Luke CardyLuke CardyJuly 18, 2018
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6min116

Here at digital marketing agency Spindogs, we were extremely excited to have won Silver for Agency of the Year at this year’s UK Employee Experience Awards.

This esteemed event recognises and rewards great employment initiatives and celebrates employee practices across many industries, so the award means a lot to us.

Employee Experience at Spindogs

We were incredibly excited to be nominated in the Agency of the Year category, and spent the weeks leading up to the awards putting together our presentation and making sure the whole team was involved, even if they couldn’t attend in person.

On the day, we had the opportunity to give an open presentation on all the amazing things we do for our employees. It was fantastic to be able to share with the attendees all the ways in which we ensure the Spindogs team always has opportunities for continuous improvement, learning, and personal development.

We channelled the positive energy we are known for into giving a presentation that was truly inspiring and portrayed the fantastic team morale and working environment we maintain, both in HQ and across our remote locations.

The message we communicated to judges was the exceptional care we take of our employees, how engaged and supported all our team members feel, and how positively our Employee Experience has affected the business.

What we do for our amazing team

We are firm believers that our people are our business, so we are constantly striving to improve the Employee Experience for both our HQ staff and our remote workers in big and small ways, including:

  • Culture Club: Representatives of the different departments across the company assemble every week to come up with after-work events and treats for our team, as well as discuss any wider issues to do with spreading and maintaining the Spindogs company culture. From coffee runs and movie nights to integrating our remote staff, the Culture Club activities are designed to boost morale and show appreciation across teams.
  • Team Socials: We make sure all our team members work well together and have fun through organising a variety of socials. Focused on developing different skills, we take our staff to pizza making and murder mysteries, escape rooms and sports activities. We encourage everyone to bond through working together and staff always look forward to our team socials.
  • Warm Welcome: All our new starters are greeted with a welcome pack with a personalised welcome letter and personalised mug, and encouraged to pick a postcard to add to our collection. We also schedule 1-2-1 meetings so new staff members can get to know the team and welcome drinks in a more relaxed after-work environment, where we can really bust out our dance moves.   
  • Wellbeing & Support: At HQ, we are dedicated to looking after our team’s wellbeing, both professionally and personally. Staff members are encouraged to develop and upskill, and provided with internal training and recognition for their successes. We also run mindfulness sessions with Fresh Air Fridays and treat our team to free massages to keep everyone in top shape.

Why this award is so important for us

Here at Spindogs, we take great care to make sure all our team members are happy and feel supported, both in their job roles and outside of work hours. For us, Employee Experience is not just an initiative, it’s our culture. The Silver in Agency of the Year means our efforts have been recognised across industries.

We’ve also had some really positive feedback from the judges on the EXA panels, who we thoroughly enjoyed networking with. Watch this space for the next year’s awards when we snatch up the gold!


Amy BrustiaAmy BrustiaJuly 16, 2018
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9min268

When I tell people that I work as a Customer Experience Consultant, most of them assume it’s just a fancy title for a customer service agent, immediately envisaging call centres and headsets.

Whilst Customer Experience does include customer service, it also encompasses the whole end-to-end experience of a customer’s journey, including all the people they interact with, all the back-end processes they go through, and all the technology that enables successful delivery of the service.

Improving Customer Experience doesn’t have to be complex; what is really needed is to go back to basics.

It is simply putting the customer first and then setting up and aligning your organisation to fit around them so that the whole of the customers’ experience is consistent, connected, memorable, and hassle-free.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies have already been built the other way around. So where do you start?

1. Talk to your customers

It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many organisations are so internally focused or competitor-driven that they have completely forgotten the customer. Often, organisations spend so much time talking amongst themselves in meetings, creating ideas and processes they think the customer would like without actually asking them. Taking the time to involve your customers and gathering their feedback is hugely beneficial, saving time and money in the long run.

Looking at the same processes from a customer’s perspective often sheds a very different light on something you thought was perfect.

2. Align and embed the right culture

The Tempkin 2016 report shows that only four percent of organisations have Customer Experience embedded as an integral part of their company culture.

Key to getting this right is to align both your business and brand strategy with your customer strategy, but more importantly it is to ensure it is embedded effectively. When cascading this information throughout the organisation, it needs to be in a simple, memorable format that is relatable to each member of staff and their specific job role so they can align their daily decisions and actions with the strategic direction of the company. 

All too often staff are handed a company vision or mission with no understanding of how this relates to them or the role they play in achieving this.

3. Break down silos

Simply put, people working together will achieve more. It is far easier to solve issues, drive change, and improve communication when there is cross-departmental collaboration. This way of working also ensures shared ownership and accountability of the customer’s journey instead of individual channels of interactions. This helps to stop issues getting lost and passed from department to department, causing frustration for the customer.

4. Legacy systems vs new technology

Many organisations fear changing legacy systems as it often seems too complex or expensive, i.e. they have already invested a huge amount on upgrades which have had little or no impact on the bottom line. The key lesson here is to make sure the technology is fit for purpose.

You don’t need to use the latest technology but it must be the right technology to best serve your customers. All key stakeholders, including the customer, must be involved in the decision-making process as there is no point in upgrading something if it has no impact on the customer or is not embedded effectively.

This is often challenging in the “I just want it done” culture within some organisations.

Louise Downe, Director of Design & Standards, Government Digital Service, explained this nicely in a presentation recently at the Service Design in Government conference, saying: “It should be viewed as ‘problem caring vs problem-solving’, i.e. you will never be done fixing things and the world won’t stop changing, so you just need to ensure you balance delivering actual things with changes that are also scalable and sustainable. 

5. Empower your people

Being at the forefront of interactions with customers, your employees are your most important asset. Equipping your staff with all the training they need to fulfil their role is crucial, as is training them on customer centricity to help them understand what the overall Customer Experience is and the part they play in building a customer-centric culture. Let them actively own issues and give them the power to solve customer problems without always having to get authorisation from managers.

By involving staff and asking their opinions, they are more likely to embrace change and be on board to help you achieve your goals. They are likely to have many ideas and solutions to resolve existing customer issues, they have just never been asked.

6. Get rid of bureaucracy and unnecessary processes

Don’t get me wrong – processes, structure, and guidelines are hugely important and are normally the backbone to every business. However, what I can’t stand is doing something just for the sake of doing something. It must have an impact!

Question why you are doing something if it doesn’t involve improving things for your customer (and is not regulatory required), then stop doing it.

Very often if you ask someone why they are doing something, you will normally get the response: “It’s always been done like this” or “we were just told to do this”. This again goes back to my point on engagement; if people don’t understand why they are doing something or the bigger picture, they will never be able to spot issues, improve things, or work autonomously when needed.

7. Spend time standing back

It sounds simple, right? Most of us know we should be doing it, but normally we are so busy in the day-to-day firefighting tasks that we often have little time to stand back and look at the bigger picture. Completing an exercise of mapping out your customer’s journey will allow you to empathise and see your business through your customer’s eyes, highlight numerous opportunities to improve their experience, and add value to your business.


Lindsay McEwanLindsay McEwanJuly 16, 2018
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8min284

Journeys aren’t about one moment.

Take, for instance, holidays. While for most of us, fun starts after check in, the holiday begins long before. From the first flight or hotel search, travellers set off on a path to the main event that includes many interactions. Each of which provides an opportunity for brands to offer relevant, engaging experiences.

The issue, however, is that delivering such experiences requires deep understanding of the route travellers take. It might be simple enough to define where bookings are made – research shows 85 percent are confirmed on PC or laptop, 23 percent via tablet, and 20 percent using smartphones – but to maximise the impact of messaging at every stage of individual journeys, brands need a holistic and consistent picture of activity.

So, how can this view be obtained? In short, brand marketers must follow the data trail customers leave as they traverse multiple channels. The long answer involves a closer look at current challenges and how data can be converted into actionable insight, while respecting consumer privacy.

Divided insight: The key performance block

With 8 billion connected devices in use, data generated by digital consumers – be that from browsing rental sites like Airbnb or reading reviews via the Tripadvisor app – is plentiful. And the potential of this insight to fuel personalised experiences hasn’t escaped marketers; nine in ten agree data management is a key priority.

But using it isn’t proving easy. According to recent research by Royal Mail Data Services, many brands are grappling with data legislation and assessment difficulties. One-quarter named General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance as their biggest concern and 28 percent felt customer data analysis was the greatest performance issue.

Although not the only cause, the central driver of both challenges is disjointed data. More specifically: the common tendency to gather, process, and store insight from different channels and devices separately.

By persisting with this siloed approach, marketers are not only making GDPR adherence harder – attempting to check the accuracy, privacy protection, and consent levels of fragmented data sets is no mean feat – but also inhibiting campaign effectiveness.

With crucial information about consumer interactions held in isolation, it is near impossible to obtain a complete, joined-up view of individuals or their journeys. And this, in turn, means messaging is likely to be irrelevant and even irritating. For example, say a tennis fan searches for hotels in Wimbledon on their smartphone but later books with a laptop.

Without knowledge of this vital link, the hotel brand may attempt to reignite the interest of this ‘potential’ customer (who has already booked) with retargeted offers, unaware they are causing frustration.

Evidently, better data organisation is critical if marketers want to create experiences that drive customer happiness. And this means they must adopt methods that swap silos for synchronisation: it’s time to embrace data orchestration.

What is data orchestration?

Put simply, data orchestration is a term applied to the procedure of consolidating information from numerous sources. The result of which is a real-time view of individuals that spans activity across multiple devices and channels.

How it works is more complex. The key factor to note is that success depends on covering all core phases of the data lifecycle: collection, transformation, enrichment, audience association, and ownership. So, the technologies involved in the process ideally need to follow a set adoption path, which includes several essential stages.

First, it’s important to start by amassing data from every source, such as travel agents to sites, chat bots, and apps. Then information must be re-ordered, which means cleansing, merging, and translating data into a single language and layer. At the same time, stage three will already be in play; whereby stitching of cross-channel data begins to build a comprehensive picture of individuals and fresh insight – such as smartphone interactions – is immediately integrated.

How does it help brands?

When these stages are complete, marketers should have complete real-time consumer profiles that allow them to precisely personalise messages. And, because profiles are continually updated, they can be sure that messages strike the right chord however unique journeys twist and turn.

Furthermore, bridging silos and bringing data together can also pave the way to GDPR compliance. With all data relating to specific individuals amalgamated in one pool, marketers can quickly evaluate security measures – and implement additional protection if needed – and whether individuals have given consent, and that’s not to mention the reassurance that data is up-to-date and access request can be rapidly fulfilled.

Most marketers are already aware that data is the key to providing extraordinary customer experiences and building lasting relationships. But understanding of how it should be used is still limited. To make the most of the information produced by smart devices, marketers must recognise that each screen and channel is an integral element of an individual’s journey. Consequently, messages will only achieve great results if they are based on a comprehensive understanding of individuals and their activity as a whole.

Much like their holidays, today’s consumers expect every experience to be the journey of a lifetime.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJuly 12, 2018
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10min413

The following might be considered a controversial statement, but in true pioneering spirit, the founders of The Future Shapers – the global network of thought-leaders and innovators – want you to hear it anyway: the current news media model is well and truly broken.

How so? Well, an unhealthy reliance on advertising has forced media outlets to focus on chasing clicks, rather than creating real value for consumers.

The result? Fewer stories of importance are told or heard; less cutting-edge thought leadership is communicated to audiences that value such content. Consequently, the amount of available, actionable insight fails to meet demand in today’s ideas-driven world.

However, a plan has emerged to change this, with The Future Shapers innovation thought-leadership platform, www.thefutureshapers.com.

 

The potential for blockchain technology to disrupt content rights distribution is already noticeable in the music business. Streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer require an additional layer of intermediaries to ensure the artists’ rights management process is conducted fairly.

As a result, content creators need different contracts in each jurisdiction, often via multiple intermediaries, to protect copyright and enable distribution of their content.

However, putting content on a blockchain and having the connectivity for peer-to-peer transactions via a digital currency such as Bitcoin – or a smart contract such as Ethereum – allows complete transparency and automation of execution, as well as direct payments to copyright holders.

New start-ups such as Choon, Jaxx, and Voise propose utilising blockchain to simplify digital rights management through bypassing the usual intermediaries. This enables micro-payments from fans buying music directly from the artist themselves – essentially reconnecting value directly to the content creator.

Likewise, The Future Shapers are taking the strengths and disruptive capability of blockchain in order to ‘return value back to knowledge’.

The immutability and trustless nature of blockchain means it can be used in instances where record-keeping and auditable data is key, such as when thought-leadership content creators need different contracts in each jurisdiction to protect copyright and enable distribution.

Putting content on a blockchain with the connectivity for peer-to-peer transactions via a smart contract such as Ethereum allows complete transparency and automation of execution, as well as direct payments to copyright holders.

With these aims, it’s no surprise The Future Shapers are ardent advocates of the proposed updates to the EU Copyright Law and Digital Single Market, and take a similar view to the Copyright for Knowledge cross-sectoral body which aims to work with government at both a UK and EU level to achieve a balanced copyright regime in Europe. The Future Shapers believe such changes have the potential to stimulate creativity and innovation with the opportunity for a wider, more competitive platform environment.

The recent Copyright Directive vote in the European Parliament will be revisited in September, and as this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new balance in the online world reverberates through the digital world, The Future Shapers are primed to ensure its contributors, partners, and stakeholders get a fair share of the value they create.

The Future Shapers’ Co-Founder, Cris Beswick, explains:

Building ‘The Future Shapers’ has been, and continues to be, somewhat of a personal crusade, one which I liken to when the late Steve Jobs was being interviewed and asked why iTunes had been so disruptive. In answering the question, he said: ‘When we created the iTunes Music Store, we did so because we thought it would be great to be able to buy music electronically, not because we had plans to redefine the music industry’.

In some ways I feel the same about what we’re doing with The Future Shapers. When I started this journey, I simply wanted to give people better access to actionable content around innovation and provide a better platform for thought leaders to share their expertise and build their credibility as genuine experts.

Yet there is now a sense that the technology we are building will genuinely disrupt the online media industry, or at least contribute to redefining it. We may not quite put Steve’s ‘ding’ in the universe, but if we deliver on our mantra to ‘return value back to knowledge’ we will have done something genuinely significant – we will have shifted the needle and helped shape the future!”

The Future Shapers’ exciting proposals for generating revenue for online publishers has piqued the interest of those at the coalface of the industry, including Neil Skehel, proprietor of the UK’s premier CX portal, Customer Experience Magazine.

Referencing the well-known challenges faced by publishers in a period of unprecedented upheaval, he said:

News International created a pay wall so you can only read a few lines of The Times, and I am not sure they would tell you it has really worked. There are a few other models in the online news and content industry, such as The Guardian’s appeal to readers to pay voluntarily for quality journalism.

However, Cris, Richard and their fellow Future Shapers are creating a technology based on real innovation, which will enable every single provider of valuable content to monetise it in a new customer-friendly way.

This is a value innovation – a game changer! Think Netflix for online content! My honest prediction is that this will be nothing short of massive.”

The vanguards of any industry are the ones shaping the future. To join the front runners, visit The Future Shapers current equity crowdfunding page and help return value back to knowledge.

https://www.crowdcube.com/companies/the-future-shapers/pitches/qay2mq


Lorraine GannonLorraine GannonJuly 11, 2018
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5min296

Who isn’t deeply entrenched in the technical details of their app, software system, and SAAS product?

We have all marvelled at our own skills in our projects and tasks, but it can be particularly challenging to overcome the technicalities of hooking together APIs, methodologies, and languages.

Very often we lose sight of the fact that our consumer doesn’t care. Quite frankly, they are not impressed, which is a shame when so much effort and energy goes into these problem-solving issues.

However, it’s also a complement for our products. If our customers can marvel at the way something just works; how it saves them time; avoids manual processes; saves duplicating data; and any additional boring repetitive tasks, then this is a huge success. 

Our customers don’t have a lot of time or attention; it’s harder than ever for your product to stand out and to hold anyone’s attention for any period of time.

In today’s world it is easy to miss the new developments in technology.

Customers need to know with certainty the benefits of your product, so design should be really clear about those benefits. With a million distractions, our customers can be overwhelmed, so it’s important to engineer in the benefits and outcomes first. The marketing differentials need to be ‘baked in’ from the beginning.

That’s why I believe we should all be running our projects with end-user feedback and not just that of key stakeholders.

You will need to recognise that the end-user will have two sets of feedback:

1. What they think they want while the product is being designed?

2. What they actually do with the product once it is created?

The difference is the social behaviour in using the product. It’s why the bluetooth headset was a great idea but didn’t look cool enough to survive the market. It’s why Apple Airpods are now dominating the market with 85 percent of wireless headset sales in the USA in 2017.

When a project enters real life, it’s your job to get the real life feedback and not be frustrated by it, but embrace it, for it’s feedback that will make your product engagement levels significantly higher. 

Users will want things they don’t need and need stuff they don’t want. Its your job to design beautiful screens and dashboards that get the user engaging in the product every day.

If you look for these two sets of feedback then your product has every chance of getting traction in the market. With an end-user mindset you will be grounded to the output and the outcomes of your solution.

Our users will always over or underestimate the significance of their wants and desires.

Our only truly scare resource is time; if we can focus on creating the wonderful assets and maximising our return from our developers and project team’s time, there is an opportunity for our customers to be delighted at the results.


Yaron MorgensternYaron MorgensternJuly 9, 2018
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9min485

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology presents businesses with an unmissable opportunity to deliver positive digital experiences to their customers, but in order to do so – regardless of sector – organisations must first understand their digital audience and how their digital channels are performing.

The way to do this is through data collection and analysis, both of which are growing at an exponential rate; by 2025, the global datasphere is predicted to grow to 163 zettabytes – ten times the 16.1 ZB of data generated in 2016. This ever-growing quantity of data will unlock new business opportunities, and customer experiences, by enabling organisations to understand more about customer behaviour and identify potential pain-points and areas of improvement.

However, this volume of data comes at a cost in terms of management and agility. Traditional models of web and data analytics are no longer viable in this new and expanded digital ecosystem. The vast and ever-growing amount of data captured has the potential to obscure the valuable and timely insights that might be gleaned from them, causing business leaders and data analysts to fail to identify solutions to key issues relating to Customer Experience.

Thankfully, this is where AI steps in. Alongside machine learning, these technologies form the basis of a new generation of digital analytics solutions. Put simply, AI is a process that enables computer systems to be able to perform tasks that would previously require human cognitive ability and interaction. Machine learning is a subset of AI that denotes the way in which computer systems can automatically learn and improve from experience, without being programmed to do so.

By linking these capabilities to the issue of data collection and analysis, keeping in mind the size of the current and future datasphere, organisations can convert data sets into actionable insights that reveal customer online behaviours and improve digital experiences.

Every click, mouse movement, swipe, keystroke, and dead link can be captured, indexed, aggregated, and analysed. And thanks to machine learning, anomalies can be recognised in real-time and flagged to IT teams, business executives and customer service representatives. Moreover, these anomalies can be correlated to business impacts, and IT fixes can be prioritised according to the revenue loss attached to them.

Compared to the state of digital analytics today, these advances are revolutionary. Current processes are efficient in data collection; however, extracting actionable and valuable insights from this data still requires human intervention. The same is true for alerts to anomalies in the digital customer journey.

Formerly, business analysts would be required to know what constituted a ‘normal’ customer journey, and be aware of thresholds that, when breached, would trigger pre-defined alerts and processes. In an AI-enabled ecosystem, business analysts can rely on technology to alert them to customer pain-points and system anomalies. The ability for technology to do so comes down to AI and machine learning, which learn what ‘normal’ customer journeys look like.

These alerts are essential in improving customer experiences, as issues on the webpage or mobile app are flagged with the IT team, which can then correct the problem, and customer service representatives, who are able to provide up-to-date advice and reassurances to any customers who get in touch.

At Glassbox, we have set up a five-stage process for automating the detection of anomalies using AI:

Collect metrics at scale

Data granularity is essential when it comes to setting up automatic alerts; the larger the number of metrics a business can collect, the more permutations its AI-enabled system will be able to analyse. In order to correlate technical issues affecting servers with CX issues affecting digital channels, a successful digital analytics solution must be able to collect metrics from both the client and server side.

Understanding normal data behaviour

It is essential for digital analytics to be set up to account for seasonality. No matter the industry, seasonality will affect data patterns on digital channels, and so effective analytics systems need to identify this seasonality in order to avoid sending unnecessary alerts each time there is a peak in one of the metrics. This is an area in which machine learning comes into its own by learning to take into account daily, weekly, monthly and yearly patterns.

What does abnormal behaviour look like?

For an anomaly detection system to operate correctly, it has to reduce the noise and only draw attention to the important issues. It is recommended to assign a score to each anomaly, for instance grading them on a scale of one to 100 based on the level and duration of the deviance, thereby allowing organisations to focus only on the anomalies that matter.

Correlate between metrics

Since the datasphere is growing larger and larger by the day, it would be time – and labour – intensive to manually check each and every metric when an anomaly is found in one of them. An automated anomaly detection system will analyse the context of an anomaly by correlating the metrics.

Provide feedback

Finally, to constantly improve the process, provide feedback to the detection system by telling it whether an alert was helpful or irrelevant. In doing so, businesses are able to help the system improve and become more intelligent and attuned to the needs of the organisation.

Advancements in AI go further than enabling businesses to collect and harness more data; they bring tangible improvements to the digital customer experience. By automatically detecting anomalies throughout all digital channels, AI-enabled systems can deliver priceless insights that become smarter and more accurate over time.

The usefulness of this cannot be overstated, especially when you consider the unprecedented rate of growth of the global datasphere.


Melanie JensenMelanie JensenJuly 6, 2018
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7min463

Mobile has evolved for life on the go, making our lives faster, easier and more convenient. 

Therefore, retailers’ mobile commerce offering needs to also align to this, aiming to bring relevant and convenient offerings to us, and fast. With nearly a third of online shopping across all retail sectors now occuring on a mobile device, it’s clear mobile is a platform that plays a key role in the customer shopping journey, and as a result, is one that cannot be ignored.

While some retailers aim to offer fun or ‘cool’ experiences, such as making digital outfits or virtually trying clothes on, if these experiences are too complicated or require a large proportion of time to work out, they will be quickly forgotton as customers choose simplicity over novelty.

Here are five ways for retailers to make sure that their mobile offering is up to scratch:

Remember that not all smartphones are created equal

Retailers should consider different types of smartphones that customers may be using, whether it’s Apple, Android, Windows Phone or other. All of these have immediately noticeable differences – such as the size and shape of the screen – which should be accounted for when designing a website or app that is mobile-optimised.

However, there are also less noticable aspects of the devices, which might only be understood by frequent users. For example, where the ‘back’ button is, where the search function is or where push notifications appear on the screen. These seemingly minor differences can have a massive affect on sales.

If the ‘checkout’ button is where an Android user’s push notification appears onscreen, the customer might get distracted by a text message and accidentally abandon their order, or the lack of clarity in the checkout process can result in a customer giving up entirely on a purchase – the last thing retailers want.

Fix the little things

There are common design mistakes that every mobile website or app will make – and are usually easy to fix. For example, on a mobile site’s smaller screen, it could be difficult to remove items from the shopping basket. It’s these tiny problems that grind on users, and will ultimately lead them to stopping visiting your mobile site.

The secret to a good mobile commerce stategy is making the user’s experience as simple and seamless as possible, and that means fixing the little things as soon as possible.

Design ‘mobile-first’

The key differences between online and mobile offerings might seem obvious, yet it’s shocking how many retailers fail to get it right. Most online retailers now offer shoppers the option to watch a catwalk video of an outfit, or zoom in to examine the fabric of the item. However, on mobile devices, these functions often don’t work or are tricky to use. The best way to combat this is for retailers to adopt a ‘mobile-first’ strategy, where online visuals are initially designed for mobile, then scaled up for desktop.

Leverage loyalty

According to the 80-20 rule, 80 percent of a retailer’s revenue is generated by 20 percent of its customers. This rule highlights the importance of building a loyal customer base, and a great way to do this is through mobile.

Loyalty apps offer an exciting opportunity to allow consumers to self-serve – checking stock levels, setting up click-and-collect delivery options, reading reviews and having access to additional product information – all at their fingertips. Retailers can offer a personal touch by combining data gathered both in-store and online to offer timely and relevant content and offers.

Understand that life on the go doesn’t stop

The work doesn’t stop once you have optimised your mobile offerings to meet the demands of customers. Retailers need to stay relevant, interesting and useful across all channels, and mobile is no exception. Retailers need to constantly reinvent their brand and their offerings, whilst ensuring they are still getting the basics right.

Once the basics have been grasped, it is time to start thinking what will make your mobile site or app stand out from competitors. Retailers should always ensure that they are finding a balance between fun and simplicity, and are always putting Customer Experience at the centre of decision-making.


Dharmesh MistryDharmesh MistryJuly 5, 2018
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6min599

Banking software expert Dharmesh Mistry is a judge at the upcoming UK Digital Experience Awards, which take place in London on July 12. Here he discusses how customers increasingly judge a bank not by how easy it is to pay a bill, but by how many of life’s hassles it can manage for them…

Too many senior bank executives still think a good user experience (UX) is synonymous with a great user interface in a cool mobile app. I’ve got news for them – the game has changed and new digital banks are ahead in mastering it.

The UX has become something much bigger, deeper, and more complex than how the customer interacts with the bank through a screen. As the Internet of Things – including data analytics and voice apps such as Alexa and Siri – handles more aspects of our lives, banks will have to follow suit. Great UX will be defined not only by how banks manage their customers’ money, but by how they help with planning for life’s big decisions – and much more besides.

Banks are beginning to provide some of these services. Barclays recently introduced voice-recognition software for phone customers, eliminating the need for multiple security questions and passwords. Santander has an app that allows customers to voice questions about their transaction history rather than have to search manually for the data.

BBVA’s Valora goes further still. A home-buying app, Valora helps customers work out what they can afford in terms not just of borrowing but also running a home. It will even check the sale prices for similar properties to stop customers from being fleeced, help them get the right kind of insurance and find a builder for any renovations. There’s a similar one for showing how much having kids costs.

BBVA’s service represents a radical change. It encapsulates the idea of banks as life-service providers, using data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to help customers understand the financial implications of life’s big milestones, like buying your first home or having children. It helps customers make the best decisions about their money and more besides. It’s open banking – and if banks are to remain open they need to take note because customers like it.

Digital banks that offer these kinds of new services are signing up customers at enviable rates. For example, Tandem Bank, which allows customers to track all their accounts on one app, hit 100,000 within five months of launching. 

Meanwhile, BBVA, with its array of digital life-enhancing apps, saw profits grow 20 percent in 2017. Its Chief Executive, Carlos Torres Vila, acknowledged the role the whole UX had to play, STATING: “As soon as the customer becomes digital, the satisfaction level increases, the engagement with the bank grows and it leads to more revenue.”

At Temenos, we understand that the scope for providing good customer experiences is so broad that we, as a vendor, cannot do all of it on our own. Instead we work with third parties – fintechs, regtechs, and service providers – to create ecosystems that help banks deliver what customers want: a great experience.

As data and analytics underpin more of a customer’s life, so the need for a digital banking core will become ever more vital. Our software is as open as possible to third parties, so our customers’ IT systems can take APIs from the widest spectrum. Being open eliminates the need for months of integration work and means the customer journeys are easily adapted to deliver innovation at speed. Functionality can be unlocked quickly and efficiently to allow banks to hook up with new partners and provide hitherto unthought-of new services and products.

 Banks, like people, must have solid foundations to get the most out of life.


Catalin BadeaCatalin BadeaJuly 4, 2018
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7min389

The average response time for a text message is just 90 seconds.

Compare that to the average response time for an email, which is 90 minutes, according to CTIA.org. As a marketing professional, this is a powerful statistic and makes adopting mobile messaging campaigns a no-brainer.

While this stat is compelling, most businesses aren’t seeing the results for one very basic reason – limited access to accurate phone information. The fact is, a large customer database can quickly go out of date.

From an outside perspective, sending alerts to 100,000 consumers seems highly effective, but when thousands of those numbers are routed to mobile networks that no longer service the intended recipient and thousands more undeliverable (recipient’s phone was off, roaming or could not receive SMS) – the reach of the campaign drastically drops.

Additionally, most customer databases contain numbers that are incorrectly formatted, such as landline numbers listed as mobile – and lack the information required to route the messages efficiently to the subscribers who have ported their numbers to a different operator. 

Target audience is the driving force behind effective marketing campaigns – how to reach the right customer, with the right information at the right time to boost ROI. Without an accurate customer database, enterprises are simply throwing a message at a wall and hoping it sticks, which becomes a waste of time and resources.

Phone number information services allow organisations with phone number databases to access important information about the numbers to inform their outreach. These include whether the numbers are accurate, the current network operator and country, the number type (mobile or landline), and the live status of reachability and roaming. Depending on their goals and the extent of their campaign outreach, organisations can either use a portability check or number verification to raise the effectiveness of the campaign.

Portability check

Mobile number portability enables mobile users to keep their phone numbers when switching network providers. For the user, receiving and sending calls and texts looks the same on a ported number as it did on the original network. On the backend, however, is more complicated. The SMS sent to a ported number that’s routed to the original carrier, not the new carrier serving the subscriber, may not be delivered or needs to be rerouted.

A portability check validates a phone number by searching portability databases in the country from which the number originates. This determines whether the number is active, who is the current service provider, and whether the number belongs to a mobile or landline phone. Checking a number’s portability optimises the call routing, because even though a number might not change, it may be routed through a different carrier.

Understanding a number’s current carrier is key for sending the message in the most cost-efficient way.

Number verification

Number verification takes the portability check a step further. By combining a number’s portability status with live data, number verification goes so far as to determine whether a phone is on or off, if it is reachable at the current moment or roaming, and in which country the subscriber is roaming.

Number verification works best when soliciting an immediate response is vital to a campaign’s success. Knowing the deliverability status of number in real time can help organisations determine the best time to send a message to receive a response. After all, 98 percent of people read their text messages, and 90 percent of those people read their messages within three seconds of receipt, according to a Dynmark study.

For certain use cases, number verification can also help fight fraudulent activity by pinpointing the location of a user’s phone. If a company is suspecting a fraudulent credit card purchase, for instance, the company can cross-check the location from which the transaction occurred against the location of the registered phone number to determine whether the activity was truly fraudulent.

Benefits to the organisation

Using portability checks and number verification to guide customer communications fills the void between sending a message and ensuring that the message reached its destination in the most efficient way. Verifying customer databases for number accuracy and validity makes targeting more effective by revealing the right moment to contact – and doing so in a cost-efficient way.

Whereas before, an organisation was paying for sending 100,000 messages and receiving a 50 percent delivery rate, that organisation can now send 50,000  messages and expect all of those messages to be delivered. By using these phone number lookup services before sending messages, organisations can improve the overall ROI of their marketing campaigns.


Phil WalshPhil WalshJuly 3, 2018
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9min1098

Being digital must be more than a simple desire to transform a business from a purely or partially analog concern to one that uses today’s technologies.

To become fully digital, leaders must be prepared to turn the business inside out by addressing the needs of front, middle, and back-end operations. Digital business transformation isn’t an easy task, but the end result supports maintaining current customers and acquiring new ones.

Digital transformation may be simply described as the front, middle, and back operations of any business:

  • The front encompasses the digital business and includes interactive, connected products and analytics
  • The middle covers the operations that keep the business moving forward and that the customer never sees, such as software platforms and process automation
  • The back contains the systems and technologies that keep a business humming and relevant, including IT security, engineering and modernization through the transformation of legacy systems

Digital at scale is the process of reinventing the business using digital technologies in the front, middle and end operations to make the organisation perform better, run faster, and make fewer mistakes. All of this is done with the customer in mind: How can we make their journey more enjoyable and get them where they want to go more quickly and with less effort?

What’s in a name?

It’s the first place to start. Building or re-building a business to become digital at scale means looking at the organisation from your customers’ perspective; not necessarily how insiders view the company. This includes how products and services are named. Ensure current and new customers can find you online; simple, descriptive names make that possible.

Many companies that employ esoteric names for products and services that, frankly, make no sense to anyone outside the organisation. While someone in marketing may feel good about their creativity, the fact is very few customers search online for information or products using highly-stylised names (very few companies have the worldwide name recognition necessary to successfully launch and promote product names that become part of the world’s everyday lexicon).

The vast majority of online searches are descriptive and ask how the user can accomplish a task or find a specific type of product, like “where can I get the best deal on golf balls”. 

Consider how customers find the organisation if it uses a convoluted naming structure that makes sense only to the people who created it, or if they can more effectively use keywords that describe what the product or service does. The latter is a customer-centric option. The former is the old way of doing things, and is contrary to old maxim “show, don’t tell”.

Which brings us to the front office.

The public face of the business

The front office is the public face of the company that, once discovered on the internet, for example, must immediately provide an engaging Customer Experience or risk losing business in the time it takes to click a mouse.

In the pre-digital world, the front office consisted of people working cash registers, customer service call centers, and physical point-of-sale displays. In pre-digital, you could make a sale even if your customer service and in-store experience weren’t top notch because your competition was local, not global. Customers had dressed, driven to the store, parked, and entered the building. They had committed.

For example, I’m an avid golfer and, a few years ago, I was limited to clubs, balls and other equipment sold at a handful of stores locally. When I drove to a store, more often than not, I settled with the stock on hand, even when it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

Today, I can find exactly what I want, whenever I want, wherever it is. The world has shrunk, significantly. I can have anything shipped to my home from just about anywhere in the world. I never need to leave my house, and for this reason alone it’s critical to get the Digital Experience right the first time because we shoppers are an impulsive and fickle bunch. If we don’t find what we want, we’ll be checking out the goods at a competitor’s website within a second or two.

Today’s Customer Experience is personalised, automated, and built on artificial intelligence and customer convenience. For example:

  • Instead of cash registers, organisations have different forms of instantaneous online, mobile or tethered payment options
  • Rather than people handling customer calls, companies use artificial intelligence based chatbots that communicate with customers through chat boxes on websites (in some cases, real people continue to answer questions by chat or email)
  • Point-of-sale displays are everywhere: they’re found in search engines, comparison websites, online display ads, the ads that follow users from website to website and, of course, the company’s own website. Each is available every day, all day (and night) long

The customer is always…

The customer is always there and waiting to be wowed, impressed, and otherwise pampered. While every industry has different customer types, the customer is always waiting to be wowed by a flawless experience. This is true whether your focus is B2B or B2C; this distinction, frankly, doesn’t really matter when it comes to digital transformation because while the methods used to interact with the customer may be different, a bad experience results in the loss of that customer, and, very likely, other customers through negative word-of-mouth.

When the entire business pledges itself to digital transformation, you can ensure an excellent Customer Experience. It does little good to have a user-friendly website with an easy way to capture orders if warehouse workers print out packing slips to prowl the shelves for the product.

The only way Digital at Scale becomes Digital at Scale is when the entire enterprise commits and converts.




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