CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamApril 9, 2019
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6min176

Do you want to grow your business? Well, if your answer is yes, then you need to understand a simple rule: most products are just commodities for users.

If the product addresses the issue of the customers, then two different companies offer the same value to the customers.

You have to understand that the key to getting a sale is to offer the best Customer Experience. The benefit of this practice is that it will help to increase the revenue of your company. Plus, you will be able to add profit to your business.

The essential aspect is that you need to audit the various customer experiences within the business. As a result, you will be able to improve the way your business interacts with the customers.

The audit will also offer insight into your vendors and inventory. The best approach is to hire professional help to conduct retail audits for you. For example, you can seek the assistance of the brand name in retail audits that is Assosia.

However, it is essential that you understand what retail audits are all about, and the different aspects that get judged.

The Aspect of Brand Awareness

The essential aspect of judging is what the customers think of your brand. The brand is a crucial aspect that separates your company from its competitors. What you need to keep in mind is that the brand sets the expectations even before the customer steps into your store.

You need to audit this aspect. For this, you will need to survey the current customers. Secondly, you need to put some questions to the customers. For example, what they think of your company, and they should give this answer in one word.

Evaluation of the Shopping Experience

The shopping experience is yet another aspect that gets judged in retail audits. Some customers prefer to shop in-store rather than online because they feel that they get good advice from the staff. However, you will need to provide relevant training to your staff in this regard. They should be able to empower the customers to make decisions.

If you want your retail audit to bring up positive feedback, then it is vital that as a business owner you should work with your staff for some time. The advantage is that you will get an idea about the floor operations and how the staff deals with the customers.

When you want to audit the shopping experience, observe when customers enter the store. Look at what the customers buy. You may get hold of some mystery shoppers as well and get their opinion on the shopping experience by making them fill forms.

Look into the Return Policy

The return policy is yet another crucial aspect that gets judged in retail audits. Many of the retailers are reluctant to provide a return policy for all those products that cannot get resold with ease. As a business owner, you need to fight this reluctance and show confidence in your products.

You should review the customer complaints on a positive note. When you know the complaints, you will have a chance to bring about improvements in your products, and convince the unhappy customer to become a loyal customer.

For retail audits, the first thing you need to know is to analyse the return rate and look at the reasons due to which the products come back. It is also important that you should calculate the LTV of the customers from time to time.

Remember these essential aspects if you plan to have a retail audit conducted soon.


Patrick HeadleyPatrick HeadleyApril 5, 2019
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9min318

It is clear we are racing head first into a data rich world, meaning businesses cannot afford to mis-manage their customer data.

Customer data management is a fundamental part of a company’s marketing strategy, as 83 percent of companies expect data and analytics to become more important in the business decision making process over the next five years. Optimal data management practices equip a company to gather insights which can be used as the cornerstone for Customer Experience improvement initiatives.

Improved Customer Experience is a clear-cut way to keep customers buying, thus increasing businesses’ revenues. However too many businesses are struggling with how to make sense of the available customer data; they lack the ability to merge cross-channel data thus hindering their ability to draw meaningful insights and consequently optimise revenues.

Therefore, it is of paramount importance for investors to include searching questions on good data practice as a standard part of their investor briefing. Asking the right questions will elicit the necessary insight for investors to determine whether the data management practices embedded at the target business are as mature as they should be and whether they will have an influence on the return on investment. 

Here are five crucial questions which (institutional) investors can pose to corporations to better understand how well a business is managing customer data and whether or not their investment is well placed.

1. What is your share of customer?

It is crucial for investors to understand whether the target company knows their customers’ spending profile, the reason being to understand what potential ‘share’ of the customer’s wallet the target company holds. Customers split their spending across varying providers on a day-to-day basis therefore knowing the share the target company has of each of their customers will help investors determine the growth potential for those customers.

If a target company is able to demonstrate to an investor where the growth potential lies, it will show investors that the target company has access to fundamental insights on customer data and thus are well placed to grow the share of customer further.

2. Are newly acquired customers still buying a year later?

Continuously putting effort into acquiring new customers can be an expensive undertaking for some businesses, especially if those customers are not staying for the long-term. Investors need to look past whether the target company is offering sufficient customer acquisition incentives and focus on whether newly acquired customers are still buying a year later (and more). Customers who disappear shortly after acquisition highlight to investors that marketing spend is being wasted.

The target company should have the necessary data to highlight to investors that they have a proper grasp of their customer insight. Therefore questioning whether a recently acquired customer is still spending a year later will show whether the target company is using customer insight properly and will help gauge how the company will fare in the long-term.

3. Who are your best customers?

Collecting and analysing the right customer analytics will arm the target company with the crucial information needed to see if it is recruiting the best customers to fit the business’ priorities. Typically there is a key group of customers who contribute the most to profits; usually they buy high-margin products, don’t alter or abandon an order, pay on time, and don’t require much attention post-sale.

It is important for investors to ask this question so they can see whether the target company is wasting its time on a cohort of customers who in actual fact turn out to be the least profitable. If investors have clear evidence that the business knows what type of customer profile to keep targeting then they can be reassured about long term growth.

4. Which customers are in growth or decline?

A critical question not to be ignored. If the target company can report that its best customers (high value, high loyal) are in decline, then it is important that customer data is being used appropriately to reverse the trend. It may be the case that these customers are demanding discounts or are just looking elsewhere in the market.

The key for investors when asking this question is to determine whether the target company is using customer insight to pursue look-alike customers. Has a particular group of slightly less valuable customers been targeted with internal growth strategies to replace the declining group with potential high value and high loyalty contenders?

5. Do you have an integrated online and offline view of your customer behaviour?

When it comes to enquiring about the target company’s marketing strategy, the key for understanding marketing success is seeing how much incremental revenue a company’s marketing activity is generating. Any savvy investor will know that incremental revenue trumps isolated marketing campaign measures such as response and open rates.

Customers are influenced on a day-to-day basis by a variety of channels, and as confirmed by our latest research it is companies who combine online and offline methods who produce the highest commercial results. There are now a variety of techniques for harmonising all behaviour/transactions of a given customer into a single, integrated, 3600 view, and only if the target company can achieve this (and demonstrate this) will customer insights be valid and actionable.

Conclusion

Deciphering whether a business has a well-implemented and well-managed strategy for managing their customer data is critical for any investor, as the potential for future growth will be apparent. More and more customer data is becoming accessible and it is up to businesses to collect, analyse and use it to bolster their marketing strategies. Investors need to probe the business for their key customer figures to establish how advanced their customer relationship strategy is, as well as identify which tools are in place to effectively manage and analyse the plethora of available multichannel data for future growth.

Using the above five questions will help investors to get a feel for how mature a company’s customer insight management processes really are.


Naeem ArifNaeem ArifApril 5, 2019
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8min436

The focus of many marketers and CEOs is to ensure they are getting the attention of their target customers.

Most of them are spending most of their time and effort on this activity, without thinking about the other related activities. Once you have the attention of your target market and you have them highly engaged in all the content you are producing…what next?

Well hopefully, they will buy from you now; they will accept that you are good at what you do and you align with their own personal values. Up until now, it is all based on you issuing a promise to your prospect that should they follow-through and make that purchase, this is the outcome you will deliver.

I read recently a long article on HBR that stated “highly engaged customers will become loyal customers”, and it got me thinking: this is not necessarily the case. From our own real world experience, yes the two things are linked, but not dependent on each other. Some of the best marketing campaigns do not lead to long-term profit.

If we break this down, a customer is someone who buys from you and a loyal customer is someone who repeat buys from you. So no matter how engaged they are with your content and your brand, they may or may not repeat buy. They could stay engaged in order to receive the content or information because it is educational or amusing, but will they definitely maker another purchase?

This is a separate question completely and there are an increasing number of consumers out there who consume content, but do not buy.

A key realisation will happen at the point when they consume your service. This is the moment of truth, when we will really find out if you deliver on your promises. This is the point at which they decide – does the product taste as good as the packaging?

So far it has been an emotional connection, where they feel this is a good choice for the prospect to make. Now we will see the delivery of this promise. You can either fall short of the promise and maybe lose them, or you can fulfil that promise, in which case you will retain that customer for the future.

At this point, your content marketing is irrelevant; if the product does not match the packaging it will be a failure for your objectives. So no matter how good your engagement strategy is, you will not have a loyal customer.

So a few questions you may want to ask yourself:

  1. Does your team – who are delivering the service – match the passion, drive, and standards that your sales and marketing staff possess?
  2. Are you interested in this single transaction, or are you willing to treat the customer so well that they want to come back for more?
  3. What is that little bit extra or something different that you are giving that will make you stand out and be more memorable than your competition?

If you want to get loyal customers, then you need to ensure that your operations strategy is in line with your marketing. Building loyalty is not just about a single transaction – it is about many transactions. If you only measure your team on turnover or profit, then there is no reason for them to worry about repeat business. The reality is that the returning customer will firstly buy quicker, and secondly buy bigger or more than they bought last time, because they already know and trust you.

Your team should be thinking about what your customers value, not about how much they can squeeze out of them in this single transaction. I would rather give something that is fit for purpose today, because the customer will appreciate my honesty and come back to me for more. The multiple transactions will deliver more profit to me and so I am interested in the lifetime value of this customer.

A lot of people talk about this concept, when in reality, it is something that has be measured and delivered over a period of time. You need to be ready to see the benefits over time, because you will not see them in the short term. This is why it is important that you are prepared to measure your staff on things other than sales.

If you deliver on this, you could of course exceed expectations and deliver more than what was promised, which is even better. In such cases you will probably have an advocate on your hands – someone who not only returns to you, but actually tells others to also buy your product. Make sure your team understands your strategy here and follows it through.

So if you are thinking that engaged customers will always lead to loyal customers, think again. Consider instead that delighted customers will be what leads to loyalty. 


Ryan LesterRyan LesterApril 4, 2019
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5min239

One of the biggest challenges for retailers is not getting customers, but keeping them.

Loyal brand ambassadors are the backbone of growth and building long-term interest in a brand is no easy feat. Customers want personalised experiences and services that makes them feel as they are the most important client. A 2018 Bond Brand Loyalty Report found that 87 percent of people say they are open to having various details of their activity monitored in exchange for more personalised rewards and brand experiences. Consumers value convenience, time saved and flexibility and they will shop around for companies that can give them just that.

In addition, customers want white glove treatment should a problem arise. Even one negative experience can have a customer switch their allegiance to another firm. Efficient customer support has become a true competitive differentiator and businesses have an opportunity to stay ahead of the pack if they act quickly.

recent Vanson Bourne survey, found that less than 50 percent of customers considered their recent retail interaction to be excellent or very good, which gives retailers a new goal to meet.

With Customer Experience becoming a key success factor, businesses are turning to new technology solutions to help them quickly scale, improve responsiveness, and increase conversion rates. AI-powered chatbots, for example, are helping retailers be more responsive to requests and can even offer customers a concierge-like experience by providing personalised suggestions based on browse history, previous purchases, etc. While these chatbots are delivering highly intelligent self-service, they are also working behind the scenes for the customer service teams, gathering pertinent information about the customer and the question or issue to help the agents provide quick and personalised support from the get-go.

So how is AI helping retailers build brand loyalty today? Here’s just a few ways:

1. Offering 24/7 Service

Most online shoppers aren’t browsing during normal business hours. And when they have a question, waiting until the next business day to respond could mean losing the sale altogether. Chatbots are helping retailers be available to their shoppers 24/7 – answering the most frequently asked questions with ease and helping to ensure customers are getting what they need while they are ready to buy.

2. Creating a concierge experience

As AI continues to evolve, it’s starting to move away from handling simple questions and into acting as a customer’s personal assistant while shopping – providing personalised recommendations, reminding shoppers of sales to help them save, providing content to help with decision making, and much more. This level of proactivity means retailers don’t have to wait for the customer to engage, but can start building relationships by delivering information at the right time and in the right way.

3. Freeing up human agents

With all this talk about AI, what about the human agent? Individuals still play a pivotal role in the overall Customer Experience – but they are being leveraged in a different, more strategic way. Most customers hate waiting on hold – especially when they are having a problem. AI removes the need for customers with simple questions to clog up the human agent queue and allows customer service teams to spend more time with the customers that need them most. They are not only in a better position to resolve issues faster, but can spend the time to turn a sour experience into a positive one.

So are customers really onboard chatting with bots? The Vanson Bourne study also uncovered that more than half of customers agree that AI is changing Customer Experience for the better. I suspect this number will grow as the technology evolves and becomes more mainstream.

Today’s AI is all about delivering customers an intelligent and frictionless experience throughout their entire journey. When customers feel valued, they continue to come back again and again.


Ashley CarrAshley CarrApril 3, 2019
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7min295

We’re all aware this Brexit business has caused quite a mess, leaving much uncertainty for all and tough economic times for many.

What’s typical in these situations, particularly for those feeling a financial pinch, is to batten down the hatches, grit teeth, and wait for it to pass, hoping a way forward will be easier when there is more certainty on the horizon.

The challenge with this strategy, however, is that when the dust settles, people will move and if organisations haven’t invested in making their company sticky for current employees, they will lose them when it picks up. If that doesn’t cause concern, remember that unlike in any other time of economic uncertainty in the past 20 years, there is no latent potential workforce on the market ready to replace the people you lose. There is no one on the bench.

In the coming months, there are going to be a lot of surprised and failing employers that can’t scale and will have to downsize as a result of losing people. While everyone is busy focussing on ROI, it will be those that focus on COI, the cost of inaction, that will come out on top after this dull trading period.

Consider your COI

In difficult periods, considering COI, rather than ROI, will help businesses to gain a deeper understanding of what is at stake when standing still. Doing nothing will cost a business dearly. People will leave, and unless quick actions are made, organisations may not be able to recover anyone to replace them. What would that cost be to your business? Could you survive?

The cost of inaction may not be felt today, but at the point in which the economy rotates, it will be felt then. There will come a perfect storm of suddenly having new orders, tenders, and requests for services coming through the door just as employees start walking out.

Given the background of the economy at the moment and the unsettling times that we are in, regardless of what the conclusion is over Brexit, businesses are going to fail if they don’t get this right. If they don’t act fast enough, it will be too late, there will already be an entrenched atmosphere where employees feel that they have had enough and they want to go elsewhere. So what can organisations do to stay afloat and come out of the other side?

Get sticky

Many companies think about marketing and PR as external and as activities reserved for gaining awareness in new markets or launching a product to prospects. While there is currently a trend toward marketing to new employees, it seems like no-one thinks about targeting those they currently have. However, using this powerful messaging machine to market externally, while forgetting to leverage it internally, robs the employees of the message you’re sharing to the world.

To create a sticky organisation, businesses need to make sure their employees, workforce, and colleagues understand just how good the business is. Sharing the external message internally generates excitement, making current employees inspired to be part of the dream and growth of the company. When done correctly, employees will feel this success and develop a desire to share that success with potential prospects.

What is required to achieve maximum stickiness will vary widely from business to business – but it starts with an identity. If an organisation truly knows what it stands for and what makes it unique, who they have on board, and who they want to get on board, then the initiatives should come quite naturally. Companies that wish to keep their current talent need to think about how they can keep them engaged, excited, and bought into the dream of the business – ensuring it’s a place that employees will stick with when other organisations come out, in full kit, on the hunt for talent.

Developing culture inside and out

There is too often a disparity between what companies put on their website and what is actually happening inside; this works both for those that have a poor external image and great internal culture, and those with the inverse imbalance.

The culture that an organisation projects on its website, social media, and any other channel should be the culture that a prospective client or prospective candidate meets when they come into the building. This happens naturally when the message that is dispersed externally is the same as what is spread internally.

If an organisation’s culture is real and embodied throughout the organisation, then employees will be living and breathing it anyway. This should be seen through all of the marketing activities, all the way through to any interaction with the employees of that organisation.

PR is not just an outbound strategy for prospects. It is about attracting talent and keeping talent in your organisation. Those who understand this, as well as their COI, may just have a chance of coming of this mess on top.

If it is not you, it will be your competitors. What’s your next move?


Georgia LeybourneGeorgia LeybourneApril 3, 2019
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6min232

Millennials and Generation Z may be the customers of the future, but retailers right now need to concentrate on the customers of today – and that means embracing the over-50s.

This generation has money to burn…and is increasingly spending it. In 2016, the over-50s spent more than the younger generation for the first time, according to AOL, and 62 percent of the over-50s aim to spend their savings, according to a survey by Sunlife.

In addition to having more to spend than younger generations, the over-50s are also potentially far more discerning and demanding in their retail habits. Less likely to opt for fast fashion and far more likely to invest in the big ticket items, the over-50s have also experienced the change in retail experience over the last few decades, transforming from the traditional cash registers to the POS systems now present in stores across the globe, which means their shopping habits and expectations are more of a complex mix than those of the digital native generations.

Quality of experience

Of course, the over-50s may not be digital natives, but technology has dominated the workplace for decades. They may not use technology in the same way as Millennials and Gen Zs; they may not be as susceptible to the online influencers, or post their latest purchases on Snapchat, but social media and the quality of online experience are both still relevant.

From customer acquisition strategies to the actual in-store experience, capturing and retaining this affluent generation will require more finesse and greater understanding, as well as excellent timing; the technology is there for the taking, but it’s about how and when it’s used for this generation. The over-50s do not have the same filters as the younger generations when it comes to the online and social media deluge – to avoid rapid disengagement, a more subtle and nuanced approach is key.

This issue is particularly key in-store where the quality of the customer/store associate interaction is a fundamental part of the experience for a generation that is less willing to embrace self-service. But – and to be frank – this is not easy.

Tech-savvy over-50s will have typically started the buying journey online, especially for those big ticket items. They will have a pretty good idea of what they want to buy but will also value the chance to look and feel in-store to determine product quality – something that is still tough to achieve online.

Furthermore, this generation also wants to enjoy the buying experience, to add the quality of a great in-store interaction to the pleasure of making an acquisition. This is where technology is here to help; the cash registers, long queues and lack of personalisation commonplace in retail of the past would not have added up to a great in-store interaction, whereas now, the more targeted, knowledgeable, and streamlined approach could be exactly what this generation is after.

Capture the moment

For the store associate, two issues are therefore key: timing the interaction with the customer and having a depth of information and knowledge that can add value to the online research. Barge in too soon, and the customer will be affronted. Be unable to offer any more insight and knowledge to the discussion and that customer could well walk.

For retailers, however, this is the moment. It is a perfect time to upsell; a brilliant opportunity to create a strong relationship and create a brand advocate, straight from their Point of Sale (POS) devices. The customer has researched enough to be confident to make a purchase and has the money in hand, but just needs a push towards one product or the other.

Developments in technology means that store associates can be armed with both up to date stock information, as well as offers and promotions, plus an inherent interest in the product area is invaluable. Add in access to customer history, including recent purchases, and the foundation is laid for an excellent, personalised interaction – the store associate can upsell, and the customer has a great experience.


Lloyd ColdrickLloyd ColdrickApril 2, 2019
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10min272

The modern office is evolving faster than ever as new design trends continually find themselves splashed across workplaces up and down the country.

In recent years, offices have transformed from stuffy, dim, boxed-off cubicle-style layouts to thriving hubs where collaboration is buzzing against a backdrop of the most trendy and functional interior designs.

Biophilic designs are ever-present and a revert back to industrial ‘bare bone’ materials continue to prove popular designs, while a rise in spaces that promote the wellbeing of the office user shows no signs of slowing.

2019 is no different, and if anything, has taken those design trends and moved into second gear.

Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular interior designs trends for 2019:

‘Living walls’

The trend for leafy living walls continues to rise. They are particularly loved by green-fingered urbanites and are a clever way of bringing the outdoors into the office environment.

Continued push for spaces that promote mental and physical well-being

Modern office designs are adapting to reflect the importance of employees’ health and happiness, and research shows that people with higher levels of well-being are more resistant to ill health, both physically and mentally.

Ergonomic office furniture is designed to stimulate a greater focus in perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response.

Ergonomic chairs reduce stress on the spine, neck, and hips by keeping the user upright, while ergonomic keyboards increase typing speeds by reducing repetitive reaching and stretching and pivotal monitors allow employees to focus on their screens for longer periods of time, by reducing eye strains and headaches.

Relaxation/recreational breakout areas

With Millennials predicted to make up half of the workforce by next year, new office design trends are emerging.

Office relaxation spaces where employees can unwind away from their working schedules is steadily gaining traction, as the lines between work/life balance become more blurred.

A versatile office environment

Nowadays, dynamic and agile spaces should be highly interactive and not be hampered by any physical or ergonomic constraints.

Re-arranged furniture can have a substantial positive impact on the output of employees. For instance, if furniture is comfortable and organic, employees will be able to work with minimal restrictions, and therefore be more productive.

Big rise in flexible working and co-working spaces

Although co-working spaces have been around for many years, it is only recently that they have come into the spotlight, mainly due to more providers entering the market to meet the needs of an increasingly fluid workforce.

The shift away from more traditional office spaces has aided the rising popularity of collaborative working environments.

More so than ever, co-working providers are seeking to create ‘a destination workplace’ – a space where people want to work.

Private workstations

Despite 2019 seeing a continued rise in flexible workplace layouts, there’s still a compelling reason not to drop private workstations in offices altogether.

While most businesses dislike the traditional dividers and booths of yesteryear, semi-enclosed settings are still proving popular as they let employees work with as little distraction as possible without being completely closed off from the rest of the office.

Increase in privacy storage

The recent enforcement of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has altered the way in which employers store and secure sensitive data.

We can’t keep sensitive information visible on desks and computers in fear it could fall into the wrong hands. Safely securing data in appropriate storage such as folders and filing cabinets/drawers is crucial for all businesses in 2019.

Defurbishment

Defurbishment or ‘defurb’ is the process whereby buildings have been altered to expose the bare bones of their structure, including beams and brick or stone walls.

Incorporating natural materials like wood, slate and even water features encourage a natural, eco-friendlier feel. This style can be particularly effective in helping to attract a younger demographic in both new staff and clients.

Nowadays, people also want to know what goes into the products they use, and office furniture is no different. Using durable, honest materials that have been reclaimed or upcycled is a great way to demonstrate a business’s sustainable and environmental values, while creating an attractive brand identity that staff and customers/clients can buy into.

Human-centric designs

Human-centric design gives designers a deeper understanding of creating living spaces that are more humanistic, holistic, and solve problems for people. In a way, the challenge of the human centric design is even greater than a purely aesthetic approach, because designers must consider the user’s needs, aesthetic appeal and user friendliness into their vision.

Mixing aesthetics into a human centric design to create a unified whole with minimal artistic and ergonomic sacrifices is the ultimate challenge. The human centric design sends a message that the employees are of the utmost importance. Businesses have realised that a one-size-fits-all approach can’t be used. To design better, the human aspect of each individual company must be considered – it’s why a human-centric approach is so important.

Offices are increasingly getting bolder and more striking by adopting multifunctional designs that provide benefits to both the business and user.

Ultimately, we’re getting smarter in how we can merge varying designs to create a space that is aesthetically pleasing, health promoting, planet saving, and profit boosting, all while having a degree of flexibility to ensure an inclusive space for all.

There’s no doubt the office of 2020 will bring new and pioneering design trends, but for now, the office of 2019 is leading the way in creating a working environment that allows the business, the environment and the staff to win.


Tiffany CarpenterTiffany CarpenterApril 1, 2019
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5min505

These days, an ever-increasing number of customer interactions are taking place over digital channels and every digital interaction offers an incredible source of customer intelligence for organisations to tap into. 

With every digital visit, customers leave a valuable trail of digital breadcrumbs. These breadcrumbs give organisations the ability to follow each individual customer journey and each customer’s experience along the way. With every browse, click, like, and share your customer creates their own digital footprint, and with their consent, brands can harness this rich source of data to anticipate and deliver on the needs of each individual customer, optimise each customer’s journey, and unlock new competitive value for the organisation.

Of course, this data must be treated as personal data and companies should provide comprehensive cookie notices to educate users on how they plan to use their personal data, on an opt-in basis.

However, despite many customers still opting-in to share this data, organisations are struggling to tap into this readily available digital intelligence in a meaningful and effective way.

There are five recurring challenges that create barriers to unlocking the true value of digital data.

1. Tagging is still the predominant method for digital analytics tools to capture data. Not only is there cost and time involved in creating, testing, and deploying these tags, but they need to be constantly updated; every time there’s a new area of interest or there’s changes to the website. This invariably leads to delays in campaigns, missing data and lost opportunities.

2. Many digital analytics solutions focus on visits, page views, clicks, and campaign triggers. The data collected is rarely at an individual customer level. This makes it really challenging to join digital data up with offline data from CRM or single customer view systems, where data needs to be held at individual customer level.

3. Too many organisations are focused only on behavioural data – what a customer clicked on and what they saw, rather than experiential data. Experiential data could include what a customer didn’t see, what price they were quoted or what products were not in stock. Collecting behavioural data without experiential data often leads to an incomplete or misleading picture of cause and effect.

4. The number of digital channels, technologies, and techniques for measuring Customer Experience within those channels has exploded, but the data and insight is held in siloes making it difficult to obtain a joined-up view of the Customer Experience.

5. By the time data is extracted from the digital channels and analysed for insights, the customer has already completed their interaction. Organisations are still reporting on the past and unable to action data in real time to impact the Customer Experience ‘in the moment’.

 

Organisations leading the field in digital intelligence are opting for a single view of individual customer level behavioural and experiential data across digital channels that can be easily joined up to offline data, to gain a much deeper insight into the customer journey.

Being able to analyse data at this level of detail is enabling these organisations to go beyond the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of traditional digital analytics and answer the more valuable ‘who’ and ‘why’ questions. Who are my most and least valuable customers? Why do they behave as they do on my digital properties? What simple changes could I make to alter some of this behaviour?

By capturing granular, time-stamped customer level data from every digital interaction about everywhere your customer went, everything they did and didn’t do, and everything they see and didn’t see, organisations can optimise their Customer Experience and create competitive advantage.


Valur SvanssonValur SvanssonMarch 29, 2019
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6min499

This article was co-authored by Josh Ayres, Head of Emerging Technology at IP Integration.

 

This week, 5,000 Contact Centre professionals descended on London for the Call and Contact Centre Expo – a two-day, annual event centred around Customer Experience management. 

Exhibitor stands and seminars were awash with talk of the sector’s coming of age as it embarks on a period of digitalisation, with emerging technologies placing the industry firmly on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution.

Among the speakers was OmniTouch International’s Daniel Ord, who leads CXM’s Contact Centre Masterclass.

It is an exciting time for the Contact Centre. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Contact Analytics, and chatbots have opened up a world of possibilities and are changing the face of the Contact Centre – enabling brands to shorten processes, and free up agents to spend more time on delivering an exceptional Customer Experience.

How to smooth the path to digital transformation

The benefits of these emerging technologies are undeniable. Take the chatbot as an example: at a very basic level, it reduces pressure on the Call Centres, giving customers an additional outlet and instant access to information. From a financial perspective the benefits only continue, with research indicating that the use of chatbots will result in cost savings of over $8 billion by 2020, primarily in banking and healthcare. In fact, leading analyst house Gartner believes that by 2020, chatbots should take over 85 percent of customer service interactions.

However, before looking to implement any new tool, organisations must define their goals so that the path to digital transformation reflects their brand values and is also focused on what that organisation needs. Less attention should be given to the features that vendors are promoting.

The customer is king

As with any implementation, questions need to be asked. How will the technology fit into the Contact Centre? Which systems does the tool need to integrate with? How will it be rolled out to customers? How will employees use and embrace the automation tools?

There are no right or wrong answers here, and no one-size-fits-all approach; instead organisations must choose tools based on what provides the greatest value, while offering the simplest integration for the most manageable cost. The customer must also be a prime consideration here, and the impact of any technology on a customer’s journey with a brand must be assessed.

The adoption of technology, if done well, should only enhance this customer journey. After all, customers today expect so much more from their brands than ever before; expecting instant access to information, irrespective of the channel used, as and when they want it. Speeding up processes through automation, providing live chat functionality, and digital agents will only improve Customer Experience levels more.

Time to invest?

It goes without saying that the better the Customer Experience, the happier the customer. A happier customer means better review ratings, greater referrals, increased return business, and potentials for upselling. In the Contact Centre – the voice of a brand – this is more important than ever.

Digital transformation will not happen overnight – nor should it. Change should be considered and measured based upon an organisation’s requirements and what suits its customers and objectives best. What’s great is that with a host of amazing technology to pick from, the time has never been better to start a journey of transformation.


Daniel OrdDaniel OrdMarch 28, 2019
question-2736480__480.jpg

19min459

Daniel Ord is the Founder of OmniTouch International, and one of the global Contact Centre industry’s most influential figures. 

With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Daniel is bringing his expertise to a wider audience with a new Masterclass on High Performance Management for Inbound Contact Centres. The two-day Masterclass will take place in Manchester in July, and in London in October. 

 

The more complex the Contact Centre ecosystem becomes – with multiple channels of communication, omnichannel ambitions, and increasing customer expectations – the more the fundamentals matter.

This is because once you have mastered Contact Centre operations, you will have a solid framework on which to ‘hang’ your decisions – whether that’s people, technology, or Customer Experience.

A Contact Centre expert would be expected to accurately answer the 15 Contact Centre operations questions presented in this article. 

This should be without any reference, discussion with others, or looking up the answers.

It’s not that the questions are easy – they’re not!  It’s that to be a master of the environment requires very particular know-how, and once your Contact Centre folks have this level of know-how, performance will improve – guaranteed!

So give these 15 questions a go. For each question select either A, B, C, or D, and there is one correct answer for each one

To find out your results, simply email your answers to daniel.ord@omnitouchinternational.com, with the question number and the answer  you selected.

It should look like this:

1.  A

2.  B

3.  A

4.  C

Etc. 

Good luck!

1. Which of the following contact types require the use of service level to determine staff requirements

   I: Outbound calls

   II: Email (with 24-hour response time)

   III: Live chat/Text chat

   IV: Walk-ins

A. I only

B. I and IV only

C. II and III only

D. III and IV only

 

2. Which of the following is the industry standard service level?

A. 80% answered in 20 seconds

B. 90% answered in 30 seconds

C. Industry standards only exist for vertical industries (e.g. financial services, telecommunications, insurance, etc.)

D. There is no industry standard

 

3. A Call Centre has recently established KPI targets. The Service Level objective is 80% answered in 20 seconds and the Average Speed of Answer (ASA) objective is 10 seconds. The Call Center also plays a prerecorded announcement for all callers prior to queuing. Given this information, which of the following statements is true? 

A. The Call Centre is measuring typical callers’ experience more effectively than call centres that measure service level alone

B. Setting both Service Level and ASA targets is not appropriate

C. To be most meaningful, ASA should be measured as an end-of-day average

D. The timing of ASA should begin as soon as the prerecorded announcement starts

 

4. Given the following information, what is the abandonment rate for the week (Monday – Friday)? Total calls answered for the week: 9479. Total calls abandoned for the week: 702. Monday’s abandonment: 10.4%. Tuesday’s abandonment: 7.4%. Wednesday’s abandonment: 5.4%. Thursday’s abandonment: 3.4%. Friday’s abandonment: 7.0%   

A. 6.7%

B. 6.9%

C. 7.2%

D. 33.6%

 

5. When managing the queue in real-time, which of the following real-time statistics should you look at first?

A. Agent status

B. Longest current wait

C. Number of calls in queue

D. Average time to abandonment

 

6. Which of the following statements is TRUE?

I. Occupancy is the percentage of time agents spend talking to customers or completing after-call work

II. Occupancy is a result of random call arrival

III. When service level increases, occupancy increases

IV. When Occupancy is very high for extended periods of time, agents tend to work harder to clear out the queue 

A. II only

B. I and II only

C. II and IV only

D. I, III, and IV only

 

7. If an Agent arrives 30 minutes late to work on calls or live chats, which of the following actions would benefit the Contact Centre the most (assume the Agent is unable to consult with his/her Team Leader on the most appropriate action)?

A. Stay 30 minutes extra at the end of his/her shift

B. Skip his/her morning and afternoon breaks, each of which is 15 minutes

C. Come back from his/her hour lunch break 30 minutes early.

D. Take his/her breaks and lunch as normal and leave at his/her scheduled time

 

8. Which one of the following statements is FALSE?

A. Measuring the number of calls handled by an Agent is a good productivity standard

B. Adherence to schedule is the single most important productivity measure for a Contact Centre Agent handling Service Level-based contacts

C. When adherence to schedule improves, Service Level improves as well

D. Most of what drives the Average Handling Time lies outside the control of the Agent

 

9. Which statement is the MOST important?

A. To achieve productivity objectives, Agents will need to sacrifice a bit on quality                          

B. Average Handling Time is the most important productivity standard for an Agent

C. All Contact Centres use internal monitoring to calculate their quality scores for Agents.  

D. It is possible to design standards that enable Agents to achieve both quality and productivity objectives                                

 

10.  The best definition of Time Series forecasting is:

A. A method where the past is a good basis for predicting the future

B. A method which is only used in rare circumstances

C. A method that covers the qualitative side of forecasting

D. A method that doesn’t require judgement

 

11.  What variables does Erlang C require to perform staffing calculations?

I. Average handling time

II. Call volume

III. Number of abandoned calls

IV. Service level objective in seconds

A. I and II only

B. I, II and III only

C. I, II and IV only

D. II, III and IV only

 

12. Your Call Centre supports email and is expecting 200 email messages to arrive between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.  The average handling time of email messages is 8 minutes. Your promised response time is 4 hours. 

Assuming the Agents can work uninterrupted on these email messages only, which of the following staffing scenarios would meet your response time objective for these email messages?

I. 4 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

II. 9 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

III. 14 Agents working from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

IV. 40 Agents who each spend at least an hour working on email from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

A. II only

B. III and IV only

C. II, III and IV only

D. I, II, III, and IV

 

13. Which of the following are factors you need to incorporate in a  monthly labor budget?

I. Is my Agent in the building?

II. What is the monthly average Occupancy rate?

III. Is my Agent on a break?

IV. Is my Agent on leave?

A. III only

B. I and II only

C. I, II and III only

D. I, II, III and IV

 

14. Which of the following KPI results can be determined by looking at only ACD reports?

I. Service Level

II. Average Speed of Answer

III. Abandoned Calls

IV. Adherence to Schedule Percent

A. I and II only

B. III and IV only

C. I, II and III only

D. I, II, III, and IV

 

15. When forecasting call volume, you should use:

A. Calls answered

B. Calls answered plus calls abandoned

C. Calls offered discounted for multiple attempts from individual callers

D. All calls offered




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