Antony EdwardsAntony EdwardsNovember 8, 2018
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6min374

Today, customer data, knowledge, and insights are more valuable and of more strategic importance than ever before.

Customers have more options, greater access to pricing information, and greater means to share their experiences with others, both good and bad, yielding more power, choice, and influence than ever before.

Companies that succeed in this environment are those that become obsessed with understanding their customers – Amazon is a wonderful example. It goes to great lengths to exceed customer expectations by leveraging information and insights and can identify cohorts of users such as iPhone users vs Android through to different locations and usage patterns. It uses this information to test, compare, contrast and respond accordingly and is the literal opposite of a ‘one-size fits all’ model.

The trouble with customers

While a trailblazer, Amazon is not alone. There are other companies that are masters at turning data into insights, and making decisions and changes in faster feedback cycles – brands like Netflix, Coca-Cola and adidas. In other words, they find out what’s working and what isn’t and adjust appropriately at lighting speed.

The trouble is, retaining customers is harder than ever in the age of dying brand loyalty. With so much competition in the modern market, consumers can always find a brand that delivers the same products and services – just cheaper and faster. It is also becoming harder and harder to create genuinely positive experiences for customers when the cost to serve them is high.

Strides in mobile technology mean marketers are facing more and more challenges as dissatisfaction with a product or service can be voiced instantly. But, as we know, social media is anything but one-sided. While consumers have high expectations from businesses attempting to engage with them on social channels, the flip-side is that brands have the opportunity to reach millions of potential customers, many of whom may have once been out of their grasp.

Trial and error

A vast as it is, social isn’t the communication channel of choice for the world. Some customers prefer to communicate by email and phone, though both have flaws with long wait times, spam low open rates and customers often being transferred from department to department. This is especially true at the point of purchase. Today, people don’t believe they have bought something until they get the confirmation email from the store. Good ones come through instantly, bad ones send in two hours.

In fact, this element of the transaction is constantly under review as it is perceived as critical to the post-sales experience. However, the moment a retailer sends an email or text, they’re trying to link one session to another. This has greater likelihood of failure as customers expect good experiences and efficient communication by means they already use.

The juxtaposition here being that businesses need to test each part of the sales process, even after the point of sale, and experiment with the testing teams to ensure that the website and processes survive this jump from one channel to another. This in itself is part of a constant experiment, like changing homepage or the number of products shown within a search term, to continually test and improve the customer experience.

Keep up!

Building customer trust and loyalty is vital for businesses that want to succeed. With so many options out there, consumers won’t shop with or stay with a business that doesn’t make them feel valued or where they have lingering concerns about privacy and security.

Any business facing issues with customer retention should look at different personas and test for them and have a view across the end-to-end user experience. It should be asking itself “How can I be more Amazon?”. If traditional companies can innovate digitally and offer some element of self-service, instant responses and flexibility to existing customers that want it, they’ve got a better chance of keeping up with a new digital world and retaining customers who might otherwise shift to the dark side.

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 8, 2018
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3min266

While online sales continue to grow, people still find the digital shopping experience lacking, with four-in-ten consumers saying they’re unable to differentiate between one online brand and another, research has found.

According to a survey of over 1,500 UK consumers by e-commerce search and discovery firm EmpathyBroker, many believe retailers struggle to build an authentic digital brand identity, with 46 percent of respondents saying retailers still have more of a brand personality in-store than online. What’s more, 48 percent of consumers felt that online shopping experiences are often more impersonal than when they shop in-store.

EmpathyBroker founder Angel Maldonado said: “For online retailers, the pressure is on. Differentiating in the sea of brand websites and marketplaces is more difficult than ever, which is why it’s perhaps unsurprising that 23 percent of the shoppers surveyed said they didn’t have a favourite brand to shop with online.

“Creating a connection with a consumer relies on more than just grabbing their attention with product discounts or special offers. It’s about making each person feel like they’re getting a unique, tailored and joyful shopping experience. Brands that make consumers feel special, that really understand and get their customers are able to create an effortless and memorable online experience that leaves shoppers fulfilled, happy and loyal.”

Black Friday and Christmas are just around the corner, and the survey shows that 65 percent of UK consumers said they were more likely to shop online at Christmas than any other period; 40 percent during the summer sales; and 39 percent while hunting for bargains on Black Friday. Mother’s Day (23 percent) and Valentine’s Day (18 percent) were also special dates that demonstrated a higher volume of people turning online.

The ease of finding the products they were looking for (55 percent) was cited at the most important aspect of an online experience with good product images (52 percent) and a nicely designed and displayed website (34 percent) coming in second and third respectively. Conversely, innovation came in last with only five percent of consumers valuing it.

 


Simon BrennanSimon BrennanNovember 2, 2018
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9min467

You’d be surprised to remember it’s early November, the festive lights have started to go up in Carnaby street, our favourite selection tubs are on the shelves, and the mystery has been lifted to what seasonal flavours we can expect from Starbucks and Costa! Readers, this can only mean one thing; the Christmas period is here!

However, for marketers around the globe this is not new news. Prepping for one of the busiest periods of the year, kicking off with Black Friday and Cyber Monday later this month, has been at the forefront of their minds for many months now. The question ‘How are we going to ensure the BEST Customer Experience?’ is echoing around every hallway.

In this digital age, it’s crucial for retailers and logistics businesses to keep pace with ever-increasing consumer expectations. But it hasn’t always been this way. For retailers especially, it is crucial that we look back at the Christmas tradition of the past to understand the customer experience of the future, Christmas shopping is becoming a tradition in transition.

From Tracy Island to Turbo-Man and beyond 

In the early 90’s, the high street was the place to go for any of your Christmas needs. The idea of personalisation was in its infancy and the internet was yet to become the backbone of society. A simpler time where the Customer Experience followed a traditional sales funnel and revolved around supply, demand, and best price. It’s hard not to remember the crazed queue of parents outside every Woolworths, Argos, and local toy shop trying to get the widely sold out Tracey Island in 1992.

The customer journey of old is best depicted in the 1996 movie Jingle all the Way. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a workaholic father (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who promises to get his son the hottest toy of the season even though it’s practically sold out. The film follows the hilarious lengths he goes to for the ultimate toy.

You won’t see this type of flurry on the high street today.

The retail landscape has significantly changed due to the digitisation of shopping and shift in consumer buying behaviour. Consumers today have low attention spans, shop mobile first, use peer recommendations, and conduct research before making a purchase. Last Christmas’ decline in brick and mortar footfall clearly indicates a fundamental change in peoples’ shopping habits.

For retailers today, creating a unified, seamless experience between digital channels and bricks and mortar can give them a competitive advantage, but only if they use the data at their fingertips. Digital transformation presents an opportunity for traditional retailers to improve the overall shopping experience of their customers – if done right!

If the 1996 classic was to be filmed today, it’s needless to say that it would be less exciting to watch Arnie click dejectedly through the internet rather than fight with his fellow shoppers. However, this is the truth of today’s digital economy and millennial based shoppers – so how can retailers compete and capitalise in the Christmas rush of today? 

Ringing the bells of change

It is said that the three months leading up to Christmas are the most profitable, with many making over half their total sales for the year. Retailers and marketeers must be ready all year round to make the maximum impact with their customers, and that comes down to communication.

The key to success is not only to understand what touch points your customers have experienced and what brought them to you but to communicate with them through their preferred communication method – be that SMS, email, Facebook, Messenger, push notification, or voice.

Forty-severn percent of consumers believe that good communication has the biggest impact on Customer Experience. So, during the festive season, you’ll do well if your communications are relevant, timely, and personalised.

Historically, retailers have always prioritised acquisition with a myriad of emails featuring non-specific promotions. However, mass marketing is not only a waste of time and resource, but one of the main reasons why consumers unsubscribe from communications.

Instead, leverage data from transactions and interactions your customers have already had with your brand to automate personalised messages. When you consolidate CRM data and marketing activity across all your channels, you’ll ensure that you’re not bombarding your customers with irrelevant messages.

Data gives you the power to contact them at opportune moments, for example to remind them about the gift they’ve been looking at or to tell them that stock is running low.

Get the Christmas Customer Experience right and you’ll add to the festivities. Get it wrong and you’ll be left shouting ‘bah, humbug’ as you lose out to the new wave of competition.

A customer is for life, not just for Christmas

We’ve moved far beyond listening to the Spice Girls get crowned Christmas number one on the radio as we wait in line to purchase gifts for our loved ones. Today, we’re streaming Michael Buble’s Christmas album to get in the festivities from our smartphone to the surround sound in the living room, browsing the web for the best Christmas deals.

While it’s important not to neglect the in-store experience, tapping into customers’ festive goodwill is definitely more digital than ever before.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamNovember 1, 2018
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4min490

UK brands are adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) as they race to make sense of customer data and deliver more relevant, personalised experiences, while staying on the right side of GDPR, according to new findings.

Adobe research, to be published in a report entitled Context is Everything, reveals an overwhelming majority (91 percent) of UK businesses view personalisation as a priority, although fewer than one third (30 percent) said they are currently delivering the required level of personalisation.

Current levels of personalisation are behind key competitor markets (42 percent in Germany, 35 percent in Switzerland and France), meaning there is clearly still work to do and more effective data management must be a priority.

More than half (59 percent) of UK brands surveyed said they cannot process data quickly enough at present, while 52 percent said that they collect too much data from too many sources. GDPR also adds another layer of complexity to brands’ personalisation strategies. Over two-fifths of UK businesses (43 percent) said the EU’s new data protection regulation had held them back to some degree in the drive towards personalisation.

AI promises to give brands greater control of their data and a greater capability to analyse it. The research shows UK companies have an aggressive timeline for the implementation of AI for business and customer data analytics. Just under three quarters (70 percent) of UK respondents plan to have implemented AI for business and customer analytics by 2019, going up to 92 percent by the end of 2020.

Bridget Perry, Vice President of Marketing at Adobe EMEA said: “UK companies are acutely aware that they need to get closer to their customers, and provide more personalised services if they are to stay relevant. The level of analytics required for effective personalisation at scale may have seemed impossible just a few years ago, but AI has made it a reality, allowing companies to quickly gain vital customer insights from huge volumes of data.”

The need for skills and a culture of responsibility

To ensure their investments in AI prove successful, UK brands have a clear focus on hiring new talent and training their current workforce:

  • 71 percent are hiring new staff to ensure they have the skills needed to benefit from AI
  • 74 percent are training their current workforce
  • IT skills (58 percent), data analytics skills (50 percent) and ethical skills and understanding (48 percent) are the top three areas UK companies are hiring
  • Ethical skills and understanding (68 percent) is the top priority for the training of current employees, followed by marketing skills (64 percent) and customer service (64 percent)

Perry added: “UK brands don’t just see AI as a technology issue. They are focusing on a wider set of skills, including skills to help them manage the improved customer experience and skills to ensure they take an approach that is ethically and culturally right for them and their customers.”

 


Darrel WorthingtonDarrel WorthingtonOctober 30, 2018
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8min593

Brands have never spent so much to attract customers!

UK advertising expenditure grew 4.6 percent to £22.2bn in 2017, the eighth consecutive year of market growth. But with so much emphasis on enticing customers, brands are failing to consider how to retain them moving forwards. When brands don’t consider what happens next, the user journey becomes fragmented – meaning a dissatisfied customer is unlikely to convert and therefore wasted budget.

How many times has a brand attracted your attention with impressive marketing, only to let you down with a disappointing experience when you try to convert? Brands need to consider the multitude of customer journeys that now take place, thanks to increasing ways to reach and interact both online and offline. Digitisation is steadily becoming the main pathway for consumer journeys, but your users may be using mobiles, tables, desktops, newsletters, websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – the possibilities are endless. Indeed, the number of digital touchpoints is increasing by 20 percent annually as more offline consumers shift to digital tools.

A brand’s website remains one of the most important channels in a user’s overall brand experience: one third of consumers cite individual brand websites as their main source of online inspiration when shopping, according to PWC.

Mobile internet usage now outweighs that on desktop. Mobile commerce has more than doubled since 2014, so brands must put mobile front and centre when it comes to the user journey. However, despite it being 2018, many brands are still failing to consider the importance of a fully functioning, mobile-optimised website.

You should review web stats for desktop, mobile, and tablet users, as well as a device level, and make sure that your site and content is responsive and optimised accordingly. If 50 percent of your traffic is coming from Apple devices for example, make sure your user journey works on an iPhone. We recently worked with British Red Cross for example to build a mobile optimised, responsive site to support the 50 percent of volunteer applications that were coming from mobile.

Consider all aspects of the journey – from the landing page and how copy and images appear, to the checkout process, and if something’s not right, fix it. Consider the journey through your content: do users get the information they need in the right place and in the right order? Often content can be mismatched in terms of the volume, length, information offered, and next steps. Avoid sending users to external sites if you can, as this will fragment their journey with you. 

All content – from blog posts to contact forms and product guides – needs to be user friendly, transparent, and mobile appropriate. Consider the page fold on mobiles – you don’t have a huge amount of room, so put your key information at the top, and remember image sizes have a bearing on page loading times.

To join up the user experience across online and offline channels, you should also consider ways to retain user information (in a GDPR compliant way, of course) should they be interested in your brand, but not get to the ultimate finish line on their first or subsequent visit.

Less is often more

Simplicity and clarity is crucial for any brand website when it comes to delivering a good brand experience. In the course of our work with British Red Cross, we rationalised 4,000 pages down to 350 and consolidated 74 services, keeping page weight low, with all images used for a key reason. We developed an experience that has helped bring clarity to the organisation’s purpose, communicating the true purpose of the British Red Cross and the full range of support services it provides. Critically, the experience is inclusive and accessible across devices.

The general rule of thumb is keep it simple when it comes to making your user experience as good as possible:

  • Avoid multiple sites and windows opening in the journey
  • Keep the sign-up process short and simple – only ask for the information you really need
  • Stick to one primary call to action on a page – too many can lead to confusion and abandonment
  • Use the same visual language and tone of voice throughout the journey so your user knows they are on the same path
  • Take your user to the correct page to start their journey – don’t drop them back to the homepage if they are interested in a specific product or service
  • Tell users what they need to know, without overcomplicating the message
  • Make it easy to get in contact – you might consider using a chatbot for example
  • Ensure you include social sharing options if appropriate to make it easy to tell someone else

Put the user first and keep the journey as frictionless and simple as possible. Ensuring your back-end is optimised before embarking on outbound marketing will mean greater ROI all round; not only will you see conversion increase, but you’ll also see greater loyalty and social sharing as a result of a great Customer Experience.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamOctober 29, 2018
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6min508

Although service providers are moving at record pace to innovate, a significant engagement channel – the bill – is often overlooked in their digital transformation strategies.

That is the findings of a study commissioned by billing and communications software provider BriteBill, and conducted by Omnisperience. It looked at 40 Tier-0 and Tier-1 service providers across EMEA, North America, and Asia, and revealed that although service providers are moving at record pace to innovate, a significant engagement channel – the bill – is often overlooked in their digital transformation strategies.

Predictably, competition is a major driver for this innovation. However, the study found that 63 percent of service providers now say their biggest challenge in the next 24 months is competing with new, non-traditional rivals. To combat these digital native industry disrupters, the strategy most service providers intend to take is to differentiate through an improved Customer Experience (88 percent), whilst also developing new products (90 percent).

Although this demonstrates a commitment to a more customer-centric business model, less than half (48 percent) of the service providers surveyed felt that their customers were currently the main beneficiaries from digital transformation efforts. This shows that while service providers are improving IT and processes, these innovations are often not directly linked to Customer Experience improvements, delaying benefit realiSation.

This is further reinforced by the fact that 50 percent of the survey respondents said they needed to increase their investment in Customer Experience.

“To capture maximum digital transformation benefits and achieve full return on investment (ROI), service providers need to harness and capitalise on both operational and customer engagement innovations,” explains Teresa Cottam, Chief Analyst at Omnisperience and author of the report.

“Service providers face conflicting investment demands, from upgrading their networks to creating new revenue streams and enhancing the customer experience, which can take years to show value. However, they’re beginning to realise that by focusing resources on customer experience blackspots such as on boarding processes and billing, they can make a more immediate impact for often modest levels of investment.”

Minimising an experience blackspot

When it comes to billing as a customer engagement channel, the study found that bills continue to be one of the most persistent Customer Experience issues. Only 23 percent of service providers currently feel their bills are a strategic asset to their company, with the majority (75 percent) saying their bills are not evolving in line with their business.

To improve the billing experience in the next 24 months, service providers are focusing on four key areas: increasing automation (100 percent), providing more clarity and advice to customers (75 percent), personalising information and offers (38 percent), and communicating the value of services delivered (23 percent).

“Service providers told us that making bills more intuitive is a necessity, with 95% believing it would significantly reduce calls to care from frustrated customers. As they bring new products to market, service providers are challenged to clearly communicate these services and their value. Failing to do this effectively puts service providers at risk of feeling the sting in the tail of their own innovation,” continues Cottam.

The research also revealed that 50 percent of service providers intend to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) to improve Customer Experience in their call centres and reduce call waiting times, but Cottam cautions this is not a cure-all.

“Billing inquiries tend to be too complex for today’s AI to deal with. It is therefore essential that service providers tackle the root cause of the problem in the shape of unclear bills,” he said.

Becky Byrne, Head of Product Management at BriteBill, added: “It’s good to see that service providers understand the importance of customer experience to their digital transformation and innovation programs. However, in the rush to transform their businesses, many have completely overlooked the bill’s role as the most common and critical customer touchpoint. Improving and innovating their customers’ billing experience is one of the most tangible ways service providers can communicate the benefits of digital transformation and innovation. This in-turn transforms bills from dull financial statements into strategic customer engagement tools.”


Paul FennermorePaul FennermoreOctober 18, 2018
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9min545

Providing valuable Customer Experience online has become more important than ever, particularly since the new GDPR regulations came into force in May.

This requires brands to work even harder to earn customer data. Organisations can no longer collect, store, or use personal information from individuals without their consent, so customers must make the decision to opt-in to marketing strategies used by brands, such as targeted emails.

So far, only 27% of customers (according to a survey of more than 1,000 consumers, which was conducted by Toluna) believe their experience with brands is better since GDPR, suggesting that businesses are struggling to collect and use data, such as internet browsing habits or geolocation, in a valuable way. If brands want to create personalised and targeted e-commerce experiences, they first need to understand how to earn this information back.

A recent Sitecore survey found that many consumers in the UK are comfortable with brands having access to their information, with over three quarters being happy to share their name (78 percent) and email (74 percent), over half (53 percent) their email address and 43 percent their browsing history.

However, customers need to be offered something of value in exchange for this data, and brands that have bombarded their customers with irrelevant content and promotions have seen their databases shrink significantly since GDPR.

So, what can brands do to win back customer trust? Well, they should initiate a long-term strategy to develop personalisation and offer unique, tailored online experiences through new business models by understanding exactly what customers want.

Deliver consistent personalisation across all platforms

GDPR has given customers the opportunity to share their data only if they are happy with the interactions they receive from brands. As a result, they will no longer tolerate being spammed with irrelevant information. This means brands must use the data they collect in the most effective ways possible by moving beyond personalisation to individualisation to ensure a great customer experience.

For example, online retailer ASOS now compiles multiple points of data to allow it’s ‘Fit Assistant’ to recommend a size for each item to individual shoppers. Customer’s own purchase history and size preferences, including information about their body shape, and data compiled from customers with a similar purchase history, are all used to recommend the perfect size.

Before ordering a new coat, ASOS may recommend a size 10 for you, based on the knowledge that 78 percent of customers with similar size preferences to you who bought this size were satisfied with it. Such individualised recommendation provides the customer with a valuable experience; the reassurance that their new purchase will fit, without the inconvenience of having to order and return if it doesn’t.

Amazon is also going beyond broadly segmenting customers based on one of three pre-determined body shapes by trialling 3D body-scanners that monitor an individual’s body, allowing them to virtually try on clothes and suggest styles that are better fitted to their own body. Such individualised experiences encourage customers to share more personal information with the brand, as they feel more valued and less frustrated as they are not targeted with irrelevant content.

It is also crucial to deliver these experiences across all physical and digital touchpoints. As today’s customers are using more channels and platforms than ever before, a coherent cross-channel customer experience strategy should be employed, using tactics such as a cross-channel shopping baskets, which customers can access from any device, or email offers that apply directly to a customer’s local store. From supporting, informing and educating customers to providing them with entertainment, it is important that the experience is seamless.

Offer convenience and quality through new business models

Brands that have operated the same way for decades are being challenged by new business models, such as subscription-based services, which respond to the increasing customer demand for unique, personalised and convenient experiences without having to commit to contracts.

Deloitte research suggests that millennials care more about experiences than owning things, and a convenient, repeated subscription service is the type of service they value highly. These business models also ensure a customer base of loyal and engaged customers that have given you the permission to reach out to them with news, updates and personalised offers. This is all made possible through the power of collecting data and using it effectively.

Any type of online business could consider the benefits of a subscription model, like we’ve already seen it in the entertainment space from Netflix and in the retail space like HelloFresh and Amazon. Netflix uses an algorithm which records customers viewing preferences from the very first time they watch a film or an episode, tailoring future recommendations to every individual.

It even personalises the digital aspect of the site. For example, customers may see one of nine different images advertising the Stranger Things series, based on information that the site has collected about them. This means that once a customer is subscribed, their experience should always match their preferences, keeping them satisfied and therefore ensuring they return.

Amazon has also taken its subscription service beyond Prime this year, offering both a children’s book box and a fashion box, Prime Wardrobe, which deliver monthly curated selections from the retailer. This allows Amazon to apply its consumer data and increase its reputation for providing convenient, personalised shopping.

Even dog food suppliers are benefitting from such models. Chewy, a pet supplies brand, now offers monthly subscriptions for dog food to make dog-owners’ lives easier, removing the need to carry heavy bags home from the store and offering extra savings and convenience if customers opt to automatically repeat their order every month.

This mixture of convenience, quality and value works in a continuous cycle to encourage customers to sign up and remain loyal to a brand, happily share their data for the service they get in return and allow the data to be used to make future experiences with the brand even better. As a result, brands can accumulate more accurate and valuable data, equipping them to better serve their customers and deepen the existing customer relationships.


Josh CarlyleJosh CarlyleOctober 18, 2018
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7min448

Creating high-quality content is a necessity for delivering real value to your audience.

It’s not enough, however, if you also want Google and other search engines to find your website. To do both, you need to create high-quality content that is optimised for search engines.

The key to driving more traffic to your website is to take both audiences, readers, and search engines into account, but make sure not to place the goal of high ranking content above people. Your primary goal should always be to create appealing content to readers. Once you’ve managed to do that, you can learn how to improve your ranking on Google.

Here is a list of ten things to consider when your goal is to write content that is appreciated by both your customers and Google:

1. Use the right keywords

In every search, the top results on Google collect the majority of the traffic. Therefore, to maximise the visibility of your content, you must be able to choose the right keywords.

Focus on finding relevant long-tail keywords that consist of three or four keyword phrases. These longer keywords are ideal because customers tend to have very specific requirements when they use search engines, and competitors are less likely to use them.

2. Pay attention to headlines

Your headline is the first thing that your potential customers see when they type their search query and skim through the results page. Your headline needs to catch their attention and convince them that your website will provide the right information.

Learn to know your customers and what they’re looking for. Consider inserting a question or number in your headline. Questions and lists will draw clicks to your website.

3. Write unique content

Creating unique and relevant content should be your main focus. People use search engines first and foremost to find useful information. Be careful to avoid keyword stuffing since it will only lower your ranking in the search results. Instead, use them naturally.

Also, try to engage your readers so that they can share it with others, too.

4. Optimise meta-descriptions

Meta-descriptions are those parts that appear right after your headline and provide a summary of your page. Since they influence people’s decision whether to enter your page or not, it’s important to make the most of your meta-descriptions.

To optimise your meta-descriptions, use the right keywords and appeal to your customers by answering their questions.

5. Make it easy to read

Keep in mind that 55 percent of visitors spend 15 seconds or less reading your content. This means that you need to ensure that your content is easy to skim through. Avoid using jargon, long sentences, and paragraphs. Instead, opt for simple terms, bulleted lists, and subheadings that make it faster to find answers.

6. Include links

You should have a healthy link profile with both relevant internal links and outbound links. Internal links help your readers find your existing content, so include links to related subjects that you’ve covered in earlier posts. Outbound links to other reliable sources are a good way to build credibility. Remember to anchor the links with relevant keywords.

7. Optimise for mobile devices

Mobile searches cover nearly 60 percent of all searches. It pays off for you to optimise your content for mobile devices and to ensure that it’s easy to navigate across platforms.

8. Remember formatting

When determining the ranking of different websites, Google uses an algorithm that searches for specific keywords and related phrases. This data allows Google to identify the purpose of your website. This is where proper formatting can improve your ranking. Make sure to follow formatting rules and use correct categorisations.

9. Place link quality over quantity

It’s a better strategy to insert links organically and target high-quality domains than focusing on the number of your links. Forget about quantity and “black hat” SEO when writing your content.

10. Proofread your content

A crucial last step in the process of creating new content is proofreading. You don’t want to give your potential customers an unprofessional impression because of spelling errors. If your content could use some editing, there are tools and services for this purpose.


Frédéric DurandFrédéric DurandOctober 8, 2018
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7min689

Staying in touch is not difficult in today’s technology-driven, interconnected society.

The wealth of smart devices and innovative apps at our disposal mean that instant communication is at our fingertips, transforming the way we shop and engage with brands.

Businesses now offer their services across a variety of channels, online and offline. Mobile customers enjoy the convenience of e-commerce sites or doing their online banking via a smartphone. As a result, consumers expect their customer service to be mobile and on-demand too.

However, making your customer service available and accessible does not have to be technology-driven. Rather, by combining the power of your human customer service and digital channels, businesses can deliver a constantly-connected service which will exceed customer expectations and strengthen brand loyalty.

According to Engine’s latest annual Customer Experience report, over 60 percent of customers want ‘simpler, flexible, and more affordable customer service options’. Furthermore, 58 percent of consumers suggest that businesses should provide better ‘training and performance incentives to customer-facing staff’.

At the heart of great customer service is accessibility. Whether this is from a human customer service agent or an online FAQ or live chat, customers want quick, effective, and above all helpful responses to their queries. Indeed, Accenture’s recent Digital Consumer Survey emphasised the importance of brands’ merging physical and digital experiences in order to meet customer expectations.

Providing both human and digital customer service channels is a must for satisfying customers who want greater choice and flexibility. Whilst communication has become increasingly electronic in the past 20 years voice is still the most natural means of expression for human beings. 58 percent of consumers prefer talking with humans for a quick response to questions, and over 70 percent prefer human interaction generally when dealing with service issues.

The simplicity and ease of conveying information with voice makes it a valuable channel for brands who want to be close to their customers. Call agents can read the tone and varying emotions better through a customer’s voice, helping them to react appropriately and suggest the best resolutions. Furthermore, one-to-one interaction gives customers a more personalised experience, particularly when advisors understand the customer’s history.

Those who are less comfortable using technology might struggle if a business only offered virtual assistance. Connected customer service is about understanding each unique customer. By taking into account the varying customer groups, ages, and lifestyles, businesses can create a service which accommodates the needs of the individual. Consequently, the voice channel remains an imperative alongside other customer service touch points.

Digital channels are of course a crucial addition to the customer service experience. By providing consumers with a choice of touch points businesses can deliver a service which reflects busy, modern lifestyles. At the same time, digital channels help call agents to cope with the volume of service enquiries so that all customers receive an excellent service.

Individuals who work long hours might find it harder to call a customer service representative. This is where live chat capability such as chatbots or an automated call service are useful, allowing businesses to reach more customers at any time. Simple measures such as ensuring the brand website is constantly updated will also help customers to find the right information or contact details as needed.

With the latest omnichannel technology businesses can increase their reactivity and response time with queries. Live chats with pre-recorded functionalities, customer-journey maps and screen-sharing functions help agents to give customers an efficient, effective service whatever the volume of demand. The key to an effective digital customer service is having a state-of-the-art Customer Interaction Management (CIM) solution which can manage the various channels, supporting employees whilst giving customers an intuitive service.

Connected customer service also means taking a proactive approach. It is necessary for brands to make themselves as accessible as possible for customers which might involve contacting the customer first. Whether that is calling the customer from time to time or sending a personalised SMS detailing the latest offers or unique discounts, such interactions demonstrate that the brand values the customer and their loyalty. Customer service is far more than a helpline.

Customer service is inextricable from the overall brand experience and creating a tailored service which reaches out to the consumer will enhance relations.

 Businesses must deliver a flexible, constantly connected customer service to stand out with today’s mobile consumers. Staying in touch with customers, however, does not have to rely on digital means. The best customer service will take an omnichannel approach and utilise the empathy of human voice interaction with the convenience of digital channels. The priority should always be making excellent customer service as accessible possible, at any time and on any platform.


Paul HinchyPaul HinchySeptember 24, 2018
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8min628

Unforeseen delays, technical faults, and weather conditions: these are some of the everyday issues which can cause disruption for Train Operating Companies (TOCs), resulting in a poor passenger experience and dissatisfied customers.

For TOCs, ensuring all passengers enjoy a comfortable and relaxing service is always the priority. Yet with the volume of passengers increasing each year placing a greater strain on rail services, meeting this objective becomes harder. 2016 saw 1.7 billion railway journeys in Britain alone, a 3.7 per cent rise since the previous year.

Shorter platforms and a lack of space on the railway lines can result in congestion and slower services. While TOCs are working hard to enhance station infrastructure and meet this demand, they also need to ensure that passengers’ Digital Experience meets their expectations.

TOCs can create an exceptional Digital Experience for passengers by delivering premium WiFi connectivity, something which is now an expectation for busy travellers. State-of-the-art connectivity allows passengers to make the most of their travel time, from catching up on work to unwinding with a favourite TV series or audiobook, browsing social media or messaging friends and family.

While the majority of TOCs now offer either a complementary or paid-for WiFi service, this connectivity typically lacks the bandwidth to support a high volume of users. On busy trains, in particular, the connectivity speed is either reduced or does not connect at all.

For passengers, the frustration of a limited WiFi connection is worse than having no internet connectivity at all. This coupled with having to login multiple times to a WiFi service makes for an exasperating experience.

It is vital that TOCs choose a WiFi provider who can deliver reliable, high-speed connectivity to all its users, especially during peak travel times. By implementing a premium, free WiFi solution TOCs can guarantee seamless connectivity between the train and the platform.

This continuously connected passenger journey is where TOCs will raise the standard for the passenger experience. TOCs might consider sourcing agile, SME WiFi providers who not only have the technology and innovation necessary to deliver robust connectivity but who also appreciate the importance of cost-effective, efficient solutions.

The intelligent technology behind a continuously connected passenger journey means that passengers need only sign in to the WiFi once throughout their whole journey, even when switching between transport methods. The technology will then recognise the user’s device for up to 365 days so they can enjoy uninterrupted connectivity at all times. For commuters and frequent travellers, this simple solution will be particularly beneficial and facilitate a faster Digital Experience.

Ensuring passenger satisfaction means that TOCs should consider the traveller’s whole journey and the impact delays might have on their travel plans. A robust WiFi solution will support users with WiFi connectivity wherever they are in the station; essential for passengers who might need to access train apps, check travel information online, and arrange transport at their end destination.

In this way, superior WiFi connectivity can help TOCs to exceed passenger expectations and enable travellers to have a smooth, safe railway experience. Reliable WiFi is also necessary for users to stream entertainment services and browse the web with minimal buffering, all contributing to happier travellers and an enhanced train experience.

A premium service means passengers do not have to worry about losing connectivity or using their own data during their journey. TOCs can equally reduce their mobile data costs with such an innovative solution, as the data offloading between the train and station reduces the charges on the TOC’s mobile network. The smart data offloading capability allows TOCs to upload otherwise expensive passenger infotainment data and train telemetries via the high-speed WiFi when in the station.

The benefits of a premium WiFi service are not limited to passenger satisfaction; TOCs can use their WiFi to enrich passenger engagement and develop insights on passenger expectations. A fully-branded User Experience means TOCs can promote their brand-identity and maximise passenger engagement, whilst the user receives a tailored WiFi experience. TOCs who provide a frictionless WiFi service will see great improvements in their customer satisfaction levels and more users sign-ups as a result.

This wealth of customer data can then inform a deeper understanding of the passenger profile. Through the advanced analytics feature, TOCs can analyse their data across a variety of sources, from marketing preferences to survey data. This analysis then feeds into targeted offers and promotions for the passenger, creating a personalised experience whilst enhancing the brand-customer relationship.

WiFi analytics will also help TOCs to manage the train service demand and build a better service for travellers. A WiFi solution with Transport Analytics gives TOCs great insight into passenger movement from train to station, highlighting where passengers are coming from, the length of the journey, and dwell times. This information is invaluable for TOCs as it provides a more granular view of peak travel times and allows TOCs to plan timetables according to demand.

In the dynamic transport industry which sees more passengers year-on-year, meeting their expectations and ensuring satisfaction on busy services is a constant aim for TOCs. Giving customers seamless digital connectivity throughout their journey will certainly enhance the passenger experience.

While the rest of the passenger journey may be hectic, TOCs can make their trains a relaxing space, where reliable WiFi facilitates entertainment access, messaging apps, and more. A Continuously Connected Passenger Journey guarantees satisfied customers, whilst TOCs will benefit from the WiFi analytics to create a holistic view of the passenger profile.




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