees come together to unlock the untapped potential in their business.”
Research by Walker suggests that Customer Experience will overtake cost and product as the main differentiator for a brand by 2020.
Thirty-four percent of companies, according to SmartInsights, have a digital transformation program in place, while 31 percent are looking to begin their digital transformation operations soon.
Staying ahead of the tide, the UK Digital Experience Awards (UKDXAs) recognises exemplary performances of marketing teams who have managed to successfully conceptualise and execute digital transformation journeys that enable winning Digital Experience. MarTech Advisor checked in with three of the UKDXA nominees to discuss the role UX plays in building a compelling brand experience, and how data and analytics guide Customer Experience decisions.
Elliott Prince is Head of Solution Design, Geeks Ltd, where he is responsible for creating engaging experiences for their customers. He also designs software to improve business processes through automation.
Dominic Vye is Head of Commercial Development, Customer Management, and Digital Services at JT Group, and has over 15 years of experience in operational and strategic roles.
Marc Hetherington is Senior Digital Consultant at Three UK, who loves using data and analytics to solve tough problem statements.
What role does UX play in building a compelling brand experience for customers across digital platforms?
Elliott: UX design can help businesses go beyond merely creating a recognisable visual identity, to creating interactions that signify a brand. A simple example of this is Apple moving the close window “X” icon from the top right to the top left. When I see that I’m immediately in no doubt that I’m using an Apple OS.
Dominic: The objective of providing a compelling brand experience is to differentiate your product or service from others. This differentiation helps to build on our customer’s satisfaction and grow their loyalty. It’s so important to try to understand each customer journey and were possible tailor each Digital Experience to it, making it intuitive, simple, and rewarding.
At JT, we’ve recognised our customers are using new ways to interact with us, preferring digital platforms such as smart apps, online shops, instant chat, or email to the more conventional channels such as the retail store or our contact centre. With this proliferation of customer touchpoints, the importance of a seamless UX across multiple areas cannot be underestimated.
Marc: Testing with users to discover what they want to use the app/site for rather than what Three wants to push while they’re trying to accomplish a different goal. Three could improve at this. UX design helps enhancing the clarity of information and consistency of interactions across various touchpoints, within separate customer journeys. By combining quantitative data from analytics with qualitative data from usability testing, we manage to acquire a holistic view of what our users truly need and address these needs accordingly, either by introducing new solutions or improving existing ones.
What have you learned the most about leveraging UX to deliver the larger Digital Experience?
Elliott: The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that however much you think you’ve empathised with users; they will surprise you. Donald Rumsfeld was once ridiculed for saying there are things we know we don’t know, and there are things we don’t know that we don’t know. What I don’t know is if that applies to other disciplines, but when it comes to UX he was 100 percent right. People will fail to understand a workflow you thought was crystal clear or miss a call to action that looks to you like an enormous neon sign you put in the middle of your design.
So, list all your assumptions and validate them with real users, then test again, and test one more time for good luck. By doing this we can be sure what we’ve created is a truly enjoyable and engaging Digital Experience for everyone, not just the team that delivered it.
Dominic: Listening to our customers and understanding their behaviours was the biggest insight into what our app would be used for, by whom, and why. Our customers shared their motivations and trigger points for using the app and the logical journeys that flow from those trigger points. We learnt that friendly user trials only go so far in helping to design a compelling user experience. It’s vital to continue qualitative research with real customers, to understand their needs and meet their expectations.
Marc: Bounce rates, content, and bottom line. You can entice people through a seemingly useful call to action, say an offer, but if where they land is difficult to use or has poor content/inventory, then positive traffic is wasted and creates negative brand experience. Removing existing pain points and blockers our users struggle with is the first step in improving Digital Experience. This means ensuring users can go through and complete different journeys or find the information they are looking for, more efficiently.
In what ways can data and analytics guide Customer Experience decisions for measurable business results?
Elliott: There’s a simple answer to this one – look for lemmings. Analysing your sales funnel will help you see where potential customers are dropping off before they buy. This tells you where in your customer journey you need to focus your UX efforts. It won’t tell you how to fix something, but it can tell you what to fix. The goal here is to steer the lemmings away from the cliffs and to the checkout!
Dominic: Research-driven insights from customers have been essential in developing the right Customer Experience for JT customers using the smart app from prioritising the development of app functionality, understanding the logical customer journeys, and triggers for using the app and optimising the navigation and overall user experience.
We started with an analysis of the most frequent queries for which our customers contacted our call centre. These were used to guide the priorities about which functionality was implemented first in the app. For example, ‘bill shock’ was one of the key drivers for calls (following launch of 4G and FTTH services) and itemising usage was prioritised above adding a value-added service.
Following the initial design phase, a series of qualitative and quantitative methods were used to optimise user experience; friendly user trials were held to test the prototype. These helped to inform navigation around the site and iron out any bugs in the coding. A series of representative customer groups carried out beta testing with the app and this helped map out much more clearly the links between different customer triggers for using the app, relevant and intuitive customer journeys, associated navigation, and user experience.
Following the launch, we used Google analytics to validate and refine user interfaces with features such as page ranking, customer journey tracking, average time taken on app, and repeat visits.
Through backend reporting via session logs we were able to track individual users and understand frequency of use and purpose of use. For example, the post-paid app is accessed six times a month, with the biggest trigger being the itemisation page. Customers can feedback using the live chat function or leave their comments on the app with suggestions for improvement.
Marc: Utilising data and analytics effectively is fundamental in driving the right outcomes for both your customers and the business. At Three, we view data and analytics as core ingredients in helping to understand what our customers think of us whilst using our products and services. It’s used to tell us what our customers like, what they love, but just as importantly (and maybe more so) the things that they find difficult, annoying, or confusing when dealing with us.
That’s why at Three we place a great amount of emphasis on generating rich insights from our data and analytics and ensure that we act from them. We invest in the best tools and build strong relationships with our partners such as Adobe (marketing cloud), Medallia (Voice of the Customer) and Clicktale (session replay). We invest in our people, by providing extensive training on how to get the most out of these tools. We use data and analytics to help define our product team’s development roadmap, we measure the impact both pre and post any change to understand the impact that this has had on driving the right outcomes for both our customers and our business KPIs.
What are the top three most crucial aspects of building a winning Digital Experience?
1. Know your audience: You’re never providing a good or service. You’re providing a solution to a problem. Know what your user’s problems are and tell them how you’ll solve them.
2. Make it look good: People will rate a pretty thing that works OK better than an ugly thing that works perfectly.
3. Communicate in line with your brand: Develop a voice and stick to it. If you’re going for serious and stable don’t have comic error messages, it undermines your credibility.
1. Customer insight: This is the single most important factor in developing an excellent Customer Experience. Without proper customer research, the key questions of ‘who? (who is the customer), ‘why? (what triggers their usage), and ‘how?’ (how do they want to interact with the app) can’t be answered.
2. User experience designaligned to customer insight: Using wireframes and storyboarding, each customer journey (inform, transact, manage, add device) was mapped out into a logical intuitive sequence. Interlinked journeys were identified, and navigation flows were optimised. Post launch the team used Google Analytics to increase app interactions.
3. Change management: Ensuring the business is behind the digital change is key. Developing a new channel into JT necessitated the alignment of many teams within the business. The contact centre and retail teams needed to be able to respond to queries on the app, and recommend the app to customers who had a query. Marketing teams were key in working across multiple departments to ensure a consistent user and brand experience across multiple customer touchpoints.
1. Putting the customer first: Create features that customers want in ways they can use them, not business only-led features which make it difficult for the customers achieve what they want, but we don’t necessarily want them to do. Doing lots of A/B testing, having a culture and way of working in an iterative way, where quick change can be made based on the learnings from customers or tests. Not being afraid to fail is also important. If we aren’t trying different things and pushing the boundaries which perhaps have never been done before, you are likely going to fail, and it’s important that that’s ok.
2. The experience needs to be seamless: It needs to be personalised and relevant to the customer at the right time, based on what we know about the customer (so offering a personalised upgrade because we know the value of the customer versus offering a generic upgrade to a customer who joined us last week).
3. Having the right people and organisation set-up is important: This will ensure that people are listening to customers, can iterate quickly, it’s seen as ok to fail, etc. Being able to measure what the experience is that you offer your customers and gather new insights to improve it and improve it quickly.
What should marketers be prioritising?
Elliott: The key here, in my opinion, is consistency. Whatever platform, device, or channel I’m using to interact with a brand, the UX design should leave the customer in no doubt as to who they’re interacting with.
Dominic: The shift to digital has led to an explosion in channels and has brought brands in contact with customers across multiple touchpoints away from traditional bricks and mortar to apps, online websites, social media, and interactive chat amongst others. Departments often have different understandings and perspectives of what the Customer Experience should be. Acting as the CX glue between departments, marketing has a vital role to set a holistic view on what the customer experience should be helping to drive a consistent user and brand experience across multiple customer touchpoints.
Digitisation has led to a rich source of customer data across many platforms. Marketers need to prioritise building richer customer insight by harnessing data from multiple touchpoints into a single customer view. For example, by combining customer emails, interactive chats, and notes from customer phone calls into one view has given JT a much better understanding and a more personalised view of our customers.
Customers now expect a personalised experience based on their behaviours and history. Marketers need to embrace new technologies such as AI and cloud computing to build personalised recommendations to customers based on insights from multiple interactions.
Today customers are increasingly empowered to make their own choices. They understand their commercial value and are less sensitive to traditional forms of advertising. The brands that can provide the most compelling, personalised user experience in a self-service environment will drive the best customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Marc: I’m no marketer, but I would say that data driven campaign strategies and personalisation would be where I would be hedging my bets. Probably not the most creative of answers, and certainly nothing new, but I think the organisations that are getting this right are the ones that are leading the way, such as Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify. I’d also put Sky Sports and BT Sports into this category.
Work on the internet requires a high level of data security, and setting up a VPN connection to the server will effectively solve this problem and ensure absolute confidentiality on any network.
Nowadays, this technology is actively used by both large companies and individual users, since it fulfils its task one hundred percent.
Key features of VPN technology
A virtual private network is technology that provides the creation of one or more tunnels, located on any other system when connected to the internet. The tunnel is secured using robust cryptography algorithms, and according to VPN-review.com, such means as authentication, protection against a repetition of data, encryption, and critical public infrastructure are used.
Depending on the settings, a VPN provides a connection of three different types:
The network-to-network VPN connection is straightforward for clients and controlled by the framework manager on the server. However, its fundamental disadvantage is the absence of encryption inside the system.
VPN compatibility with various operating systems
Creating and configuring a VPN connection is possible based on the most common frameworks. At times, you simply need to download and run a special program. For this situation, the VPN connection will be made with the servers for which the utility was made.
Protocols bolstered by working frameworks are involved in VPN connections with corporate systems. PPTP is utilised in Microsoft Windows customer and server versions. When using Linux, PPTP-Linux customer and PPTP server are required. Independently, an MPD server with PPTP and L2TP backing is executed.
For gadgets running Mac OS or Android, no outsider applications are required because the capacity to use VPN is incorporated into them. Installation and setup of VPNs should be possible not just on PCs or smartphones. As of late, L2TP and IPSec conventions are made by Cisco routers (from OS form 11.3T). Likewise, the capacity to utilise a VPN is available in individual firewalls.
Benefits of using a VPN connection
Connecting to a server through a VPN has several economic advantages. Since the work does not need a dial-up connection, there is no need for modems or a dedicated line. It’s enough for a user to have a device with Internet access to easily connect to his corporate network. The general availability of data does not mean that they are not protected. A VPN connection is a secure shield that protects all information from unauthorised access or interception.
The global development of the internet makes it possible to use limitless amounts of information present on various resources. The Virtual Private Network makes it possible to reduce the costs of internal corporate communications and make the transmitted and received information more secure and confidential.
Among the options for implementing a VPN are software and hardware products. A ready application installed on a computer refers to a software solution for VPN. Many companies offer to use this service by connecting to servers that belong to them. Some developers supply VPN packages that interact with software firewalls and operate on different operating systems.
Software products are relatively inexpensive. The hardware method of using VPN implies the presence of a computer, a private operating system, and specialised software. It has high performance, but its cost is also high.
The VPN device is located between the internal network and the web at the end of the connection. During transmission, data disappears at the point of origin. It is then encrypted and appears only at the destination.For guaranteed access to the data of individual users only, the private network can be amplified by an appropriate authentication protocol.
Moreover, VPN is often used by providers to control network access. Simply put, the user connects in the usual way, and then starts the VPN client for further work online. It helps to protect the connection from hackers and organise personal access.
Not all VPN services are equally useful
With free VPN services, you can save a lot of money, but only at the expense of your security. Other VPN services may have the most advanced security system and low connection speed (the more complicated the encryption, the lower the speed). Of course, this service is not well suited for those who want to work online and want to finish a job fast.
Therefore, be careful when choosing a VPN provider.
The new partnership with Genesys – creators of the world’s most trusted Customer Experience platforms – will elevate this year’s ceremony to new heights as it marks its tenth anniversary.
More than 11,000 companies in over 100 countries trust Genesys to help them connect effortlessly with consumers across any channel, be it voice, text, web chat, or social. The company offers both cloud and on-premises solutions that enable businesses to deliver the hyper-personalised experiences today’s always-on consumers demand, while producing targeted business outcomes such as increased revenue, lead conversion, and customer satisfaction.
“Sponsoring the UK Customer Experience Awards is a natural fit for us,” said Senior Director at Genesys, Brendan Dykes, who will be among the judges scrutinising entries at this year’s event.
“We are laser-focused on helping brands create lasting relationships with their customers. This is a tremendous opportunity to shine a light on the businesses that are setting new standards for delivering exceptional customer experiences in innovative ways. We are thrilled to serve as a Gold sponsor and help celebrate their successes.”
Meanwhile, Neil Skehel, CEO of event hosts Awards International, said: “Genesys is a prestigious global organisation and commands great respect in the industry. Having them involved further goes to show that anyone who’s anyone in Customer Experience will be at our awards.”
Click here to learn more about the 2019 UK Customer Experience Awards.
Entel, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Chile, has implemented Genesys AI-powered orchestration capabilities to seamlessly connect and manage native and third-party artificial intelligence (AI), resulting in significant efficiency gains.
Now, its customers smoothly transition between automated systems and employees for truly effortless journeys.
“Our customers have changed the way they interact with us. They are much more focused on digital and want anytime, anywhere service on the channel of their choice,” explained Pablo Oyarzun, Customer Experience divisional manager of Entel.
“Without our AI, bots and automation tied together using Genesys AI, we couldn’t deliver this kind of service.”
Entel leverages the Genesys Customer Experience Platform at their contact centres in Chile and Peru to support all of their agents and telemarketers. In addition, Genesys provides the common data framework for Entel’s many AI integrations with other vendors.
For example, the company uses the Genesys integration with Google Cloud for its text-to-speech capability to transcribe automated conversations. Genesys AI then sends that data to IBM Watson to determine the customer’s intent and identifies the next best action.
Oyarzun continued: “The new orchestration capabilities powered by Genesys AI provide us with more knowledge about customers, enabling us to take new approaches to address their evolving expectations. With the help of Genesys, we can improve our customers’ satisfaction.”
Entel is sharing its success using Genesys AI at Xperience19, its signature annual customer-focused event. Hosted by UK Customer Experience Awards sponsor Genesys, Xperience19 unites more than 2,000 industry experts in Denver from June 10 to 13.
Genesys hasintroduced new orchestration capabilities powered by AI that connect native and third-party technologies to enable the most comprehensive customer journey management available today.
Currently, businesses are adopting an increasing number of artificial intelligence (AI) point solutions to solve specific challenges. However, businesses are failing to realise AI’s full potential to improve customer and employee journeys because data remains fragmented across the end-to-end experience. As a result, AI’s ability to impact business outcomes remains limited.
New orchestration capabilities from UK Customer Experience Awards sponsor Genesys make it possible for multiple AI applications to work together harmoniously in real-time from marketing to sales to service. By leveraging all relevant data throughout the customer’s entire journey, Genesys AI can orchestrate, measure and optimise processes at every touchpoint. This enables businesses to tailor automation, communication channels and marketing and sales offers for individual customers, introducing new levels of personalisation.
AI innovation at your fingertips
Genesys makes it easier for businesses to flawlessly connect and manage native and third-party AI across voice and digital channels. With its simple centralised orchestration, Genesys AI enables customers to map complex business logic, perform various back-end system integrations and swap AI providers.Businesses can move their AI technologies into production quicker by building once and deploying across all channels, leveraging microapps to reduce development time by 90 percent and improving analytics, resulting in 40-60 percent faster time to value. This enables businesses to leverage existing AI investments and buy a future-proof solution.
Both on-premises and cloud customers around the world are realising additional advantages. An example is Entel, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Chile. In just six months, Entel has increased revenue by five percent, decreased costs and improved customer satisfaction by using Genesys AI to orchestrate all customer interactions with technology from Google Cloud and IBM Watson.
Other Genesys customers, such as DNB, are achieving additional benefits including improved accuracy leading to better predictions and faster responses to customer inquiries. In speaking about the benefits of this advanced orchestration capability, DNB Head of Technical Operations and Customer Solutions, Anders Braten said: “Genesys sews everything together to make the perfect customer journey.”
Breaking down AI silos to realise value
“In customer service alone, on average, nine out of 10 enterprises deploy AI for six distinct uses, such as automated self-service, chatbots in instant messaging and IVR support,” said Peter Graf, Genesys Chief Product Officer.
“Genesys AI is an elegant solution that masterfully links underlying technologies and synchronizes data and event streams as needed. These AI capabilities are delivered by Genesys Cloud, the company’s high-velocity innovation platform that provides new ways to optimise customer and employee journeys.”
With hundreds of technology applications integrated with its Customer Experience platform today, Genesys is the only company in the industry able to orchestrate any AI for self and assisted service. This includes Kate, the customer and employee virtual assistant powered by Genesys AI, as well as third-party AI solutions such as Amazon Lex, Google Cloud Contact Center AI, Nuance and IBM Watson.
Dan Miller, lead analyst at Opus Research, said: “Genesys has stepped up to provide a framework for enterprises to support conversational engagements that helps businesses leverage existing investments in AI resources more fully. Genesys AI enables them to integrate natively developed elements of AI along with offerings from recognized, leading third parties.”
How Genesys AI orchestrates the cest Customer and Employee Experience
Genesys AI provides the common data framework for all AI integrations so systems are not working in silos. It captures, processes and analyzes third-party data in the same way as its own AI applications, such as Genesys Predictive Routing, Altocloud Predictive Engagement, and Automated Forecasting and Scheduling. In addition to delivering advanced orchestration, Genesys AI enables real-time predictions, speech and text analytics, self-service automation and more.
An example is the coordination between Genesys AI and chat and voice bots. When a customer begins an engagement with a bot, Genesys AI can detect if escalation is needed. It can then use Predictive Routing to identify the employee deemed the best match and pass the inquiry to that individual with full context for resolution.
Advanced AI orchestration kicks off summer innovations
The company announced its new orchestration capabilities at Xperience19, its signature event taking place this week in Denver. Genesys is also introducing a new analytics dashboard, enabling businesses to better understand customer intent, visualize containment rates and optimize bot usage in a single view.
The new dashboard and Genesys AI’s advanced orchestration capabilities are available now among a broader collection of the company’s Summer Innovations.The Innovations are comprised of multiple feature enhancements across the GenesysPureCloud®, PureConnect™ and PureEngage™ solutions and delivered via Genesys Cloud.
Employers are risking alienating millennials by treating them as if they are a different ‘culture’, a hospitality industry forum has heard.
Hosted by industry thought-leader, EP Business in Hospitality, in partnership with online learning specialist Upskill People, the event in London highlighted that continually referring to millennials as though they are a different ‘culture’ or ‘nationality’ is both patronising and short-sighted and puts businesses that do not place compassion and people at the top of their agenda at risk of alienating future talent altogether.
In an industry clearly changing at speed, core messages emerging from the session included the need for a modernised learning culture that seeks to understand all perspectives while embracing shared knowledge across all genders, ages, and job titles.
CEO at EP, Chris Sheppardson, explained: “It’s becoming more apparent that the younger generations do have a different perspective and agenda on work and life. They are less focused on getting onto the housing ladder and being saddled with a lifetime mortgage, and are instead living more ‘in the moment’ with a genuine interest in environment and society – arguably to a higher degree that many business leaders. As businesses we must build a stronger connection with our people and change our approach to developing talent.”
The debate also reinforced the harsh reality that talent today doesn’t remain with one employer long-term and will move around more regularly, suggesting that employers need to embrace and even support this concept in the future. Leaders also agreed that to develop talent successfully today, there is a greater need for stronger coaching-led approaches.
Chris added: “Empowerment has almost become an old-fashioned concept and re-engagement is needed here. Too many companies try to control and limit any risk. Too many decisions on people are based on spread sheets and figures. Talent looks to embrace culture, compassion for people and communities in work. People are still the greatest asset of a business and young people today expect companies to play a meaningful role in society as well as in business.”
Throughout our careers, we experience many different personality types that influence our behaviours and professional personas.
These encounters can often shape who we become as leaders, but have you taken the time to reflect on your management approach and considered how your team view your performance as a manager? Whether you consider your leadership style as autocratic, democratic, transformational, or laissez-faire, your ultimate aim is to keep your business running smoothly; which includes keeping your staff happy.
Love Energy Savings recently conducted a study on employee satisfaction, investigating how UK employees would rate the performance of their managers. The statistics were largely positive, with almost 50 percent of respondents rating performances as good or excellent.
However, 20 percent of respondents claimed that they work with an inadequate manager. This would indicate that some managers are struggling to build a rapport with their employees, which could have an impact on staff loyalty, retention, and ultimately affect their company’s bottom line.
The data collected in the survey revealed the following key findings:
49.9 percent of respondents think positively about their manager’s performance
33.5 percent of respondents think negatively about their manager’s performance
16.5 percent of respondents feel their manager is satisfactory
Men aged 18-24 are most likely to rate their manager as inadequate
All other age brackets, for men and women, are most likely to rate their manager as good or excellent
Common mistakes managers can avoid
To better understand why so many workers are dissatisfied with their company’s management, we need to take a closer look at the root causes. There are many common issues that can be easily avoided, and if approached properly, can empower staff to perform to the best of their abilities.
1. Give your staff space to excel
When you have a lot of responsibilities as a manager, it’s only natural to want to get stuck in and make sure things are running smoothly. The danger here is that there’s a thin line between taking care and taking over.
Nobody likes to be micromanaged, and by doing so you’re advertising the fact that you don’t trust your team enough to let them do their jobs without supervision. By taking a step back and showing your employees that you trust them, they’ll feel empowered – after all, you hired them for a reason.
2. Show you value your staff
As a manager, your staff are your greatest asset. However, too many people take their employees for granted. Thinking of your business as a well-oiled machine may be a good way to visualise your day-to-day operations, but your team are more than just cogs.
Lucia Knight, a career satisfaction coach, explained: “Many of the individuals I work with feel that no one really cares about their career within their organisation, just what’s needed from them.”
She goes on to offer a simple solution to this: “A ten-minute real listening exercise can really nip some small problems in the bud before they become big problems in the future.”
By understanding what makes your team tick, you’ll be able to help them overcome any issues and excel in their careers.
3. Leave your ego at the door
When working in a position of authority, it’s crucial to make sure you’re not abusing your power. It can be all too easy to assume that you know best…after all, you are the boss.
Not only will staff morale plummet in the shadow of your ego, but you’ll lose your objectivity, which could lead to poor business decisions. Recognise that you have teams of intelligent and enthusiastic employees at your disposal, giving you a pool of expertise to put to good use.
Sue Andrews, Business and HR Consultant at KIS Finance, recognises the importance of listening to and understanding your team. She says: “Empathy is not always at the top of the list of characteristics that people see as essential in a good leader. But without the ability to place themselves in others’ shoes, and see the wider picture, leaders run the risk of taking an autocratic approach, which may eventually prove unpopular with those around them.”
What can managers do to inspire their staff?
Although managers can fall into bad habits, there are a number of ways to make sure you’re appropriately managing your employees. Here is some guidance on how you can ensure you’re enabling your employees to flourish.
1. Invest in your staff
Your employees are your strongest commodity, so it’s only right that you invest the time into helping them grow and develop their skills. Without proper attention, you’ll find your team will quickly stagnate if they’re not pushed to achieve their highest potential.
Let your staff get their hands on an exciting new task to flex their creative muscles and break the day-to-day monotony of their regular work. This will give them something new to try, as well as show them that you have faith in their abilities. It’s also crucial to make sure you put personal development plans into place – giving your employees the chance to have a say in how they want to progress and giving you the chance to say how you’ll help them achieve it. By investing in your staff, you’re helping to shape the future leaders of your organisation.
Mireille Harper, PR & Communications at Catalyst Collective, believes that a business’ success rests on how well it can adapt to new ideas. “In today’s rapidly changing and dynamic world, our companies need the value that diversity brings. Good leaders seek to find, promote, develop and champion those who’ve historically been excluded from leadership in the workplace,” she said.
“Strong leaders can handle the ambiguity and creative tensions that come with diversity, and still foster an environment of inclusion, value and respect, where each person can show up at their best.”
2. Be transparent
If you want your employees to respect you as a manager, you need to be open and honest with them. By creating a culture of communication, you’re empowering your staff to ask more questions and gain a better understanding of the direction of your business. Showing your team that you’re all in it together is the quickest way to create a real connection – rekindling their sense of purpose and reminding them why they’re there.
3. Be a leader who inspires their team
Actions speak louder than words. Think about your own performance and how you’ve managed situations in the past. Take the time to reflect on your experiences: could you have seen better results if you had reacted differently to the situation? Every failure and success story should be used as a learning experience to help your team reach new heights and avoid mistakes. Self-reflection helps you and your team develop and shows that you’re all working towards shared targets.
Bob Bradley, Managing Director and Founder of MD2MD, knows how inspiring your staff can help your business reap the benefits. He said: “Business leaders have three choices. They can try to command hierarchical power, expert power, or respect power. The latter is the most effective for an organisation.
“Leaders must have the ability to create willing followers. Naturally, in order to do this, they must create something tangible to follow: a shared vision, a common goal, a culture, and a way of working.”
Suzanne Haughton, Recruitment Consultant for Love Energy Savings, added: “Making sure people feel involved and listened too is something that filters from the top down in our organisation and is a responsibility that every manager takes seriously. Our CEO, Phil Foster, is a great example of this. He’s currently in the middle of a project called ‘Food with Phil’; hosting sessions and bringing together teams from different departments, breaking down silos, and learning about the organisation from the people on the front line and buying everyone lunch in return. Staff feel empowered, the business benefits, and everyone gets fed.”
Working with people is great, but taking care of a whole team requires much more work than you can imagine.
Thankfully, we live in a time when employers pay a lot of attention to making their employees happy, satisfied, more productive, and motivated. Trends come and go, but there are ones proven to deliver results, no matter the kind of company being discussed.
Check out these five motivation ideas, and help provide your team with the boost they may need to achieve success.
1. Team exercise
Starting the day with exercise is a proven method that boosts creativity and strongly motivates employees. A study researched the so-called Köhler effect, which explains the correlation of increased motivation when exercising in groups. They came up with the most interesting results…
“An inferior team member performs a difficult task better in a team or coaction situation than one would expect from the knowledge of his or her individual performance. Results suggest that working out with virtually present, superior partners can improve persistence motivation.”
This is just one of the reasons why you should implement group workouts with your team. It can be early in the morning, or before or after lunch. Challenges are very efficient for the entire group – the exercise might last only 10 minutes, but will do so much good for overall productivity.
Gamification is one of the latest trends when it comes to motivating employees. Turning work into a game is risky, but it sure does yield results. The only thing you have to be careful about is not to ‘over-gamify’. So start thinking of fun, exciting ways to have the team do the job through a game.
Use it once in a while, and everyone will be more creative, productive, and motivated. Every game should end with a reward for the winner – think of badges for milestones, gifts, and of course, praise!
3. Empower them with better tools
Everyone wants to work at a place equipped with the latest tools. It’s not only tech firms who need gadgets, and you can boost motivation in the workplace by purchasing some new tools that are better and more efficient compared to ones you had before.
The team will be able to get the work done much faster, and they will be stimulated to perform better. It will be an investment that brings results right away. If you are seriously thinking of implementing this tip, you can use some of these discount codes for the best prices available.
4. Attend events as a team
Enjoying social events can help a lot with team bonding and boosting motivation. People love working in companies that also pay attention to this social factor.
Spending eight hours in an office together will not help people get to know their colleagues as much as you might think. Some of the best and simplest ideas are to organise a lunch, breakfast, or dinner once a month, or to schedule a game day, cocktail night, party and more.
Yes, you are working as a team, but every single employee is different and has a different way of communicating. Make sure that you manage them as individuals and not only as a group.
People have diverse characters, so to push them and boost the motivation you have to pay attention to each individual. Take five minutes for a quick meeting with each employee at least once a month. Get to know them well, and it will pay off for the whole team.