Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 17, 2019
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3min288

UK businesses have struggled to handle an upswing in personal data access requests since General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, it has been revealed.

Research by business process outsourcer Parseq was conducted following the first anniversary of GDPR, and shows that two-thirds of UK businesses (63 percent) saw an increase in data access requests from customers and their own employees in the 12 months following GDPR’s introduction in May 2018.

One-in-ten (10 percent) businesses experienced an increase of more than 50 percent in the volume of requests. This rose to almost a fifth (17 percent) for businesses with a turnover of £500m or more. Almost nine-in-ten (87 percent) businesses that have seen an increase in requests reported they had found effectively responding to them challenging, citing complexity (54 percent) and cost (54 percent) as the biggest obstacles.

A third (34 percent) of businesses that had experienced an increase in data access requests cited a reliance on paper documentation as a barrier. This figure rose to 47 percent for businesses with a turnover of £500m or more, tying with a lack of time as their second most frequently flagged hurdle after cost.

Under GDPR, individuals can submit a data access request free of charge to receive a copy of personal data that organisations hold on them, along with information on factors such as why their personal data is being used. In general, GDPR requires that organisations must respond to data access requests within one month.

Craig Naylor-Smith, Managing Director at Parseq, said: “GDPR made it easier for people to access their personal data from organisations. With this power at their fingertips, we expected to see that data access requests would rise. However, the fact that so many firms have struggled to respond to the surge in requests suggests that the pressure this has put on businesses has been greater than they anticipated, or that many were simply unprepared for what GDPR would bring.

“It could also have been affected by the August 2019 deadline for consumers to claim back Payment Protection Insurance, with individuals possibly using data access requests to help them uncover information to support their claims.

“What’s particularly interesting to see is that so many businesses state a reliance on paper documentation as a barrier. The digitisation of paper documents can make personal information easier to process and manage, make data access requests easier to respond to and, ultimately, help businesses use data to deliver innovative services in an increasingly competitive, digital landscape.”


Fabrice MartinFabrice MartinJuly 16, 2019
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7min355

It’s important for brands to provide a great experience every time a customer wants to engage.

As the channels to engage continue to expand, brands will want to be accessible and ready to serve. Research indicates that customers who start and end service requests using digital channels have a satisfaction rate that is significantly higher than those using traditional channels. Additionally, the costs per digital customer interaction can be between five to 12 times cheaper than when they engage using the phone.

It’s clear that improving digital efficiency can be an opportunity to minimise costs for the contact centre and improve the overall experience for customers.

So, to boost digital effectiveness, here are five steps:

1. Listen to every feedback source

As the old adage goes – you can’t fix what you can’t measure. Similarly, brands can’t enhance what they don’t fully understand. When embarking on the journey to enhance digital effectiveness, understanding feedback is the only way to prioritise opportunities to improve Customer Experience.

Listen up: Understanding feedback is vital for your CX

Calls are very important, but they’re not the only way that customers are reaching out or looking for support. Emails, social media posts, review sites, surveys and chats need to be considered and these sources should be integrated with CRM data to reveal the full picture.

2. Prioritise opportunities that will have the highest impact on CX

Customer Experience tools can help brands to analyse unstructured text feedback from these channels by overlaying sentiment and effort scores to understand high friction points in the Digital Experience. They will also look for language around “suggestions” when customers are explaining what they wish could be better.

When analysing phone calls, it is typical for organisations to aggregate all mentions of failures on online channels to understand pain points. They can also analyse short duration calls that typically have a singular call driver and prioritise these for digitisation.

3. Create a priority matrix

Using the techniques above, action-oriented organisations can create a priority matrix that ranks each digital opportunity along the two dimensions of customer impact and level of effort. An opportunity that is deemed to have a high customer impact but will only require a low to medium level of effort to implement quickly jumps up the prioritisation list.

4. Understand the full customer journey

Customers want to communicate via their channel of choice, and nowadays these are digital. When they start a transaction online or via a mobile app, they want to be able to complete their transaction within that channel. This is not always possible and they are forced to make contact on the phone or via chat for further assistance. We often hear comments like “I don’t know why we get so many calls related to buying a ticket when our customers can easily do so via our mobile app or our website”.

Digital desire: Channel preference for customers is increasingly digital

Looking further into it, these transactions are often more complicated and multi-faceted than the simple act of purchasing a ticket. There is often another related event that complicates the transaction and causes a channel switch. It may be that the customer is trying to buy a ticket but using loyalty miles or trying to apply a discount code that is not working. Understanding the co-occurrence of such related events to the main transaction is key to designing a digital solution that meets even the more complex interactions.

5. Leverage the power of chatbots

Chatbots provide a way for customers to self-serve on known issues, or to collect important information that facilitates a seamless transition to a contact centre agent. Chatbots are increasingly popular and a 2016 report by Creative Virtual finds that introducing a virtual assistant for customer service can improve chat and phone service levels by 10-15 percent.

Brands can train chatbots to improve customer experience in a variety of ways. By understanding customer ‘intent’ during a live chat interaction or phone call, they can start identifying opportunities for chatbot automation. Organisations can also listen for the words that customers use to express frustration and high effort while accomplishing a task. By understanding these linguistic patterns, brands can train chatbots to express empathy and route a frustrated customer to an agent with a skill set that specialises in the topic that is causing frustration.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 16, 2019
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5min482

The victors of the 2019 UK Digital Experience Awards have celebrated success in London, with swimming school Swimtime making waves by being crowned as the day’s Overall Winner.

The event at London’s Park plaza Riverbank saw firms from across Britain present before an expert panel of judges, offering insight into the digital journeys customers make when connecting with their favourite brands. The very best across 23 categories were identified, with organisations competing to claim titles including Best Digital Change & Transformation, Best Digital Marketing Campaign/Project, and Best Mobile Strategy.

Swimtime, which helps over 15,000 children learn to swim at over 300 venues across the UK, made a huge splash in the Transport/Leisure/Tourism category, beating tech firm rivals Valtech and car rental brand Sixt to claim the Gold award.

Their entry focussed on the innovative SwimCloud digital platform, which manages every conceivable stage of the customer journey from booking to delivery, managing payments, lesson planning, and much more.

Victory lap: The Swimtime team accept the 2019 Overall Winner award

That category entry secured the Overall Winner title later in the day, and a spokesperson for the firm said: “Our team and franchisees across the Swimtime family are delighted that the work and investment that has gone into SwimCloud, is not only paying off internally but being recognised as revolutionary in such a competitive award.”

The day was jam-packed with other significant wins for household name brands, including HCL Technologies UK in partnership with Manchester United. Together they secured Gold in the Best Digital Change & Transformation – Project/Platform category after showing judges how they are delivering a unified fan experience, combining subsystems, fan touchpoints, and revenue streams.

Best App was won by BT for its innovative My BT app, while Sky in partnership with Journey Further won Gold for Best PPC Strategy.

Appy days: The BT delegation receive the Gold Award for Best App

Click here for a full list of the day’s winners.

The event was hosted by Awards international, and along with the UK Customer Experience Awards, the UK Employee Experience Awards, and the UK Complaint Handling Awards, proudly holds a Gold Standard Awards Trust mark from the Independent Awards Standards Council (IASC).

CEO of UX design piuoneers Usability 24/7, Paul Blunden chaired the awards, steering the development of the event towards its most impactful year to date, and he will return in the coming years to ensure the event continues to explore and reward the very best digital experiences offered by brands.

Congratulating the day’s winners, Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “These awards highlight the most innovative Digital Experiences customers will come across in the UK today, and show just how vital a trusted digital journey is for today’s tech-savvy consumers.

“Well done to all who attended to present before our judges, and a special congratulations to all of the category winners, who truly deserve their success. We look forward to further exciting DX developments from our winning brands in the coming months and years, and hope to see many return to compete at next year’s UK Digital Experience Awards.”

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 11, 2019
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3min496

Current digital marketing techniques are failing to win over customers, a new report warns.

Published by London-based tech firm Ogury, The Reality Report examines the attitudes of over 287,000 mobile users towards marketing and data, and suggests that current practices of digital marketing fail to provide value to users and could endanger organisations’ long-term prosperity.

Fifty-two percent of respondents agree that intrusive or irrelevant messages give them a poor opinion of the app or website that hosts these messages, while only 25 percent of UK respondents believe that targeted messages are useful.

Wider market data suggests that the majority of mobile  ads are served by Big Tech companies, otherwise known as the walled gardens. These technology behemoths have access to an incomparable mass of user data, enabling them to target users with relevant messages. However, nine out of 10 UK users find targeted marketing messages annoying, even though 13 percent out of the 88 percent find them also useful.

Thomas Pasquet, Ogury’s co-founder and co-CEO, said: “If users feel any form of intrusion, they will be annoyed regardless of the relevancy of the message they receive. Therefore, brands and publishers should always offer consumers clear and fair choices: accept anonymous data to be collected to receive customised marketing; opt-out from sharing data and therefore receive irrelevant ads; or pay a fair price in exchange for a marketing free and data collection free environment.”    


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 9, 2019
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3min528

Pan-European data protection cannot be “taken for granted” post-Brexit it has been warned, after British Airways was hit with a fine of £183 million following a cyber attack which affected half-a-million customers.

The record fine was imposed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and comes in the wake of customer data – including personal and financial information – being stolen from BA in 2018.

The hack saw data lifted from the airline’s website and mobile app through the use of a fake site, and initial estimates by BA that 380,000 payment cards were affected were proved wrong as the ICO highlighted 500,000 customers were placed at risk.

The £183 million fine – around 1.5% of BA’s global turnover for the financial year ending December 31 – is the largest ever imposed by the ICO, and has been put to the airline in an official Notice of Intention.

Following the ICO ruling, BA Chairman Alex Cruz said: “British Airways responded quickly to a criminal act to steal customers’ data. We have found no evidence of fraud/fraudulent activity on accounts linked to the theft. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience this event caused.”

Meanwhile, the ruling has implications for data protection in the UK following the country’s proposed departure from the European Union on October 31, according to an expert in litigation and employment law.

Barrister Jonathan Compton, Partner at firm DMH Stallard, said: “BA will be able to make representations to the ICO, the Notice of Intention is not a final decision. In any event, whilst BA described the Notice as ‘disappointing’, the fact remains that if you are processing peoples’ personal data including credit cards, you must have the security measures in place to avoid a hack.

“What is interesting about this investigation is the increased co-operation between European Data protection agencies. In this case, the ICO was the lead investigator for concerns raised in other EU countries. Whether this co-operation will continue post Brexit is not a matter that can be taken for granted.”

 

 

 

 


Jurgen KetelJurgen KetelJuly 9, 2019
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11min392

Sales from digital gift cards are projected to hit nearly $700bn in global sales by 2024 – if you’re a retailer, it’s an area you simply can’t afford to avoid or get wrong, especially since 72 percent of retailers now spend more than the value of their card.

However, while gift cards present unique opportunities, they also present some unique challenges.

The gift card space has evolved considerably due to improvements in technology: they’re used both online and offline, and it’s become easier for brands of all shapes and sizes to operate gift card programs. There’s a real need to differentiate and provide a gift card experience that’s a cut above the rest.

If you’re running a retail business, you might well be asking: how do I go about building a modern gift card program that delivers real benefits to both the brand and its customers?

Make it easy to purchase and redeem

On and offline: Cards should be redeemable in a way that suits the customer

Great Customer Experience is all about cohesion. If you experienced an issue buying something in-store and an advisor was unable to help you resolve it online, then it would present a problem, wouldn’t it? It’s the same with gift cards – they need to be easy to buy and redeem across all different online and offline channels.

When your customer buys a gift card in-store, they should be able to use it online – and when they buy it online, they should be able to use it in-store. If they can’t use it in the way they prefer, they’ll rightly wonder what the point of buying it at all is – damaging their experience and your brand reputation.

Some brands still rely exclusively on physical gift cards and don’t have any kind of digital equivalent, which can be an immediate turn-off for customers. Others run disparate online and offline gift cards that aren’t compatible with one another – a situation that’s common even for more established brands.

So, make sure your provider unites the offline and online experience. Work to migrate separate programs into one distinct program, ensure it converts all kinds of currency if you operate locations globally, and make sure gift cards are clearly available to purchase on your e-commerce platform, as well as from any resellers, such as department stores. You can even distribute them to some businesses to use as a corporate incentive.

The idea is to make your gift cards available across every possible commercial touchpoint: to create a true multichannel gift card program.

Make it global

No borders: Digital gift cards should be scalable worldwide

Ever get annoyed when a much-anticipated film or TV is released in the US – and only released in the UK a week, a month, or even a year later? It’s really annoying, both because you don’t get to watch what you want to watch and because it makes you feel like there are two tiers of viewer: the one in the home market, and the one in the less-valuable foreign market.

The same thing applies to gift cards. If you’re a large international retailer, a hotelier, or a restaurant chain, you need to make sure your gift card program is scalable all over the world rather than restricted by geography. You shouldn’t ever be in a situation where you’re setting up specific programs for specific countries – the same experience, in the preferred language and the preferred currency, should be available to all.

A customer who uses your service in Boston, a customer who uses your service in Berlin, and a customer who flits between the two, should all be able to buy and use gift cards seamlessly.

Make it sustainable

Green card: Physical cards made of non-plastic materials are in demand among eco-conscious consumers

Sustainability is a big draw for modern-day customers – and many gift card programs are heavily reliant on plastic. 

You can make these programs more sustainable by using an eco-card, which has all the advantages of a standard plastic gift card, but is made using substantially ‘greener’ techniques. These cards can be made of recycled PVC, corn-based plastic, or paper stock, and their carriers can be made of soy-based inks or recycled materials. It’s also worth making sure you shred and recycle all deactivated cards.

Plastic waste is a significant issue in the modern world, and a more sustainable approach can not only reduce your environmental impact, but also boost your brand’s reputation.

Make it easy to integrate

Does your gift card program fit in with your electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) system and e-commerce sites, or is it tethered more loosely? The more tightly you can integrate it, the better. Gift cards should be easily compatible with in-store ordering technology to make it as easy as possible for staff and customers to process sales and redeem cards. The same goes for ecommerce sites.

More integration means a more cohesive customer experience, and it also makes it easier to collect and report data related to gift card transactions. This should help you refine your sales and marketing strategy. Integrating gift cards with EPOS systems can also decrease processing times and improve the ability to offer tailored promotions.

Make it different

Blank slate: Retailers are urged to be creative with their card programs

Finally, think about specificity. Gift cards haven’t been around for all that long, and they weren’t always commonplace. Now they’re available everywhere, so it’s worth making sure yours stands out.

Think about creating different gift cards for different purposes. They come in many flavours: loyalty-based gift cards can be sent to particularly long-time customers to reward them for sticking with you; mystery gift cards can be sent to entice new prospects; you can send them on birthdays or weddings, or you can send them when a customer has checked into a specific location – for a hotel chain, you might want to send customers a specific resort gift card.

You can, of course, also use them to compensate customers for a negative experience. They should all be a part of the same program, but there should be a range available to suit the full range of Customer Experiences you offer. If a customer returns an item for whatever reason, you should give them the option of putting the value onto a gift card – this means the money stays with the retailer, the customer is statistically likely to spend more, and you can easily turn a negative experience into a positive one.

Gift cards, ultimately, are a show of faith in your retailer: instead of spending money on you directly, customers buy them for friends and family – trusting that something within the range of what you offer will make them happy. Repay this faith and trust by making the gift card experience as positive as possible. Customers will reward you for it.


Alex DebeckerAlex DebeckerJuly 8, 2019
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8min724

Providing a first-class Customer Experience is a goal every organisation pursues – it’s no longer a luxury only large brands with big pockets can afford to focus on.

Consumers now expect to experience the ‘perfect’ buyer journey with every business they deal with – no matter how big or small. Research by Kampyle illustrates this, showing that 87 percent of customers think brands should put more effort into delivering a better Customer Experience.

Thanks to recent progress in technology, this now all achievable. Conversational software – chatbots, in particular – make providing an excellent, hands-on, personal experience to customers possible. Below, we will dissect how a chatbot can assist and delight your customers at every step of their interaction with your brand.

There are four key touchpoints between your customers and your company:

  • First contact
  • Nurturing
  • Sale
  • Customer care

Maximising delight at each of these touchpoints is primordial to providing an excellent Customer Experience.

Let’s see how chatbots help.

Your customers, for the most part, will first get in contact with your brand through your website.

Surprisingly, websites are still hard to navigate for the average user. A simple UX testing exercise can uncover the many ways in which your website visitors get lost between opening your homepage and getting to the goal you want them to reach.

Strategically placed on your website as a widget, a chatbot can offer help throughout the experience. It will be able to pop up, offer help, send accurate information, and drive the user to its goal – all by itself.

Not only does your chatbot provide users with the help they need, it also delivers results. Ubisend has reported that a website widget chatbot converted 28.3 percent of its helpful conversation with users into warm leads for the sales department.

Meanwhile, some brands out there don’t own a website, such as some local restaurants that deal straight from their Facebook page. Chatbot can live on there as well – and achieve the same results.

Face facts: Chatbots can successfully operate on your businesses Facebook page

Nurturing

A chatbot is not just for first touch. The power of a chatbot is its conversational nature tied to its extensive knowledge. In a nutshell, a chatbot can talk to your customers several times over a long period of time and continuously learn about them, providing them with the next best action.

Nurturing leads with a chatbot is the future of marketing. Forget about users losing sight of what they want to achieve on your website; your chatbot knows exactly who that person is when they come back and can nurture them towards your business goal

The user experience here is clearly enhanced – no more endless searching. As the user logs back onto your site, they don’t need to figure out what the next step is. A helpful digital assistant is there to help.

Sale

We all buy from the internet. It has become part of our lives.

And yet, we’re all still very apprehensive when doing so (unless we buy from the giants like Amazon). Does this product actually suit me? Will this wardrobe fit my bedroom? What if I don’t like it, can I send it back?

As business owners, we’ve been trained to try and answer all these questions preemptively through copy, FAQs, and unboxing videos.

Even so, the stress is there for some users, turning them off from buying altogether. Need I remind anyone that the average landing page converts only 2.35 percent of visitors?

This is where a chatbot can help. Strategically placed on your sales pages, a custom-built chatbot will know everything there is to know about your product or service. It will pop up to offer help, answering all the questions your customers have about what’s on the ‘other side’ of their purchase.

Customer care

Though it comes last, customer care is most likely the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of enhancing the user experience.

Providing the best, most attentive, empathic customer support experience is a must-have these days. We’ve all started to expect 24/7 instant answers; we’re likely spoiled by the likes of Amazon.

The good news is that chatbots can help you with that, too.

A customer service chatbot can sit on your service desk and answer questions at incredible speed, 24/7. 

Now consider that your chatbot never sleeps, never gets grumpy, never gets bored. It does its job, all day every day, helping your customers get the answers they need in an instant.

What better customer care could you think of?


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21min613

The following interview was originally published on MarTech Advisor, official partners of the 2019 UK Digital Experience Awards.

 

Research by Walker suggests that Customer Experience will overtake cost and product as the main differentiator for a brand by 2020.

Thirty-four percent of companies, according to SmartInsights, have a digital transformation program in place, while 31 percent are looking to begin their digital transformation operations soon.

Staying ahead of the tide, the UK Digital Experience Awards (UKDXAs) recognises exemplary performances of marketing teams who have managed to successfully conceptualise and execute digital transformation journeys that enable winning Digital Experience. MarTech Advisor checked in with three of the UKDXA nominees to discuss the role UX plays in building a compelling brand experience, and how data and analytics guide Customer Experience decisions.

Interview with Elliott Prince, Head of Solution Design Geeks Ltd on Digital Experience Strategy

Elliott Prince is Head of Solution Design, Geeks Ltd, where he is responsible for creating engaging experiences for their customers. He also designs software to improve business processes through automation.

 

Dominic Vye is Head of Commercial Development, Customer Management, and Digital Services at JT Group, and has over 15 years of experience in operational and strategic roles.

 

Marc Hetherington is Senior Digital Consultant at Three UK, who loves using data and analytics to solve tough problem statements.

What role does UX play in building a compelling brand experience for customers across digital platforms?

Elliott: UX design can help businesses go beyond merely creating a recognisable visual identity, to creating interactions that signify a brand. A simple example of this is Apple moving the close window “X” icon from the top right to the top left. When I see that I’m immediately in no doubt that I’m using an Apple OS.

Dominic: The objective of providing a compelling brand experience is to differentiate your product or service from others. This differentiation helps to build on our customer’s satisfaction and grow their loyalty. It’s so important to try to understand each customer journey and were possible tailor each Digital Experience to it, making it intuitive, simple, and rewarding.

At JT, we’ve recognised our customers are using new ways to interact with us, preferring digital platforms such as smart apps, online shops, instant chat, or email to the more conventional channels such as the retail store or our contact centre. With this proliferation of customer touchpoints, the importance of a seamless UX across multiple areas cannot be underestimated.

Marc: Testing with users to discover what they want to use the app/site for rather than what Three wants to push while they’re trying to accomplish a different goal. Three could improve at this. UX design helps enhancing the clarity of information and consistency of interactions across various touchpoints, within separate customer journeys. By combining quantitative data from analytics with qualitative data from usability testing, we manage to acquire a holistic view of what our users truly need and address these needs accordingly, either by introducing new solutions or improving existing ones.

What have you learned the most about leveraging UX to deliver the larger Digital Experience?

Elliott: The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that however much you think you’ve empathised with users; they will surprise you. Donald Rumsfeld was once ridiculed for saying there are things we know we don’t know, and there are things we don’t know that we don’t know. What I don’t know is if that applies to other disciplines, but when it comes to UX he was 100 percent right. People will fail to understand a workflow you thought was crystal clear or miss a call to action that looks to you like an enormous neon sign you put in the middle of your design.

So, list all your assumptions and validate them with real users, then test again, and test one more time for good luck. By doing this we can be sure what we’ve created is a truly enjoyable and engaging Digital Experience for everyone, not just the team that delivered it.

Dominic: Listening to our customers and understanding their behaviours was the biggest insight into what our app would be used for, by whom, and why. Our customers shared their motivations and trigger points for using the app and the logical journeys that flow from those trigger points. We learnt that friendly user trials only go so far in helping to design a compelling user experience. It’s vital to continue qualitative research with real customers, to understand their needs and meet their expectations.

Marc: Bounce rates, content, and bottom line. You can entice people through a seemingly useful call to action, say an offer, but if where they land is difficult to use or has poor content/inventory, then positive traffic is wasted and creates negative brand experience. Removing existing pain points and blockers our users struggle with is the first step in improving Digital Experience. This means ensuring users can go through and complete different journeys or find the information they are looking for, more efficiently.

In what ways can data and analytics guide Customer Experience decisions for measurable business results?

Elliott: There’s a simple answer to this one – look for lemmings. Analysing your sales funnel will help you see where potential customers are dropping off before they buy. This tells you where in your customer journey you need to focus your UX efforts. It won’t tell you how to fix something, but it can tell you what to fix. The goal here is to steer the lemmings away from the cliffs and to the checkout!

Dominic: Research-driven insights from customers have been essential in developing the right Customer Experience for JT customers using the smart app from prioritising the development of app functionality, understanding the logical customer journeys, and triggers for using the app and optimising the navigation and overall user experience.

We started with an analysis of the most frequent queries for which our customers contacted our call centre. These were used to guide the priorities about which functionality was implemented first in the app. For example, ‘bill shock’ was one of the key drivers for calls (following launch of 4G and FTTH services) and itemising usage was prioritised above adding a value-added service.

Following the initial design phase, a series of qualitative and quantitative methods were used to optimise user experience; friendly user trials were held to test the prototype. These helped to inform navigation around the site and iron out any bugs in the coding. A series of representative customer groups carried out beta testing with the app and this helped map out much more clearly the links between different customer triggers for using the app, relevant and intuitive customer journeys, associated navigation, and user experience.

Following the launch, we used Google analytics to validate and refine user interfaces with features such as page ranking, customer journey tracking, average time taken on app, and repeat visits.

Through backend reporting via session logs we were able to track individual users and understand frequency of use and purpose of use. For example, the post-paid app is accessed six times a month, with the biggest trigger being the itemisation page. Customers can feedback using the live chat function or leave their comments on the app with suggestions for improvement.

Marc: Utilising data and analytics effectively is fundamental in driving the right outcomes for both your customers and the business. At Three, we view data and analytics as core ingredients in helping to understand what our customers think of us whilst using our products and services. It’s used to tell us what our customers like, what they love, but just as importantly (and maybe more so) the things that they find difficult, annoying, or confusing when dealing with us.

That’s why at Three we place a great amount of emphasis on generating rich insights from our data and analytics and ensure that we act from them. We invest in the best tools and build strong relationships with our partners such as Adobe (marketing cloud), Medallia (Voice of the Customer) and Clicktale (session replay). We invest in our people, by providing extensive training on how to get the most out of these tools. We use data and analytics to help define our product team’s development roadmap, we measure the impact both pre and post any change to understand the impact that this has had on driving the right outcomes for both our customers and our business KPIs.

What are the top three most crucial aspects of building a winning Digital Experience?

Elliott: 

1. Know your audience: You’re never providing a good or service. You’re providing a solution to a problem. Know what your user’s problems are and tell them how you’ll solve them.

2. Make it look good: People will rate a pretty thing that works OK better than an ugly thing that works perfectly.

3. Communicate in line with your brand: Develop a voice and stick to it. If you’re going for serious and stable don’t have comic error messages, it undermines your credibility.

Dominic:

1. Customer insight: This is the single most important factor in developing an excellent Customer Experience. Without proper customer research, the key questions of ‘who? (who is the customer), ‘why? (what triggers their usage), and ‘how?’ (how do they want to interact with the app) can’t be answered.

2. User experience design aligned to customer insight: Using wireframes and storyboarding, each customer journey (inform, transact, manage, add device) was mapped out into a logical intuitive sequence. Interlinked journeys were identified, and navigation flows were optimised. Post launch the team used Google Analytics to increase app interactions.

3. Change management: Ensuring the business is behind the digital change is key. Developing a new channel into JT necessitated the alignment of many teams within the business. The contact centre and retail teams needed to be able to respond to queries on the app, and recommend the app to customers who had a query. Marketing teams were key in working across multiple departments to ensure a consistent user and brand experience across multiple customer touchpoints.

Marc:

1. Putting the customer first: Create features that customers want in ways they can use them, not business only-led features which make it difficult for the customers achieve what they want, but we don’t necessarily want them to do. Doing lots of A/B testing, having a culture and way of working in an iterative way, where quick change can be made based on the learnings from customers or tests. Not being afraid to fail is also important. If we aren’t trying different things and pushing the boundaries which perhaps have never been done before, you are likely going to fail, and it’s important that that’s ok.

2. The experience needs to be seamless: It needs to be personalised and relevant to the customer at the right time, based on what we know about the customer (so offering a personalised upgrade because we know the value of the customer versus offering a generic upgrade to a customer who joined us last week).

3. Having the right people and organisation set-up is important: This will ensure that people are listening to customers, can iterate quickly, it’s seen as ok to fail, etc. Being able to measure what the experience is that you offer your customers and gather new insights to improve it and improve it quickly.

What should marketers be prioritising?

Elliott: The key here, in my opinion, is consistency. Whatever platform, device, or channel I’m using to interact with a brand, the UX design should leave the customer in no doubt as to who they’re interacting with.

Dominic: The shift to digital has led to an explosion in channels and has brought brands in contact with customers across multiple touchpoints away from traditional bricks and mortar to apps, online websites, social media, and interactive chat amongst others. Departments often have different understandings and perspectives of what the Customer Experience should be. Acting as the CX glue between departments, marketing has a vital role to set a holistic view on what the customer experience should be helping to drive a consistent user and brand experience across multiple customer touchpoints.

Digitisation has led to a rich source of customer data across many platforms. Marketers need to prioritise building richer customer insight by harnessing data from multiple touchpoints into a single customer view. For example, by combining customer emails, interactive chats, and notes from customer phone calls into one view has given JT a much better understanding and a more personalised view of our customers.

Customers now expect a personalised experience based on their behaviours and history. Marketers need to embrace new technologies such as AI and cloud computing to build personalised recommendations to customers based on insights from multiple interactions.

Today customers are increasingly empowered to make their own choices. They understand their commercial value and are less sensitive to traditional forms of advertising. The brands that can provide the most compelling, personalised user experience in a self-service environment will drive the best customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Marc: I’m no marketer, but I would say that data driven campaign strategies and personalisation would be where I would be hedging my bets. Probably not the most creative of answers, and certainly nothing new, but I think the organisations that are getting this right are the ones that are leading the way, such as Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify. I’d also put Sky Sports and BT Sports into this category.

 


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8min567

Work on the internet requires a high level of data security, and setting up a VPN connection to the server will effectively solve this problem and ensure absolute confidentiality on any network.

Nowadays, this technology is actively used by both large companies and individual users, since it fulfils its task one hundred percent.

Key features of VPN technology

A virtual private network is technology that provides the creation of one or more tunnels, located on any other system when connected to the internet. The tunnel  is secured using robust cryptography algorithms, and according to VPN-review.com, such means as authentication, protection against a repetition of data, encryption, and critical public infrastructure are used.

Depending on the settings, a VPN provides a connection of three different types:

  • network-to-network
  • network-to-device
  • device-to-device

The network-to-network VPN connection is straightforward for clients and controlled by the framework manager on the server.  However, its fundamental disadvantage is the absence of encryption inside the system.

VPN compatibility with various operating systems

Creating and configuring a VPN connection is possible based on the most common frameworks. At times, you simply need to download and run a special program. For this situation, the VPN connection will be made with the servers for which the utility was made.

Protocols bolstered by working frameworks are involved in VPN connections with corporate systems. PPTP is utilised in Microsoft Windows customer and server versions. When using Linux, PPTP-Linux customer and PPTP server are required. Independently, an MPD server with PPTP and L2TP backing is executed.

For gadgets running Mac OS or Android, no outsider applications are required because the capacity to use VPN is incorporated into them. Installation and setup of VPNs should be possible not just on PCs or smartphones. As of late, L2TP and IPSec conventions are made by Cisco routers (from OS form 11.3T). Likewise, the capacity to utilise a VPN is available in individual firewalls.

Benefits of using a VPN connection

Connecting to a server through a VPN has several economic advantages. Since the work does not need a dial-up connection, there is no need for modems or a dedicated line. It’s enough for a user to have a device with Internet access to easily connect to his corporate network. The general availability of data does not mean that they are not protected. A VPN connection is a secure shield that protects all information from unauthorised access or interception.

The global development of the internet makes it possible to use limitless amounts of information present on various resources. The Virtual Private Network makes it possible to reduce the costs of internal corporate communications and make the transmitted and received information more secure and confidential.

Among the options for implementing a VPN are software and hardware products. A ready application installed on a computer refers to a software solution for VPN. Many companies offer to use this service by connecting to servers that belong to them. Some developers supply VPN packages that interact with software firewalls and operate on different operating systems.

Software products are relatively inexpensive. The hardware method of using VPN implies the presence of a computer, a private operating system, and specialised software. It has high performance, but its cost is also high.

The VPN device is located between the internal network and the web at the end of the connection. During transmission, data disappears at the point of origin. It is then encrypted and appears only at the destination. For guaranteed access to the data of individual users only, the private network can be amplified by an appropriate authentication protocol.

Moreover, VPN is often used by providers to control network access. Simply put, the user connects in the usual way, and then starts the VPN client for further work online. It helps to protect the connection from hackers and organise personal access.

Not all VPN services are equally useful

With free VPN services, you can save a lot of money, but only at the expense of your security. Other VPN services may have the most advanced security system and low connection speed (the more complicated the encryption, the lower the speed). Of course, this service is not well suited for those who want to work online and want to finish a job fast.

Therefore, be careful when choosing a VPN provider.


Jake RansonJake RansonJuly 2, 2019
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6min639

The digital landscape is continuously evolving and with that the volume of data created and shared grows exponentially month on month.

High profile data breaches and the implementation and enforcement of GDPR have really brought home to customers that their data is of enormous value and that they have explicit rights to consent to its storage and use.

For millennials and Gen X, who may have had the comfort of growing up around emerging technologies and the birth of social media, the use of data may have been apparent early on. Online domains have further highlighted that data is being collected and used to match people to the products it assumes they either want or would like. 

When it comes to personal finances, this can be a prickly subject, as in the past major data breaches and mishandling of data have eroded customer trust. However, when handled responsibly, customer data can be used by personal finance providers to offer better solutions and outcomes – something many customers have yet to realise.

Trust issues: When used responsibly, customer data can be used to offer better solutions by finance providers

Trust in a business and its services is essential to success. In personal finance, it’s about giving customers the tools they need to feel fully in control of their finances, whilst still making sure that there’s people on hand to help. Human interactions are still as important as ever in the financial decision-making process. With that in mind, having someone in your business to bridge the gap between customers, their data and the regulatory landscape, is crucial. That’s where the Chief Customer Officer comes in.

One prime example of the advantages data can bring for customers, is the innovation being made possible by the UK’s Open Banking initiative. People have become increasingly aware of their personal credit scores thanks to a host of places offering free access. In some cases,  historical credit data alone may not be enough to satisfy a card, mortgage or loan application – and in those cases, Open Banking has been revolutionary.

A lot of what’s required to determine whether a product is suitable can be found in an applicant’s bank account, where evidence of income is relatively easy to verify. Those with thinner credit files or irregular incomes, such as the self-employed, people new to the UK, or younger borrowers who are yet to build a comprehensive credit file, have the most to gain from Open Banking. Through this route, the data gathered, allows a better sense of an individual’s income and expenditure, resulting in the best possible product being matched to that person. 

Open Banking is used as a tool to complement existing practices, allowing a more comprehensive view of a borrower’s information and circumstances, that couldn’t have been achieved through credit data alone, to present a better, broader and often cheaper range of personalised offers.

In recent years, the regulatory landscape has become much more consumer-centric, as seen by the likes of PSD2, a directive that ensured consumers were protected in a more digitised sphere. An era of block consent is being superseded by one of explicit individual consent. Organisations who embrace technology, are paving the way for future innovations and as a result will be able to deliver a higher degree of personalisation for each customer.

Customers can now choose to unlock the power of their data for their own benefit. Data is set to work towards their preferred outcomes and not merely to enrich those organisations with the privilege of accessing it. By experimenting with Open Banking and cloud services, Freedom Finance has been able to make the borrowing process easier for customers, while at the same time delivering a customer journey with consent at its core.

Customers of the future will demand better services that reflect the technology available. The challenge will be for all businesses, not just financial services providers, to find how the best elements of that technology can be combined with human guidance. 




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