Dean HarropDean HarropJune 6, 2019
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4min1175

In theory, it has never been easier for consumers to communicate with your business…but are the choices suitable and easy to access?

Today’s consumers demand instant, fast, on-the-go interaction with companies, which is why web chats, texts, and social media have fast become many people’s preferred way of ‘talking’ with a brand. We live in a multi-channel landscape where real time responses are the norm and public conversations on social media can make or break a brand and its reputation.

Multi-channel contact centre solutions enable companies to manage different forms of communication by routing them via a single engine and delivering them to a correctly skilled customer service agent in the shortest possible time. Such advances in communication technology are to be welcomed as they enable contact centres to manage the flow of information and prioritise those interactions that require an urgent response.

The very nature of multimedia contact centres means employees are required to deal with a number of forms of communication, enabling a smooth and consistent customer experience to be delivered.

As the ‘face’ of the business, agents can make or break a customer relationship. Adaptability has become a key quality so they can demonstrate the values of their business regardless of the channel being used. The ability to write appropriately and clearly for different channels is vital.

Modern agents are multitaskers who can handle more than one customer interaction at a time – without causing delays to responses. Historically they have been hindered by multiple applications running on separate systems. Today it is possible to use one user interface to manage multiple mediums of communication.

New era: Customer communication is evolving…and so must contact centres

A modern, reliable solution coupled with thorough training means consumers are now able to interact with an agent who is not flustered and can stay in control of multiple interactions. Regular monitoring of the interaction volumes and quality of consumer experience for each channel should ensure that the training requirements are identified and provided.

This measurement – including recording and reporting across all interactions – enables businesses to develop and improve their Customer Experience. In addition, multichannel contact centres can deliver cost benefits such as dealing with social media alongside voice, emails, web chats and text.

Standing still is not an option. The emergence of robots and automated messaging is reducing the burden on contact centres by responding to routine enquiries. Research shows there is growing interest among organisations in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools which can help businesses improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.

Deloitte says that multiple robots can be seen as a “virtual workforce – a back office processing centre but without the human resources”.

Other researchers argue that RPA actually frees up employees to deliver skilled and creative work, suggesting that robots and humans are most effective when working together.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 5, 2019
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3min1264

Slow service is enough for more than half of British customers to ditch a brand, according to a new survey.

A poll of 2,000 UK consumers revealed that 56 percent would stop shopping with a brand that forced them to endure slow customer service. The survey by contact centre cloud solutions provider 8×8 also found that almost two-thirds (64 percent) of people have been frustrated at the length of time it has taken a customer service team at a company to solve a problem.

The time it took to get through to someone is the most common reason people lose patience with a customer service team (36 percent), followed by having to wait to get their query resolved (30 percent). Quick and easy access to contact information is also a key factor, as a quarter (25 percent) have lost patience by having to wade through too many screening questions in order to access contact information.

When asked about the types of businesses they are most likely to lose patience with, customers named utilities and telecom firms in the top spot (33 percent), followed by retail (24 percent), and local government (21 percent). This suggests that organisations in these sectors are at the greatest risk of losing customers to slow service.

To help them get an answer in the quickest and easiest way possible, 78 percent of Brits expect companies to provide multiple channels to contact their customer service team on, such as phone, email, web chat, and social media. Despite this, over half (58 percent) of businesses still only offer one communication channel to contact customer service teams – an experience 52 percent of Brits find frustrating.

Mary Ellen Genovese, MD of European Operations, 8×8, said: “We all expect companies to deliver a fast and joined-up response to our queries regardless of their nature. Our research reveals speed is everything – consumers have little patience for slow service and, when frustrated, won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere.

“Businesses that don’t meet customer expectations risk losing out to faster competitors, not just over established channels such as phone and email, but across web chat and social media too.”

The research also reveals that customers expect traditional channels to deliver a faster response rate. When asked which customer service platforms they lose patience with the most, 37 percent said phone, compared to just 12 percent for email and 10 percent for live chat.


Colin HayColin HayJune 4, 2019
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6min1443

We often hear about customer service being increasingly used as a business differentiator, but what does this really mean?

After all, customer service comes in many guises and means different things to different people. Some people simply want fast service at the right price while eBay devotees revel in the thrill of the auction without speaking to another human being. In general, speed and efficiency are all that matters, together with regular text or email updates of delivery dates and guarantees that credit card details are secure at all times.

On the other hand, consumers looking for support with complex, confidential, or emotionally sensitive matters would soon lose faith or be truly offended if they were treated as just another transaction on an endless conveyor belt of products. Adding agility to improve service levels is nothing new, but how often do we hear about businesses creating a kinder Customer Experience to stand out from the crowd?

Ombudsman: Bringing kindness to customer interactions in the real world

A kinder Customer Experience is a concept that Puzzel customer Ombudsman Services, the leading private dispute and resolution service, understands intuitively and shared at our Get Connected conference last year. Since the beginning of 2018, Ombudsman has practically re-invented its QA framework by deploying speech analytics in the contact centre to record 252,000 calls across all sectors. The organisation has successfully used voice recognition technology to capture 80 different phrases sorted into 12 categories. This established that nearly 30 percent of calls relate to dealing with someone in a vulnerable position, for example coping with mental health issues, losing their health or jobs, or just trying to stay warm.

The technology provides valuable insight into each call and caller, and strategically spots trends that identify the top issues facing all UK customers today. These powerful insights are essential to helping agents truly understand real-life consumer situations and as a result, respond with empathy and kindness as well as offer practical advice.

3 ways to create a kind Customer Experience

With a few simple strategies, every organisation is capable of winning customers over through efficient, yet kind, conversations. Here are three ways to get you started:

1. Have the right team on your side

Kindness starts from within and it starts from the top. Hire leaders who show dedication to building positive contact centres where agents care for each other as well as for their customers. Look for agents who combine passion with compassion. These are the ones who intuitively understand a customer’s emotional state then use this knowledge to solve customer problems in a highly personalised and meaningful way.

2. Overcome the fear of new technology

Introducing new technology can be an exercise of winning over hearts and minds, especially when people have faith in their traditional ways of working. What’s more, by its very nature speech analytics has a strong element of ‘big brother’ and can strike fear into the most confident employees. Overcome resistance to change by highlighting the undoubted benefits of automation. For example, accurate recording of calls that liberates language and empowers agents to engage more effectively with customers while providing high levels of transparency to build trust with each other and with customers.

3. Use knowledge to build a circle of continuous kindness

Understanding your customers’ requirements now and in the past is the first step towards treating them with kindness. Combine traditional resources of FAQs on websites with the use of chatbots to grow knowledge bases by feeding back useful information based on customer enquiry patterns. Add predictive analytics to tap into past resolutions, to  support similar scenarios in the future and pre-empt issues before they become real problems. Then combine with speech analytics to highlight proactive opportunities for kindness.

The latest cloud-based omnichannel contact centres integrate seamlessly with speech analytics technology to analyse and search 100 percent of recorded customer calls in real-time, helping them to glean valuable intelligence from thousands – even millions – of customer calls quickly and efficiently.

Highly sophisticated, today’s technology can even identify dialects, regional accents, and slang in addition to detecting the usual keywords and phrases over multiple time periods. Innovative ‘TellMeWhy’ features also help organisations quickly identify potential underlying root causes for specific calls. This all-important data should be added to the knowledge base as part of a vital circle of continuous improvement and shared learning.


Alex BlackAlex BlackMay 17, 2019
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8min1020

Organisations of all shapes and sizes are looking to migrate from traditional PBX telecoms platforms to unified communications (UC) environments, integrating their contact centre for greater collaboration. The market is growing robustly. A recent report by Global Market Insights estimated the Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) market size at over US$32 billion in 2018, with a CAGR of 8% from 2019 to 2025.

The rationale for businesses to move to UC environments is certainly clear.  Businesses increasingly understand the limitations of the traditional PBX model around scalability, complexity and having a single point of failure. They increasingly appreciate the benefits of moving to UC around faster return on investment, greater collaboration, lower total cost of ownership; streamlined operational processes and enhanced productivity. And they see all this as key to their digital transformation.

They know too that in the context of the contact centre, the enhanced collaborative functionality that migration can deliver will allow them to provide a consistently outstanding customer experience around the clock, make life easier for hard-working agents and employees and sweat their investments and save money on management.

Yet while many customer-facing businesses have undertaken the journey to unified communications and collaboration, many still hold back. Some have installed solutions like Microsoft Skype for Business or even Microsoft Teams but are running them in the background and are still using traditional PBXs as their primary telecoms switch.

So what is deterring these organisations?  Some pause on their journey waiting for new solutions or upgrades to be introduced by the leading platform vendors. Many others are concerned about the risk involved in migrating systems and moving from old infrastructure to new. And that is making it difficult to set out on the migration path at all. They have ruled out a big bang approach due to sweating down existing assets and they want flexibility and choice across the whole journey.

That’s why they need the peace of mind and reassurance that comes from working with solutions providers and implementation and support partners that are vendor and platform-agnostic; can integrate with all leading UC platforms –  from Microsoft to Avaya to Cisco –  and have migration at the heart of their strategy. Working alongside its partners, Enghouse Interactive is well-suited to achieve all this.

Driven by the need to achieve digital transformation and the desire to use it to deliver enhanced customer engagement, more and more businesses are looking to work closely with customer communications experts to help them assess their possible migration paths, choose the best option, then transition them smoothly and with minimal disruption to their existing operations. The approach needs to be open and flexible.  Whether organisations are looking to move from premise to premise, or premise to cloud, or thinking about migrating from one vendor to another, or one UC product to another within a single vendor environment, solutions providers and their channel partners need to be able to take customers on their digital transformation-driven  journey and ensure they reach their desired end destination.

That removes some serious headaches for customer-facing organisations, of course. Instead of fretting and worrying about their communications journey, they can let their solutions and implementation provider partners concern themselves with building a UC environment and connecting the contact centre. That in turn leaves the business itself free to concentrate on its overall network environment strategy, content in the knowledge that its migration journey to digital is being managed and de-risked.

Enghouse recommends and implements a phased migration for its customers. In any migration to a new telecoms infrastructure it is important to have the old and the new platforms running simultaneously (and both connected) so that if a technical problem occurs with the new system, or if there is a mis-configuration, for example,  agents can be quickly, although temporarily, moved back to the old infrastructure desktop.

Rather than moving the whole operation over to the new system straightaway ,  the organisation concerned could move a single department over initially: the IT helpdesk, for example, and then if all goes well, move another  shortly thereafter. If something goes wrong they can simply move that individual department back, effectively de-risking and removing the friction from the whole process.

It is important to remember, though, that the migration journey is not just about infrastructure, essential though that is. Scalability is key in supporting the overall approach and ensuring that the business always has the right level of capability to support its needs at any given time. A fully scalable migration strategy can support a modular by design approach. As the organisation grows, new channels, apps and bots, for example, can be added as and when required. It is also crucial, however, that the journey can go forward and back – and with this kind of methodology, businesses can scale back their capability when strategic drivers or external circumstances dictate.

Partnering for Success

Any organisation looking to migrate its contact centre and communications infrastructure to a new platform is in a sense stepping into the unknown.  It is likely to be a completely new experience for them. They know that by making the migration they want to tap into the benefits around enhanced flexibility and productivity, increased efficiency and customer satisfaction and explore new market sectors but they are apprehensive about the journey that needs to be undertaken to help them to achieve these goals.

That’s where Enghouse and its partners can really help in reducing the risk and friction for them and guiding them on that journey to unified communications that will in turn enable them to build a more collaborative interactive and efficient contact centre and communications environment to the benefit both of their customers and themselves.

Download our latest ebook to learn more

https://enghouseresources.com/contact-centre-migration-the-collaborative-journey/?URLQueryString=CXM

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 15, 2019
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3min1365

A majority of European mid-sized call centres understand the advantage in a connected customer journey, but only 14 percent are confident in meeting current and future needs.

That is one of the findings published in a new independent research study conducted by global business consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, which found that revealed that 77 percent of call centres surveyed recognise the connected customer journey as elevating their competitive advantage and having an immediate impact on their business.

The report, Midsized Call Centres Take a Digital-first Approach; Cloud Solutions to Power Customer Service in 2019, explores what CX means to mid-sized organisations in terms of business impact, priorities, and technological maturity.

The report is based on a survey of 600 business and IT leaders across 26 countries involved in defining and implementing customer service strategies. One-third of respondents were based in Europe, with the research conducted in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and The Netherlands.

More than 40 percent of survey respondents believe anticipating and catering to consumer needs are by far the most important capabilities in providing good Customer Experience. In Europe, 76 percent of mid-sized call centres surveyed indicate the ongoing digital disruptions across industries will significantly impact them. As a result, such call centres are accelerating investments in digital channels and emerging technologies.

Executive Vice-President of report sponsors PureCloud at Genesys, Olivier Jouve, said: “It’s no surprise that the majority of organisations are looking to cloud, AI, and big data to deliver the kind of experiences consumers expect today. For smaller organisations, a cloud-based, omnichannel contact centre is the best way to deliver predictive and personalised service across every channel.”

 


Jeremy PayneJeremy PayneApril 29, 2019
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8min1140

Historically, businesses have primarily perceived call recording as a regulatory insurance policy.

The typical process was that calls were recorded, archived, and then accessed whenever a complaint was made. Some organisations still see call recording primarily in this way today.

Other businesses have moved on a step and carried out batch sampling on call records. Often, they might listen in to every 100th phone call for compliance purposes. They might also focus on monitoring new employees to help embed best practice. Alternatively, they might use the batch recordings for training purposes, picking out examples of angry customers, or high-performing agents dealing with customer queries.

Today, thanks to the latest AI and analytics, organisations can do much more with call recordings. With solutions like coacher and helper bots emerging, together with technologies like real time speech analytics (RTSA), we are seeing the advent of a new world of call recording.

Instead of simply being used reactively for compliance or training, the potential for organisations to use technology working in real-time in conjunction with the customer service representative has raised the bar, making it possible to use these kinds of solutions to drive up customer satisfaction and increase sales.

In particular, this is giving businesses greater insight into their contact centre and customer service operations. They can now listen in to every phone call. They can measure the sentiment of a customer interaction more precisely in real-time. Is the customer getting stressed? Is the agent becoming aggressive? Has the agent failed to make proactive use of the available helper bot to answer the customer’s query?

Answering these questions positively can be key to the success of a business, but it is also important to highlight that call recording today has evolved into much more than just recording a phone call. When listening to call recordings, business managers today also need to know what the agent was looking at on the screen at the time they provided information to the customer for example. Incorrect data on the company’s website could help to exonerate an agent who has made a mistake, and pinpoint a problem that needs to be addressed.

That’s why the ability to capture screen information, helping to put the call in context starts to give supervisors a clearer picture of what is happening within their customer service operation – and that drives better customer satisfaction, and improves the level of first interaction resolution. All this contextual information can then feed into a continuous improvement loop. Where one interaction is resolved successfully that can then feed the knowledge management and information systems making the whole process more accurate.

Barriers to roll-out

If you consider what is possible now and the way many organisations are starting to embrace and use these types of technologies, hand-in-hand with a human agent, the potential to also improve customer service and drive up sales has also increased enormously.

So, given all the benefits that they could achieve from this new approach, why isn’t every business moving over to it? One of the main barriers we are seeing today is cultural. Many organisations follow the ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it?’ philosophy. This conservative culture is often reinforced by agents who are uncomfortable with more technology listening in to everything they do; monitoring every action they take, and flagging it up to their managers if they are ‘out of line’.

Unfortunately, whenever new technology is introduced into an organisation, it comes with an associated fear factor. Agents are understandably concerned about what the change might mean to them.

Businesses need to do more to listen to these concerns but also educate agents about the potential benefits of the new technology in helping them perform their role. Indeed, smart organisations will work transparently and openly with agents to look at how the technology can be used to make their job better.

Humans can, for example, be especially good at empathy and working with customers who might be in a moment of crisis or an emotionally charged situation. So it makes sense for businesses to free up agents to engage with customers in this way, while deploying bot technology in the background to give them the practical information they need to answer the customer queries and follow the best available next step.

Ultimately, it has to be about empowering the agent, rather than focusing on the mechanics of finding the information the customer is looking for. With the latest call recording technology, the agent can concentrate on the interaction itself, safe in the knowledge that bots are working in the background to provide the information they need to resolve each individual query.

Agents can also can gain from the enhanced training capability on offer. Businesses can use the approach to capture the kinds of phrases or behaviours used by best performing agents or sales staff and build that into the coaching and helping engines to benefit contact centre and customer service staff as a whole.

This kind of ‘hand-in-glove’ harmony between man and machine is critical in this context. When businesses get it right, it can enhance the agent’s life enormously as well as benefitting the business and the end customer. In summary, the latest call recording technology can bring significant benefits to organisations but it needs to be introduced in a way that overcomes the cultural fear that some organisations and their staff have about bringing in the latest advanced technologies. Get all that right and businesses stand to improve their compliance position, enhance employee engagement – and drive up customer satisfaction into the bargain.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 26, 2019
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4min1273

UK Employee Experience Award winner Let’s Get Healthy is behind a new campaign to help the Co-op support customers and colleagues who have suffered a bereavement.

Let’s Get Healthy, which won Gold in the Health & Wellbeing category at the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards in London, is delivering training to Co-op customer service centre staff that will equip them with techniques to offer support including arranging funerals and other post-bereavement plans.

Co-op – winner of the Best Contact Centre and Product Service Improvement: Transforming Customer Care categories in the 2018 UK Complaint Handling Awards –  is one of many thought leader firms providing training for colleagues to help them be resilient in what can be very stressful times.

Following a successful pilot of the campaign in November 2018, the programme will now be delivered across the customer service centre. The campaign includes a briefing session with senior managers, a one-day face to face course, and a seven-week plan of activity led by team leaders and operations managers to embed the learnings.

The dedicated training is designed to empower more colleagues to be brave-hearted and resilient, supporting adults through the stages of bereavement while being mindful that employees will have lost loved ones too.

Leeds-based Let’s Get Healthy has previously  provided corporate wellbeing services to firms including William Hill, G’s Fresh, Travis Perkins, and Northern.

Claire Carroll, Head of Member and Customer Services at Co-op, said: “We held sessions with our colleagues, and they shared with me their personal experiences of losing a loved one and supporting customers who have experienced a similar loss.

“Let’s Get Healthy designed a programme called Heart that helped my team be brave hearted when dealing with customers who may be broken hearted. The language itself has made it easier for us all to talk about death and how we deal with it. Providing tools and techniques to be resilient is essential in the type of work handled in service centres and this is the third year we have worked with the team at Let’s Get Healthy and we see huge benefits each year.”

Maria Bourke, Managing Director of Let’s Get Healthy, said: “Co-op identified the need to embed health and wellbeing as part of its wider business strategy to invest in its colleagues. This may be a unique topic to cover but bereavement affects every single employee in every single employer across the UK.  It’s always great to support thought leading organisations and I am thrilled that the roll out has started across Co-op.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 24, 2019
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2min1436

“Calm down” has been voted the worst thing to say to customers over the phone, according to a new poll of more than 100 call centre and customer service professionals.

In a survey carried out by enterprise communications company Fuze at the recent Call and Contact Centre Expo in London, 22 percent said “calm down” is the most frustrating response to give to customers, followed by “you’re wrong” (20 percent), and “let me put you on hold” (15 percent).

The full list of the top ten most frustrating responses of 2019 are:

  1. Calm down
  2. You’re wrong
  3. Let me put you on hold
  4. Let me speak
  5. That’s not my job/responsibility
  6. That’s against policy
  7. I don’t know
  8. There’s nothing I can do
  9. It’s no big deal
  10. I’m new here

Bradlee Allen, Product Evangelist at Fuze, said: “Call centres are key points of interaction between a brand and its customers, but the experience can be frustrating for both parties. Appeasing the customer is a priority, but responses like ‘calm down’ and ‘let me put you on hold’ only add to frustration and usually mean resolution takes longer to achieve.

“The key is making it easy for customers to connect with a brand and choosing the right communication technology to create a seamless, simple experience that delivers fast resolution and optimum customer satisfaction.”


Brendan DykesBrendan DykesApril 24, 2019
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7min955

Everyone is someone’s customer, and every single one of us knows how we want to be treated.

Yet we’ve all had experiences that have influenced our opinion of a brand, but actually little or nothing to do with the product or service itself. It is why the quality of service and experience provided by contact centres is critical to the well-being of any organisation that prides itself on the quality of its CX.

As the late Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Intensifying competition and the growing power of consumers have together made customer experience the only means by which you can achieve truly durable competitive advantage in retail today. 

It is not possible, however, to provide a joined-up customer journey if the tools you have to manage it are incomplete. Simply throwing cash at CX technology will not lead to success. Here then is a seven-step plan to guide your contact centre transformation.   

1. You must acknowledge the need for change.

The first step towards the recovery of your CX is admitting you have a problem and having a genuine and consistent commitment to solving it. Don’t focus your energies entirely on customer complaints as a guide to your transformation. These are negative emotions. Look at positive feedback as well, to identify what your organisation is getting right so you can start replicating it. 

2. Be clear about the Customer Experience you are trying to deliver

Unfortunately, many organisations still have an incomplete definition of CX. Either that or their division into functional silos means that CX has become the proverbial elephant being examined by three blind men. In other words, everyone comes up with their own idea based purely on knowledge of their own silo, mistaking or misconceiving the true nature of CX and what it should deliver for the organisation.

3. Ensure you have executive buy-in

It is vital your CEO or CFO is on board to sponsor any contact centre transformation initiative and lead from the top down. But also consider whether you need a dedicated position such as a Chief Customer Officer. Whoever fulfils this role owns the Customer Experience and has the authority to ensure the requisite focus.

4. Work hard to ensure your organisation is fully on-board and aligned

Remember that people are capable of being very parochial, which is often caused by anxiety  about what change will mean to their own work and targets. To counter that, consider establishing a ‘CX Council’ to bring together all departments that have any role in the Customer Experience and empower them to work as a team with a unified vision of putting the customer first, no matter what.   

5. Get on your benchmarks

After mapping the customer journey, your next step should be to assess the current state of your strategy, people, processes, and tech. Come to a decision about how you are going to measure the delta of change in terms of positive customer emotion, not just reduced holding times or other operational metrics.

6. Collaborate to differentiate

This is an important one, because by working with a true solution partner, rather than simply a software vendor, you can set yourself on the right path to true omnichannel engagement and avoid the all-too-common operational pitfalls. Use the expertise of your partner to identify opportunities for business alignment along with ways of applying technology to speed up your transformation journey.

7. Build your business case

Providing good Customer Experience will have a positive impact on your organisation’s bottom line, which is certainly a legitimate justification for any CX initiative, but you still need a solid business case based on logic and metrics rather than intuition. If you have the right partner, they should be able to direct and inform this process.

These are seven great steps to set any organisation on the path towards recovering its CX and providing great customer service again. We cannot pretend it is always easy. Such a journey does inevitably involve a substantial measure of cultural upheaval. Customer experience needs to become a collective obsession within the enterprise.

CX culture and practices have to evolve every day and encompass what is always a changing technology landscape. But once this mindset is firmly embedded right across the organisation and all those internal barriers and silos are banished, at least as far as CX is concerned, the tangible bottom line benefits will flow in. You will also have a much happier and more fulfilled workforce.


Cassie WalkerCassie WalkerApril 23, 2019
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6min1132

In order to run a successful contact centre, operational efficiency needs to be continuously upheld.

There are different components to contact centre efficiency, including how your staff interact with customers; how streamlined procedures are; and whether operations are running in a cost-effective manner that does not impact the Customer Experience.

Despite the varying definitions of efficiency, it all boils down to two things: supporting customers and improving performance. It’s important to keep these two goals in mind and implement basic practices to drive efficiency.

Optimise team efficiency through training

Making use of team productivity is important to ensuring efficiency. A study by Aberdeen Group found that contact centre agents spend around 25 percent of their paid time idly and not communicating with customers. Therefore, it is vital that this time is dedicated to developing your agents’ skills and knowledge surrounding best practice and customer service.

This is achievable through continuous, digital training. Agents are consistently sat at their desks with a computer. Therefore, during their idle time, it would be a great opportunity for them to complete quick online learning on their computer, or even mobile. This is why digital learning is an extremely beneficial method of training for contact centres, as a learning can take a few minutes a day, which is equal to 0.7 percent of a 35-hour week.

Investment in training means companies will see significant drops in average handling time (AHT), as the consistent level of training creates more competent employees who can apply their knowledge in real life call situations. This increases first-call resolution (FCR), which then reduces AHT. A lower AHT drives efficiency, as customers are dealt with in a quick, coherent manner.

Leverage experienced agents

Another basic to maintaining contact centre efficiency is having a system in place that helps new staff get up-to-speed as soon as possible. Contact centres face a very high employee turnover rate: they have a 26 percent employee turnover annually, whereas the average rate for the UK is 15 percent. Therefore, effective onboarding is vital. This can be done by utilising more experienced agents and drawing on their knowledge to help new staff adjust to the business’s processes.

As part of the onboarding process, experienced agents can help to coach and monitor live calls. Monitoring calls and having a support system of more existing agents will give new staff more confidence in their job and ease the onboarding process. A high level of employee confidence is key to increasing efficiency.

Measure performance and set targets for achievement

It is important to measure performance within any organisation. Having a clear set of data can help not only evaluate, but also benchmark individual and team performances. Analytical dashboards help identify knowledge gaps and the areas that need improvement, meaning contact centres can administer valuable, cost-effective training that will improve performance.

Focusing on targets can also enhance performance, as employees are aware of what is important to achieve within the centre. Aligning metrics with goals and making them clear to employees gives a purpose to their work and encourages collaboration.

Boosting efficiency in a contact centre isn’t done overnight; it requires measurement and consistent tracking of what is affecting performance. However, being able to identify areas for improvement is the first step, as these can then be resolved. Implementing these basic procedures, like using idle time for productive and effective onboarding, will have a significant impact on each agent’s performance and confidence. Competent and knowledgeable agents will then increase customer satisfaction and overall efficiency within the contact centre.


Claire PampeClaire PampeApril 15, 2019
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6min1098

Nobody wants to receive a complaint about their product or service, but the reality is that we can’t please all of our customers all of the time.  

The time when customer complaints were hidden is now thankfully long gone. Appearing as a judge at the UK Complaint Handling Awards, which celebrates the innovative ways organisations manage complaints, I saw this first-hand.

Receiving complaints, responding to them effectively, and most importantly, learning from them can be challenging.  However, achieving this is critical to the success of any business that is focused on providing the best Customer Experience.

For every customer who complains, there are 26 other unhappy customers who remain silent (source: Lee Resource Inc.). Customers who care enough to tell you about their negative experiences are scarce, but they afford you the opportunity to turn that customer into an advocate and ultimately, retain their business.

Often, complaints are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but it is critical to take a step back and undertake a root cause analysis, otherwise the opportunity to improve is lost. One of the most effective ways to undertake this process is to plot the journey of the complaint, thereby mapping all the touchpoints, both direct and indirect. 

While a customer journey map (CJM) is a tool often used by marketeers to plot the customer engagement story, from brand awareness through to (hopefully) a long-term relationship, it is also a great resource for complaint management. 

Rather than dealing with the fallout of the complaint on a case-by-case basis, the CJM process enables an organisation to review and map the complaint from beginning to end and identify the root causes. Instead of resolving the complaint from an internal point of reference and making assumptions, the CJM empowers the customer by putting them front and centre. 

One of the major strengths of adopting this method is the ability to view the complete journey when putting into place processes to prevent it happening again. The visual artefact highlights potential gaps, inconsistencies, and the volume of touchpoints – all of which have the potential to contribute to the complaint in the first place. 

More often than not, the solution does not sit at the complaint ‘fallout’ stage but much earlier in the journey. It may be that expectations were set incorrectly at the outset of the journey, or specific information was not provided in marketing collateral etc. By focusing on the complaint as a stand-alone issue, any process changes may have little or no impact. Only by viewing the complaint as a part of the whole journey can you be confident that changes made will have the greatest impact.

Another advantage of a CJM is the people involved in the mapping activity. Too often complaint management is focused on the team that receives that complaint – but any mapping workshop should include representatives from all parts of the business. This level of collaboration reaffirms the importance that every role plays in an organisation’s Customer Experience, whether directly or indirectly, and it also provides the perfect forum for some ‘outside the box’ brainstorming.  I’ve run journey mapping workshops where the ‘lightbulb’ moments have come from unexpected sources, such as software developers, finance teams, and HR.

We know that customer loyalty is one of the key determinants of an organisation’s success. By viewing complaints as learning opportunities and actioning solutions via a customer journey map, you increase the likelihood of turning that customer (and all those that kept quiet) into an advocate. As data from the Jim Moran Institute and Lee Resources showed, 95 percent of customers will give you a second chance if you handle their complaint successfully and in a timely fashion, and that translates to an improved Customer Experience for your current and future customers.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 2, 2019
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2min776

UK headquartered systems integrator Geomant , which specialises in contact centre technology and digital engagement solutions, has acquired US-based Inova Solutions.

Inova, now known as Inova Solutions – a Geomant Company is a global provider of real-time performance management and visual communication solutions, known in the industry for its wallboard technology. The acquisition culminates a successful ten-year trading partnership between the two organisations and is part of Geomant’s ambitious growth strategy.

Ákos Vécsei, Geomant CEO, said:“In working with Inova over the last ten years, we have seen a commonality of approach, which means customers of both organisations can be confident that the service they receive from us will be even better, as we combine forces.”

Geomant has confirmed its plans to invest in, and further extend the functionality of Inova’s solutions following the acquisition, integrating them with Geomant’s own contact centre and digital engagement software.

Mari Mitchell, President of Inova Solutions added: “We are committed to helping our contact centre customers solve operational problems. Now we can solve more problems, not only for our long term and very loyal Inova customers, but for other organisations that will benefit from the advanced technology and system integration capability Geomant offers.”


Valur SvanssonValur SvanssonMarch 29, 2019
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6min1082

This article was co-authored by Josh Ayres, Head of Emerging Technology at IP Integration.

 

This week, 5,000 Contact Centre professionals descended on London for the Call and Contact Centre Expo – a two-day, annual event centred around Customer Experience management. 

Exhibitor stands and seminars were awash with talk of the sector’s coming of age as it embarks on a period of digitalisation, with emerging technologies placing the industry firmly on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution.

Among the speakers was OmniTouch International’s Daniel Ord, who leads CXM’s Contact Centre Masterclass.

It is an exciting time for the Contact Centre. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Contact Analytics, and chatbots have opened up a world of possibilities and are changing the face of the Contact Centre – enabling brands to shorten processes, and free up agents to spend more time on delivering an exceptional Customer Experience.

How to smooth the path to digital transformation

The benefits of these emerging technologies are undeniable. Take the chatbot as an example: at a very basic level, it reduces pressure on the Call Centres, giving customers an additional outlet and instant access to information. From a financial perspective the benefits only continue, with research indicating that the use of chatbots will result in cost savings of over $8 billion by 2020, primarily in banking and healthcare. In fact, leading analyst house Gartner believes that by 2020, chatbots should take over 85 percent of customer service interactions.

However, before looking to implement any new tool, organisations must define their goals so that the path to digital transformation reflects their brand values and is also focused on what that organisation needs. Less attention should be given to the features that vendors are promoting.

The customer is king

As with any implementation, questions need to be asked. How will the technology fit into the Contact Centre? Which systems does the tool need to integrate with? How will it be rolled out to customers? How will employees use and embrace the automation tools?

There are no right or wrong answers here, and no one-size-fits-all approach; instead organisations must choose tools based on what provides the greatest value, while offering the simplest integration for the most manageable cost. The customer must also be a prime consideration here, and the impact of any technology on a customer’s journey with a brand must be assessed.

The adoption of technology, if done well, should only enhance this customer journey. After all, customers today expect so much more from their brands than ever before; expecting instant access to information, irrespective of the channel used, as and when they want it. Speeding up processes through automation, providing live chat functionality, and digital agents will only improve Customer Experience levels more.

Time to invest?

It goes without saying that the better the Customer Experience, the happier the customer. A happier customer means better review ratings, greater referrals, increased return business, and potentials for upselling. In the Contact Centre – the voice of a brand – this is more important than ever.

Digital transformation will not happen overnight – nor should it. Change should be considered and measured based upon an organisation’s requirements and what suits its customers and objectives best. What’s great is that with a host of amazing technology to pick from, the time has never been better to start a journey of transformation.


Daniel OrdDaniel OrdMarch 28, 2019
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19min1122

Daniel Ord is the Founder of OmniTouch International, and one of the global Contact Centre industry’s most influential figures. 

With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Daniel is bringing his expertise to a wider audience with a new Masterclass on High Performance Management for Inbound Contact Centres. The two-day Masterclass will take place in Manchester in July, and in London in October. 

 

The more complex the Contact Centre ecosystem becomes – with multiple channels of communication, omnichannel ambitions, and increasing customer expectations – the more the fundamentals matter.

This is because once you have mastered Contact Centre operations, you will have a solid framework on which to ‘hang’ your decisions – whether that’s people, technology, or Customer Experience.

A Contact Centre expert would be expected to accurately answer the 15 Contact Centre operations questions presented in this article. 

This should be without any reference, discussion with others, or looking up the answers.

It’s not that the questions are easy – they’re not!  It’s that to be a master of the environment requires very particular know-how, and once your Contact Centre folks have this level of know-how, performance will improve – guaranteed!

So give these 15 questions a go. For each question select either A, B, C, or D, and there is one correct answer for each one

To find out your results, simply email your answers to daniel.ord@omnitouchinternational.com, with the question number and the answer  you selected.

It should look like this:

1.  A

2.  B

3.  A

4.  C

Etc. 

Good luck!

1. Which of the following contact types require the use of service level to determine staff requirements

   I: Outbound calls

   II: Email (with 24-hour response time)

   III: Live chat/Text chat

   IV: Walk-ins

A. I only

B. I and IV only

C. II and III only

D. III and IV only

 

2. Which of the following is the industry standard service level?

A. 80% answered in 20 seconds

B. 90% answered in 30 seconds

C. Industry standards only exist for vertical industries (e.g. financial services, telecommunications, insurance, etc.)

D. There is no industry standard

 

3. A Call Centre has recently established KPI targets. The Service Level objective is 80% answered in 20 seconds and the Average Speed of Answer (ASA) objective is 10 seconds. The Call Center also plays a prerecorded announcement for all callers prior to queuing. Given this information, which of the following statements is true? 

A. The Call Centre is measuring typical callers’ experience more effectively than call centres that measure service level alone

B. Setting both Service Level and ASA targets is not appropriate

C. To be most meaningful, ASA should be measured as an end-of-day average

D. The timing of ASA should begin as soon as the prerecorded announcement starts

 

4. Given the following information, what is the abandonment rate for the week (Monday – Friday)? Total calls answered for the week: 9479. Total calls abandoned for the week: 702. Monday’s abandonment: 10.4%. Tuesday’s abandonment: 7.4%. Wednesday’s abandonment: 5.4%. Thursday’s abandonment: 3.4%. Friday’s abandonment: 7.0%   

A. 6.7%

B. 6.9%

C. 7.2%

D. 33.6%

 

5. When managing the queue in real-time, which of the following real-time statistics should you look at first?

A. Agent status

B. Longest current wait

C. Number of calls in queue

D. Average time to abandonment

 

6. Which of the following statements is TRUE?

I. Occupancy is the percentage of time agents spend talking to customers or completing after-call work

II. Occupancy is a result of random call arrival

III. When service level increases, occupancy increases

IV. When Occupancy is very high for extended periods of time, agents tend to work harder to clear out the queue 

A. II only

B. I and II only

C. II and IV only

D. I, III, and IV only

 

7. If an Agent arrives 30 minutes late to work on calls or live chats, which of the following actions would benefit the Contact Centre the most (assume the Agent is unable to consult with his/her Team Leader on the most appropriate action)?

A. Stay 30 minutes extra at the end of his/her shift

B. Skip his/her morning and afternoon breaks, each of which is 15 minutes

C. Come back from his/her hour lunch break 30 minutes early.

D. Take his/her breaks and lunch as normal and leave at his/her scheduled time

 

8. Which one of the following statements is FALSE?

A. Measuring the number of calls handled by an Agent is a good productivity standard

B. Adherence to schedule is the single most important productivity measure for a Contact Centre Agent handling Service Level-based contacts

C. When adherence to schedule improves, Service Level improves as well

D. Most of what drives the Average Handling Time lies outside the control of the Agent

 

9. Which statement is the MOST important?

A. To achieve productivity objectives, Agents will need to sacrifice a bit on quality                          

B. Average Handling Time is the most important productivity standard for an Agent

C. All Contact Centres use internal monitoring to calculate their quality scores for Agents.  

D. It is possible to design standards that enable Agents to achieve both quality and productivity objectives                                

 

10.  The best definition of Time Series forecasting is:

A. A method where the past is a good basis for predicting the future

B. A method which is only used in rare circumstances

C. A method that covers the qualitative side of forecasting

D. A method that doesn’t require judgement

 

11.  What variables does Erlang C require to perform staffing calculations?

I. Average handling time

II. Call volume

III. Number of abandoned calls

IV. Service level objective in seconds

A. I and II only

B. I, II and III only

C. I, II and IV only

D. II, III and IV only

 

12. Your Call Centre supports email and is expecting 200 email messages to arrive between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.  The average handling time of email messages is 8 minutes. Your promised response time is 4 hours. 

Assuming the Agents can work uninterrupted on these email messages only, which of the following staffing scenarios would meet your response time objective for these email messages?

I. 4 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

II. 9 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

III. 14 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

IV. 40 Agents who each spend at least an hour working on email from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

A. II only

B. III and IV only

C. II, III and IV only

D. I, II, III, and IV

 

13. Which of the following are factors you need to incorporate in a  monthly labor budget?

I. Is my Agent in the building?

II. What is the monthly average Occupancy rate?

III. Is my Agent on a break?

IV. Is my Agent on leave?

A. III only

B. I and II only

C. I, II and III only

D. I, II, III and IV

 

14. Which of the following KPI results can be determined by looking at only ACD reports?

I. Service Level

II. Average Speed of Answer

III. Abandoned Calls

IV. Adherence to Schedule Percent

A. I and II only

B. III and IV only

C. I, II and III only

D. I, II, III, and IV

 

15. When forecasting call volume, you should use:

A. Calls answered

B. Calls answered plus calls abandoned

C. Calls offered discounted for multiple attempts from individual callers

D. All calls offered


Daniel OrdDaniel OrdMarch 22, 2019
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9min883

Daniel Ord is the Founder of OmniTouch International, and one of the global Contact Centre industry’s most influential figures. 

With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Daniel is bringing his expertise to a wider audience with a new Masterclass on High Performance Management for Inbound Contact Centres. The two-day Masterclass will take place in Manchester in July, and in London in October. 

 

Have you attended any conferences lately?

After the speeches are done and the workshops concluded, you have the chance to cluster around a table in a coffeeshop or bar and get to know other people who attended the event.

This is when one of my favourite questions comes up: “So how did you get into the Contact Centre industry?”

If you’re an introvert and get goosebumps around networking, then I guarantee you that this question works as a great ice-breaker. 

A happy accident?

Whether it’s Customer Service, Customer Experience, or the Contact Centre, I’ve rarely met anyone who doesn’t have an interesting story about how they accidentally ‘fell’ into the industry.

Some folks come up from being an Agent. That’s cool, because we all know you’ll never forget what it was like to talk to customers. Learning how to persuade, calm, and influence is one of the biggest gifts you get from doing this work.

Others – like myself – fell into the job through management level transfer or acquisition. 

I’m lucky enough to have transferred over from Finance to Operations, and I’ve always been grateful to have that background in numbers of logic to call on when running large centres.

The higher up the management ladder you go, the more you need to work ‘up and out’ in your organisation

When I first got into the industry, I faced the common challenge I think many of you have – most of my seniors thought my job was easy. I mean after all, on paper you just put a bunch of ‘operators’ in place and answer calls or emails or chats… where’s the complexity there?

As time and market forces increasingly put the customer in the centre of the organisational universe, things got a little better. However, I found that at least half my time as a VP Operations was spent talking to senior folks across the organisation – time well spent.

Teaching them about the industry, about customers and about our value proposition. Helping them ‘get it’.

Today, in all my management level Contact Centre courses, I advise folks to make a real organisational impact by getting up and away from your desk and office….and not just walking around your centre, though of course that has value!

I’m talking about booking time with the heads of other functions and getting yourself invited to senior level meetings. You’ve got to make yourself visible and talked about. You’ve got to help people in other job roles solve problems or create opportunities, because if you don’t, your centre – and everyone who works there – will suffer benign neglect.

It’s not an easy industry

I always say that in the Contact Centre industry we have to be masters of many domains. That includes:

  • Operations – after all everything starts here
  • People management & organisational design
  • Leadership & financial management
  • Customer Service & Experience
  • The role of technology in the lives of our customers & people

I can’t think of another industry that places this many demands on its leadership.

And a word of caution…

If you’ve worked a long time for one or two centres, you begin to think that the way ‘you’ work here is the way the ‘industry’ works. Nobel-Winner Daniel Kahneman talks about the danger of ‘WYSIATI’: What you see is all there is.

He teaches that we humans tend to make decisions on incomplete information, thinking that what we see or know now is all there is. Do your best to push back against WYSIATI – I think the best Contact Centre leadership does. 

But no matter how you got there…it’s what you do when you’re there

So you’re there. That’s so cool.

You’re the Contact Centre Manager or Director, and they’re counting on you to be efficient and effective.

When asked what I think is the most important thing to learn first about Contact Centres, I always give the same answer:

Operations!

I can hear some people say “no, it must be customers!”,  or “no way, it’s people!”

But Centres are unique and complex ecosystems. You’ll make better decisions about both your people and your Customers when you’ve mastered Operations. 


Basia Szumska-HareBasia Szumska-HareMarch 14, 2019
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5min712

Basia Szumska-Hare is Client Lead at Capita, and judged at the 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards in London earlier this month.

So, it’s Friday March 8th in London, the sky is blue, the children didn’t complain about getting ready for school, and I didn’t hear any complaints of phantom tummy aches, or reminders that “Mum, my school trousers are itchy!”

In fact, this morning as I pace my way to the tube to head to Victoria, there is simply nothing to complain about… or is there? For today, I am privileged to be a judge at the 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards. I am excited to learn about companies’ strategies for dealing with complaints, and taking people like me and you seriously!

I arrive in London to a swarm of people attending the event; I can see many people looking pensive, excited, and nervous about presenting today. Judges have to spend many hours, often in our own time, dedicated to reading and absorbing the content of the entries and scoring them respectfully online ahead of the event.

For the candidates, however, it’s nerve racking – they have to stand up in front of us scary looking folk and tell us why they believe their company deserves to win.

Before I know it, its 12.30pm and all the entries have been seen by my fellow judges. What I have learned today is that companies are learning to collect data from their customers, but maybe not yet fully understanding how to use that data effectively. I learned that C-Level executives were tasked with calling customers, to understand what it means to be a customer and also understand what it feels like for the person calling the customer.

Time and time again I’m hearing that companies want to make sure the process of dealing with them involves minimal effort, and have success on first call resolution. I also learned that loyal customers – you know the ones, like you and me who keep quiet, spend money unthankfully, and are too time poor to call and complain or fill out a survey – are also being looked at seriously.

I also saw enlightening sparks of thought leadership around empowering agents and teams to deliver stakeholder expectations, allowing the people who answer the calls more authority to resolve complaints and ensure that the voice of the customer is a positive one.

Also, Barnardo’s, the charity partner for the event, spoke at the luncheon once we were all gathered together to see who had won. Listening to the stories and the volunteers makes me think about what more I can do to give back to the community. Watch this space!

In summary – we had many winners, and many entries who I look forward to seeing back next year. It’s a comforting notion to understand that customers are at the heart of what all entrants were aspiring to. Well done to all, and I look forward to seeing you back again!


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 11, 2019
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4min889

The 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards have taken place in London, celebrating the people and  initiatives behind some of the best customer service operations in Britain.

Hosted by Awards International – holders of an Independent Awards Standards Council Gold Trust Mark – the event saw hundreds gather at the Park Plaza Riverbank hotel last Friday, when teams of finalists made presentations to an expert panel of judges throughout the day.

Finalists were competing to secure Gold and Silver titles across 18 categories, with one Overall Winner also named for their high score at the event, which this year was sponsored by Aptean and Ecosheme, and partnered by Resolver, Henley Business School’s Henley Centre for Customer Management, and The Malcolm McDonald Academy.

Following a gala lunch, the 2019 Overall Winner title was awarded to outsourcing services firm Firstsource, which claimed Gold in the Customer Insight Strategy category. The victory built on the success of the company in last year’s awards, when along with mobile network giffgaff it won Best Personal Entertainment & Telecoms.

Other big winners this year were banking giants HSBC, which won an incredible four Gold category titles, and United Utilities, which won three Gold titles, including the highly coveted Complaint Handling Leader of the Year award for their Head of Service Recovery, Sally Ainsworth.

The 2019 roll of honour also included Wessex Water in partnership with The First Word, which won in the Best Complaint Handling Training category; One Vision Housing, which claimed Gold for Best Use of Customers’ Insight and Feedback; and Capita, whose team walked away with the Customer Relations & Remediation award.

Speaking afterwards, Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “What an event this has been – we are incredibly fortunate to have such a vantage point on the high standard of complaint handling services in the UK.

“So many organisations are ensuring they have a robust complaints procedure at the heart of their structure, and these awards not only celebrate the best initiatives behind that, but they also allow representatives from all of these wonderful companies to come together and inspire each other, share best practice, and ensure complaint handling continues to go from strength to strength and remains central to a quality service.”

“On behalf of Awards International I would like to offer a huge congratulations to all of our winners, and I want to thank all of our finalists for coming and competing in what is now one of the most important events in the UK’s customer service calendar.”

 

 

 

 

 


Will ArcherWill ArcherMarch 7, 2019
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6min937

So, you have an effective complaints procedure in place; you are engaging with customers, finding problems and working through solutions, but just one important question remains: “How well are we doing?”

There is, of course, one clear sign of an effective complaints procedure, and that is a happy customer. Yet it can be a bit more complex than that. The typical reward for good complaint handling is increased sales and improved customer retention.

However, it is not always apparent whether these factors are down to your complaint handling alone. So how can we reliably measure success?

One possible measure is reputation. For the last three years, the UK Complaint Handling Awards has sought to recognise organisations that have made a success of their complaints procedure. The event is hosted by Awards International, and for many companies that have received such an award, industry acknowledgement is a reliable mark of success. The results can also be surprising.

“It’s interesting, if not ironic, that when it comes to winning awards, the most competitive industry sectors are also often the most complained about sectors,” explains Donna O’Toole, CEO of awards consultancy August.

“The rail networks, banks, loan providers, insurance companies, telecoms, and utility providers that the public so often love to hate are also the businesses leading the way in transforming their complaints handling processes – and in turn, improving the overall Customer Experience.”

Donna explains that in recent years there has been a rise in businesses realising the long-term value of how they handle customer complaints in the short-term. When shortlisting companies for the awards, successful companies are typically those that demonstrate transparency, better communication strategies, and have implemented innovative tools to help employees respond faster and more effectively.

Industry peer recognition is a valuable indicator of success but there is also a data-driven method of measuring complaints performance.

The Resolver platform is constantly monitoring user feedback throughout the complaints process. It does this by asking users to rate their experience at each stage of the complaint, thus enabling the data team to generate a score on how effective each company, and each sector, is in complaints handling. As with the awards, the results are not always what one would expect.

“It is really interesting because sometimes a lot of the things are counter-intuitive,” says Michael Hill, Resolver’s lead complaints management consultant.

“Sometimes people will give a company a high satisfaction score, despite the fact they have not achieved full resolution of their complaint.”

This highlights the value that customers place in being able to actually express what is really upsetting them. People are more likely to feel better if they have had, at the very least, a fair hearing or, at best, feel they have been treated fairly after going through the process.

On the other end of the scale, Michael notes, there are customers who have been very upset with their experience despite getting their complaint resolved. This is either because they still feel their complaints have not been listened to, or that the company did not follow up.

“We get quite a few companies that have failed to pay out compensation, having agreed to pay, or just take too long to deliver on their promises,” Michael explains.

“Businesses get right up to the end of the line, and technically everyone should be walking away happy, but people are still dissatisfied. It can get complex.”

When it comes to which sectors perform well by user satisfaction, it is usually those industries with a strong regulator or a free escalation service, such as an ombudsman. This is often because it inspires more confidence in the consumer that their issue will be resolved. Again, these can often be the industries that get the most complaints, such as financial services. On the other hand, you have sectors like retail where there is no established ombudsman or regulator, meaning many customers are left feeling very frustrated.

Having a high volume of complaints doesn’t necessarily mean a business is getting things wrong. It is the satisfaction score that matters. Michaels notes that the best-performing companies are those which have strong lines of communication with the public and are quick to respond and engage with customers when a complaint is received, regardless of complaint volume or, in some cases, eventual outcome.

Michael adds: “We would say any business that encourages complaints is going to see more coming through the door, but this is simply better visibility of the problems caused for customers. If they resolve them quickly and effectively, then they will keep their customers. If they don’t, customers will vote with their feet.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 1, 2019
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3min838

Poor product visualisation is preventing almost a quarter of B2B customers from making purchases online, according to a new report.

E-commerce agency PushON surveyed 500 key business decision makers from up and down the country and found that although the majority of B2B customers (78 percent) actually prefer to shop online, 22 percent have to travel to purchase goods in-store because online retailers do not offer clear product imagery or effective customer service.

When asked why they shop for business products in-store rather than online, product visualisation came out on top, with 81 percent of B2B customers stating they are able to clearly see what products look like in real life. Over half (55 percent) also prefer in-store customer service and the ability to speak to a member of staff for advice.
Over half (55 percent) of those surveyed expressed a strong desire for B2B e-retailers to invest in the same innovative technologies B2C e-commerce businesses are currently investing in. This includes the implementation of augmented reality (AR) to help them better visualise products online (29 percent), and an increase in artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as chatbots to give them the option to speak to someone in real-time, should they need to (26 percent).

Sam Rutley, managing director at PushON, said: “Although B2B retail is suffering a similar fate to B2C, in that customers are increasingly preferring to shop online, B2B e-commerce undoubtbly has a long way to go if it’s ever going to achieve the same results and levels of customer experience as B2C e-commerce.

“Many B2B customers prefer the in-store experience over online simply because they can see products in real life and interact with an expert, which clearly demonstrates that B2B e-commerce isn’t providing these services well enough yet, if at all. This, coupled with the specific desires of customers for investment in AR and AI technologies proves just how far behind B2C e-commerce B2B is.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 3, 2018
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3min1181
Software solutions firm Aptean has joined the UK Complaint Handling Awards as a sponsor ahead of the 2019 event in the heart of London.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 




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