Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 10, 2019
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3min425

The deadline to take advantage of the special Early Bird discount offer to enter the 2019 UK Business Awards is fast approaching.

Potential entrants in this year’s event have until May 17 to save £100 off the standard entry price, ahead of what is shaping up to be the biggest year yet for the awards known across the UK business landscape as ‘The Dons’, in honour of Don Hales, chairman of event hosts Awards International.

The overall entry deadline is July 5, with finalists set to be announced on July 12. Those shortlisted will then attend the Finals on November 8 at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank, where they will give presentations before an expert judging panel with the aim of securing a win at the day’s gala ceremony.

This year’s UK Business Awards full judging line-up is still taking shape, and among those scrutinising entries will be Resolve owner/Manager Mark Ashton; Managing Director of onefourzero, Fleur Hicks; and consultant, coach and author Janine Woodcock.

Finalists will compete across 17 categories, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Best SME, Innovation of the Year, and Best New Business. The finalist with the highest judges’ score will also be crowned Overall Winner.

Speaking ahead of the Early Bird deadline, Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “We are all about celebrating and rewarding business excellence, and the UK Business Awards have become one of the country’s premier platforms to do just that.

“This will be the fourth year of The Dons, and will be the most significant to date, with a wide range of categories across B2B and B2C disciplines. As ever, the event itself will be a fantastic opportunity to network with business peers and share best practise, as well as celebrate our category champions, and I cannot wait to welcome our finalists and guests to London.”

For further details on entering the 2019 UK Business Awards, click here.

 


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamApril 18, 2019
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4min553

The future of marketing is personal!

As the expectations of your customer skyrocket, and the relationships they forge with their brands grow looser, it can be challenging to continually inspire loyalty while also driving growth. With so many companies now vying for the attention of your audience, it’s now imperative to stand out from the crowd and deliver not just punchy, but personalised and thoughtful, marketing.

“Understanding the customer journey is the single most important factor in delivering personalised interactions,” according to Michal Szaniecki, Managing Director of SEAT and Cupra at Volkswagen.

At this year’s Brand Marketing Summit Europe, we will be taking a deeper look at how to elevate your marketing; check out the full speaker line up here.

To truly understand your customer’s journey and inspire loyalty, you need to first get to grips with what your customer wants. Leveraging data from across your different channels and placing this at the forefront of your marketing strategy can guarantee that customers receive the right content, communications, and offers at the right time.  

“The customer journey is crucial and the foundation for the approach towards (future) clients. The ‘traditional’ push campaign and (cold) calling initiatives are diminishing in relevance fast.”

This is the opinion of speaker Arjen Vissers, who is the Managing Director of marketing and comms at financial giant AON. Furthermore, a brand such as Harrods – with a versatile clientele – builds up a picture of who their customer is, what they buy, and when they buy it, to directly impact the products they then recommend and also what other areas of the Harrods portfolio of products they might be interested in browsing.

Download the brochure for 2019’s most important gathering of marketing leaders.

On the other end of the spectrum, Burger King have become renowned for their witty and mould-breaking marketing campaigns, which rely heavily on external agencies to help ensure freshness in their work. From cheeky geofencing of McDonald’s restaurants, through to creative adverts like the Andy Warhol piece, the emphasis is solely on standing out from the crowd and inspiring loyalty with a clear brand purpose.

This shift towards standing out from their competitors has shown clear results for company growth and will harvest attention and positive consumer thoughts.

At this year’s Brand Marketing Summit Europe (25th-26th June, London) we are bringing together strategic decision makers from the brands mentioned above and over 120 more to form a movement of marketers seeking out the way forward.

The future of marketing is personal and we now have, if we’re lucky, one chance to impress our customer. Join us this summer to hear from the most important brands in the marketing space and revolutionise your own marketing in the process!

Download your brochure here for the full range of insights.

 


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamApril 10, 2019
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1min698

The International Customer Experience Awards is returning to Amsterdam in 2019 following an inaugural event that brought together some of the biggest names in global CX, and the very best customer-centric organisations from around the world.

Entries for the event are now open, with a special Early Bird offer available for those who register before June 12th. Finalists for the event, which is hosted by Awards International UAE & Netherlands, will be announced in August, with the gala ceremony taking place on November 21st.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamApril 10, 2019
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1min615

The Gulf Customer Experience Awards, hosted by Awards International UAE, is the biggest celebration of CX in the Middle East and beyond, with the next awards finals taking place in Dubai next January.

As Customer Experience continues to be the key differentiator for competitive brands, leaving product and price in its wake, these awards recognise and celebrate the businesses and organisations which are truly placing customers at the very heart of what they do.

Click here to register your interest for the next awards in 2020.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthAugust 15, 2018
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5min2025

Alongside two exclusive conferences focusing on sharing best practice in Customer and Employee Experience, comes a summit on one of the most crucial aspects of modern customer service – complaint handling.

Taking place in London on December 12, Winning With Complaint Handling is a unique one-day event featuring speakers whose dedication to dealing with customer queries has earned them success at the UK Complaint Handling Awards.

Presentations and Q&A sessions will offer insight into the strategies of the firms that turn complaints into a chance to win back and cement customer loyalty.

Held at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel in the heart of London, the conference will also be a valuable networking opportunity for attendees.

Speaking at the conference is Founder and CEO of complaint handling software pioneers Resolver, James Walker, whose morning session, titled Keeping Your Most Loyal Customers, will explore the modern customer journey and its relation to ‘loyalty debt’.

Next, Christina Liciaga, of double 2018 UK Complaint Handling Award winners HSBC, will present on the secrets behind her brand’s success, before Sally Ainsworth of Unite Utilities’ Head of Service Recovery discusses the art of Proactive Complaint Handling.

Shine Prakash, the Senior Manager of iCasework will also discuss strategies, while Claire Churchill, Customer Relations manager at Ombudsman Services will help attendees understand what their customers really want when it comes to complaint resolution.

Rosie Bailey, of award winners CitySprint, will chart her firm’s journey towards customer-centricity, while Paul Dowell and Neil Davies of Severn Trent Water will discuss how theIr organisation went Back to Basics when it comes to customers – and earned recognition for doing so.

Representing Henley Business School, Andrew Bryan will offer insight into the mind of the 21st Century customer, and what they expect from businesses, before BT’s Amanda Redhead discusses how complaint handling was completely overhauled within one of the UK’s best-known communication brands.

The Co-Op’s Ben Lyons will offer an overview of the firm’s award-winning contact centre transformation strategy, while expert awards consultant Donna O’Toole will show you what it takes to join award winners at the very top of their game.

Travel giants Thomas Cook successfully delivered a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for complaint handling, and in a presentation, Susan Wilkinson, Head of Customer Relations, will outline the steps taken to implement it.

From New Day, David Land, Head of Service Delivery, will reveal the firm’s hugely successful complaint handling strategies.

Other speakers will include Christina Dolding of Old Mutual Wealth, and Neil Skehel, CEO of conference organisers Awards International.

He said:

Successful complaint handling has become the centre of customer experience. Research shows that for every one customer who complains, there are another 26 who say nothing and just leave. So a complaint can be a valuable gift that enables you to improve your business and keep customers happy.

By attending the Winning with Complaint Handling conference you’ll discover cutting edge strategies that are proven to transform businesses through a focus on root-cause analysis and complaint resolution.”

For further details and to reserve tickets for the conference, click here, where details are also available of an exclusive Early Bird ticket price offer that can save up to 47 percent in costs.


Lisa Garthside Lisa Garthside July 23, 2018
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8min1528

 Lisa Garthside is Senior Director of Customer Experience Management at Confirmit, and judged at the 2018 UK Digital Experience Awards

 

The longer I work in the Voice of the Customer (VoC) arena, the more I have come to believe in the importance of communication.

It’s not just about communicating with our customers – telling them that we have acted on the information they have provided – it’s about communicating with our teams as well.

It’s especially true in the world of digital Customer Experience, and I and my fellow judges at the 2018 UK Digital Experience Awards certainly found it to be the case in the three entries we evaluated in the Best Online User Experience – B2B category.

All nominees offered strong and successful examples of a new app and/or portal they had developed. Without fail, they demonstrated great business and customer value – driving high levels of take-up and therefore revenue. We learned about the great user experience (UX) and technical detail that had gone into each of the solutions, but the thing that really struck me was their use of good old fashioned communication.

The winning entrant, BMJ Best Practice, explained how it was able to create a great product by recognising where improvements needed to be made in order to reduce customer disappointment and disaffection. To get the word out there that things were changing, they proactively recruited detractors – who were typically pretty vocal on social media – into the development process. They were invited to provide input to product enhancements but, more importantly, they were also encouraged to tell everyone in their network about the improvements and how good the product now was as a result.

Large scale events – 40 workshops, over 300 interviews, across 15 countries, talking to over 1000 healthcare professionals – were also held to spread the word. The ultimate goal was obviously to understand customer requirements and to develop the product to meet expectations.

It succeeded in this aim but equally as important was the ‘word of mouth’ impact that this organisation was willing to encourage, embrace, and listen to – then do something with the information they received. The result was that the number of users has gone up dramatically.

Meanwhile, another entrant offered a different perspective. In this case, some customers had expressed their need for a new portal but it was regarded only as a means of delivering information, not the main product offering.  Larger customers saw no real need for this solution at all, and as a result, convincing decision makers and the business overall that they should develop the portal became the key priority and a massive challenge. The team had to make some big promises to the business and then deliver on them:

  • We will improve the experience
  • We will reduce the number of disputes (and therefore reduce costs)
  • We will increase usage (again, reduce costs)

The company decided to engage decision makers across the business and keep people informed by using a variety of approaches. They used go-to sites such as Kanban boards so that everyone could check the status of the project. They also instigated interactive sessions such as daily stand-ups and weekly demos to update teams on progress.

To ensure delivery-to-time, they held interactive sessions with the wider group to agree what was needed and what could be shelved.

Although there was less involvement with the customer, it is a great example of how a business was able to use communication to bring everyone together on the journey. It was able to launch a portal/solution that has proved extremely popular with clients, as well as the business. The value of customer-focused UX design is now recognised and the next iteration will more fully involve communicating with the customer.

The third entry we assessed added a clever feedback mechanism into the user journey. Once customers were using the training portal provided, they were encouraged to provide feedback on their experience. This has driven a high volume of both positive and negative feedback. The positive has reinforced the success of the product (increasing take-up and retention levels) and the negative has been used to drive a process of continuous improvement.

All three nominees proved there is real value in making the most of the opportunity to communicate with customers and the wider team. It’s a common feature of all feedback programmes: use the positive feedback in all marketing communications to customers and share it with the team, and turn the negative around in a “you said – we did” approach to communications – proving to customers that action is being taken on their valued feedback.

So, the next time you are planning a new digital project, don’t forget to take the team and customer with you on the journey. Communicate with them as frequently and clearly as you can…and then do it some more!

Don’t forget that in the digital world, continual improvement and feedback is not an add-on – It’s becoming more important than ever.


Paul CorkePaul CorkeJune 6, 2018
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5min1875

Paul Corke is the Leadership Development Manager at credit firm MBNA, and was a judge at the recent 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards. Here he tells CXM about his judging experience… 

I have worked in the financial services sector for over 20 years, specialising in leadership development, so it was great to receive a call to be asked to be a judge at the UK Employee Experience Awards.

In previous years I have been part of teams entering awards, so I have an idea of the different types of emotions you feel when wining, or when you fail to pick up an award. This was the first time as a judge for me, so moving from providing a submission and presentation to being able to sit and listen to group presentations was quite the experience.

Being my first time as judge, there was a little bit of nervousness, but the plan was to project calm, enjoy the day, and have confidence in knowing I could ask the right types of questions. For me, being a judge is all about having a growth mindset – to want to listen, learn, and be curious about what is happening in other companies and across different industries.

It’s a great way to learn what current thinking is, who different companies are working with, what is cutting edge, and to scan different industries in your field of expertise. What I found was that each business is generally very unique, but often have similar issues – though different ones based on where they are in their life cycle.

This makes it interesting, but also a challenge for the judges with different sized organisations competing against one another at those different stages of their life cycle. I wasn’t disappointed by the teams, as I saw some great presentations along with some amazing projects, initiatives, and strategies.

The biggest thing I learnt from the process is that the initial submission is really important, as it needs to be well-thought through, providing real insight into how the company’s strategy has made a difference. For me, when scoring as a judge it really does make you realise exactly what should be going into the submission and the importance of taking your time to get this right. The presentations I observed were excellent, with an opportunity to ask questions, so backing this up with a great submission is key to success if you want to pick up an award.

We used a scoring mechanism where each judge scores both the submission and the presentation. Prior to this opportunity, I believed that the judges had a discussion to decide who would win based on what they had read and seen. But it was the opposite, where judges individually rate each company and then scores are added up to ensure you have a winner based on objective scoring. Yes there is a little time for debate between each presentation, but each judge then decides how they will individually score each company. It makes it very objective and fair.

It was also great to meet fellow judges and to learn about. It was interesting to hear the types of questions they ask the groups to see where their focus was compared to mine.

Overall, the whole experience – from reading submissions, to presentations, to the Awards dinner itself – was excellent and brilliantly co-ordinated. You really do feel the excitement for the winners and it’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded individuals. I would highly recommend the experience because it enables you to benchmark yourself in your field and gain valuable insight. I’m looking forward to being part of a judging panel again soon.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 5, 2018
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5min1270

The UK Customer, Digital, and Employee Experience Awards have received the Gold Standard Awards Trust Mark from the Independent Awards Standards Council.

The honour was bestowed on hosts Awards International for their trio of ‘Experience’ awards, along with the UK Complaint Handling Awards and the UK Business Awards.

Awards International is one of the first awards event organisers in the UK to receive the coveted accreditation, which rewards ethics and transparency throughout the entire awards process – from when entries are first submitted, to when winners take to the stage to accept trophies.

Awards International events – including the flagship UK Customer Experience Awards, which this year takes place at London’s Wembley Stadium on October 11 – feature independent judging panels, allowing for a rigorous but fair judging process, ensuring the winners represent the best in each category.

The Independent Awards Standards Council (IASC) is a not-for profit organisation made up of stakeholders in the awards industry. It was established with the aim of raising standards and perceptions of trust in awards as a whole, for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Congratulating Awards International on its achievement, Chris Robinson, Co-Founder of the Independent Awards Standards Council, and MD of the world’s first award entry consultancy, Boost Marketing, said:

Awards International events are exemplars in how awards should be operated. Their attention to every detail, from the transparency of the scoring system, to the briefings provided to judges, to the quality of websites, the clarity of the entering process, and the quality of customer service throughout, is exemplary. I hope more schemes will aspire to this level of service and also earn the Gold Standard Awards Trust Mark.”

He continued:

The need for the Trust Mark, and the elements within an agreed code of conduct, are based on research by Boost Marketing that gained input from both awards entrants and organisers. According to Boost’s research, the average score given by businesses when asked ‘how well does the awards industry meet your needs’ was just 5.7 out of 10. But around 80 percent of businesses entering awards would be influenced by an independent accreditation scheme when picking awards to enter.

It found that transparency was essential, and that most awards organisers were willing to consider such a scheme. The research also showed that perceived trust in the judging process used in an awards scheme is one of the most influential factors for businesses in picking schemes to enter.

The big picture for the IASC is that the UK aspires to lead the world in business awards, setting the standard to which the rest of the world aspires. This will improve the credibility and thus popularity and impact of awards schemes, for the benefit of all stakeholders within the awards industry.”

Meanwhile, Neil Skehel, CEO of Awards International, said:

Thank you to the Independent Awards Standards Council for this incredible honour. This is fantastic recognition for the work we do to ensure every awards programme is carried out to the highest standard with the most credible judging process possible. Thank you to everyone who has helped us develop our events over the past decade, and we will continue to reward and celebrate business excellence and innovation in the UK.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 18, 2018
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10min2042

Some of the best businesses in the UK to work for have been honoured at the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards.

Taking place in the heart of London at the Park Plaza hotel overlooking the Thames, the spectacular day-long event saw the winners of 22 categories take to the stage following a morning of detailed presentations before expert judging panels.

Firms, including some of the best-known brands in the UK, outlined strategies and initiatives that lead to high staff satisfaction and retention rates, and explained how this translated into customer satisfaction and even boosted profits.

Attendees also enjoyed a day of networking opportunities and met with representatives from the event’s influential partners. This year, they included employment engagement specialists Benefex; global professional services provider FDM; Cranfield School of Management; Therapy Solutions; and the new venture from awards judge Donna O’Toole, August: The Awards Consultancy, the world’s first online course designed to help firms win awards and significantly raise their profile.

Meanwhile, also partnering the awards was The World Employee Experience Institute, and its founder Ben Whitter, AKA Mr Employee Experience himself, met with finalists throughout the day and also took to the stage during the gala ceremony to share valuable insights.

The event was also sponsored by children’s charity Barnardo’s, which outlined to attendees their amazing work in rescuing victims of child sexual exploitation.

The highlight of the day was the award presentations, which saw wholesalers Bidfood UK take home the coveted Overall Winner title after an outstanding victory in the Team of the Year category.

Other notable success stories includes London’s Jubilee Street Practice, which won Overall Best Employee Engagement, and the Holly Private Hospital in Essex, which won an amazing three category titles: Employee Engagement – Values & Strategy; Reward & Recognition; and Talent Management.

Speaking with Customer Experience Magazine, Ben Whitter said:

“Employee Experience is one of the most important aspects of business in the UK, and this event is the premier celebration of that.

“I have heard of some truly amazing EX initiatives in the run-up to today’s event, and I was lucky enough to tour the HQ of finalists to see for myself exactly why they deserve to be here today competing for these titles. They are all raising the standard for other businesses and I salute each and every one of them.”

Meanwhile, Matt Nathanielsz of Benefex added:

“EX is a massive trend in industries after years of being overlooked and undervalued. It’s great to see so many companies making the experience for their employees so special.”

Judges were also “hugely impressed” with the presentations. Judging Chairperson Hina Sharma, Head of Communications with Pitney Bowes UK, said:

“What was most impressive for me and many of the judges was how the finalists linked their employee engagement initiatives to overall business success. That standard of entries was exceptional. Well done to all who entered.”

Neil Skehel, CEO of hosts Awards International, added:

“It was fantastic to see so many inspiring companies who are leading the way in effective employee experience. Congratulations and thank you to all of our finalists, winners, and judges. See you again next year.”

Employee Engagement – Recognition & WellbeingStaysure

Employee Engagement – Growth by Design – Startle

Diversity & Inclusion –  Sky

Employee Engagement – Values & Strategy – The Holly Private Hospital

Employee Engagement – Transforming through EX – Jubilee Street Practice

Employee Engagement – EX Design – Manpower Group

Health & Wellbeing – Let’s get healthy

Insight & Feedback – Sparks Grove and FCA

Learning & Development – BT Business and Blue Sky

Reward & Recognition – The Holly Private Hospital

Talent Management – The Holly Private Hospital

Innovation in Recruitment – Marketing VF

Business Transformation & Managing Change – Homeserve

Organisational Development – BT Business and Blue Sky

Thought Leader in Employee Experience – Rebecca Robinson, Sparks Grove

SME – The Holly Private Hospital

Technology for Productivity – LifeWorks

Agency of the Year – Manpower Group

Leader in Employee Experience – Marketing VF

Team of the Year – Bidfood UK

Overall Best Employee Engagement – Jubilee Street Practice

Overall Winner – Bidfood UK




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


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