CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 13, 2019


Analysis of the UK’s top 250 retailers has found a 19 percent year-on-year increase in the number of brands offering the option to pay in international currency.

The figure forms part of an annual performance index carried out by leading ecommerce and digital agency Visualsoft.

The report examined the sector’s biggest names and found that 81 percent of these retailers are offering customers the option to pay in non-sterling alternatives. This was an increase on the 62 percent of retailers that offered international payments in 2017. The majority of these are Euros and USD, with one percent of retailers offering Yen.

The increase is likely to be a reaction to Brexit-related uncertainty in the lead-up to 29th March.

The research also found that the prevalence of innovative payment methods is increasing. For example, after only being in the market for little over a year, Amazon Pay is already being used by 10 percent of top retailers – showing clear movement towards a more diverse spectrum of payments offered.

A further one-in-10 of retailers analysed offer finance products from lenders such as Klarna – up from almost nothing in 2017. Research has found that around three-quarters (78 percent) of consumers would consider purchasing through retail finance, with the average spend of £620, so offering this type of payment could prove a fundamental avenue for future growth.

However, this appeared to be having a detrimental impact on basic payment methods. A quarter (23 percent) fail to offer a payment choice other than a mainstream credit or debit card. This has worsened by four percent year-on-year.

Dale Higginbottom, head of CRO at Visualsoft, said: “These figures suggest proactivity in the lead-up to Brexit and adoption of new payment trends, which is great to see. However, we know that up to a quarter of consumers also abandon their transactions at checkout because the retailer doesn’t provide their payment method of choice.

“Offering a wide range of options is an important way for retailers to maximise their sales potential, but too many are still not doing so – with 23 percent neglecting an offer outside of traditional cards. This inability to get the basics right could prove crucial as we move into 2019.”

CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 8, 2019


The Customer Experience Professional Masterclass led by international CX consultant and author Ian Golding, is going from strength-to-strength in 2019 with more satisfied participants than ever.

The two-day class – which is followed by an opportunity to take the CCXP exam following a preparation workshop – sees participants learn the skills and knowledge needed to move a business towards full customer-centricity.

Featuring interactivity, discussions, case studies, and more, Ian, author of Customer What? The honest and practical guide to customer experience, is helping shape the CX landscape in the UK and beyond, empowering a new generation of professionals ready to put customer centricity at the heart of their organisations.

The recent February CX Masterclass was a huge success, and saw eager participants arrive in Stevenage from across the UK – and further afield – to engage.

Speaking of his experience, Ben Washburn, a CX Manager with legal software firm Hyperlaw, said: “I had a fantastic few days at the CX Masterclass. Customer Experience is such a crucial area of business that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. If deployed properly, it is key to any successful business.

“A huge thank you to Ian for the eye opening insight and all the other attendees for a thoroughly enjoyable two days.”

Mary Geoghegan, a Senior Global Customer Service Leader with the national College of Ireland, said: “I was very impressed with Ian’s delivery of training, his passion, and his support to go above and beyond with his mentoring. Having completed the class I feel re-energised, re-focused, and totally positive that this is the area of business I want to be in and one in which I can make a difference.”

Customer Experience Leader with Bupa Global, Dean Arcan, flew in from Copenhagen to take part and was thrilled to learn from Ian, who also applies his knowledge in judging panels for various CX awards events such as the UK Customer Experience Awards.

“Ian is one of the most inspirational leaders I’ve ever met,” he said.

“He is extremely knowledgeable, passionate, and humble. He is a true example of a leader with purpose and integrity, who is committed to adding value to people.

I feel as though this Masterclass has been a milestone event in my career. I’ve learned so much I’m almost bursting with enthusiasm – even more than usual!

“Under Ian’s guidance I know I will be able to channel this a lot more effectively going forward. Keep doing what you are doing Ian, you are changing lives!”

Meanwhile, Sophie Rugg, a Customer Insight specialist with Wakefield and District Housing, described the Masterclass as “hands down the best training I have ever attended.”

She continued: “Ian is an absolute CX expert and delivers the class with clarity and an infectious enthusiasm. He has an incredible knack for dealing with complex topics with simplicity. I have come away from the class glowing and buzzing with new ideas. I can’t recommend tit highly enough.”

The next CX Professional Masterclass will take place at the Business & Technology Centre in Stevenage on April 23-24, with the CCXP Exam Workshop on the 25th. Click here to register.

For all Masterclass queries, please contact Antonija at


Ian GoldingIan GoldingFebruary 7, 2019


Customer Experience specialist Ian Golding, author of Customer What: The Honest and Practical Guide to Customer Experience, writes for Customer Experience Magazine offering 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 CX Professional Masterclass. Click here for details of upcoming Masterclass dates.

Should any business (irrespective of size) hire an individual who possesses an understanding of the competencies and capabilities required for an organisation to become sustainably customer-centric?

The answer to this is, in my humble opinion, is simple…..YES!

As anyone who has heard me speak, or read my thoughts on the subject of Customer Experience in the past will know, CX is now recognised globally as a bona fide profession. This fact demonstrates that like all professions, there is a ‘science’ that defines the work that someone in a Customer Experience role performs. The ‘science’ is formed of six competencies, established by the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). These are:

Customer-Centric Culture

Voice of the Customer, Customer Insight, and Understanding

Organisational Adoption and Accountability

Customer Experience Strategy

Experience Design, Improvement, and Innovation

Metrics, Measurement, and ROI

This is a broad set of subject areas that Customer Experience Professionals (CXPs) are expected to have a good working knowledge of. The best CXPs in the world apply the science in a way that is appropriate to every and any situation/scenario they face. If an organisation has an aspiration to become sustainably customer-centric, it will find it extremely difficult to do so if it does not contain the expertise and specialisms to make it a tangible reality.

What official title an organisation gives someone with these skills is actually not that important; what is critical is that the organisation recognises the importance of Customer Experience capability and enables those with the skillset to work alongside their colleagues to drive a cross-functional, collaborative approach to becoming customer-centric.

To find out more about the Certified Customer Experience Professional qualification, visit the CCXP website.

To find out more about Ian’s CX Masterclasses and CCXP Exam Preparation Workshops, click here.

CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 7, 2019


CXM has partnered with the Customer & User Experience Expo, which is making its debut at the London ExCeL on the 27th & 28th March 2019, and is running alongside four other unique industry shows at Europe’s best marketing event.

The event will equip you with the tools, techniques, and systems to revolutionise your Customer Experience, pathing your journey to success.

Over 100 experts will be on hand to enlighten visitors with the very best Customer and User Experience guidance available, while an array of the industry’s biggest brands and most innovative suppliers will be showcasing the solutions shaping the future of CX and UX, all under one roof.

Among these industry professionals are the best-of-the-best to advise, educate, and influence the development of your CX plan for your business.

Keynote speakers include:

Daniel Ord – Founder of OmniTouch International

Daniel will share multiple examples from his work on Contact Centre Mystery Shopper programs, to highlight that it may be time to reinvent your approach to quality. He will also provide practical suggestions for doing so.

Nikki Patel – Head of Evaluation for Digital Development at NHS England

This presentation will take a look at developments in digital technology in the NHS and the direction of travel for the future, to ensure new opportunities can be grasped and citizen experience improved.

Nick Iron – Lead UX Designer at John Lewis

In this talk, Nick will use principles of heuristic traps in skiing and mountaineering to illustrate some of the mistakes that are commonly made in UX and UI design, and demonstrate how, whilst rarely fatal, they can be highly damaging to our careers or business success.

For all this and more, the 2019 free ticket for the Customer & User Experience Expo will also give you unprecedented access to the Call & Contact Centre Expo, B2B Marketing Expo, Marketing Technology Expo, and Sales Innovation Expo; with a combined lineup of 1,000 cutting-edge exhibitors, 500 educational seminars, and 200 interactive masterclasses, this is going to be a show like no other.

Visit the website today to secure your limited FREE ticket.

Laura ArthurtonLaura ArthurtonFebruary 5, 2019


Rapid technology advances and the advent of high-speed internet connectivity have allowed consumers to be more connected than ever before.

Mobile phones, tablets, and computers that were once built for simple daily chores such as text messaging and browsing the internet can now be connected to smart homes, wearable technology, and virtual reality devices, and many of us would be lost without them.

When it comes to shopping, the era of technology ubiquity that we live in has created a landscape where consumers are comfortable with the sight of a computer screen or iPad in a high street store, or are perfectly happy making most of their purchases online. At the same time, customers are becoming much more discerning in terms of the quality of advice and guidance they receive before making a purchase.

While many see this high-speed connectivity and presence of technology as a threat to the role of human staff – and a possible end to physical stores – consumers’ desire for comprehensive advice, allied with their openness to using technology, presents an opportunity for retailers to empower their human staff to serve customers more effectively in-store.

Technology: building human connections, not breaking them

As the general population becomes more and more accustomed to technology pervading every aspect of their daily lives, recent research we conducted revealed that almost seven in ten consumers (69 percent) – rising to 86 percent amongst the millennial generation – believe that technology will be a powerful tool in helping retailers build stronger relationships with their customers. While this indicates that shoppers are becoming increasingly comfortable with technology in retail, there is also strong evidence to suggest that it can be used to retain and enhance the human element of the customer experience, rather than supersede it.

To support this point further, a majority of survey respondents (56 percent, including 64 percent of millennials) believe it is important to speak to someone in-store before making a high-value purchase. This reveals a clear desire for an additional level of personalisation and guidance provided by a human member of staff, and proves that the human touch in retail is far from dead.

How to enhance the human touch

The growth of automation has led many to fear that people may lose their jobs to machines, and the retail sector hasn’t escaped these concerns. However, what this research has shown is that consumers still consider human input an essential component of the shopping and purchasing process.

With this in mind, retailers need to focus on how they can use the power of technology to complement and support the roles of human sales and customer service associates. Intelligent guided selling (IGS) tech is one of many ways this can be achieved, by making it considerably easier for a member of staff to walk a customer through a range of product choices and configurations. It can also be used to manage customer interactions across all sales channels, enabling a greater understanding of today’s increasingly omni-channel shopper.

Striking the balance

When it comes to today’s shopper, it is important for retailers to understand that face-to-face shopping is far from dead; if anything, it has become more important than ever before. The desire to see and touch products, while benefiting from personalised guidance and the expertise of a sales associate, remains extremely important. At the same time, it is also crucial to remember that there is a need to strike a balance between giving customers the support they need, while respecting their independence and giving them the space to make their own decisions, in their own time.

Consumers believe in technology. If it can be used to empower, rather than inhibit, the role of staff, retailers can reach a happy medium where customers are given the right balance of technological efficiency and human intervention, and staff continue to feel valued in their positions. This, in turn, maximises the chances of maintaining both customer satisfaction and staff fulfilment, both of which should be held in the highest regard by any retailer looking to maintain competitive advantage.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthFebruary 5, 2019


Nationwide is the UK’s most trusted financial service provider for 2018, according to new research from experience management company and former UK Customer Experience Awards entrants Qualtrics.

The research, which surveyed 1,000 UK consumers about the banks and financial services they use, explored aspects including customer loyalty and trust, and the technology trends that are defining the future of banking.

Of the UK’s most-used banks, Nationwide, RBS, and Barclays have the highest levels of customer trust and there’s a direct link to customer engagement, with those banks seeing higher levels of loyalty, with 86 percent of RBS customers and 75 percent of Nationwide customers saying they are likely to stay with their bank for the next two years, compared to an average of 68 percent across the sector.

Commenting on this finding, Luke Williams, CX strategy lead at Qualtrics said: “It’s long been said that customer trust takes a lifetime to build and a moment to destroy. In our experience, this isn’t the case. Customers do not stop trusting brands because of one specific crisis – no matter how severe. In reality, customer trust is eroded over time through continuous, disappointing experiences.

“The brands that have come out on top in our trust index do not have a magic formula, they are simply providing consistent experiences that regularly meet the expectations of their customers. For the most part, this comes down to listening to customers and understanding the little things that define a great experience. That is where true trust, and ultimately, true customer loyalty is forged.”

Sanjiv GossainSanjiv GossainFebruary 5, 2019


It seems that everywhere we go, every place we visit, every time we buy something, we are asked to rate our experience.

There are even adverts in mainline stations encouraging us to provide feedback on our station experience with the inducement of possibly winning something. It therefore may not come as a great surprise that nearly three-quarters of the 1,000 brands surveyed as part of new research from Cognizant identify customer experience (CX) as crucial to their business.

But, while it is clear that every brand wants to offer the best possible CX at every opportunity during every interaction with consumers, there are marked discrepancies between brands’ perceptions of Customer Experience and their customers’. And the reality of executing an excellent CX is more challenging than merely stating the principle.

When we think of the brands with whom we associate great CX, they all have one thing in common: digital innovation. Even companies with very different brand positioning and strategies, like John Lewis and Amazon. Amazon is well-known for reducing the number of clicks it takes to make a purchase, offering tailored recommendations and able to deliver the next day at a price the high street finds hard to beat.

John Lewis was a trail-blazer in CX and has used its experience to become a pioneer in digital sales, becoming an early adopter of click-and-collect. Today, it continues to underpin its commitment to reimagining the shopping experience with the JLAB retail innovation incubator.

However, identifying companies doing it correctly is clearly much simpler than applying the right magic formula yourself. And with so many touchpoints in a customer journey, across digital and traditional channels, the challenge of creating a superior CX is becoming ever more complex.

Such a challenge is overwhelming for many marketers, according to the new Cognizant research, which details the gap between the experiences that consumers expect and what marketers currently feel they are able to deliver. For example, only one-in-five marketers believe they are getting it right, and nearly half do not believe they have the strategy, technology and data to provide consumers with what they truly want.

To help marketing professionals close the CX gap in their own companies, we have outlined five recommendations:

1. Start with strategy and culture

A robust strategy that is embedded throughout the organisation is critical to delivering excellent CX. A commitment to improving CX must be a shared organisational goal, for if the culture does not drive the company to improve customer experiences at every touchpoint, the strategy is merely some smart thinking put down on paper.

2. Understand your customer journeys

Without data, your CX strategy will just be a shot in the dark. Do you know and have you mapped what the customer journey for each product and service you offer is? Are there bumps in the road? Have you looked at where the path to conversion could be made simpler, frictionless and more informative?

Margaret Jobling, Group Chief Marketing Officer at Centrica, was spot on when she claimed how nobody cares about your tech excuses. Consumers simply want a smooth journey that is made to appear effortless: “Historically, there have been a series of separate customer journeys, rather than something consistent and integrated. People don’t care about what’s happening in your business and the back office, so this needs to be tackled. We systematically tackle every customer journey and every pain point and try to make it a less complicated experience. You can’t just put a sticking plaster on a pain point because that will cause a problem somewhere else within the business.”

3. Measure your CX successes

Performance measures are critical to the planning process, management and value of any business. Sales figures and ROI calculations are standard measures to show company income compared to expenditure; however, unless brands improve how they measure CX, any gains will be short-lived. Do you know if your customers are happy? If you do not ask, you will never know.

Establishing customer-focused metrics will help to understand how well you are doing. You could measure Net Promoter Scores, advocacy or satisfaction – or all three. Define your metrics and keep measuring against it to find out how your new strategy and improvements are bearing fruit.

4. Put design at the heart

Design cannot be isolated from CX, as you cannot expect the design team to deliver on the new CX strategy that it has little knowledge of.

Work with the design team to create amazing front-end experiences that are consistent with the brand promise and deliver on the plan to make the customer journey frictionless and more enjoyable. By opening up access to the CX data, designers will be able to see what customers want, and as well as what is or is not working. This empowers them to make the necessary improvements and supports the success of your strategy.

5. Invest in back-end integrations

Silos. Sadly, they have not been consigned to history.

Superior Customer Experience can only be delivered when both the marketing and design teams have access to all data sets, are equipped with the tools to make sense of that data and empowered to create a better journey based on its insights.

While many CMOs and CIOs understand this and have been talking about working together more seamlessly and proactively, our research has shown that the CX gap is wider than many may have feared. It is time to put this talk into action, working together to establish the focus on the customer, not feeding internal divisions.

CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 5, 2019


Customer Experience professionals are preparing to gather in Dublin for the 2019 European Insight Exchange event.

Taking place in the Irish capital on March 13-14 at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, the conference is hosted by the CXPA and is one of Europe’s premier events for sharing best practise and highlighting skills in Customer Experience.

A fantastic networking opportunity, the European Insight Exchange features workshops, a thought leader panel, and unique ‘Show & Tell’ sessions with professionals revealing inspiring details of successful CX initiatives that you can adapt for your own organisation.

Also taking place will be ‘Unwound Sharing’ forum sessions that bring attendees together for brainstorming and to receive valuable feedback on ideas. Topics covered here will include: Implementing Customer Focused Change; Going Beyond Surveys – Other Methods for Gathering Perceptions and Insights; Aligning Culture, CX and EX; Developing an Experience-Centric Culture; Measuring Customer Emotion; and Articulating the Value of CX.

The event – the theme of which this year is ‘Where is the Human in CX? – will also provide an opportunity to sit the CCXP Exam for attendees who pay the fee by February 13.

A spokesperson for the event said: “CXPA Members designed their annual Insight Exchange events to be like no other conference. These events offered in both Europe and the United States are planned, organised and executed by member volunteers just like you.

“These events are meant to be intimate gatherings with opportunities for fearless sharing and chances to learn from people who are walking in your shoes. Whether or not you’re a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), and no matter where you are on your CX journey, the 2019 European Insight Exchange is the perfect opportunity to expand your network and your knowledge with more than 150 Customer Experience professionals.”

Two additional free workshops with a value of €1,000 are also included for those who register. To find out more about registering for the event, click here.

Richard MillRichard MillFebruary 4, 2019


Nearly a decade ago, HMRC commissioned PwC to undertake a study of private companies, which had sought to implement closer integration between front and back office operations. 

As a result, recommendations were made on how to approach the use of technology and ‘work blending’ in order to optimise all resources – not just human and technology but front and back office as well.

In that time, little has changed. Workforce Optimisation technology – which offers quantifiable SLAs and targets for core business processes – is still very much the preserve of the front office/contact centre, despite HMRC’s counsel that applying workforce optimisation techniques to the back office was a business imperative. In 2017, the International Customer Management Institute concluded that while applying workforce optimisation techniques to the back office was a business imperative, businesses were failing to make best use of the capabilities of workforce optimisation (WFO) technology to do just that.

Service is everyone’s responsibility

After all, the majority of customer queries and requests are not dealt with at first point of contact, but are instead routinely referred to the back office to be processed. Meanwhile, the proliferation of contact and service channels – email, chatbot, web, social media, and SMS – means the traditional understanding of who is responsible for service has been overturned. The era of the majority of service requests being received through a single channel managed by one department is at an end. Meeting the increasing demand for highly-responsive, premium quality Customer Experience (CX) across all channels, has now become the responsibility of every department.

How can ‘blending’ help?

According to Gartner, one of the key characteristics of a workforce optimisation solution is that it “integrates disparate contact centre technologies – including contact centre performance management, e-learning, interaction analytics, quality management, and workforce management”. As customer touchpoints diversify and businesses increasingly compete on the quality of the CX they provide, there is no need to restrict optimisation to the contact centre.

If modern WFO solutions are built on the ability to integrate disparate technologies as Gartner claims, then why not apply them across all systems?

WFO is based on the understanding that, if you can access key performance data in real time and make it available to everyone, you can start to drive a wide range of improvements, such as raising service levels, boosting customer and employee satisfaction, cutting operational costs, meeting SLAs, and improving productivity and efficiency.

Information is key to workforce optimisation. If people know precisely what they need to do to meet call handling time targets or reduce queue times, they can improve their performance. If you have the right tools to analyse historic call volumes, you can predict staffing levels and schedule tasks with greater accuracy. If you can analyse calls and match queries to staff with the right skill sets, you can improve first-time resolution rates. If you can automate large parts of the operational processes, you can cut down on human error and boost speed and efficiency.

Modern workforce optimisation tech exists that combines all of these capabilities, providing the right tools and the right level of advanced functionality to make it ideal for integrating front and back office. Look for modern technology that offers a modular, flexible, easy to implement solution, and crucially is platform agnostic and highly scalable. Look for functionality such as smart work allocation, robotic process automation, something that can provide you with operational insight, dashboards, and so on.

Seventy-five percent of business leaders rank improving the Customer Experience as a top strategic priority. But in the context of rapidly evolving technologies and multiplying digital channels, the old rules for how you deliver an outstanding Customer Experience are being torn up. This is why workforce blending should be coming to the fore. Back office, front office working in harmony – keeping the customer happy.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 31, 2019


Eighty percent of marketers plan to take complete control of their companies’ Customer Experience (CX) initiatives over the next two years according to new research.

The findings by Episerver in its CX Today and Tomorrow report incorporates data from 100 in-house marketers across the UK, examining their views on the future relationship between marketing and CX. The data reveals that while 62 percent of marketers are already working with IT to improve experiences, less than half (45 percent) of businesses have given the marketing team total ownership over the direction of Customer Experience.

Instead, 35 percent of brands have assigned a specific CX manager or Customer Experience team – an approach that many marketers believe is not delivering the best results, especially when it comes to offering the latest technology.

Of those surveyed, 23 percent of marketers believe that their brands are still not delivering adequate customer experiences on mobile sites, while 27 percent believe they are not even delivering a high-quality experience through their mobiles apps.

Despite this fact, more than half of marketers are already looking ahead to new technologies such as chatbots, mobile games, and one-click payment technologies. In the face of these demands, many CX teams simply aren’t keeping up.

Joey Moore, Head of Product Marketing at Episerver, said: “While it’s great to see marketers taking a more active role in defining their brand’s customer experiences, the reality is that many of the basics of CX, such as high-quality mobile experiences, still aren’t being met.

“We’re starting to see too much conflict between what companies should do and what they actually have buy-in for, in the terms of organisational support and budget. In reality, for Customer Experience to pay off, investments have to be made into technologies that make it easier and more enjoyable for customers to engage with a brand.”


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