Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 19, 2018


Despite today being National ‘Get To Know Your Customers’ Day, three quarters (75 percent) of marketers admit they don’t actually know what they are looking for when analysing their customers’ data.

That’s according to research by experience management company Qualtrics, which surveyed 260 UK marketers.

The research found that marketers are struggling to effectively analyse data, with 87 percent saying that they don’t have time to perform the complex analysis needed to put their data in context.

Commenting on these findings, Ian McVey, Head of Enterprise for Northern Europe at Qualtrics, said:

Collecting data on customers is fruitless unless it’s used to achieve meaningful insights.

Marketers today have more tools than they’ve ever had before to take customer data and apply new machine learning and data analysis technologies to turn it into genuine customer insights. With the right technologies in place, businesses can develop ever deeper insights into their customers, allowing them to create products, offers and experiences that are tailored to them. To get there they need to gather the right kind of data, with a mix of operational and experience data, and the right tools to turn that into meaningful insights.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 18, 2018


Football might not have come home after all, but the World Cup added a kick to recent online retail sales, according to a new report.

The latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveals a 16.9 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth of retail sales in June. Both multichannel and online only retailers performed well (+14.8 percent and +18.7 percent respectively), and the report’s compilers believe both the World Cup and the recent heatwave played a part.

Unsurprisingly, the largest sector increase was seen in Garden, with a +49.9 percent YoY growth as the nation prepared for World Cup barbecues and basked in the hot weather. This was followed by Clothing, with the sunny weather inspiring a YoY growth of +19.3 percent, including a +23.9 percent growth for accessories and +22.7 percent growth for footwear.

Health & Beauty and Gifts sales were slightly more subdued, with +9.9 percent and +10.5 percent YoY growth respectively.

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini, said:

June has seen continued buoyant sales online, strongly influenced by fashion and seasonal items. This has boosted non-essential spend while customers make the most of the buzz created by the good weather and the World Cup. We might question what the longer term effect is as Barclaycard report that one-in-three Brits have spent more than normal so far this summer.

This could result in a slowdown as customers align the potential overspend so far this summer in the later months of the year, supported by four-in-ten saying they will hold off purchasing big ticket items. Electrical and Home sectors have the lowest June YoY growth in the last 5 years, a reminder of caution during political uncertainty and upcoming interest rate increases”

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 16, 2018


Three new trailblazing UK conferences are on the horizon which will help steer attendees towards success in the fields of Customer Experience, Employee Experience, and Complaint Handling.

The events are hosted by Awards International, which each year celebrates the best in all three sectors, with the UK Customer Experience Awards, the UK Employee Experience Awards, and the UK Complaint Handling Awards in London.

Now the secrets to successful entries will be revealed at upcoming conferences this autumn, headed by the UK’s foremost experts in each key area, including global consultants, awards winners, and judges who will provide insightful seminars throughout each day, enabling attendees to learn and grow their business towards the goals of winning awards, and simply improving their organisations overall.

The Future is CX conference will take place on October 3 at the Microsoft UK headquarters in Thames Valley park, Reading.

It is spearheaded by conference chairman Ian Golding, one of the world’s foremost CX consultants, and author of Customer What? The Honest and Practical Guide to Customer Experience, who will introduce and diverse and exciting line-up of speakers.

They are:

Andrew McGuigan, the Director of Worldwide Customer Service Strategy at Microsoft

Jo Mayes, Director of Customer Operations at Business Stream

Karen Thompson, Principal, Utilities & Operational Excellence at Capgemini

Moira Clarke, Director of the Henley Centre for Customer Management and Professor of Strategic Marketing at Henley Business School

Maria Bourke, Managing Director of Let’s Get Healthy

Mike Collins, Senior Digital Learning Specialist at River Island

Sally Earnshaw, Managing Director of BlueSky

Emily Cullen, CX & Service Design Lead at Sparks Grove

Manuela Pifani, Certified CX Professional and Founder of CXellence Consulting

More will be announced in the coming weeks, including representatives from US market research specialists Forrester.

Conference chair Ian Golding said:

The Future is CX is an exciting new conference that will delve deep into the theories of Customer Experience success, from those who live and breathe it, and well-known organisations that are winning awards for their dedication to customer centricity.”

To take advantage of an Early Bird offer that can save up to 47 percent in conference ticket prices, click here.

The Winning With Employee Experience conference will take place on September 13, at the FDM Offices on Cottons Lane in the heart of London.

Chaired by Ben Whitter, AKA Mr Employee Experience, Founder of the World Employee Experience Institute, the event will feature UK Employee Experience Award winners offering insight on their initiatives that earned them nationwide recognition.

The speakers will be:

Representatives of FDM Group

Scott Morrison, Head of Capability Development at BT

Diana Chrouch, Director of Chrouch Consulting

Trudy Purchase, Head of L&D, and Nicky Curtis, HR Assistant and Health & Wellbeing Champion at Staysure

Jo Pursail, Director of Talent at ManpowerGroup

David Henderson, Management Development Lead at Aspen Healthcare Group

Emily Cullen, CX & Service Design Lead and Rebecca Galea, Head of Customer Experience at Sparks Grove

Flick Hardingham, Founder of Habit

Representatives of Benefex

Ben Whitter said:

Our conference speakers will reveal all about what it takes to be an award winner in Employee Experience, and show what it takes to transform your organisation into one that staff will be proud to be a part of.”

For Early Bird tickets, click here.

The Winning with Complaint Handling conference is taking place on September 20 at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in central London, by the banks of the Thames.

This unique event will allow attendees tolerant from UK Complaint Handling Awards winners, which include some of the best-known household names in Britain today.


The conference chairs are Awards International CEO Neil Skehel and CXellence Consultancy Founder Manuela Pifani, and the speakers are:

James Walker, CEO of Resolver

Christina Liciaga, head of Service Recovery at HSBC

Sally Ainsworth, Head coo Service Recovery at United Utilities

Shine Prakesh, Senior Manager at iCasework

Claire Churchill, CX Lead at the Ombudsman Services

Rosie Bailey, Director of Customer Management at CitySprint

Paul Dowell, Customer Resolution Leader and Neil Davies, Customer HUB Lead at Severn Trent Water

Andrew Bryan, programme Director at Henley Business School

Amanda Redhead, General Manager at BT

Ben Lyons, Customer Services Operations Manager at The Co-op

Donna O’Toole, CEO of August 

Susan Wilkinson, Head of Customer Relations at Thomas Cook

Christina Dolding, Head of Customer Experience  and Innovation at Old Mutual Wealth

David Land, Head of Service Delivery at New Day

Representatives of Feefo

Helen Gibbs, Complaints Resolution Manager and Brett Coniber, CX Manager at South West Water

Neil Skehel said:

Winning With Complaint Handling is set to be one of the UK’s most significant customer service gatherings, focussing on the core aspect of how to deal with complaints in a fast-changing landscape.”

To purchase Early Bird tickets, click here.

Amy BrustiaAmy BrustiaJuly 16, 2018


When I tell people that I work as a Customer Experience Consultant, most of them assume it’s just a fancy title for a customer service agent, immediately envisaging call centres and headsets.

Whilst Customer Experience does include customer service, it also encompasses the whole end-to-end experience of a customer’s journey, including all the people they interact with, all the back-end processes they go through, and all the technology that enables successful delivery of the service.

Improving Customer Experience doesn’t have to be complex; what is really needed is to go back to basics.

It is simply putting the customer first and then setting up and aligning your organisation to fit around them so that the whole of the customers’ experience is consistent, connected, memorable, and hassle-free.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies have already been built the other way around. So where do you start?

1. Talk to your customers

It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many organisations are so internally focused or competitor-driven that they have completely forgotten the customer. Often, organisations spend so much time talking amongst themselves in meetings, creating ideas and processes they think the customer would like without actually asking them. Taking the time to involve your customers and gathering their feedback is hugely beneficial, saving time and money in the long run.

Looking at the same processes from a customer’s perspective often sheds a very different light on something you thought was perfect.

2. Align and embed the right culture

The Tempkin 2016 report shows that only four percent of organisations have Customer Experience embedded as an integral part of their company culture.

Key to getting this right is to align both your business and brand strategy with your customer strategy, but more importantly it is to ensure it is embedded effectively. When cascading this information throughout the organisation, it needs to be in a simple, memorable format that is relatable to each member of staff and their specific job role so they can align their daily decisions and actions with the strategic direction of the company. 

All too often staff are handed a company vision or mission with no understanding of how this relates to them or the role they play in achieving this.

3. Break down silos

Simply put, people working together will achieve more. It is far easier to solve issues, drive change, and improve communication when there is cross-departmental collaboration. This way of working also ensures shared ownership and accountability of the customer’s journey instead of individual channels of interactions. This helps to stop issues getting lost and passed from department to department, causing frustration for the customer.

4. Legacy systems vs new technology

Many organisations fear changing legacy systems as it often seems too complex or expensive, i.e. they have already invested a huge amount on upgrades which have had little or no impact on the bottom line. The key lesson here is to make sure the technology is fit for purpose.

You don’t need to use the latest technology but it must be the right technology to best serve your customers. All key stakeholders, including the customer, must be involved in the decision-making process as there is no point in upgrading something if it has no impact on the customer or is not embedded effectively.

This is often challenging in the “I just want it done” culture within some organisations.

Louise Downe, Director of Design & Standards, Government Digital Service, explained this nicely in a presentation recently at the Service Design in Government conference, saying: “It should be viewed as ‘problem caring vs problem-solving’, i.e. you will never be done fixing things and the world won’t stop changing, so you just need to ensure you balance delivering actual things with changes that are also scalable and sustainable. 

5. Empower your people

Being at the forefront of interactions with customers, your employees are your most important asset. Equipping your staff with all the training they need to fulfil their role is crucial, as is training them on customer centricity to help them understand what the overall Customer Experience is and the part they play in building a customer-centric culture. Let them actively own issues and give them the power to solve customer problems without always having to get authorisation from managers.

By involving staff and asking their opinions, they are more likely to embrace change and be on board to help you achieve your goals. They are likely to have many ideas and solutions to resolve existing customer issues, they have just never been asked.

6. Get rid of bureaucracy and unnecessary processes

Don’t get me wrong – processes, structure, and guidelines are hugely important and are normally the backbone to every business. However, what I can’t stand is doing something just for the sake of doing something. It must have an impact!

Question why you are doing something if it doesn’t involve improving things for your customer (and is not regulatory required), then stop doing it.

Very often if you ask someone why they are doing something, you will normally get the response: “It’s always been done like this” or “we were just told to do this”. This again goes back to my point on engagement; if people don’t understand why they are doing something or the bigger picture, they will never be able to spot issues, improve things, or work autonomously when needed.

7. Spend time standing back

It sounds simple, right? Most of us know we should be doing it, but normally we are so busy in the day-to-day firefighting tasks that we often have little time to stand back and look at the bigger picture. Completing an exercise of mapping out your customer’s journey will allow you to empathise and see your business through your customer’s eyes, highlight numerous opportunities to improve their experience, and add value to your business.

Ian GoldingIan GoldingJuly 4, 2018


Customer Experience specialist Ian Golding, author of new book Customer What: The Honest and Practical Guide to Customer Experience, writes for Customer Experience Magazine, offering his expert insight to help businesses improve their CX offering. 

To ask Ian a question on how to boost the Customer Experience provided by YOUR business, please email your question to The best questions will be featured in future instalments.

Ian also leads the Customer Experience Masterclass and the CCXP Exam Preparation Workshop, both of which can be booked now for dates in October.

‘As a small business owner, time is limited for me, but I am very interested in charting out a customer journey map. How can I identify all my touchpoints and create an effective map on a tight schedule?’

What a lovely question! Lovely, because Customer Experience principles, methodologies, tools, and techniques, are as applicable to a small business as they are to a large corporation.

Creating a visualisation of the customer journey in the form of a map is one of the most important ‘tools’ of all. However, it is very important to recognise that creating the journey itself is only one component part of a bigger purpose – that purpose being to embed a culture of customer journey management (a continuous, never-ending cycle of activity).

Creating a customer journey map is not an exact science – there is no ‘standard’ or ‘right’ way of doing it. It is also not something that needs to be complex or difficult to do. In fact, I always argue that the ‘secret’ (if I can call it that) to effective journey mapping is to keep it simple.

As a small business owner, I would suggest the simplest way to do it is to quite literally to ‘put yourself in your customers shoes’. Spend a day doing exactly what your customer does throughout their experience with you.

Try and phone your company. Go on to your website to find the information you need. Do what your customer does. Instead of creating a ‘map’, you may want to ‘draw’ a typical day in the life of your customer. Understanding everything a typical customer does (not just when they interact with you) – from the minute they wake up, to the minute they go to bed, will enable you to understand how well (or not) you are fitting into their lives.

If you can, run your ‘day in the life of a customer’ past a real customer of yours – validate that what you think they go through is correct. Validate that you clearly understand their ‘pain points’ so you can identify the small number of opportunities that will have the greatest effect on their perception of your business and as a result, the greatest effect on your commercial performance.

Remember at all times to keep it simple. The key is to act on the priorities for improvement and to revisit the journey so you are able to manage its continuous improvement over time.

Catalin BadeaCatalin BadeaJuly 4, 2018


The average response time for a text message is just 90 seconds.

Compare that to the average response time for an email, which is 90 minutes, according to As a marketing professional, this is a powerful statistic and makes adopting mobile messaging campaigns a no-brainer.

While this stat is compelling, most businesses aren’t seeing the results for one very basic reason – limited access to accurate phone information. The fact is, a large customer database can quickly go out of date.

From an outside perspective, sending alerts to 100,000 consumers seems highly effective, but when thousands of those numbers are routed to mobile networks that no longer service the intended recipient and thousands more undeliverable (recipient’s phone was off, roaming or could not receive SMS) – the reach of the campaign drastically drops.

Additionally, most customer databases contain numbers that are incorrectly formatted, such as landline numbers listed as mobile – and lack the information required to route the messages efficiently to the subscribers who have ported their numbers to a different operator. 

Target audience is the driving force behind effective marketing campaigns – how to reach the right customer, with the right information at the right time to boost ROI. Without an accurate customer database, enterprises are simply throwing a message at a wall and hoping it sticks, which becomes a waste of time and resources.

Phone number information services allow organisations with phone number databases to access important information about the numbers to inform their outreach. These include whether the numbers are accurate, the current network operator and country, the number type (mobile or landline), and the live status of reachability and roaming. Depending on their goals and the extent of their campaign outreach, organisations can either use a portability check or number verification to raise the effectiveness of the campaign.

Portability check

Mobile number portability enables mobile users to keep their phone numbers when switching network providers. For the user, receiving and sending calls and texts looks the same on a ported number as it did on the original network. On the backend, however, is more complicated. The SMS sent to a ported number that’s routed to the original carrier, not the new carrier serving the subscriber, may not be delivered or needs to be rerouted.

A portability check validates a phone number by searching portability databases in the country from which the number originates. This determines whether the number is active, who is the current service provider, and whether the number belongs to a mobile or landline phone. Checking a number’s portability optimises the call routing, because even though a number might not change, it may be routed through a different carrier.

Understanding a number’s current carrier is key for sending the message in the most cost-efficient way.

Number verification

Number verification takes the portability check a step further. By combining a number’s portability status with live data, number verification goes so far as to determine whether a phone is on or off, if it is reachable at the current moment or roaming, and in which country the subscriber is roaming.

Number verification works best when soliciting an immediate response is vital to a campaign’s success. Knowing the deliverability status of number in real time can help organisations determine the best time to send a message to receive a response. After all, 98 percent of people read their text messages, and 90 percent of those people read their messages within three seconds of receipt, according to a Dynmark study.

For certain use cases, number verification can also help fight fraudulent activity by pinpointing the location of a user’s phone. If a company is suspecting a fraudulent credit card purchase, for instance, the company can cross-check the location from which the transaction occurred against the location of the registered phone number to determine whether the activity was truly fraudulent.

Benefits to the organisation

Using portability checks and number verification to guide customer communications fills the void between sending a message and ensuring that the message reached its destination in the most efficient way. Verifying customer databases for number accuracy and validity makes targeting more effective by revealing the right moment to contact – and doing so in a cost-efficient way.

Whereas before, an organisation was paying for sending 100,000 messages and receiving a 50 percent delivery rate, that organisation can now send 50,000  messages and expect all of those messages to be delivered. By using these phone number lookup services before sending messages, organisations can improve the overall ROI of their marketing campaigns.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 3, 2018


CX is a global industry, and now a new event is set to celebrate and honour the world’s best customer-centric organisations – the 2018 International Customer Experience Awards.

The inaugural event is taking place in the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, on November 15, and entries are now open in 19 categories that cover all aspects of Customer Experience.

These include: Best Omnichannel Customer Experience; Best Digital Strategy; Most Effective Customer Experience in Social Media; and Best Customer Experience Professional.

Entrants so far hail from eight different countries and include household names such as Microsoft and DBS, with many more to be revealed in the coming weeks.

The spectacular gala event will also see an Overall Winner crowned at the ceremony, which takes place at the Movenpick Hotel City Centre, overlooking Amsterdam’s famous Ij waterway.

Meanwhile, scrutinising presentations on the day and deciding winners will be an expert independent judging panel of CX specialists from a wide range of industries. So far 16 countries are represented on what will be a truly international judging line-up.

Among the judges are the 2018 International Customer Experience awards Ambassadors, who are representing their respective countries and bringing unique takes on CX strategies in the run-up to the event.

They will be sharing their insights with CXM World as the awards draw closer, so keep and eye on the magazine for further details.

The inaugural Ambassadors include UK-based head of the Customer Experience Consultancy, Ian Golding; Mike Wittenstein, a Managing Partner of US-based consultancy Storyminers; and Daniel Ord, of Singapore firm Omnitouch International.

Mark Hamill, the Managing Director of Awards International UAE and The Netherlands, said:

For many years now, we have hosted the Gulf Customer Experience Awards in Dubai, while Awards International in Britain has successfully put CX at the forefront of the business world with the UK Customer Experience Awards.

Now it’s time to go global, and help identify those organisations all over the world that put customers at the heart of everything they do. They deserve international recognition and these awards are all about celebrating the schemes, ideas, and best practise that makes them true CX pioneers.

As always, the awarding will be carried out according to our high standards of impartiality and transparency, while all entrants will benefit significantly from the detailed feedback offered following their presentations.

This is an exciting time for Customer Experience, and we are proud to be hosting an event that will set the global standard for CX best practise, not just in the UK or the Middle East, but worldwide.”

For more information on entering the 2018 International Customer Experience Awards, visit the official website.

The deadline for entries is August 7, with the full list of finalists to be revealed on August 15.

Parham SaebiParham SaebiJune 29, 2018


By 2028, the way brands deliver Customer Experience is going to look very different.

Support systems, powered by automation and next generation artificial intelligence (AI), will handle repetitive, high volume enquiries, giving consumers the instant, 24-7 customer service they are already starting to expect as standard. This leap forward will not, however, replace human customer service agents as many have predicted. Instead, employees will work with AI systems to resolve more complicated tasks that require judgement and empathy.

This will help brands provide more memorable, personalised experiences, but it will also present a significant skills challenge. To meet this head on, training and recruitment strategies need to evolve and the impact of technology must be planned for.

We’re already starting to see automation change the role of the customer service agent. Brands are integrating chatbots – text based computer programmes capable of conversing with a human – with their own web chat systems to provide fast responses to simple queries, giving employees more time to handle complex enquiries that require a human touch.

Now, in their current form, chatbots require a significant amount of agent supervision and linguistic expertise and are governed by a pre-determined set of rules. But as the technology becomes more advanced, through the integration of AI, the scope and scale of their applications will accelerate.

Eventually, this will give agents access to virtual assistants with sophisticated internal and external facing applications. These platforms will present useful information to agents, in a digestible, intuitive format, take care of increasingly complicated inbound enquiries without supervision and match representatives with the queries they’re best equipped to respond to.

An intelligent customer relationship management (CRM) system that automatically collates and disseminates customer data across an organisation will make this possible, giving agents the information they need to be more productive and deliver exceptional, tailored customer experiences.

To get to this point, brands will have to invest in new technology and lay the groundwork for its implementation. However, if they are going to realise the benefits on offer, they will also have to ensure their employees have the skills and experience to harness and manage the systems designed to support them and handle more demanding interactions that require discussion and negotiation. This will not happen overnight, but here are three strategies that brands can use to help them get there:

1. Train and recruit with digital skills in mind

In the future, customer service agents will need to have strong interpersonal and communication skills, be comfortable using technology and be agile enough to familiarise themselves with new ways of working quickly. To adapt, brands must start gearing their recruitment strategies to attract this profile today, but, in the long term, they will also need to make a greater investment in regular, targeted employee training that runs in tandem with new technologies, as they are introduced.

In addition, brands will also have to account for the broadening scope of job roles involved in the effective delivery of customer experience. Like today, customer service agents will make up the front line, but as the technology involved becomes more advanced, the provision of additional support staff will be needed to operate and manage systems.

New positions could include everything from data scientists and computer programmers, to content managers and linguistics specialists. Every brand’s individual requirements will ultimately be different, but what’s clear is planning for the financial and operational impact of an increasingly skilled workforce is now essential for any organisation that provides customer experience.

2. Use innovative training methods

When it comes to agent training, one of the biggest challenges has always been providing realistic scenarios that test employees without exposing customers to representatives that aren’t fully equipped with the right skills. In the future, as the customer interactions agents handle become more demanding, overcoming this will become even more important. The good news is emerging technology could hold part of the solution.

Virtual reality (VR), for example, can create engaging training programs that deliver effective, memorable learning experiences, by simulating realistic scenarios. Trialling VR in our own customer service teams has accelerated the development of empathetic communication and problem-solving skills, all critical competencies for the agent of the future. VR can be the perfect training tool for agents charged with handling technical queries, where they need to understand complex questions and offer step-by-step guidance.

This could be invaluable to the automotive industry, or to any other consumer facing sector where products are becoming increasingly technical.

3. Run pilot programmes

The true extent to which automation and AI will change customer experience is still evolving, but one-way brands can start getting is by implementing pilot programmes that test the impact of new technology on specific processes that only require simple, pre-determined responses to be automated. An online retailer, for example, can automate order tracking and quickly get a feel for what’s going to be required from an organisational perspective to access the wider productivity benefits new technology can offer.

On top of being a useful trial of the capabilities of different technologies, pilot programmes can also help brands see how existing customer service roles will be changed by innovation. This allows them to identify skills gaps that need to be filled through recruitment and plan training schemes that both secure employee buy in and prepare them for the future.

As we move towards 2028, technology is going to offer brands the opportunity deliver a whole new level of quality in customer experience, by looking at the skills challenge this will pose now, they’ll be well positioned to take full advantage.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 28, 2018


The finalists for the 2018 UK Customer Experience Awards have been revealed, as the countdown begins for the country’s greatest ever celebration of CX.

Returning to London for its ninth year, the event will take place on October 11, when Awards International will welcome the UK’s most customer-centric organisations to the iconic Wembley Stadium, where they will compete across 32 categories.

Titles up for grabs during the gala evening ceremony – which follows a day of presentations – include ‘Best Engaging the Customer Online’, ‘Best Health & Wellbeing’, and ‘Best International Business’, while people-focussed categories include ‘CX Professional of the Year’ and ‘CX Team of the Year’.

This year’s shortlist of finalists represents a broad spectrum of British business, and features brands including Lloyds Banking Group, Vodafone, Scottish Widows, BT, and many, many more.

Meanwhile, the judging panel for 2018 is also shaping up to be one of the most diverse to date, with an exciting array of professionals and industry leaders preparing to scrutinise presentations on the day and award the most deserving entrants. Places on the panel are still available.

Judge and Awards Chairperson Ian Golding, Founder of the Customer Experience Consultancy, congratulated all shortlisted finalists, and hailed a record year for entries.

In our nine-year history we have never shortlisted 100 companies before. Surely this shows the growing impact of CX on business and signals Customer Experience has gone mainstream,” he said.

“The standard of entries is formidable and the number of organisations striving for true customer centricity, or transforming their organisations in the name of CX, is truly remarkable.

We listened to your feedback and we learned some lessons from last year, so this year’s finals and awards ceremony is going to be better than ever. In fact, I believe it will be the greatest event of its kind in history.

Those that didn’t make the grade, I say bad luck to you, but I hope to see you back again next year.

Congratulations once again finalists. I look forward to seeing you on October 11 at the amazing Wembley Stadium.”

For a full list of finalists for 2018, click here.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 27, 2018


The recurring question of whether the high street is dying and clicks have indeed replaced bricks is back in the news with House of Fraser and New Look’s high profile problems – but the largest ever fashion retail survey amongst digital-savvy millennials reveals they still prefer the human touch.

Real world experience and support preferred

One-in-two (49 percent) 18-34 year-olds say they prefer to shop for clothes in store, compared to 11 percent via apps and 39 percent through websites, according to the first Fashion Retail Barometer from the CX Millennial Index compiled by emotion analytics firm Adoreboard in partnership with survey platform OnePulse.

Adoreboard’s Queen’s University-based data scientists analysed the emotional responses expressed by 10,000 millennial consumers in a landmark survey about their clothing shopping habits, preferences and brand rankings, to help retail brands provide a better Customer Experience.

One-in-three (31 percent) feel less certain of their choices when they shop online, and brand trust seems to be generated more by human rather than AI support: an overwhelming 76 percent of millennials say they prefer human assistance online over a chatbot.

New Look performs well, H&M sizing issues dominate

The online fashion industry is predicted to reach £36.2 billion by 2030: 63 percent of the market compared to today’s 21 percent, but purely online retailers don’t fare as well in the Adoreboard Fashion Retail Barometer rankings. Asos is rated below beleaguered high street chain New Look and BooHoo comes in eighth out of the 10 fashion retail brands analysed.

In fact, despite its recent reported £1 billion financial debt and impending store closures, high street chain New Look far and away outstrips the other brands, coming out top of the 10 fashion retail brands analysed in the Barometer with an overall emotional response – or ‘Adorescore’ – of 42 despite sharp competition from second position ASOS with a score of 40. The Queen’s University analysts used Emotics, an AI platform which uses mathematical algorithms to calculate the overall Adorescore by assessing emotions such as joy, trust, rage and anger in respondents’ comments on individual brands.

There is stiff competition to win the hearts of the Millennial consumers who desire on trend fashion balanced with quality and value for money,” said Chris Johnston, Chief Executive of Adoreboard.

New Look’s efforts to appeal to younger shoppers is reflected in strong Trust in providing affordable fashion, whilst Joy has been driven by how Millennials rate the in-store customer experience. However, many would argue the allure of appealing to millennials has come at a cost of alienating core customers and reflected in plummeting sales for New Look.”

 Meanwhile, it seems H&M’s recent announcement about reviewing its sizing can’t come soon enough for millennial shoppers: complaints about the brand’s sizing being too small was the most recurring theme driving anger and sadness amongst respondents.

Sizing complaints seem to be at the heart of fashion favourite Topshop’s surprisingly low score, too: the brand ranked sixth in the 10 brands analysed, scoring particular highly on ‘Sadness’ due to small sizing.

Personalisation, ethics and sustainability rule rankings

Overall, personalised customer service, value, affordability and ethics are the most important clothes shopping motivators for millennial consumers – and these guide the ultimate rankings and higher scores of New Look, ASOS, H&M, and Primark. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) say ethics and sustainability are important when shopping for clothes, compared to 26 percent who were undecided or had no preference, and 12 percent who said ethics isn’t important to them.

At the other end of the scale, poor quality products, long queues in store and sizing issues lead to lower rankings and less overall brand trust for River Island, BooHoo, and Zara.

Trust in influencers, not brand marketing

The majority of millennial fashion retail consumers (61 percent) don’t trust direct brand marketing – and online advertising bombardment may be to blame. Nearly two-thirds say (65 percent) they would be less likely to trust brands who sent them too many ads.

Seeking information and peer-to-peer communication is more preferable to unsolicited brand messaging. A huge 85 percent of 18-34 year olds say social media influences their fashion buying decisions, with Instagram being the most popular influencer channel (28 percent). A further 53 percent report they would rather get their information directly from the brand’s app.

Chris Johnston said:

Brand marketers need to work smarter to start a dialogue with younger fashion retail consumers who are turned off by overt brand messaging. We know that they like to be in control of their consumer choices more than any other age group, and to feel part of a one on one, authentic conversation. The analysis notes that 85 per cent of Millennials say that emotion influences their purchase decisions, so marketers need to work smarter to build new experiences and retail theatre to heighten the appeal to these new type of shoppers. 

There’s been a lot of comment recently about the high street business model failing customers. But our Report proves that Millennials – those consumers whose spending power will drive retail and brand performance over the next generation – want, need and value that in-person, human, individualised experience.

So what does this tell brand marketers? Direct, one on one communication is key, as is providing a seamless customer experience from online to in store. There’s too often a disconnect between the value and convenience provided online with the levels of service and overall experience provided in store – and that experience is the high street’s key differentiator.

Putting the customer at the heart of your brand decisions is vital for brand survival and future growth. Exploring customer feedback through an emotional lens allows brands to generate more trust and build a seamless CX across every consumer touchpoint.”

Inform. Inspire. Include.
A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.



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Paul Ainsworth

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