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3min650

An upcoming webinar will discuss the importance of trust in organisations and different ways of adapting to the current climate with reinvented leadership styles.

Hosted by Awards International in partnership with BlueSky and Capita, the free webinar will take place on June 4 at 10.30am BST on Zoom video conferencing platform.

The last decade has been characterised by scandals involving people in influential or senior positions. People in jobs we once respected and looked up to are now regarded with suspicion with only 38% of people saying they trust what their CEO says about their organisation.

Trust is a huge organisational issue and especially relevant in the current climate. Remote working and long-distance leadership are posing a range of challenges most of which are predicated on our confidence or trust in others. Many leaders are having to find new ways of working and for some that has meant adjusting their leadership style, letting go of some elements of control, and empowering their people remotely to ensure that roles and tasks are fulfilled.

The free webinar will cover the latest insight across three pertinent topic areas:

  • Exploring how trust is built and lost and the impact it has on business outcomes, along with tangible actions you can take right now to build and improve trust between the people you work with.
  • Discussing approaches to empowerment and how it is intrinsically linked to accountability, motivation and engagement and a support tool to show you how.
  • The role of leaders in role modelling high trust behaviours because in uncertain times, people look to those in positions of influence for behaviour cues. ways you can demonstrate your intent through meaningful actions

The keynote speaker will be Stu Trevena, who spent over a decade employed within learning and development for some of the most recognisable brands within the UK and has built a sound understanding of what it takes to support behavioural change to deliver results.

To register for the webinar, click here.

Be the leader your employees deserve!

 


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamApril 23, 2020
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7min857

Scotland-based butcher Donald Russell has been a highly successful mail order butchery service for almost half a century, supplying specialist grass-fed beef and lamb as well as top-quality frozen produce to consumers and leading restaurants across the UK.

Their reputation in the industry has even seen them become proud beneficiaries of a Royal Warrant, and as Online Butcher of the Year, they are in international demand, supplying to some of the most prestigious establishments worldwide.

However, they’re far from being “just another butcher”. Donald Russell’s success is down to a unique business model that’s based on cultivating close customer relationships, leveraging insights and personalising their offerings to offer a truly bespoke service to their clients.

Tradition with a twist

Donald Russell’s long-standing status as a butcher of quality had already won them a loyal following over the years. However, in order to truly become a provider for the modern age and compete with the convenience of supermarket shopping, the business was faced with the need to move with the times.

With 61% of consumers saying they would be willing to pay extra for better quality meat, and a further 30% wanting to buy meat from a local source to reduce their food miles, it was paramount that Donald Russell was still able to retain its reputation as an independent craft butcher. However, with profitability increasingly relying on consumer confidence, shifting to a digital service while maintaining traditional-provider status was essential to keep pace and foster great customer relationships.

The most important element of this digital transformation was to Introduce a feedback platform where customers could post their opinions and ratings.

This was instrumental in not only cultivating existing relationships but building a new audience – with prospective customers able to visit the website, build their own personal experience, and discover how successful the business was at meeting consumers’ expectations.

Senior managers were also then able to gauge satisfaction for individual products or quality of service, including deliveries – allowing them to tailor their service to their consumer base.

The importance of trust

While wanting to embrace greater transparency and boost customer experiences by offering review platforms, Donald Russell was also conscious of the potential for negative feedback. However, by utilising Feefo’s reviews and insights solution onto its website, they are now able to verify purchaser details to ensure only genuine consumers can post – giving greater confidence about the truthfulness of the feedback customers are reading, and eliminating fake reviews, regardless of whether they are negative or positive.

With research from Shopify showing that as many as 79% of consumers trust product reviews as much as a personal recommendation, it was clear the word-of-mouth success that Donald Russell had garnered over the years was set to be quickly replaced by a digital equivalent. Therefore, it was imperative to embrace the power of online reviews to bolster their reputation in an increasingly digital world.

With ratings and reviews now posted on the website, specific products and foods are highlighted, visible and searchable – and all potential customers have access to the full range of opinions to help them make more informed decisions.

Digitising delivery

Donald Russell was also committed to improving customer experience through a more personalised, digitised service. Thanks to a new digital business model, customers are now able to experience the traditions of craft butchery with one-click convenience – setting up an account and tailoring their own experience by storing payment cards, logging delivery addresses, using gift cards and selecting their own marketing preferences.

With a searchable library of online exclusives and customer favourites, it has been made possible for customers to find their favourite products by code or by name. They can then select the weight and quantity of the items they want to buy, add them to a virtual basket, and check out with a single click of the mouse.

What’s more, there is a whole host of at-a-click recipes, guides and how-to videos to take advantage of, as well as a live chat service with an expert advisor – meaning customers can go far beyond the transactional elements of buying meat and veg to enjoy a truly personal, tailored service that meets more than just their fridge-stocking requirements.

And with a whole host of bespoke delivery options to choose from, all customers have to do next is wait for fresh produce to be delivered right to the door.

Looking to the future

Six years after embarking on their digital transformation, Donald Russell has amassed an amazing 280,000 five-star reviews, with 86% of reviews about quality of service reaching the five-star level, and 78% of product reviews achieving the maximum five-star rating.

The visibility of consumer feedback, combined with the personalised touches of how-to recipe guides and bespoke produce tailoring, has drastically boosted the consumer experience – with the transparency of feedback bolstering customers’ trust in the brand and increasing engagement.

Any online search for Donald Russell now features the company’s high volume of five-star ratings, increasing customer assurance and click-throughs – and helping to inform the launch of new products by allowing managers to gauge early reactions and make adjustments to meet customer expectations.

By embracing ever-changing consumer requirements, Donald Russell has achieved the ultimate success – becoming an undisputed leader in a niche market by cultivating close consumer relationships, personalising the provision of top-quality produce, and offering a customer experience that is truly bespoke.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamMarch 27, 2020
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3min2372

All of a sudden, the whole world is focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, and that includes your customers. Should you review and change your customer experience (CX) efforts in response? Yes. Many of the specifics vary by industry, but here are the three essential things that every company needs to focus on.

1. Start With Empathy — Understand Your Customers In This Moment

Surveys alone are not enough and will not give you the right information — especially not in this situation. To build the customer understanding required, you should:

  • Invest in having live conversations with customers now.
  • Get your research professionals onto customer service calls.
  • Proactively reach out to customers.
  • Respond with concrete steps.

 

2. Adapt Your CX Accordingly

Some parts of the experiences you’ve been delivering may have been perfect a few weeks ago but could be all wrong now:

  • Critically review the current experiences you are delivering.
  • Do the same with planned experiences.
  • Hit the pause button where needed.
  • Prioritize simplicity and clarity more than ever.

 

3. Help Your Employees Deliver Great CX Despite The Crisis

They might be frontline staff taking calls from anxious customers. They might be IT staff working around the clock to help the entire workforce be productive from home as companies ask staff to stay away from offices and work remotely. Whatever their role in your company, this is a unique moment for them as the human embodiment of your brand:

  • Employees face uncertainty and anxiety, too.
  • Customers in crisis drive up the stress level for employees
  • Invest in improving employees’ well-being — it will improve CX.

 

This article was originally posted on Forrester  and written by David Troug.

 

If you’d like to read more about these three essentials and you’re a Forrester client, see Improve Customer Experience In Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamMarch 25, 2020
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3min1025

In partnership with world-renowned CX specialist Ian Golding, we have an exciting announcement to make. 

Ian will be running a series of Online Masterclasses, giving you CX tips of the highest quality, all from the comfort of your own home! 

The two-day course will cover all the core CX competencies:

  • CX Strategy
  • Brand proposition
  • The role of employees in delivering the strategy
  • Customer journey mapping
  • CX measurement (VOC, VOE and VOP)
  • CX improvement
  • CX culture

For those taking the CCXP exam, there is the option of staying another day for an Exam Preparation Workshop, where you will receive advice on exam technique and any problem areas you might have. 

Ian is offering Online Masterclasses in three different time zones: BST, PST and EDT. These classes take place on different days, so find out which one is best for you

The next class will be for the UK timezone, and will be taking place on 6th and 7th April. Book your place now!

For those in the Benelux region, CCXP experts Marleen van Wijk and Gayana Helder will be sharing their CX knowledge. They are running two online courses, the first of which is on 14th and 15th May, with a further class held in June. These classes will be held in the Dutch language – find out more!

We’re also looking forward to launching Online Masterclasses in the Gulf and Singapore time zones – so watch this space.

If you’re currently working from home full-time, this is the perfect opportunity to sharpen your CX knowledge before returning to the office. We hope you can join us! 

 


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamMarch 24, 2020
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5min880

If you have your own business and you want to keep making it successful then, there are a lot of things that you will need to take into consideration. There are many businesses out there and each trying to be as successful as the next. When running a business, it can be hard to keep track of everything that you need to do which is why we are here to help.

Today, we will discuss the top things that you should take into consideration when running a business in 2020. If this is something that you are interested in then, make sure you keep on reading for more information.

Keep Up with Business Trends

One of the first things that you should take into consideration when you are running a business in 2020 is to make sure that you keep up with the latest business trends. This is because you want your business to stand out and to make sure that you do everything you can to make it successful. If you are running a business and you are able to keep up with the latest trends in your industry then, it means you can stand out from competitors as well as keep your business up to date with technology.

Make Sure You Set Budgets

The next thing that you should consider when it comes to running a business in 2020 is to make sure that you set budgets. This is because with technology becoming more and more advanced and prices going up for the things that you need, it can be hard to keep up with the demand. However, when you set a budget it can help you to reduce your spending and save you more money which is not only beneficial for you but, also for your business. When you set a budget, make sure you cover the costs of the things that you need to pay for such as bills, wages and equipment and keep it separate from your personal funds so that you can understand how much money you have left to work with.

Keep Employees Happy

The next thing that you will need to take into consideration when it comes to running a business in 2020 is to make sure that you keep your employees happy. This is because if you didn’t have your employees then, your business would not be able to function properly. You can’t always keep everyone happy, but it is important to be accommodating and help your employees out if they need it. For example, make sure you can accommodate holidays if you have been given reasonable amounts of notice, allow flexi time if available and give permission to leave the office in case of emergency.

Consider an Investor

If you are running a business in 2020 another thing that you might want to think about how investors can affect your business. When you have an investor as a contact for your business they can give you the funds that you need to take care of your business as well as give you advice to make your business more successful as they will have experience from working with others. If you are looking for an investor that might be interested in your business then, be sure to find out some more information about Tej Kohli and other investors that typically operate in your industry.

Make Sure You Take This Information into Consideration

Overall, there are a lot of things that you will need to take into consideration when running a business in 2020 and, in this article, we discussed some of those things that you should consider to make your business a success. If you found this interesting, make sure you keep it in mind and use it to help you.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamMarch 2, 2020
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2min838

CRM software specialists Freshworks is bringing together a community of experts in Customer Experience and IT solutions for an incredible one-day online summit.

The Refresh Connect summit is set to take place on March 12 and will feature speakers from across the globe discussing CX and tech solutions to boost business growth. The virtual gathering is being held to celebrate the launch of the new Freshworks Community – a unified platform for all content centred around CX, ITSM, sales, and marketing.

Leading the speakers on the day is Freshworks founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham (pictured), who will be joined by a line-up including Diane Magers, founder of Experience Catalysts; Nate Brown, founder of CX Accelerator; Charles Betz, Principal Analyst at Forrester, and many more.

Master the art of delivering delightful experiences to your customers across every channel— consistently. Tap into actionable insights starting from building your CX team to keeping your customers for life.

Click here to register for Freshworks’ Refresh Connect summit.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 26, 2020
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5min1217

Focusing on Customer Experience directly leads to higher business growth, reveals Adobe’s 2020 Digital Trends. 

According to the study, UK brands leading in CX were three times more likely to exceed their 2019 business goals. It was also found that those leading in CX all shared a common approach to investing more in people, technology and structures.

Now in its tenth year, the Digital Trends report, in partnership with Econsultancy, surveyed over 13,000 global marketing, advertising, ecommerce, creative and IT professionals to understand their 2019 achievements and 2020 priorities.

Alvaro Del Pozo, Vice President of Marketing, International, at Adobe said: “Today’s consumers have more choice, are better informed, and are more demanding than ever.

“A customer-led approach is no longer optional – it’s business critical. Brands need to connect with customers in more dynamic and engaging ways. By focusing on creating the right culture and team, supported by the right technology, brands will be able to react to changing customer and market needs, faster than ever.”

Businesses in the UK clearly recognise the importance of taking a customer-first approach, with almost a quarter (24 percent) of British brands ranking CX optimisation as their most exciting priority for 2020. Encouragingly, the UK’s focus on CX outranks the global and European average of 22 percent, ahead of both Germany (23 percent) and Italy (16 percent), and behind only the Nordics (26 percent) and France (25 percent).

However, a clear maturity gap has opened up between CX ambition and actual capability in several European countries, with just one in 20 brands from the UK (5 percent), Germany and the Nordics (both 6 percent) ranking their CX development as ‘very advanced’.

French brands rank themselves highest in Europe when it comes to CX maturity, with 16 percent saying their strategy and technology is aligned to the customer experience, ahead of Italy at 12 percent.

For brands seeking to close the maturity gap, they must look beyond a single piece of technology or initiative, instead focusing on creating an organisational structure and culture that adopts a customer-first model.

Having the right people will be critical for brands looking to reach CX sophistication in 2020. However, the hunt for quality talent is proving to be a challenge for many, with one-in-five (19 percent) UK businesses leading in CX, admitting that attracting and retaining talent in CX-related areas is their most pressing challenge in 2020, second only to France (20 percent) in Europe.

Perhaps more worryingly, almost a third (31 percent) of British brands say finding people with the right digital skills is preventing them from creating successful digital experiences, ahead of the European average (29 percent).

To plug the digital skills gap, particularly around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), brands must ensure they take an agile approach to upskilling, which aligns to long-term business strategy, flows from the top down, and spans the entire organisation.

 The appetite for AI and ML among UK businesses is continuing to grow in 2020, with 43 percent of British brands already using AI/ML or planning to invest this year. Brands that embrace automation possess a clear business advantage. Equipped with the ability to make intelligent real-time decisions that are personalised to the individual, businesses will be closer to their customers than ever before.

Encouragingly, a third of UK companies cite targeting and personalisation as their main area of focus in 2020 – while one in five say data-driven marketing that’s focused on the individual is their top priority, ranking ahead of both France (11 percent) and Germany (15 percent). This indicates that commitment to automation will only continue to grow this year and beyond.

Click here to download the full 2020 Digital Trends report.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 19, 2020
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2min1627

Digital CX technology and services company TTEC has announced a strategic partnership with software firm Pegasystems, Inc, to offer clients “industry-leading digital transformation solutions” to optimise Customer Experience within their contact centres. 

With the partnership, Pega’s intelligent automation and customer engagement suite, combined with TTEC’s Customer Experience as a Service platform, will provide the backbone of optimised, digitally driven employee and customer experiences managed by TTEC Digital.

As part of the strategic partnership, TTEC and Pega will go to market together, accelerating autonomous and augmented CX across the front, mid and back office to enable a one-office contact centre solution for customers.

Jonathan Lerner, President of TTEC Digital said: “We were deliberate in choosing Pega as a best-of-breed software partner to significantly strengthen the power of TTEC’s CX as a Service platform for clients. We are excited to go to market together with unparalleled solutions that empower human-centric digital transformation at the world’s leading organisations.”

Eric Musser, VP, Partner Ecosystems, Pegasystems added: “As consumers demand better customer experiences when interacting with contact centres, organisations need the technology to modernise and optimise their operations to meet these high expectations.

“This partnership with TTEC will help us better enable our clients with industry-leading, AI-based solutions that help fulfill their digital transformation goals within their contact centres.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 10, 2020
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8min2055

Customers are truly the heartbeat of any business – treat them well, and the rest of your business ticks.

Treat them otherwise, by failing to satisfy their pain points, and they have no problem bad-mouthing your brand. And guess what – bad-mouthing is just the least of your problems when you deliver a poor Customer Experience to your audiences.

In this highly competitive world, customers have no problem jumping on the next moving train – your competitors – when you don’t give them the best of experiences, or at the very least, an equivalent of what your competitors are offering.

I’m pretty sure no business owner wants that. So to avoid that, it is imperative that you understand the concept of customer experience perfectly well. To this end, here are a few tips to get you started on that front.

Know your customers

Take it or leave it; a business isn’t only about delivering products or offering your services – instead, it is as much about your offerings as it is about the manner in which you’re going about it.

Even if you have the best of solutions to the pain points of your target audience, you still won’t be able to convince anyone to keep patronising you if you don’t offer them an awesome Customer Experience. And the first step you need to take to achieve that is by understanding your customers.

I know you’ve probably read that somewhere before, but trust me, there is no giving anyone an awesome experience if you don’t understand what exactly appeals to them. Do you have a customer base that appreciates visual and not audio communication, or a base that hates long queues, or perhaps your customers are the type that fancy engagement?

Whatever the case may be, trying to decipher the nature of your customers is absolutely a great step in the right direction.

Enhance the experience you’re offering by going multichannel

It is true that we now live in a digital age serviced by social media.

As such, your customers are most likely scattered on the different platforms of social media. To enhance the experience they’re getting from you, try to interact with them on the platforms they enjoy most. Even though you cannot afford to be present on all social platforms, at least being active and engaging on the most popular ones should do your customer base a whole lot of good.

Creating a profile on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, etc., will go a long way in addressing issues, complaints, worries, and solving problems as soon as customers demand it.

This tip is not only essential for businesses looking to build a loyal customer base, but also for existing businesses with an already established base – especially if you’re in dire of a larger revenue generation to combat your business debt.

Use Customer Experience innovation to raise the bar

Look at the Customer Experience of Apple, Disney, and Tesla – what are they doing differently?

They use innovation in their approach to Customer Experience to connect with their customers and stand out from the rest. Innovative solutions are not only authentic and effective, but they are also cost-efficient as well.

Little wonder why we constantly see these brands enjoying great profit margins, and not having to worry too much about common business issues like how to resolve debt, or what an IVA’s ability is in combating debt or how to stop bailiffs from disrupting visiting their companies.

Develop a CX management program

Customer experience management (CEM) is the art of controlling, tracking, and designing customer interactions at all touchpoints to meet or exceed customer demands. There are many benefits of CEM, such as increased loyalty, engagement, and positive word-of-mouth marketing, all of which ultimately leads to greater revenue generation.

Work on developing an active CEM program in your business to proactively improve the Customer Experience at every step along the customer journey. Additionally, in the event that your business becomes burdened with debt and you need debt help like Moorcroft , this strategy can help you generate as much revenue as you may need to settle your debt.

Let your customers help themselves with self service

Modern customers don’t want you to help them – ideally, they would want to help themselves.

According to a recent study, 45 percent of companies offering web or mobile self-service reported an increase in site traffic and reduced phone inquiries. Post resources, books, and FAQs on your website to help customers service themselves and look for solutions to their problems.

Think about it, what would you rather do – wait in line for an agent to answer your query, or browse a forum to look for the answer?


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 5, 2020
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7min1623

2019 was a milestone year for IBM, marking its 30th year as official supplier of information technology and consultant to the All England Club and The Championships, Wimbledon.

Wimbledon is the long-standing jewel in the crown of IBM’s live projects. Every year, behind the scenes, IBM analyses millions of live data points that continuously drive Wimbledon’s iconic pursuit of greatness – from match and player statistics to weather forecasts, cyber security events, and website visits.

All this is key to ensuring flawless delivery of the world class Championships and its connected fan experience.

Challenge

IBM’s global agency of record and partner for over 25 years, George P. Johnson (GPJ) was last year tasked with creating an experience that raised awareness of IBM’s ground-breaking work on the tournament through innovation.

The experience marketing agency needed to create a tech installation that brought IBM’s involvement in Wimbledon to life – increasing brand awareness by surprising and provoking intrigue amongst the general public, complimenting wider Wimbledon IBM client hospitality activities, and ultimately increasing the brand’s sales pipeline.

Solution

Building on the Wimbledon theme of ‘Tennis in an English Garden’, GPJ created the IBM Technology Garden, a unique real-time data activation.

Complex data sets captured by IBM were translated into mesmerising data visualisations in the form of digital flowers. These interactive visual representations of IBM’s impact on the game, the fan-experience and global media allowed visitors to read, experience, and understand how IBM brings The Championships to life through innovation.

Enticing, inspiring, and designed to encourage interaction, each visualisation constantly evolved and transformed to surprise the audience – enhanced by every serve, shot and point of the Wimbledon Championships. 

The spectacle centred on watching the flowers grow as they were ‘fed’ IBM’s tournament data, made possible by GPJ’s longstanding partnership with IBM, which allowed the agency to utilise the real-time data collected for the installation.

Power flower: The IBM Technology Garden at last year’s Wimbledon Championships

Every flower was uniquely created based on live data and structured using biological building blocks, beautifully brought to life and nurtured in the Technology Garden.

The forms were driven by the concept of morphogenesis; a biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape. GPJ perceived this as a metaphor for the flexibility of IBM’s software offering, that can constantly change and adapt to the rising challenges imposed by Wimbledon and our ever-growing data-driven world.

Designed to reveal IBM’s hidden story, the Garden acted as a catalyst to conversations with customers at the official Championships. Whilst live data drove the activation, the focus was on demystifying and simplifying complex data sets for the audience. These were captured across five areas throughout the day with different IBM solutions:

  • Fan Engagement – IBM Cloud and AI
  • Match data – IBM Cloud and AI
  • Weather data – IBM Watson Analytics
  • Cyber Security – IBM Security
  • Website visits – IBM Cloud and AI

GPJ used colours from both the IBM brand guidelines and the shades of UV light photography, a technique used by scientists to expose patterns visible only to insects; like bees that can see a wider spectrum of light than humans, to echo that there’s more to IBM’s role in the Championships than meets the eye.

To support the installation, GPJ designed an interactive iPad app that allowed audiences to navigate the live datasets, showing both the raw numbers and how they influenced a given flower.

The digital activation was built with reuse in mind, allowing highlights of the 2019 Championships to be replayed and relived. Firstly, travelling around the UK to multiple IBM events and then finally taking centre stage at IBM’s UK client centre – increasing the value of its creation for IBM by using it across multiple events throughout the year.

Verdict

Across two weeks, GPJ created 2,000 unique versions of the installation, with approximately 20,000 people experiencing the IBM Technology Garden.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJanuary 30, 2020
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11min2423

Contact centres have become as synonymous with scripts and targets as meerkats are with price comparison websites.

So what happens when you rewrite the rule book and take a completely different approach to customer service?

CXM spoke with Caroline King, Director of Sales and Service at insurance firm Ageas, about how challenging the status quo and switching to a systemic approach has reaped benefits for customers, staff and the company’s bottom line.

The firm won Gold in the Contact Centre Large category at the 2019 UK Customer Experience Awards last October, which topped off a three-year “transformational journey”.

Caroline said: “I’ve spent my entire professional life running contact centres and there’s always been an industry-wide perception that people are just there to answer the phones and complete the transactions. That’s it.

Listening to customers: Ageas’ Caroline King

“I suppose there’s an element of truth in there, but we wanted to change that at Ageas. We exist to make insurance easy and actually a pre-requisite to that is really listening to the customer, to understand their needs, rather than complying with a pre-prescribed script.

“How can you truly help someone if you’re not listening, how can you truly listen if you’re confined by a set of standard questions and how can we meet each customer’s nominal value with set processes too rigid to cope with the inevitable variation humans bring to conversations?”

In a world where consumers are bombarded with more information and data than ever before, Ageas’ focus is to make insurance easy. It’s one of the largest insurers in the UK and offers a range of general insurance products to around five million customers through its direct brands Ageas and Rias, and through brokers and high-profile brand partners.

Ageas’ sales and service operation is based across three sites: Bournemouth, Gloucester, and Stoke, and its team of more than 780 deals with four million calls every year.

“We knew a transformation project of this scale would be a big undertaking,” said Caroline.

“We had to help hundreds of people understand their job isn’t to answer the phone, it’s to make insurance easy for our customers. For anyone to go from transaction to a purpose-driven function is a big change. As leaders it is our job to create the culture that allows delivery in this way to thrive. That means letting go of some of the ingrained beliefs and biases that exist in all of us, which is easier said than done.”

Ageas’ transformation programme was driven by its ambition to grow in the increasingly competitive general insurance market.

The company’s senior management team knew it needed to tackle the competitive market challenges in order to grow. But rather than taking the traditional answer to contact centre performance – setting higher targets – it set about creating a cultural change that would ultimately engage its people, improve customer service, increase income and lower costs.

“The first step was getting people on-board and ready to take that journey with us,” Caroline continued.

“We called it ‘Destination Brilliant’ and developed the ‘Ageas Way’, which states our customer purpose and focused on nine redesign principles which describe the future of service delivery – the destination if you like. We created the mechanisms for everyone to test every action against our purpose and those principles and decide if it was the right thing for the customer.

“We changed so many things that are synonymous with contact centres. When you think about it, it’s bizarre that contact centres take these vivacious, energetic people then train them to follow a script and turn them into robots. Consumers don’t like robots, they like other humans.

“So we threw away the rulebook and started to trust our people to have more open conversations with customers. We removed unnecessary complexity, measured the outcomes in a different way and allowed them to really listen to what the customer wanted and deliver on whatever that need was. Of course being in the heavily regulated financial industry, there are some instances where we still have to use scripts but on the whole we’re so much more flexible.

“We were then able to educate our teams to understand and call out failure demand and waste and involved them in designing those things out.”

The Ageas team collect their trophy at the UK Customer Experience Awards in Wembley Stadium

Another huge change for Ageas was removing target-driven bonuses.

“I can see how, from the outside, it could be considered a big gamble,” said Caroline.

“It’s definitely a switch from the status quo. But it’s really worked and we’ve found staff are happier. What we’ve said to our consultants is: ‘We’ll trust you and take away the ambiguity of what you might earn each month’. Now they get a flat bonus up-front.

“We’ve redefined a good day’s work. Now it’s not how many products they’ve sold, it’s the feedback from customers that matters.”

Ageas has stopped measuring contact centre success solely through sales volumes and replaced it with what’s important to customers. It now provides consultants with real-time feedback from customers on experience and ease of service.

The results of Ageas’ transformation programme have been, perhaps unsurprisingly, transformational. The company’s net promoter score has increased by an impressive 14 points to 40.

Customer retention has increased, processing time for all customer account functions has reduced from days to minutes and Ageas’ Trust Pilot score is now 4.5/5 (excellent).

Operating costs have reduced and first contact resolution has improved by seven points – meaning 100,000 less calls to the Bournemouth site alone every year.

Caroline said: “What’s been really rewarding is to see the impact on our teams. 94% of employees believe the programme has made a positive difference to their role and we’re seeing unprecedented low levels of employee absence and attrition.”

Looking ahead, Caroline says she refuses to rest on her laurels.

“You can never take your foot off the pedal. This is not a sprint, this is a long distance marathon and we’ve got to keep doing more of what we’ve done.

“Across the whole customer service industry, no matter what sector you’re in, it’s the same – customer expectations are changing. What we all need to do to give good customer service and excel.

“In insurance, particularly with the rise in price comparison websites, there’s not much differential in price so standing out in terms of service is even more important. Customers tell us their number one priority is ease of business and luckily for them we’re not just good at making insurance easy; it’s everything we stand for.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJanuary 21, 2020
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9min1745

The first annual sales drop since 1995 is a blow to British retail, but it’s only the latest in a series of setbacks.

In the past 10 years, high street institutions such as BHS, and Barratts and Maplin have toppled like dominos, with Mothercare UK the latest to enter administration in 2019. Now, the news that retail is suffering its leanest time in decades comes as more confirmation of the obvious than a reason to hit the alarm bell.

Blame for this decline is typically laid at one door: ecommerce. Offering limitless choice, low prices and greater convenience, online shopping has rapidly won consumer hearts and purchases. But while it accounts for a sizeable slice of spend, ecommerce doesn’t have a monopoly – accounting for 19 percent of UK sales.

So, why is retail struggling?

According to the experts, the industry’s current plight isn’t just about online versus offline; it’s also about the evolution of consumer habits. To survive, retailers must adapt their strategies and experiences to the new world of multi-media shopping.

CXM spoke to industry experts to gauge their thoughts on what’s next for retail…

Sandra Loeffler, Regional Vice President, EMEA, Nielsen Marketing Effectiveness

“Amongst political and economic uncertainty, rising competition from ecommerce, and a new generation of hyper-connected consumers who are making fewer trips to bricks and mortar locations, the current challenges facing the retail sector are understandable.

“At Nielsen we have been surprised to see that some marketing strategy is still being driven by perceptions and old school metrics rather than hard data, leading to budget waste and missed opportunities. But in today’s highly competitive world, this approach won’t provide brands with the insight they need to uncover the consumer decision process, which is influenced by many factors long before the shopper sets foot in the store. 

“Tapping into data generated from consumer-brand interactions, online and offline, enriched by meaningful and actionable analytics is critical to not only understand shopping habits and improve marketing effectiveness, but to also make more informed decisions in areas such as forecasting products with higher return, optimising retail assortment, improving customer loyalty, and securing the right store location. 

“Retailers who smartly analyse and adapt to the purchase behaviour of consumers – anticipating their wants and needs, offering the right product, in the right place, at the right time, and for the right price – will have a better chance to withstand the challenges.”

Andrew Morsy, Managing Director International at Peer39

“Last year’s poor retail performance, particularly during the festive months, is further reason for e-commerce and all retail brands to focus on placing their seasonal ad campaigns in the right environments. Customers are increasingly cautious with their purchasing habits, which means retailers need to be certain their offerings are highly relevant to consumers – reaching them at the right place and time to drive a sale.

“The best way to optimise ad placements is by ensuring they appear in the right environment. As an example, when individuals consume online content about holiday destinations, in that moment they are more likely to be responsive to brands offering airline tickets, travel insurance, or accommodation. Understanding and analysing context and sentiment is key to targeting consumers, and for marketers to determine the most relevant environments for digital campaigns. With effective placements, retailers can be sure to not miss out on revenue during the prime months when consumers are looking to spend.”

John Squire, CEO at DynamicAction

“While 2019 saw bright spots for customers, with free shipping more available than ever and delivery times cut dramatically, this didn’t translate into success for retailers. In addition, initial indicators are showing that vital Christmas profits have also taken a hit, with returns in 2019 starting as early as November (up an average of 11 percent 17th of Nov through the end of 2019), kicking off the ‘Retail Vortex’ of increased returns, higher marketing costs, and inventory concerns.

“Retailers continued to up their marketing spend per order during the ever-earlier ramp up to Christmas, offering incentives of free shipping and discounts that monumentally impacted their already thin margins. 

“These factors highlight retailers’ increasing efforts to compete with retail giants like Amazon and innovative DTCs like Birchbox. But attempting to emulate its offerings without understanding the value to your unique shopper can be costly. Retailers must ensure they balance the rising costs of luring in customers with the significant impact of high promotions and numerous returns. 

“The retailers who are going to survive are the ones that understand the key elements eroding their profit, allowing them to steer away from the “Retail Vortex” and create strategies to understand the tactics that will truly drive profit. To achieve this, retailers in 2020 must move away from the antiquated goals of the high street’s heyday to embrace the necessities of the digital age.”

Jeff Pfefferkorn, Head of UK Sales at MainAd

“The biggest decrease in retail sales in 25 years is disappointing and highlights a disconnect between consumer spending and brands’ marketing budgets, as the latter has remained stable in the past year. For retailers, this strongly suggests their marketing strategies could be improved to be more effective at generating conversions.

To recapture consumer attention and counteract this dip in sales retailers should adopt highly tailored, dynamic targeting methods to deliver impactful digital ads, and strengthen their brand message across their wider marketing channels. They should also turn to alternative platforms, such as in-app advertising, which have the potential to reach a more receptive consumer and produce a greater response.” 


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJanuary 16, 2020
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16min2843

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.

Jon Lucas

“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.

Tom Needs

“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.

Paul Zuidema

“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.

Krishna Subramanian

“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.

Tulin Green

“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.

Jan van Vliet

“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.

Nir Polak

“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.

Liam Butler

“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.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJanuary 16, 2020
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7min966

Customer Experience Magazine is profiling the top 10 Professionals and Influencers from our Top 50 CX Stars list.

Here we look at Number 2 in each category. Nick Macfarlane of Sky is today’s featured Professional, and our Influencer is Ian Golding.

We welcome feedback on our CX Stars list, and all correspondence should be sent to paul@cxm.world.

 

Number 2

Nick McFarlane

Head of Customer Experience at Sky Spain

Nick McFarlane has been living and breathing Customer Experience since 2005 when he joined Renault UK as a Senior Customer Relations Manager, and has since cultivated his skills in CX roles at household brands Vodafone and Sky.

Reading-based Nick joined Sky in 2011 as a Senior Customer Experience Manager for their Broadband & Talk division before going on to develop the end-to-end CX roadmap in the vital role of Customer Journey Programme Manager.

He is now Head of Customer Experience for Sky Spain, and helped design the journey for Spanish customers in what was Sky’s first ever organic launch in a new country.

It’s a changing world for the pillars of traditional media, and the behemoths such as Sky have a need for laser-focussed customer insight as it adapts to new landscapes. Looking at the last two decades alone, significant changes have included a boom in digital subscribers, and the launch of services including Sky Broadband.

Dramatic evolving of services requires the skilful handling of customers, and Sky continues to be in good hands with Nick as he brings his leadership and drive to Sky’s newest market in Spain. There he has helped build an enterprise-wide CX function that gathers insight from across all touchpoints and turns it into tangible benefits.

His success with leading CX in Spain is also inspiring Sky as it look towards other overseas markets.

Nick says: “For me, great Customer Experience is all about creating a human connection and keeping it simple.”

Nick is a devotee of the contact centre, and believes it to be the nucleus of any firm’s Customer Experience delivery. In recent years he has begun preaching his vision with a busy schedule of keynote speaking engagements, from Europe to Australia, where he presents his Five Rules for Great CX to eager audiences.

 

Number 2

Ian Golding

Ian Golding’s influence has grown exponentially in recent years as he coaches the CX stars of the future not just in the UK, but across the world.

His CX Masterclass, in both the UK and the UAE, is responsible for revamping the CX strategies for countless firms, from bigger brands to budding start-ups, and through his Customer Experience Consultancy is setting the standard for other firms in the ever-growing consultancy realm to match.

Ian was the first person in the world to be authorised by the Customer Experience Professionals Association to teach the CCXP accreditation, and it is estimated that he has mentored up to a quarter of all of the world’s qualified CCXPs to date.

His 2018 debut work, Customer What?: The honest and practical guide to customer experience is a key text for not just budding CX professionals, but any business owner with a desire for success in an era when the customer is calling the shots.

Ian’s inspirations include Jeff Bezos and Satya Nadella, recognised for their pioneering work in transforming the relationship between customer and brand, but Ian admits his biggest inspiration in CX is simply the enthusiastic members of the CX community that he meets and inspires himself, on his global mission to supercharge Customer Experience.

Ian says: “Creating an emotional link with customers demonstrates the ability to identify the ‘WOW moments’ in the customer journey – the compelling brand proposition that leaves customers in no doubt as to why they keep coming back – and telling all their friends to do the same.”

In 2020, Customer Experience will continue to shape the modern business landscape, while Ian himself will continue to shape our understanding of Customer Experience.

Click here for profiles of our Number 3 Professionals and Influencers.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamOctober 28, 2019
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6min2273

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.

Research

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.

Practise

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.

Rest

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.

It is your chance to impress.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamOctober 24, 2019
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2min2342

A new e-book on successfully implementing tried-and-tested Employee Experience initiatives is available for free from the World Employee Experience Institute (WEEI).

Ben Whitter is the founder of the WEEI, and the world’s foremost expert on Employee Experience. Successfully leading the Employee Experience (EX) Masterclass, Ben has also authored what has become the go-to guide for helping organisations maintain staff productivity, Employee Experience: Develop a Happy, Productive and Supported Workforce for Exceptional Individual and Business Performance.

Now a new publication is available as a free download, based on research carried out with Holistic EX Practitioner and CCXP Robert Pender.

Ben Whitter (left) and Robert Pender

In it, readers will learn practical tips on establishing EX foundations and specific considerations for EX practitioners to implement. Full of tips and valuable EX insight, A Practical Guide to Implementing and Succeeding with Employee Experience is essential reading, and available absolutely free of charge.

 

 

 

 


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamOctober 18, 2019
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10min1944

A new book by Daniel Bausor and Chris Adlard explores how businesses are adapting to growth in the age of customer centricity.

The Customer Catalyst: How to Drive Sustainable Business Growth in the Customer Economy is available now, published by Wiley.

In this exclusive book excerpt for Customer Experience Magazine, the authors explores why CEOs must embrace the new customer economy, or face extinction…

Catalysts for change: Authors Chris Adlard (left) and Daniel Bausor

 

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.

 


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamOctober 18, 2019
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14min1569

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.

Participants explored concerning data highlighted by Forrester, which shows that Customer Experience performance has fallen flat for the third year in a row.

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.

Concerned: Ian Golding

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.” 

Steve Curtin

“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.

Get personal: Peter Dorrington

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!

  


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamOctober 9, 2019
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4min2286

Most UK employees anticipate a positive impact from artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, a new report from Genesys has revealed.

The global leader in omnichannel Customer Experience and 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.”

To obtain the full survey report or for more information, contact genesys@whiteoaks.co.uk.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamOctober 8, 2019
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3min2894

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.”
To register for the webinar, click here



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