Andrew JenkinsAndrew JenkinsNovember 29, 2018
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8min353

Is talking to yourself healthy or not?

A newspaper article once caught my eye. The piece, headlined ‘Why talking to yourself is NOT a sign of a mental illness’, reflected on a psychologist Paloma Mari-Beffa’s view that both inner self-talk and talking out loud can have very positive effects.

The article highlights that inner self-talk (and yes we all talk to ourselves in our heads) is a key part of how our minds work to manage the way we function. Talking out loud can amplify the self-instruction element of our internal conversation to increase control over a task and improve performance.

I can vouch for the positive and negative impacts of self-talk too, based on my experience of coaching leaders and working with teams.

Interestingly the starting point is often not so much about improving performance by simply being more positive – I term that being ‘happy stupid’. It’s a bit more subtle than that. I’ve found it’s more about taking control of the nature of inner self-talk and use of negative verbal language especially, self-depreciating inner mind chatter. My view is that this is an important learning point for all leaders.

Some people use negative language to motivate themselves, but as a contrast, negative self-talk can be a significant factor in compounding feelings of low confidence, self-doubt, insecurity, or poor motivation as well. I have worked with many, otherwise highly intelligent, competent, and capable people who have quite literally talked themselves out solving personal or business problems. I’ve done it myself too.

How about you? Do you find that you talk to yourself using negative and limiting language too?

Fortunately, if you do, then you are certainly not alone. However, there are a variety of ways in which we can take control of what’s happening.

Oi, you! Yes, you! Mind your language

One very useful tool is to reframe your negative emotions by introducing language that promotes a positive or growth mindset instead. At the very least it is helpful to soften your emotive and negative language.

For example, instead of telling yourself, ‘the last project was a complete failure,’ instead say ‘we learned a lot of valuable lessons from the last project’.

This language is far more purposeful. Simply put, using negative language leads us to use the ‘downstairs’ part of our brains. That part of our brains is hard-wired up to access our fears and survival and protection instincts.

In contrast, purposeful language leads us to access more of the ‘upstairs’ part of our brains. This part of the brain enables to process more choices, options, possibilities, and potentialities.

Becoming self-aware of your self-talk and verbal language is a major step towards gaining strong emotional intelligence skills. In this way, you quickly become aware of how easy it is to replace highly emotive words that have a negative impact on you and others, with softer and more purposeful words.

For example, ‘concerned’ to ‘aware’, ‘insecure’ to ‘unsure’, or ‘furious’ to ‘passionate’.

What if?

Another reframing tool is to pose ‘What if?’ questions to yourself. For instance:

‘What if the Board likes our marketing strategy?’ or ‘What if my experience is just right for the new job?’. These sorts of questions stimulate your brain into thinking and presupposing positively instead about your situations and activities that you are considering. It’s an excellent way to conjure up some attractive scenarios that will naturally introduce you to more intelligent ways to talk to yourself and to others too.

That leads me to a third idea (and of course there are lots more), which is the use of affirmations.

That quite simply uses the language you have uncovered in your reframing to make positive statements to yourself. Back to the newspaper article – you can even follow Paloma Mari-Beffa’s advice and say them out loud for added performance.

Stand in front of the mirror and practise, tell yourself that ‘I am an effective leader’ or ‘the presentation will be a success’. Remember to match your language with open and empowered body postures too.

But, best to do this alone, otherwise you’ll look a right turkey!

You’ll be amazed how quickly your mind will work to make those statements come true.

Don’t hit the ball in the water

Every golf player quickly learns not to say or think: ‘Don’t hit the ball in the water’, or ‘Don’t muff this shot up’. The intention here is good, but these phrases will predispose them to do exactly that. Therefore, the ball ends up in the water, and so the shot gets muffed up.

We often hear ‘Don’t worry about…’ this or that, or ‘don’t get this wrong’. But this type of language results in you focussing on this or that worry and getting things wrong – back to the downstairs part of our brains again.

Therefore, the saying ‘be careful what you wish for’ certainly holds true.

But remember, thinking about what you don’t want sets up your attention to think about the very thing you don’t want. Ultimately this often leads to low performance.  So instead, a more successful strategy is to think about what you do want, rather than what you don’t want.

Personal anecdote

I used to have quite a negative attitude to life and I always worried about things not turning out how I want them to. However, a few years ago I consciously decided to work on myself and start to use purposeful language more of the time.

Since then, I’ve benefited hugely from the results. In particular, it has helped me to see the world more positively rather than negatively and I have also found that I my conversations with others is far more rewarding. Therefore, I know it works.

Since then as an educator I am privileged to guide leaders and teams to use purposeful language too. It does take practise though. However, it’s often one of the first steps for many people towards unblocking the obstacles that are preventing their potential to be realised.

This article originally appeared on www.pdx-consulting.com.


Matthew VickersMatthew VickersNovember 28, 2018
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4min342

Each day, UK households spend millions of pounds on consumer goods with the expectation that if something goes wrong with the items they buy, or the service they’ve received is not up to scratch, the issue can be easily and quickly resolved. 

However, this isn’t always the case.

If you have an issue with a product or service that can’t be worked out with the supplier, there should be a free and straightforward route to get redress, regardless of the sector. But access to redress is patchy – our recent Ending Consumer Detriment report found that more than half of all purchases made by consumers are made in sectors that don’t guarantee access to a free, legally binding ADR service. All-in-all, consumer spending in under protected sectors tallies up to £746 billion each year.

This means that if something does go wrong, consumers might have to take the legal route to get their money back, which can be costly, time consuming, and emotionally challenging. This is particularly likely in sectors like retail, where there is not compulsory redress in place. By comparison, sectors like energy and finance have a mandatory ombudsman, which means consumers are much better protected.

In some sectors, redress exists, but it can actively add to the detriment faced by consumers. There are over 70 ombudsman, ADR and complaints handling schemes, which can be confusing as many operate in multiple sectors. In the property sector alone there are 11 redress providers – how is a consumer meant to know which one is right for them? This makes for a frustrating resolution process that consumers shouldn’t have to deal with.

It is clear that something needs to change, and soon. In our Ending Consumer Detriment report and our response to the Modernising Consumer Markets: Consumer Green Paper, we’ve proposed a different route that would put consumers at the heart of the market in all sectors.

When consumers experience a problem that cannot be solved by a company directly, they need to
know where to go for redress, which means signposting needs to be clear. In addition, the experience of seeking redress must reduce rather than add to their detriment, so it should be free for them to access, as well as independent and fair.

For this reason we believe that an ombudsman, backed by strong regulation and effective advocacy groups, provides the best possible protection for consumers.

We’ve been following this model in the energy sector for years and through this experience we know that having only one ombudsman can reduce confusion for consumers seeking redress. The single ombudsman model provides one avenue for consumers – it’s clear, and prevents them being passed from pillar to post.

We want to make sure consumers have the best possible complaints system – one that works for consumers and business. Our role as an ombudsman is to reduce the stress consumers face to get an issue resolved, so a single ombudsman model may be the ideal, but what matters above all else is ensuring that consumers have easy access to effective redress and resolution.


Dan SteinmanDan SteinmanNovember 28, 2018
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6min664

There’s a lot of buzz in the B2B world about the concept Customer Success these days.

I work for a company – Gainsight – that has raised over $150M to deliver a software platform originally designed specifically for CSMs (Customer Success Managers). Along the way, we found that the value of this thing called Customer Success went far beyond the team of people with the CSM title.

We also found ourselves bumping into this other thing a lot called Customer Experience. It turns out that Customer Success was becoming a big thing in B2B at about the same time that Customer Experience started stretching its wings from B2C into B2B. So what’s the deal? Are they the same thing? Do they have the same goals? Does one subsume the other? Do they even belong in the same organisation?

Let’s explore.

First off, we should answer the question the title asks. Is Customer Success (CS) the new CX? The answer is no. CS is most definitely not replacing CX. In fact, CX is one of the two parts of an equation that can help determine overall loyalty, or health if you like. More on that soon.

To state it simply, Customer Success is the philosophy of being customer-centric. In daily practice, at the point-of-the-spear are people whose job it is to ensure that customers are maximising the value of the products they have bought. It turns out that, in a subscription world, this is necessary to avoid churn and deliver expansion, both of which are imperatives for survival.

Both CS and CX contribute to delivering on that philosophy and, in many companies, a department called CX might sit under the umbrella of Customer Success, or vice-versa. What these companies are figuring out is that these two things are not separate-but-equal, nor are they the same thing. They are really two halves of a whole, where the sum of the parts truly exceeds the whole. We use a simple mathematical equation to crystallise this idea:

Customer Success (CS) = Client Outcomes (CO) + Customer Experience (CX)

Shorthand is: CS=CO+CX.

The equation is simple and inarguable. The success of your customers, no matter what industry or market, is the combination of outcomes – does the customer receive the value they expected from your product(s)? And their experience – does the customer have a positive, enjoyable experience in working with you?

If you could objectively apply numbers to that equation, the vendor with the highest sum will be the most successful company in the long run. I carefully say “in the long run”, because different elements of that equation do not have equivalent value at every stage of a company’s life-cycle. Outcomes are likely to be more important in the early days while experience becomes a differentiator as markets and companies mature.

Let’s concoct a simple example to make the point. Let’s say that your company measures ROI on a scale of 1-10 and used NPS (or some other CX score) on the same scale. A customer with an ROI of 6.5 and an NPS of 8.2 would have an overall “health score” of 14.7.

Whether that is good or bad is up to each company. But often, the next step would be to apply Red, Amber, or Green (RAG) to that score. Suppose this company decided that 15-20 is Green, 10-14.9 is Amber, and 0-9.9 is Red. Immediately that score just became very interesting and even more so when put in the context of all other customers.

Most importantly, that score (or the trend of that score) can be used to drive appropriate action. And therein lies the whole theory of Customer Success – create a health score and use it to take action because a higher health score leads to a higher likelihood of our desired outcome which is loyalty. And, as we all know, loyalty delivers monetary rewards in the form of renewals, repeat buyers, customer expansion, or advocacy.

The bottom line is that Customer Success and CX must coexist and work closely together to achieve company goals. One is not more important or better than the other. They are complementary pieces which, when put together, have an impact much bigger than if they live in isolation.


Neil McIlroyNeil McIlroyNovember 28, 2018
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9min443

Can we foresee a world where Artificial Intelligence (AI) recommends who people should have children with, where they should live, and what their next job should be?

This is not the fantasy of an over-stimulated script-writer. AI, fuelled by ever more powerful algorithms, is capable of constantly updating its knowledge of individual consumers’ patterns of behaviour, private lives, hobbies, likes, and dislikes.

Using such information and cross-referencing it with masses of other demographic data it has the predictive capacity to make recommendations with high degrees of confidence. After all, dating apps and websites use algorithms to match their customers as effectively as possible or to give them advice on how they can improve their chances of finding the perfect partner.

In reality, few citizens want their private lives governed by algorithms, however sensitive. But in the decisions they make as consumers about what to buy or where to go on holiday, AI (an umbrella term that includes natural language processing and machine learning) is already a force to be reckoned with and is set to become far more influential.

Analysts at Gartner predict that 20 percent of citizens in developed nations will use artificial intelligence assistants to help them with an array of everyday, operational tasks by the year 2020. Millions of consumers are already enjoying the benefits of using voice-activated devices. In the UK, Ofcom reports that 13 percent of households use an AI-driven smart speaker such as Amazon Alexa.

The growth of consumer-facing AI solutions is putting greater power in the hands of the customer contemplating the purchase of goods and services. He or she can interrogate the solution and rapidly get a comprehensive picture of what is available, and where and what other consumers think.

Consumer-facing businesses will have to respond. They will have to optimise their entire operations by integrating data such as internal sales and customer records, competitive intelligence, trend analysis and social media preferences. Instead of keeping all the data in separate departmental pools, they will need to bring it all together in a data lake where it can be analysed. Then they can create customer profiles or personas that bring them closer to customers before providing hyper-personalised services, recommendations and updates that are intensely relevant to what individual consumers want.

Is word of mouth changing?

One important source of insight is often overlooked, which is customer sentiment. Every day millions of customers leave opinions about services and products that offer a wealth of insights to fellow consumers. That covers almost every aspect of buying, receiving and using electrical goods, clothing or car parts, or the quality of service provided by legal firms or estate agents. Smart, AI-powered, highly agile customer insight platforms are giving consumers rapid access to the accumulated wisdom of thousands of real fellow-customers.

AI is able to filter out the particular aspect of the product or service that most interests them or to provide an accurate insight into sentiment about a product or service. This is a very potent consumer tool. Research among 2,000 UK consumers by Feefo conducted this year found that 94 percent of respondents now turn to online reviews before buying products or services.

Consumers can get the information they want more quickly than ever

AI will rapidly analyse the information to keep consumers informed in real time. Take a national double-glazing company, as one example. Customers in Bristol may suddenly have started experiencing difficulty obtaining quotes or find installation is shoddy, whereas customers of the business elsewhere in the country are happy.  If you live in Bristol that information is likely to be critical to your choice of supplier.

Equally, two retailers selling the same model of washing machine may generate very different levels of satisfaction in their respective sets of customers. Consumers can quickly drill down and find if these problems are serious enough to affect whether they go ahead and buy a new appliance with a specific retailer. Gone are the days of relying simply on word-of-mouth.

In the travel industry, AI is giving consumers greater levels of insight that they use before deciding on a significant purchase. Smart insight platforms give the millions of consumers contemplating a weekend away or a month in the Maldives, the ability to extract key information from thousands of reviews about any aspect of a holiday, from whether a particular hotel is suitable for their age group or a villa genuinely has disabled access. The power is at the fingertips of the consumer.

Transforming the service sector

The same forces are at work in the service sector. Smart insight platforms provide job-seekers with accurate and up-to-the-minute feedback on how agencies and individual recruitment consultants perform. Candidates can see for themselves whether an agency is suited to their needs, relying on information that comes from real clients and is on a reputable platform operating nationally across multiple industries. They are more likely to put their faith in such information than in the opinions of a limited number of relatives and friends.

In myriad ways, AI will hand power back to the consumer, enabling them to make smarter decisions more quickly than ever. To respond, any customer-facing business will need the ability to detect trends in sentiment and how they relate to specific aspects of their products or services. Research has found that while 78 percent of businesses monitor the “voice of the consumer”, less than a quarter feel they have access to the insights they need to transform their organisation.

That must change. All businesses and professional services organisations need to take customer insight more seriously and use AI-powered platforms to obtain intelligence about their customers that will give them a major competitive advantage. From supply chain managers to online helpdesks and store assistants, access to this information in real time allows everyone to meet the requirements of a much more demanding market of consumers using AI to shape their decisions.


Becky ByrneBecky ByrneNovember 27, 2018
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9min327

Service providers are undoubtedly at the very heart of our increasingly hyperconnected world.

In the last 20 years alone, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of innovations that have forever changed not only the way we communicate with each other, but also our lives. The unique number of global mobile phone users has skyrocketed – from just 318 million in 1998 to 5.1 billion today – driving evolution on the network to the current 4G standard, while we excitedly await the hyper-fast connectivity promised by 5G.

We’re also just beginning to scratch the surface of the Internet of Things (IoT), and realising its potential for life-changing experiences such as the connected home, autonomous vehicles, wearables and entertainment, which will become equally as pervasive.

In an industry where innovation is ‘business as usual’ (but often overlooked), it would be natural to assume it drives customer loyalty. Unfortunately, the opposite is true – on an annual basis, postpaid churn rates range from five percent – 32 percent and 14 percent – 75 percent for all customer types.

An ever-evolving and increasingly crowded competitive playing field

To retain market share, service providers are increasingly combatting a growing number of competitors. These rivals, both traditional and new digital entrants are targeting nearly every aspect of their business and, by default, their customers. To combat this rising tide of competitors, service providers need to focus on key innovations in areas where they have a natural advantage. For example, few companies have the close, consistent customer relationships that are inherent to the communications and media industry. So by improving the customer experience, service providers will be better able to keep adversaries at bay.

To achieve these tightly interwoven objectives, service providers are undertaking a variety of innovative initiatives to win and retain customer loyalty. A recent study, commissioned by BriteBill and conducted by Omnisperience, surveyed 40 Tier-0 and Tier-1 service providers across EMEA, North America, and Asia Pacific to learn more about their competition, customer experience challenges and innovations planned for 2018-2019.

Innovation is key to combatting competition and delivering exceptional experiences

The survey found that 88 percent of respondents are concerned about innovation from new entrants that are able to launch groundbreaking offerings at the speed of light, while a further 75 percent voiced unease about innovation from their traditional adversaries. To tackle this competition and improve the customer experience, service providers need to accelerate the pace of introducing new products and services to the market.

As the quantity and speed of introducing new innovations to the market increases, service providers need to: ensure products work as expected from day one and customers receive superior experiences; use the power of innovation to anticipate issues and improve customer engagements; and clearly communicate new products and services effectively. If any of these elements are missing, service providers run the risk of hindering the uptake of the products and offers they develop.

When asked about investment plans, customer-oriented activities topped the list with 100 percent of service providers intending to reduce churn and 88 percent wanting to improve the Customer Experience. A deeper dive into survey results uncovered key customer-centric initiatives such as innovation around new products (90 percent), launching new tariffs or offers (75 percent), innovation around machine to machine (M2M) or IoT (63 percernt), and integrating Artificial Intelligence into the Customer Experience (50 percent).

As reported by the TM Forum, service providers are beginning to embrace AI across intelligent care and intelligent marketing applications to improve customer centricity. While AI can be beneficial in delivering proactive notifications, meeting customer self-service expectations and reducing contact centre wait times, it’s a misconception that it will alleviate contact centre traffic resulting from poorly explained products, tariffs and offers. As the cost of calls to care continues to rise, service providers need to tackle the root cause of these inquiries – the bill.

Clear communications are vital to innovation and Customer Experience

With constant innovation being the new norm, service providers will be challenged to clearly communicate new products, offers and the value being delivered. Bills that remain vague will continue to result in customer frustration, bill shock, bill dread and/or increased contact centre traffic from customers who need clarification on charges and offers. Largely overlooked during the era of digital transformation, the bill is now at the forefront of the Digital Experience. With good reason: the bill, as we know it today, is an artifact from the 1990s and remains a Customer Experience blackspot. 

As one of the most frequent and tangible communications customers have with their service providers, 100 percent of respondents told us they want to improve their billing experience. To accomplish this, service providers are targeting four areas: making bills more automated (100 percent), better designed and easier to understand (75 percent), personalised and more relevant (38 percent), and communicate value – not just cost (23 percent).

When done right, the bill has the power to be a brand ambassador, a valued customer touchpoint and a tool to increase profitability and loyalty. But, achieving this requires agility. Today’s innovative bill design will be tomorrow’s table stakes. To continually deliver engaging and clear communications, service providers require a flexible approach to billing. They need to be able to quickly evolve the bill design to meet ongoing innovations and customer expectations.

Billing innovation will help service providers embrace regulation

Using the bill as an engaging communication vehicle, rather than just a cold demand for payment, will be even more vital as UK regulator Ofcom puts into effect changes and new mandates to ensure customers are receiving the best deal from their service provider.

Service providers that begin to notify customers in advance will be able to suggest new packages and offers, convey the value of services provided and potentially increase revenue per customer. On the flipside, customers who remain unaware that their contracts are about to end will begin to shop around and are much more likely to churn; leaving these service providers vulnerable and needing to increase their focus on customer acquisition, where costs have increased by eight percent over the last two years.


Dave WilliamsDave WilliamsNovember 26, 2018
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8min384

Let’s be realistic – all businesses need customers to survive and thrive; that has been the requirement since bartering first began.

So, ask yourself this question: are you focussing on the right customers?

This may seem like a surreal question, but is it really? You see, all businesses – including self-employment (because of course, you are the business), have two types of customers: internal and external.

Yes, you’ve heard that before I’m sure. However, most businesses focus on the wrong type first – the external ones.

Why? Because naturally they supply the income for the business. Obviously they are an integral part of your business, but who serves those customers?

Answer: either yourself, your team, or a combination of the two.

Richard Branson once said: “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers.  It’s that simple.”

Let’s be realistic here, Richard Branson has been very successful with most things he has done, so he knows a thing or two about this subject.

So why focus on your staff? Well, they are the trusted individuals who represent you and your business to your customers.

Why is that important? These dealings will either make or break you as a business.

Will Rodgers once said: “It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.” This, of course, is very true, and why is your reputation so important?

Let’s look at some stats:

  • 74 percent of customers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.

(Source:  Ogilvy/Google/TNS)

  • 92 percent of customers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.

(Source:  Nielson)

  • Millennials ranked word of mouth as the #1 influencer in their purchasing decisions.

(Source:  Radius Global)

  • 68 percent trust online opinions from other customers.

(Source:  Nielson)

  • 72 percent say reading a positive review increases their trust in a business. 

(Source:  BrightLocal)

Therefore, it is vital to look after your customers and do it with a highly trained and motivated, happy team.

 

  • 89 percent of companies see Customer Experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention.
  • Existing customers are 50 percent more likely to try new products and spend 31 percent more when compared to new customers.
  • Increasing customer retention rates by five percent increases profits between 25 percent to 95 percent.
  • It costs a minimum five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one.

(Source: Invesp)

  • Happy customers might tell nine friends, unhappy customers, on average, tell 16.

(Source:  Groove)

After reviewing those stats, doesn’t it make sense to make sure that your team are well looked after? After all, they are the ones providing the service to look after your customers, which ultimately, will look after you.

Symptoms of problems include:

  • Low morale within your team
  • Bad reviews being received about your company
  • Lack of retained business (depending on the type of business you have)
  • High staff turnover

If you are experiencing these types of issues, then maybe now is the time to address them.

The individuals doing the roles are the best people around to let you know how things are going and what can be improved. So, are you listening to the experts?

If the answer is no, how do you know if you have your finger on the pulse of the business? If yes….fabulous, and no doubt you are reaping the rewards.

This is not to say that the team will dictate company policy or anything. However, they may be able to give you some clarity on potential issues that can easily be resolved and make your business more profitable.

A total of 81 percent of employees state appreciation as their biggest motivator.

  • (Source:  Glassdoor)

On a final note, let’s have one last quote from Richard Branson:

A company is people – employees want to know, am I being listened to or am I just a cog in a wheel?  People really need to feel wanted.”


Anita PetrieAnita PetrieNovember 23, 2018
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7min558

Do you need a personal relationship with your business world?

Many of us create time to build personal relationships (which is not bad) with people and friends. Have you ever paused to ask yourself how good content would affect the relationship with your customers? Think about it – business-to-business marketing space (B2B space) depends on the link the company has created with the prospect.

The content

The core reason for this article is to help you build a permanent relationship with clients through great content. However, your company’s marketing strategy may affect the relationship. I won’t dwell much on sales and marketing strategies, but the content. Do you have content in your site that helps your clients solve their problems without asking for sales? That is the question you should ask yourself.

I have worked with businesses for nearly 10 years now, and I can confidently say that creating great content builds a permanent relationship with your customers.

Your content should touch a bit of the human side of your partnership. Have one-on-one dialogue with your clients. Do it tactfully.

What is a business? Businesses Are Relationships

Without a good relationship with your customers, your business is dead. Have you ever wondered why businesses-to-customer brands utilise their money and time to create brand loyalty? All they need is to build a permanent relationship with their clients.

Let’s say, for instance, your bank credit card develops some complications, and you decide to change to another bank. The first thing that will happen is that you will be transferred to a customer care service to solve that problem. They know business is, in other terms, the right relationship with clients.

So, what will the customer care do? He or she will tell you how special you are. How they appreciate your transactions and so on and so on. They intend to convince you to believe that you are in a relationship with them. They know the secret. The problem with so many companies is that they do not create relationships with their customers right from the beginning.

1. Get personal to be outstanding

Understanding your target clients makes you outstanding, and helps in creating quality content. Your content must be helpful. It must be personal. You know audience expectations have gone up. Companies are just posting bogus content on social media in an attempt to fulfil the customers’ expectations. So how do you shine before the dust settles?

Create excellent, outstanding personal content that connect with your clients.

2) Create social content

Create social content because people feel nice when they realise they are dealing with their fellow human beings. A business that wants to build an excellent relationship with its audience should create social content.

Here is a case in point: at the beginning of this year I attended a defensive driving class in my former driving school. They regularly offer defensive driving learning for free. On top of that, they also give you a certificate. That is not my point, however, my point is what happens in that class!

We watched videos, talked about families, projects, were given reading materials – the list is long. The content was human. The content revealed that there is more to their customer than just a business relationship. Create content that solves human problems.

3.) Content builds a relationship

Powerful relationships are essential in any company, and they result in the growth of a business. Create content that will market your company. It will create a great relationship with your target audience. A company must understand its target clients. If your clients connect with your company, they will market your products. Create a story that touches their family, projects, friends, and workplace. This is a marketing strategy in itself.

They will talk about your business, and you shall sell your products in turn.

In conclusion, it is right to say that the content of your company is the heart of your business growth. Do not forget to share the content of other initiatives that you do as a company. Put more resources in trying to understand your clients. When you know your clients, you will create content that befits your clients.

So treat your business content as the foundation of your business. When you understand the role of content in your business, then your company will boom.

Anita Petrie is a professional writer with over 10 years experience in business and marketing writing. Also, she builds operating processes at EssaysMatch writing service.


Wayne St. AmandWayne St. AmandNovember 22, 2018
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6min295

Whatever your view of Black Friday, it has become the biggest discount shopping event in the UK, surpassing even the traditional Boxing Day sales.

Once only celebrated in the US, the event now has global reach, seeing brands slash prices in a bid to get their share of pre-Christmas sales.

Amazon was the first retailer to bring Black Friday to the UK, when in 2010 it held a 24-hour period of discounts and deals. Since then, the shopping holiday has ballooned in popularity – 91 percent of UK stores ran Black Friday deals last year. So, with competition rife for Christmas spend, what tactics can retailers implement to boost sales on Black Friday and beyond?

Understanding the online-offline connection and optimising at speed

Statistics show that last year UK consumers spent £1.39bn on Black Friday offers online alone. Of these, over a third (39 percent) of transactions were carried out on a smartphone. Yet despite the rise in online sales, in-store purchases still play a major role in overall spend. It’s therefore vital that retailers understand how online touchpoints drive offline sales and vice versa – particularly as the ever-growing number of channels continue to create more avenues-to-purchase.

The ability to measure and optimise marketing and media tactics based on their online and offline impact is possible through advanced measurement technology, but the act of measuring it alone is not enough to guarantee campaign success.

Too many marketers still make decisions based on data that is several weeks old, yet on a major shopping date like Black Friday, the need for speed cannot be underestimated. Marketers need granular, near real-time insight into the effectiveness of each touchpoint in the consumer journey, so they can pinpoint the messages and offers that are influencing consumers to buy.

By leveraging measurement solutions that refresh and remodel data every day, marketers can speed up their insights and make optimisation decisions based on what’s driving sales today, versus what worked last week or last month.

Eliminate gaps in coverage

During promotion-driven shopping events like Black Friday, brands are likely to increase their amount of advertising – offering coupons or discounts on influential advertising channels like Facebook, for example. Yet gaps in media coverage measurement can mean missing out on key opportunities. If marketers aren’t able to evaluate the importance of every step in a consumer’s path to purchase, then they can’t detect factors that are affecting consumer decisions or fully optimise their spend.

Advanced planning is imperative to help solve this issue, and marketers need to be ahead of the game in identifying and integrating new sources of data. By closing critical coverage gaps, marketers can establish first-mover advantage on new and influential advertising channels before the competition crowds in.

Test early and test often

During the November frenzy, the sheer volume of advertising can severely impact the messages that consumers actually see and respond to. It makes sense that the best time to boost awareness might be before or after Black Friday, rather than on the day itself.

Brand success depends on reaching and engaging consumers with a pertinent offer at the opportune moment. To achieve this, marketers need to be constantly testing and assessing channels, content, creative, and messages both in the lead-up to, and following, Black Friday. Also applying advanced measurement techniques, marketers are not only able to identify which creative and messaging resonates best, but also gain an authentic picture of the time lag at which certain marketing tactics produce conversions.

Black Friday is a once yearly opportunity for brands to bolster sales, and if marketed correctly, it can prove extremely lucrative. Paramount to sales generation is accurate, holistic, and daily cross-channel measurement, so that campaigns can be optimised intelligently in near real-time, and brands can reach consumers with meaningful offers that drive results on Black Friday and beyond.


Jonathan SharpJonathan SharpNovember 22, 2018
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5min499

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers are no longer restricted to two days only; retailers capitalise on the opportunity a week or even two weeks before tempting consumers with bargains.

In 2017, £1.4billion was spent on online sales in the UK on Black Friday which was up by 11.7 percent from 2016 according to the online retailers’ trade body IMRG.

Retailers prepare for months in advance for the onslaught of the sales and online activity, ensuring that they have the correct offers in place at the right price and that their servers and technology can take the volume of increased traffic. However, it is not just about the technology, it’s about the customers’ end to end journey ensuring that it is as seamless and easy as possible for the customer from the outset.

Robust and reliant infrastructure

Retailers must ensure their infrastructure is robust and reliant to withstand the high volume of traffic that it will experience during this busy period. They cannot risk having servers that fail and web pages that take too long to load. By hosting their voice and data in a cloud solution they will benefit from resiliency.

A resilient phone system and contact centre with automatic failover leaves customers unaware of any technical glitches as the system seamlessly transfers across to its resilient location. Hosting a solution in the cloud means their infrastructure is more agile, so they’re able to scale up or down depending upon requirements.

Augmenting Service with Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Processing Automation (RPA)

Basket abandonment concerns are heightened during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Retailers do not want to miss out on capitalising on potential high volume sales. They need to offer seamless self-service on their websites and integrate it into their contact centre, making the process easy, intuitive and consistent for customers.

A staggering 61 percent of customers abandon their order at check out because of website errors, 60 percent because they have to create an account, and 46 percent because there is a long and complex checkout (Namagoo 2018).

New disruptive technologies such as AI, RPA and Web Real Time Communications can assist contact centre agents and enable self-service websites to offer a more seamless and enjoyable experience for the customer. For example, a customer may be looking for a product and they can use conversational AI, or digital agent to guide them to the specific product or information that they are looking for.

If the digital agent can’t answer the question, they will be put through to a human agent who can provide the answer with a personal approach, having received a summary of the interaction from the digital agent. Reducing any frustration and making the process smooth and efficient.

Not just about the sale

Retailers need to be aware that it is not just about the sale of the product but the overall customer journey. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday millions of products will be ordered but also millions returned so it is essential that the retailer provides an easy to use and seamless returns process to retain their brand image and customer loyalty. Technology such as AI and RPA can assist by engaging early with the customer, automating and simplifying the returns process.

An end-to-end journey

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the moments of truth in proving a retailer’s customer experience and the end to end journey the customer has to take from the: promotion, enquiries about the product, ordering, payment, delivery and returns process.

To protect their brand image, create advocates and loyal customers of the brand retailers need to make customer experience their number one objective. Utilising the right technology to elevate customer experience is imperative in the age of digital transformation.


Dean ForbesDean ForbesNovember 22, 2018
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6min315

Retail is notoriously competitive with busy shopping periods like Black Friday and Christmas sales sorting the winners from the losers.

Leaders across both online and in-store retail are well aware that providing the best customer experience possible, even on the busiest of days, is key to winning customer loyalty. However, only a few manage to effectively deliver this. One of the biggest challenges here is predicting demand. According to e-commerce agency Salmon, almost £5bn is expected to be spent in the UK this Black Friday with nearly half of this online. Getting the biggest slice possible requires thorough preparation.

Having the right people, with the right skills, where and when you need them is crucial for ensuring efficient operations for bricks and mortar stores. It’s also key to guaranteeing seamless experiences online. Many factors impact this, each one of crucial importance, and each one coming with its own list of challenges and frustrations. Black Friday can certainly be a boon for retailers, but only if managed appropriately.

When businesses look to attract customers by promising outstanding levels of service, choice and simplicity – at discounted prices – they can’t tolerate ineffective resourcing and rostering to prevent them from delivering on this. Retailers’ entire reputations are at stake.

The bumps in the road

To cope with seasonal strains and growing expectations for speed and convenience, many retailers look to onboard temporary workers across both in-store and warehouse divisions to support their core team. However, employing seasonal staff is by no means as simple as many would assume.

Employee skills, employment law, budgets, overtime costs, absenteeism, and peaks and troughs in demand are just some of the juggling balls that managers must keep in the air at any one time. The pressure to keep operations in-line is even greater when shopping bonanza reaches its peak. In addition, managers are often hamstrung by the use of antiquated systems, from spreadsheets to handwritten rosters, which are far from efficient and even further from flexible.

Taming the beast

To combat this, retailers must take a fresh look at current onboarding and rostering practices. Reducing time-to-hire and empowering all employees to be productive from day one is key to unlocking the benefits of a larger number of temporary workers and scaling your workforce as needed. In a highly dynamic market, getting temporary workers up-to-speed, motivated and adding value as quickly as possible is an opportunity for businesses to drive a strong competitive advantage.

What is more, predictive analytics can take rostering to a whole new level, providing valuable insights based on historical data. Smart rostering technologies can take a load off managers’ shoulders, save money, and increase business efficiency in one fell swoop. Analytics enables retailers to roster employees more effectively, ensuring enough team members are in place to handle busy periods, while eliminating wastage and inefficiencies during quieter periods.

Achieving more than ‘in the black’

The potential of seamless Black Friday operations does not have to stop there. Management can reap even greater rewards if their chosen technology has the option of employee self-service – staff can select preferred shifts, swap shifts and check their shifts on the go. These capabilities can significantly boost employee satisfaction during busy periods, helping workers retain flexibility and empower them to have more control over their working lives.

That approach will support employee engagement, and ultimately contribute to creating a more productive environment with operational efficiency and customer excellence at its heart. With the right technologies in place, retailers can plan far more effectively for events such as the Black Friday shopping bonanza.




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