Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthSeptember 18, 2018


The world’s foremost organisation dedicated to advancing Customer Experience skills and knowledge, the CXPA, is joining forces with the annual Customer Experience Awards events in the UK and the United Arab Emirates.

The new partnership will see the Customer Experience Professionals Association work alongside Awards International UK and UAE in hosting their flagship awards events, as well as an upcoming London conference focussing on the exciting future of the CX industry.

Future awards events, including the Digital Experience and Employee Experience Awards in both regions will also benefit from the involvement of the CXPA.

The UK Customer Experience Awards is now in its ninth year, while the Gulf Customer Experience Awards is enjoying four years of success, and the CXPA is helping to take both events to the next level of significance as the importance of Customer Experience is cemented globally.

Of course, the awards have already benefited greatly over the years from the involvement of the CXPA’s Certified Customer Experience Professionals (CCXP) as judges, including celebrated CX consultant and author Ian Golding.

The new partnership also includes involvement in the Future is CX conference, taking place on October 3 and featuring speakers from some of Britain’s most successful customer-centric businesses.

CXPA members can now avail of a special 10 percent discount for entry to the awards events, and a reduced price for tickets to the Future is CX.

Welcoming the new relationship, CXPA CEO Diane Magers said: “The Customer Experience Professionals Association is excited to announce the collaboration with Awards International for the upcoming Gulf CX Awards, The Future is CX Conference, and UK Customer Experience Awards events.

“The CXPA is looking forward to working with and supporting Awards International as they help to inspire and create a better understanding as well as demonstrating the importance of the Customer Experience profession worldwide.”

Awards International CEO Neil Skehel added: “We have been working with the CXPA for a considerable time, as promoters of their certified CCXP scheme. I have been a supporter of CXPA for a considerable time through my website, Customer Experience Magazine.

“I am delighted we have signed a partnership with CXPA to promote the Awards International customer experience events: the Customer Experience, Employee Experience and Digital Experience Awards and the related conferences.

“We are offering benefits to CXPA members in many countries around the world now, including the UK, Netherlands, the GCC and the Levant. Together we can spread the word about CX further and further around the world.”

Merje ShawMerje ShawSeptember 13, 2018


Over the years we have seen that the fastest, most efficient way of diagnosing Customer Experience issues is talking to your customer-facing teams. Here is a quick primer on what to ask them.

Having started my career in customer support myself, I know how many real customer issues frontline staff come across daily. Quite often, these insights stay in the frontline staff’s heads or get buried in paperwork during “business as usual” which seems like a big waste. If your organisation is starting to look more closely at their Customer Experience, tapping into this resource will be a quick and (hopefully) easy way of gaining insight into your customer base and their needs.

Here are five questions to ask:

1. What is the number one thing customers complain about?

Understanding what the biggest issue your customers feel strongly enough to complain about is will tell you how to remove the largest obstacle from customer satisfaction, and provides a good starting point for researching pain points within your customer journey.

2. Which channels do most queries come though?

This will be limited by the number of channels on which you allow them to contact you but will give you a good place to start looking at trends. After all, your customers are likely to try and contact you by the channel that is most convenient from them. If these don’t include social media, it would be wise to also review how your company is being discussed in these channels as that can be very enlightening.

3. If you could improve one thing about the service/product what would it be?

Your customer service staff talk to the customers every day and solve a myriad of issues for them. Because of this, they will develop a pretty good gut feeling on the issues causing the biggest trouble for your customer base and will be able to pinpoint the most urgent ones.

4. Which internal document is helping you most in answering customer questions?

Knowing which documentation they find the most helpful when dealing with customer queries will help you gain an understanding of the kind of content you should be putting in front of your customers during their usual journey.

5. What tool or process would help you to do your job better?

Internal tools and processes used by frontline staff can often make or break the customer’s experience of the company, so ensuring they have the things they need to be as efficient as possible is key to improving experience.

These are just a starting point to improving your Customer Experience; ideally you would follow this insight up by conducting first-hand research directly with your customers.

Not only will this way of engaging with your staff enable you to gain a deeper understanding of your customers but it will also go a long way towards making your frontline staff finally feel heard, and we all want happy people to help our customers, right?

Konstantin SelgitskiKonstantin SelgitskiSeptember 11, 2018


In today’s incredibly competitive marketplace, it is more difficult than ever before for companies to retain customers.

Therefore, it is crucial they do what they can to maintain and engage effectively with existing and potential customers. One way of staying ahead of the game and putting your company at the forefront of competitors is by offering a great Customer Experience.

Customer service builds trust and ultimately, loyalty. So, it is no surprise that customers rate it incredibly highly. Research by Gartner states that when making a purchase, 64 percent of people find Customer Experience more important than price.

Understanding your customers

When it comes to interacting with your customers, understanding their preferred methods of engagement is essential. In order for a company to be successful, it needs to be able to allow its customers to get in touch when they want and via the desired channel they want. Marketers agree that omni-channel strategies ensure higher revenues because a company will not be losing out on customers who are present on channels they are not offering.

In the past, getting in touch via the telephone was the only way to interact with a company. Now, in an increasingly digital era, this has changed. Research by McKinsey & Company states a staggering 86 percent of B2B executives prefer using self-service tools for re-ordering, rather than talking to a sales representative. In recent years, live chat and social media have also become popular methods for engagement, especially amongst millennials. Other channels companies should consider include email and SMS.

A customer is much more likely to choose a company that has a reputation for great customer service, as well as being known for offering a simple and personalised experience. A survey by Salesforce revealed 74 percent of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult. This reinforces the importance of simplifying the customer service experience and offering multiple platforms for engagement.

According to the Institute of Customer Service, some of the best companies at this include Amazon, Waitrose, John Lewis, and M&S Food. Other popular brand names known for their great customer service and experience include Netflix, Aldi, Mini, and of course Disney.

A happy customer is a repeat customer

Research by NewVoiceMedia reports that after just one negative experience, 51 percent of customers will chose never to do business with that company again. This demonstrates the importance of providing a consistent experience across all platforms.

Whether you have thousands of customers and are running a global e-commerce platform, or you are a local business with a niche audience, it is important to offer a choice of communication tools to accommodate your audience. Everyone has different preferences and understanding what those are and being able to offer them to your audience, is the key to success.

Customer satisfaction is no longer enough

It is no longer enough to just satisfy your customers. Companies must go above and beyond to attract and retain new and existing customers. So, whether you are a small local start-up or well-established global e-commerce business, make sure customer service is top of the agenda and ensure you are going that extra mile to encourage repeat business.

Gemma FabianGemma FabianSeptember 4, 2018


Customer Briefing Centres can take many guises: from ‘Experience Centres’ to immersive reception areas.

They have proven benefits to help elevate your customers’ experience with your brand, strengthen business relationships, and strongly influence your client’s decision to purchase.

The ability to offer a personalised, engaging, and transformative experience can help support an organisation’s sales team in demonstrating how their solutions can add value and help solve critical business challenges.

The rate of investment in Customer Briefing Centres in the UK is growing. A study by the Association of Briefing Program Managers reported that Customer Briefing Centres rank highest for activities relating to the faster closing of enterprise deals, especially where prospect interaction and feedback are important in the sales cycle. They also reported 77 percent of visitors decided to purchase products or services discussed in their briefings.

What are the key considerations an organisation should take when planning their next Customer Briefing Centre project?

Whether you are designing your first Customer Briefing facility or upgrading an existing centre, it’s crucial that it’s designed well from both an aesthetical and technological standpoint.

Briefing Centres have evolved into sophisticated physical spaces that facilitate personalised demonstrations and discussions. Every centre is unique to its organisation, meaning that no one size fits all, making technology systems design a key consideration in achieving a highly functioning, results-driven investment. 

1. Define your audience

Who will be visiting? What level of visitor will they be?  Employee? Middle management? Director level? How do they prefer to interact with content and technology?

2. Understand the purpose of your Centre

What’s the reason for the Centre? Is it to demonstrate products, sell ideas, develop relationships, or increase the profile of the company brand?

3. Look at the whole visitor journey

Think about what happens when the visitor walks through the door, or even before that when they pull up in the car park. How are they greeted? What is the visitor route through the building to the centre? How long will a visit take and is the visit presentation based, demonstration-based, or a combination of the two? Is the presentation one-to-one or one-to-many? When the visitor leaves how will they receive a copy of the presentation? What is the last thing the visitor sees, as this will create a lasting impression?

4. Script the visitor experience

It’s useful to script and time the visits for all types of customer. This makes the designers and technology specialists’ jobs simpler to configure and construct the space while implementing the right technology to achieve your objectives.

5. Use audio visual carefully

Don’t just implement technology for technology’s sake. Once the journey/script have been planned, it will become clearer where technology can support the visitor experience. It needs to add value and compliment the content and products on display. It’s advisable to speak to an audio visual consultant at this stage who can help suggest technologies that can provide the ‘WOW’ factor, while being reliable and easy to use and maintain.

6.  Construct a team of Customer Briefing Centre specialists

A team of highly specialised people construct the best centres – they can include architects, exhibition designers, project managers, lighting designers, audio visual specialists, and fit-out contractors. In addition, content and media producers are key; having the best presentation facilities or displays means nothing if they aren’t supported with compelling stories, media, and sound.

7. Maintain your EBC to provide optimum results

Once the system is designed, it’s important to keep it up and running so there are no lost visits due to faulty equipment. A centre that ‘just works’ will ensure maximum uptime as well as avoid any embarrassing moments due to technical issues. 

A service agreement that covers the audio-visual technology is vital. If the centre is used every day, it is advisable to consider remote monitoring so issues can be fixed 24/7, or to employ an onsite audio-visual specialist.

Electrosonic has worked with many organisations to help them create Customer Briefing Centres that gets results. We use our experience from envisioning and executing experiences like The One World Observatory in New York and English Heritage’s Stonehenge Visitor Centre to replicate the ‘WOW’ factor used in global attractions in your business spaces.

CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamSeptember 4, 2018


Virgin Trains has partnered with Vodafone and OpenMarket to become the first company in the world to roll out the latest RCS-based ‘Chat’ service as a customer communications channel on a commercial basis.

Hailed as ‘Text Messaging 2.0’, ‘Chat’ transforms the way in which companies communicate with customers. RCS-based Chat messages carry much more information than an SMS message, enabling Virgin Trains to send photos, videos, audio, and messages containing easy-to-select buttons to customers.

Initially the technology will be used to provide onward journey information to its London Euston-bound passengers. Chat messages are sent to customers’ smartphones around 10 minutes before they arrive into the station and provide the latest updates for London Underground services.

Customers can simply tap a button within the message to find out more detailed information from Transport for London (TfL) – providing simple information to help with their onward journey.

John Sullivan, Chief Information Officer at Virgin Trains, said:

We’re proud to be the very first company in the world to use RCS-based Chat actively with our customers to enrich their communications experience with Virgin Trains. We always strive to lead the way and with a proud record of digital innovation, we’re very excited to be investing in new technology that will transform the way we communicate with our customer. It has been great working with Vodafone and OpenMarket to introduce this new type of messaging, which is incredibly user-friendly.

Chat messaging provides lots of opportunities. This is just the start and we look forward to developing our Chat service to further enhance the overall journey experience for customers.”

Jonathan Morgan, CEO at OpenMarket, added:

Text Messaging 2.0 has finally arrived. Chat is text messaging for the smartphone age, and it gives customers a richer, smarter, more app-like experience – all from their SMS inbox. There are three specific reasons why consumers will find the Chat service a significant improvement on regular text messages.

First, it makes completing even complex tasks such as providing feedback as easy as tapping a button. Second, there is no need for third party apps as Chat adds functionality in the native messaging inbox that consumers already use frequently. Third, message branding and verified sender information provide consumers with increased peace of mind when they receive Chat messages.”

The introduction of Chat messages is the latest digital initiative to be rolled out by Virgin Trains, who earlier this year became the first transport company in the world to sell tickets through Amazon Alexa. Other innovations that set Virgin Trains out as industry leaders for technology include the launch of BEAM (on-board entertainment portal), m-Tickets across all routes as well as Automatic Delay Repay.

Currently, these Chat messages can be received by any Virgin Trains customer using a device on the Vodafone network that is RCS-compatible; other customers will receive an SMS text message that contains a link to the TfL website.

Craig SummersCraig SummersSeptember 3, 2018


The summer might have just ended and Christmas may seem a million miles away, but as is customary in the retail world, brands far and wide will be setting up their plans to survive the busiest time of the retail calendar.

However, as the high street continues to evolve – despite claims it is dying – social shopping and e-commerce continue to boom and consumers are more demanding than ever. Let’s face it, peak season is not as we once knew it!

The key peaks

Peak is no longer confined to the high street, nor the months of November and December. The more than pleasant weather, the hype around this year’s World Cup, and other spikes in national activity such as the royal wedding have all played a part in the ups and downs of this year’s retail trends.

All of these factors, coupled with the emerging use of technology in retail, means that brands must now take learnings from the entire year to help them manage any peak, not just the one that happens around Christmas.

An analysis on last year’s festive period will no longer be enough; peaks are now based on culture, lifestyle, weather and even political change. Retailers should have their businesses set up for this throughout the year so they won’t need to worry about how they manage the traditional peak, as it will just be classed as another busy period.

Survival kit

The key retail survival tactic during traditional peak season is often to hire a plethora of Christmas temps to help deal with demand and then let them all go in January. The admin headache and cost implication is a nightmare and most of the staff are not as efficient or knowledgeable as they could be as they have a very quick onboarding period.

Instead, retailers should arm themselves with tools that combine the traditional workforce with the workforce of the future: technology. Gone are the days of clunky, eye-watering updates, which take up time and put systems on hold – retailers don’t have to put up with this anymore.

The best cloud-based tools can be flexed to accommodate busy or quiet periods at any time of the year without having to panic-hire an army of new staff, allowing both man and machine to work together and better manage the resources available.

It also means that retailers don’t have to dread the IT blackout that often occurs when stores and online channels can’t cope with an increase in demand. Simply put, the retailers that are still running on their own physical servers are falling behind, especially when it comes to managing peaks. By adopting the latest cloud technologies, retailers will open up a new found flexibility to seamlessly manage an increase in demand whilst still driving a better Customer Experience all year round, without risking brand damage or impacting revenues.

Surviving the climb

The challenges faced around any peak in demand or sales can spell disaster when not managed correctly. But those retailers that take note of customer behaviour, key trends, and the kinds of demands that are being made throughout the year, will be the ones that handle Christmas peak without a concern. In today’s ever demanding environment it’s no longer just about surviving the peak, it’s about learning from the entire climb.

Jo UpwardJo UpwardAugust 31, 2018


With the Institute of Customer Service recently warning that the “survival of the fittest will be driven by how well customers are served” and 33 percent of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service, there is no doubt that Customer Experience continues to be a main concern for organisations big and small.

Even though Customer Experience transformation has been a focus of most organisations now for going on 10 years, how many of those transformation programmes still have the energy, focus, and effectiveness that they had when they were first created?

Just as times have changed politically, economically, and financially over the last decade, the process of keeping the customer at the heart of what you do needs to evolve. Here are five tips on rebooting your Customer Experience Transformation programme; CX 2.0.

Dedicate a space

Organisations have long felt the benefit of bespoke sales suites where they can engage with better, more strategic conversations with their enterprise customers. However, few have a dedicated space for engaging with customers around the experience they provide, a place where you and your customers can co-create future experiences. 

We are starting to see organisations bringing traditional sales thinking into customer experience transformation.  Creating Customer Experience Test Centres where you bring customers (both consumer and enterprise) to review touchpoints, identify drop outs or poor experience and help you to design the ideal future. This signals to the organisation the important and focus you are placing on getting customers’ experiences right. 

Embedding the brand ethos and promise, you can make it a comfortable place to bring customers and other stakeholders where they feel able to be honest and constructive about improvements they would like to see. Combine the comfort with analytic tools that can help redesign key experiences and to help test preferences to make the space as effective and efficient as possible.

Open Up

Customer Experience mapping and process analytics is often done behind closed doors with internal project teams mapping experiences, identifying drop outs and re-engineering processes. Changes are then made to product, services and processes, expenditure incurred in IT, training, marketing and so on to support the changes then launched and measured to see if the desired effect on improving customer experience has been achieved.

Often these changes produce unintended consequences, creating, for example, challenges in the contact centre, delays in process flow and problems for the supply chain.

What better way to stop this unnecessary domino effect – and save your organisation time and money – than open up the process up to customers; who better to help you shape a truly customer-centric service for the future? But also, to other stakeholders – contact centre staff, for example, have a wealth of knowledge and feedback that may not make its way to the transformation team. 

One example where this has been implemented effectively is with the Dutch retail bank ING that included its employees in the co-creation process of a low-end life insurance product. On the one hand they had identified a younger, harder to reach target audience.

On the other hand, they had a high churn of junior advisors whose lack of experience led to more of an admin role than a commission-based sales role. Leading on from a Customer Experience workshop, it became apparent that these advisors and the target customers for the life insurance product had a lot in common and their younger, more junior advisors were better placed to understand the need, desire, and demand of this younger target audience. 

Taking this learning, the product sales process was evolved to be built around the junior advisors selling the product with the support of more senior staff. The results were startling – the revenues generated in the first two years were the highest in the life insurance division’s history and retention of their junior advisors improved significantly.

Going even broader, your supply chain can also be brought into the fold, helping to make the end to end process that makes up the experience you are designing more likely to be achievable.

Design thinking

Design thinking, with its roots in software UI and UX design, can provide some useful lessons and a deep understanding of the customer, defining the experience that will meet their needs, being creative in ideas to deliver the experience and then prototyping and testing those ideas is a much more agile approach than traditional process re-engineering.

Executing design thinking in a bespoke environment with all key stakeholders involved will ensure investment that is finally made in service improvements is tested and targeted to improve efficacy and return on investment.

Get real (time)

However, look to take Design Thinking one step further by adopting a much more real-time approach. A Customer Experience Test Centre with easy access for your customers or based on the Contact Centre floor allows you to analyse and solve experience issues as they happen. This ensures minimum frustration for customers and minimum cost to your organisation.

A great example of this is one UK-based financial service company that ensured that all front-line staff had 20 percent their time dedicated to service improvements. Staff had specialisms they focused on for improvements and built contacts and a support team within the business to allow them to direct improvements.

So, for example, if call volumes were increasing after communication to pension holders about a taxation change, the agent responsible for communications improvements would bring a team together to review the reasons for call volume increases, learn lessons and apply for communications in the future.

Visualise the experience

The final boost to your transformation programme is to get a lot more visual in the experience you are providing today and the experience you are aiming for as a result of your CX programme. This applies to the macro experience; creating a clear and understandable vision that makes sense across the organisation (and that can be communicated externally as an ambition as well as internally). It also applies to the micro; investing in digital tools that can help visualise processes that are easy to understand and easy for a range of stakeholders to contribute their valuable transformation ideas. 

In today’s world where products can be sourced cheaper and promotions undercut by competitors at the touch of a button, Customer Experience is the one strand many organisations must focus on to keep their share of the market. Ensuring that you keep listening to your customers and involve them at every step of the journey will bring them closer to your brand, drive advocacy and ultimately help transform your brand for the future.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthAugust 29, 2018


It’s been a busy-but-successful few years for utilities firm Business Stream, thanks to a renewed focus on customers and how they interact with the organisation.

Skippering Business Stream – known as ‘the Water Experts’ – as it charts a course through successful CX seas is Director of Customer Operations, Jo Mayes.

Under her watch, the firm has enjoyed victory at the UK Customer and Digital Experience Awards, and look set to give the competition a run for their money at this year’s UKCXAs, when they return to London’s Wembley Stadium on October 11.

Jo is also one of the speakers at the upcoming the Future is CX conference, hosted by Awards International at the UK headquarters of Microsoft, that will bring some of the UK’s most pioneering Customer Experience professionals together for an exclusive day of sharing best practice, which you can attend.

In an exclusive interview with CXM, Jo recounts how Business Stream utilised a huge influx of customers to redefine the experience they offer. 

In April 2017, the English water retail market opened, and we went into this new market and doubled our customer number overnight – we acquired Southern Water’s non-household customer base,” she said.

It’s important in a competitive market to focus on Customer Experience. There’s not a lot of margins for retailers like ourselves and others in the English market, and there won’t be for while.”

Of course, pricing is only one consideration for an organisation when it comes to keeping customers on board, and Jo realised that to truly stand out, they would need to overhaul the journey their clients embark upon.

While customers are very keen on price, Customer Experience needs to feature, because as a retailer you can’t give away a discount if there’s not a lot there in the first place,” she explained.

“It is imperative that a good experience is part of the overall consideration from brands. What we recognised was: we wanted to transform our Customer Experience. We invested heavily in digital, and we initiated our digital CX transformation programme. That was one of our entries at the last UK Customer Experience Awards, and we actually won the category.”

Describing the technology that gives them the edge in the utilities market, Jo continued:

“We completely redesigned and delivered a new Interactive Voice Response capability. It gives us a lot more flexibility in identifying customers and routing them to the right skill set in our business. We developed and launched a new virtual assistant so we could answer customer queries 24/7.

“We implemented an automated call and pay capability, and we launched our app. We worked with CapGemini and developed the app in seven weeks, from concept to delivery. A huge achievement!”

 Technology is just one component of exceptional CX, and Jo was determined that Business Stream would turn on the taps when it comes to meeting expectations.

“Another thing we did was that we wanted to ask customers what kind of Customer Experience they wanted us to provide,” Jo said.  

“We put in place new CX measures and really started to drive our actions based on customer sentiment and scores to try and help us target improvements in a way that would be more meaningful for our customers. Another key thing was that we looked at our customer onboarding experience and realised there were elements of dissatisfaction in that journey, so we transformed that.

“Through measurement and analysis we understood where we needed to make improvements. Some of those improvements were in communication, and we looked at it holistically to ask how can we make onboarding a more positive experience rather than something customers were showing dissatisfaction on.”

So where now for Business Stream and its journey towards ever-improving Customer Experience? Onwards and upwards.

Recently we worked with CAP GEMINI to develop a robotic process automation solution (RPA) using AI, and that has gone live,” Jo explained.

 “This is something we hope to be successful with at this year’s UK Customer Experience Awards, though I don’t want to give too much away!

We have robots working to pull in data and help set up accounts. That has been groundbreaking for us, and it’s essentially taken the time from 10 weeks to onboard a multi-site customer to something closer to two weeks. These are real tangible benefits: we have changed out complaints journey, and we have seen an 89 percent reduction in complaints in Scotland. Ultimately it’s the customer who is benefitting.”

True innovation never ends, however, and the success so far for the team in terms of Digital Experience is just the beginning, according to Jo, who added: “In terms of future developments, we have taken the first steps in the digital world and we will look to continue to innovate in that space. 

 “Potentially, chat bots could be something that will appear at some point down the line. We will continue down the robotics route, and utilise technology that will satisfy customers, and help us to secure new business.”

For more details on speakers attending the Future is CX Conference, click here.

Awards International is also hosting a second upcoming conference, Winning with Complaint Handling, which will bring together previous winners of the UK Complaint Handling Awards to share best practice.




Wayne St. AmandWayne St. AmandAugust 29, 2018


The rise of digital has allowed brands to expand beyond the capabilities of traditional marketing and reach consumers in virtually any place, at any time.

Yet while the new era opens up a world of possibilities, the ever-increasing complexity of online marketing means marketers need to constantly refine strategies and utilise the most effective channels, devices, and tactics to reach the right audiences at scale.

Following reports of well-established high street retailers closing, the need for innovative and effective digital transformation is paramount to gain and maintain competitive advantage. What’s more, the recently introduced GDPR regulation has imposed stricter requirements on the safe handling of data, creating an additional need for businesses to adapt their marketing efforts.     

So, what steps can marketers take to embrace new ways of working in today’s diverse digital landscape?

Keep up with developments in martech

The rise of digital has turned marketing into an increasingly technology-driven function. In fact, the average brand marketer now uses more than 12 unique tools on a regular basis and some use over 31 per campaign. While these technologies provide critical capabilities for any marketing department, they also create silos that make it difficult to track, measure, and optimise all audience interactions with a brand.

Marketing effectively in today’s digital age requires more holistic measurement solutions that integrate data from disparate systems to establish a single source of truth about marketing and media performance. By consolidating and normalising data, these solutions not only enable marketers to better understand consumer behaviour, but they also align entire teams around a uniform set of business goals and marketing KPIs. Armed with this data, marketing teams can work together to efficiently test, prove, and allocate budget to the most effective channels and tactics.

Implement a people-based marketing strategy

Continuous growth in the digital space has dramatically changed the way consumers interact with brands. With access to more information and more choices, empowered consumers now place elevated expectations on every interaction they have with brands.

In fact, a recent report found that 76 percent of customers report that it’s easier than ever to switch from brand to brand to find an experience that matches their expectations. As experience increasingly becomes a key differentiator, marketers must embrace a people-based approach that puts the consumer at the centre of their marketing strategy.

The tremendous power of people-based marketing is the ability to target real people versus generic buyer personas. It’s made possible using a privacy compliant persistent identifier that links a person to his or her browsers and devices.

People-based marketing allows brands to understand the path to purchase across digital and mobile channels, as well as addressable offline channels like direct mail where individual, user-level data is available. By understanding who their customers and prospects are and how they behave, marketers can improve the relevancy of their marketing and advertising at every stage of the consumer journey – ultimately improving the experience and building greater affinity for the brand overall.

Go further with multi-touch attribution

A people-based approach that tracks the end-to-end customer journey is vital to a complete understanding of how consumers interact with a brand. However, people-based marketing relies on a new kind of measurement that is also people-based.

Just because a marketer knows who a user is and what devices they use doesn’t mean they know which marketing and advertising tactics will drive conversions, retention, customer lifetime value, and other key business metrics. In a multi-channel, multi-device landscape, a multi-touch attribution measurement approach is essential for accurately understanding which marketing touchpoints along the consumer journey influenced a desired business outcome.

By unifying people-based insights with multi-touch attribution, marketers can see which creative messages, content, and other tactics drive the best results for each audience segment across all channels and devices. They can then apply this insight to optimise consumer experiences and make smarter investment decisions within and across channels.

Optimise opportunities using real-time insight

Digital has created the need for different levels of insight at different speeds. While CMOs may only need to understand how to best allocate their budgets at the channel level on an annual or quarterly basis, individual channel owners need to know how to optimise at tactical levels and on a daily basis within the channel itself.

For example, online display managers must pinpoint which publishers, placements, creatives and frequencies are driving success while campaigns are still in-flight, so they can replicate what’s working and improve what’s not.

Multi-touch attribution provides marketers with granular, near real-time insight to optimise opportunities and drive results. By helping marketers make quicker decisions that influence consumer behaviour, these near real-time insights and optimisations can have significant impact on marketing efficiency and ROI.

In these challenging times, brands must embrace the latest digital marketing techniques to stay ahead of the game. By keeping abreast of new developments, implementing a people-based approach, employing multi-touch attribution, and optimising campaigns based on near real-time insight, brands can make the most of the new digital era to reach consumers with meaningful marketing that really drives results.   

Manuela PifaniManuela PifaniAugust 20, 2018


In the midst of the ‘Experience Economy’, where Customer Experience is the key driver of lasting customer relationships and loyalty, many organisations still leave things to chance. Instead, a clear customer strategy is essential to design and deliver coherent, meaningful and differentiated CX, says expert consultant Manuela Pifani, who is heading an exclusive upcoming Customer Strategy and Design Thinking Masterclass

Summer is still shining  – for now – encouraging us to orchestrate a fanfare of holiday escapes, weekend breaks, and social gatherings in outdoor terraces and backyards.

However, these days people seem to be dealing with these coveted moments in a very different way. They increasingly seek the enjoyment of carefully designed surroundings, the adventure of exploring more exotic destinations, or the thrill of adrenaline-rushing activities.

Indeed, all of this is reflected also in my own choice of holiday destinations, from tours of faraway countries, trekking through local villages and unspoilt landscapes, to the all-immersive relaxation of sunny seaside resorts, dwelling in lush surrounds and the bliss of crystal clear waters, or to the exciting rush of skiing down snow-white mountains away from it all.

Even in the comfort of our own home, we enjoy the great weather by increasingly delving into sophisticatedly spiced meats or delicate fish barbecues; colourful tropical cocktails and perfectly chilled prosecco; trays of Mediterranean delicacies and general MasterChef-style cuisine; to indulge ourselves and our loved ones and impress our guests.

The humble BBQ of hotdogs with ketchup and hamburgers in a bap we grew up with, is no longer good enough for many of us. It no longer offers the type of social and culinary experience we all have come to enjoy and expect.

Whether pretentious or self-gratifying, our intentions are always about achieving and delivering a memorable and immersive social experience. They are about fully enjoying those precious personal moments with all our senses, wrapped up in the warmth of this prolonged and satisfying sunshine.

In the era of the Experience Economy, simple events and humble interactions no longer tick our boxes or tickle our palate. Whether driven by this trend or healthy lifestyles, even McDonalds has progressively moved towards more refined and fresher food and created better experiences, such as introducing queue-busting digital order devices, comfortable table service, and more engaging kids toys and activities.

But more importantly, sub-optimal service and broken processes are no longer tolerated. Customers want more than just products at good prices, but expect everything to be wrapped up in a perfectly packaged experience, in a carefully designed way.

However, many organisations still leave this to chance!

They open up shop and expect customers to flow in and raid their shelves…just because!

They get set up online in a clunky way and expect customers to go through lengthy processes and slow steps to purchase their services…just because.

But reality is different. Even for long-established brands, accidental experiences that happen by chance are no longer good enough. It suffices to take a look at the UK retail sector, which only in the last few months has seen many big brands wobbling, when once upon a time they were leading: House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, Toys ’r’ Us, Maplin, Homebase, Poundworld…

The list goes on.

From the higher end to the more price-driven side, they have all been struggling, because in my view they all failed to truly understand their customers and therefore design a value proposition and a Customer Experience to meet their needs.

I think it’s paradoxical that, reinforcing this glorious UK summer, the Greek islands’ sunshine has been the theme of the last few months, through the tunes of the Mamma Mia, Here we go again film, which has left most of us walking away from cinemas humming the notes of the memorable Take a Chance on Me song.

While we would all be happy to ‘take a chance’ on the dream of long-lost love or on the certainty of Greek summer sunshine, we are definitely no longer willing to unnecessarily chance a repeat bad shopping or service experience, or indeed even an average one.

Why should we? After all, there are plenty of other options out there, and many are accessible from the comfort of our sun-lounger, using our mobile devices without even having to interrupt the sunbathing.

No strategy, no design

Let’s be honest: how many organisations have a clearly defined customer strategy? They may have business ambitions, brand communications, and operational standards, but how many have defined what type of experience they want to deliver to their customers, in order to fully meet their needs?

Yet if they do not have a clear customer strategy, how could they possibly deliver a coherent, meaningful, and differentiated Customer Experience? If they don’t know what the deepest needs of their customers are, how could they possibly meet them? If things are left to chance, how do they expect to be able to build lasting customer relationships and the loyalty required to survive in our current hot climate?

“Take a chance on me?”

“Mamma mia! No!”

So join me at a forthcoming Customer Strategy & Design Thinking course to broaden your skills, learn new methodologies, and hear about how other organisations have successfully designed their Customer Experience.

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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