CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamMarch 15, 2018
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5min1048

Live video tech provider Go Instore has announced that Marriott International’s European Convention Network (ECN) has grown its Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) business using the Go Instore solution.

The ECN is a collection of 21 gold standard convention hotels across Europe and is part of the 6,500 property Marriott International group. The ECN partnered with Go Instore to give event planners from around the world the option of having one to one live online consultations, tours and virtual site inspections of its largest conference venues across 10 European countries.

The ECN reports that 51 percent of customers who took a live virtual site inspection between March and December 2017 went on to book or were progressing with their enquiries.

“We have been able to attribute a significant amount of event revenue from across the globe to using Go Instore’s live video streaming technology,” said Pauline Bronkhorst, Head of the European Convention Network, Marriott International Inc., who leads the Go Instore project.

“Customers and associates love this new way of interacting, and it has helped the ECN to deliver an increase in leads and bookings from around the world since it was launched.” she added.

The Go Instore platform, which utilises technology to help businesses sell their products and services via immersive, live video, is an ideal means for local staff who have expert knowledge of each hotel to take event planners on an in-depth tour of each venue, providing them with a personalised experience and a real feel of the hotel while saving them travel time.

Go Instore’s real-time video technology uses smart phones to enable hotel sales executives to capture and stream a live video feed to their customers from anywhere in Europe.

“I’m delighted that Marriott International’s European Convention Network has experienced so much success from the immersive experiences that Go Instore provides,” added André Hordagoda, Co-founder, Go Instore.

“We look forward to helping more event planners gain rich experiences of Marriott venues without having to travel to venues and to connect them live to the knowledge of Marriott’s local experts.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthFebruary 20, 2018
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3min1038

The UK Customer Experience Awards has a new Chairman at the helm of the event for 2018: international CX expert Ian Golding.

The non-executive editor at CXM will aim to ensure the awards event, which is now open for entries, has a clearly articulated role in promoting CX best practise both in the UK and further afield.

Hosted by Awards International, the event will return to London’s Wembley Stadium on October 11, and will see finalists compete across a wide range of categories, including Best Financial Services, and Best Customer Experience Training. For a full list of categories, click here.

Ian leads the highly successful Customer Experience Masterclasses, and has judged at previous UK CX Awards. Speaking of his new role as Chairman, Ian said:

“Since I first entered the awards with my team in 2010, the annual celebration of achievement in the field of Customer Experience has become a firm fixture in my calendar. During the seven years I have been involved to date, the value I have got from participating as a finalist, winner, and judge is genuinely immeasurable.

The opportunity to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with peers from all industries; companies of all shapes and sizes; professionals from all over the UK; passionate people who believe in the same things as me; has played a part in developing my love for the profession that Customer Experience has become.

The awards are now one of the biggest gathering of CX case studies anywhere in the world, making them an unmissable opportunity to further develop knowledge, desire, and inspiration. The fact that many of the finalists presentation are ‘open’ – meaning anyone attending the awards can sit in and listen to them – means that attendees will be able to develop their CX specialism. Being asked to chair the awards is one of the most significant honours of my career to date – I eagerly look forward to welcoming all the finalists and judges to what promises to be the most spectacular awards ceremony ever.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 20, 2018
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3min2379

Online retail sales were up 13.9 percent year-on-year (YoY) in January, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

With rainfall above average in January, and the lowest January high street footfall recorded in five years, consumers turned to online shopping. Even the expected post-Christmas month-on-month decline in sales from December to January, which came in at -20.4 percent, was less than the five year average of -24.1 percent.

With January sales still an important market stimulus, the electricals sector performed well relative to recent trends, growing +4.4 percent YoY. Its performance sits starkly against last year’s 12 month average (Jan 17 – Dec 17) of -3.0 percent YoY and January 2017’s YoY growth figure of -8.5 percent.

Similarly, sales growth for the clothing sector was up +16.8 percent YoY, its strongest January growth since 2013. Footwear, menswear, and womenswear growth were broadly in line with the five year average, with YoY growth of +13.3 percent, +10.4 percent, and +6.9 percent respectively.

This solid start to the year was secured in spite of a dip in the overall market conversion rate to +4.3 percent from +4.5 percent last year, continuing the decreasing trend as customers browse more before purchasing. Sales via smartphones are also increasing at a lower rate than last year, at +39.3 percent YoY in January, while growth through tablets suffered a decrease in YoY growth of -10.0 percent.

Justin Opie, managing director of IMRG said:

“14 percent growth for January represents a strong start to the year, arguably even surprisingly so. The economic climate remains challenging, with inflation remaining at 3 percent and an interest rate rise anticipated over the next few months. The impact on retail was very apparent in January, with several very large retailers announcing store closures and job cuts – high street footfall also fell to a five-year low for January. Yet online appeared to benefit from that, with the index recording the lowest month-on-month decrease between December and January in five years. It may be that, as we enter 2018, we are seeing signs of an acceleration of the general move over to online, putting pressure on those retailers with large store portfolios to sharpen their focus on rolling out their digital strategy.””


Yonder Digital GroupYonder Digital GroupFebruary 20, 2018
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3min981

Marks & Spencer, Monsoon, Wilko, and John Lewis are among the easiest retailers for consumers to get in touch with, according to latest findings.

Yonder Digital Group commissioned research analysing how easily UK consumers could get in touch with retailers via their preferred channel and identified a dutiful-dozen retailers that are ticking all the boxes.

With 81 percent of consumers taking their business elsewhere if their queries aren’t answered quickly and effectively by a company, it is critical that retailers (online and ‘bricks & clicks’) are offering as many customer service touch points as possible and responding to those channels quickly and effectively. The research looked at the available contact methods (chatbots, live chat, FAQs, online query form, social media, phone availability) offered by the UK’s top 100 retailers and awarded scores for how easy they are to contact.

 

Retailer

M&S

Screwfix

JD Sports

AO.com

Wilko

Kaleidoscope

Monsoon

John Lewis

Very

Blacks

Littlewoods

Millets

Chris Robinson, Yonder Digital Group CEO, said: “Many retailers are clearly missing a trick by not having a multi-channel offering built into their customer service. Consumers will take their business elsewhere if they are not getting quick and personalised service back from the retailers. This is particularly important as consumers today have come to expect a choice of channels to use to get in touch with companies.

Showing customers that they are valued by providing them with multiple, equally well-served, access points is critical to engendering loyalty and growing the customer. In addition to this, the intelligence gathered from these channels can help the business refine strategy, choose products and revise inventory.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 14, 2018
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3min2189

Lidl customers will soon be able to help select wine with the help of a new AI chatbot.

Aspect Software has announced a partnership with the UK’s fastest growing retailer, Lidl UK, to deliver a fully automated Facebook Messenger chatbot, named Margot, which will help customers select the best wine for their meal or moment.

The first Lidl opened in the UK in 1994, and now has 690 stores throughout the country. The supermarket provides high quality groceries at low prices and is now the UK’s seventh biggest grocer. Their wine range has won multiple award wins including Supermarket of the Year at this year’s Drinks Retailing Award.

It was this growing reputation for wine that prompted the development of Margot, which will help customers learn more about vino before purchasing it.

Margot will provide a truly conversational experience for customers, answering questions as such as ‘which red wines from Chile under £6 do you sell’, ‘what goes well with grilled salmon’, or ‘what makes a wine sweet.’ The bot has additional features, such as an interactive wine quiz to encourage further brand engagement.

Tobias Goebel, Aspect’s Senior Director of Emerging Technologies, said:

“The chatbot solution we offer boasts a breadth of knowledge whilst also letting customers ask questions in plain English vs. pressing buttons or sending scripted commands. This innovative technology will make a real improvement to Lidl customers’ experience.”

Alex Murray, Digital Director at Lidl UK, added:

At Lidl we have built a reputation for providing fantastic quality wines at highly competitive prices for our customers. Margot will ensure choosing the right wine is never a daunting process, and we hope this service – along with the existing in-store and online information we already provide – encourages customers to discover the perfect wine for any given meal or moment.”

We chose Aspect because of their deep understanding of what it takes to bring a superior customer experience to an international brand like Lidl. It’s been a fantastic collaboration throughout conception to roll out.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthFebruary 7, 2018
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4min1006

Online complaint tool Resolver has become a partner of the 2018 UK Complaint Handling Awards, which takes place later this month.

The daytime event, hosted by Awards International, is being held in London’s Park Plaza Riverbank hotel on Thursday February 22, and will see finalists from across the UK compete in 19 categories.

This year, the categories include Best Contact Centre, Most Improved Complaint Handling, and Best Banking & Investment. From these winners, an Overall Winner will be selected by the judges.

Finalists presenting at the event include household name brands keen to earn recognition for their efforts in the ever-more competitive field of complaint handling. These include Virgin Money, Thomas Cook, EE, Thames Water, Co-Op, and many more.

Presentations from the finalists will be judged via a robust and transparent process, with valuable feedback provided afterwards.

The judging panel features a host of industry experts, including Lauren Hutchinson, Director of Lemon Tree Business Consulting; David Lewis, Head of Customer Relations at Barclays; and Tracey Roberts, Business Development Director at Capita.

Joining Customer Experience Magazine in partnering the awards is Resolver, which since its conception in 2014 has grown to become the premier online complaint portal in the UK, offering a seamless complaints journey for over a million consumers, dealing with everything from flight delays to issues over private parking tickets.

Speaking about the exciting new partnership, Resolver CEO and Founder James Walker said:

“In the future, successful firms will be defined by how well they treat their customers. Increasingly, businesses across the spectrum are realising the importance of listening to what the people who use their services are saying and learning and evolving in response.
That’s why I’m thrilled to be working in partnership with Awards International to recognise these awesome businesses that are getting in right. And I’m looking forward to celebrating the winners of the future.”

Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said:

“We are delighted to welcome Resolver on board as our partner for the 2018 UK Complaint Handling Awards. As any one of the million-plus consumers who used Resolver to successfully lodge a complaint – either directly to a firm or through an ombudsman – will tell you, their service makes the entire process as quick as possible.
No longer are people being put off complaining because of a long, laborious process. Thanks to Resolver, the consumer is more powerful than they have ever been before, and the onus is now on businesses to prove they are able to handle complaints more effectively than ever before. These awards will celebrate those who are doing just that, and I would like to congratulate all those who have reached the finals.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthFebruary 7, 2018
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3min758

Businesses have a long way to go in tackling the problem of nuisance calls, it has been claimed, with a warning that firms could be at risk of serious fines in the near future.

Recent statistics from Ofcom found that from a survey of consumers, 36 percent received a live marketing or sales call to their landline within the previous four weeks, while 26 percent received a recorded message.

Although the numbers have dropped from the previous year, the number of customers hanging up immediately when receiving a recorded call has risen from 69 percent in 2017 to 72 percent.

The data shows that firms could be at risk of hefty fines, thanks to the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is set to be implemented in the UK in May.

This was the claim of Asish Koul, President of marketing automation and campaign management firm Acqueon.

He said:

“Ofcom’s data shows that firms still have a long way to go in ensuring all their outbound marketing activities are conducted in-line with current communication regulations. In the past, the ICO has sent a clear message that this kind of unethical marketing practice will not be tolerated – and with GDPR around the corner, potential fines from nuisance calls could be significant.

With advancements in marketing technology, there is no reason why firms should take on any potential liabilities that could stem from breaches of these regulations. Tools exist that help organisations adopt a more proactive approach by checking and screening hundreds of thousands of ‘Do Not Contact’ (DNC) records in a matter of seconds, ensuring only consented individuals receive communications. Those that fail to follow communication best practices and ensure they are legally compliant are putting themselves at risk of damaging fines, and what’s more, customers will simply vote with their feet and choose to do business elsewhere.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthFebruary 6, 2018
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4min1070

Worldwide digital marketing agency ThinkEngine has been announced as official partners of the 2018 UK Digital Experience Awards.

ThinkEngine has offices in London and Dubai, and helps clients grow their digital marketing through services such as digital strategy, social media, pay-per-click, SEO, and email.

They join fellow partners Barnardo’s, Cranfield School of Management, and Customer Experience Magazine for the awards.

Hosted by Awards International, the event take place on July 12 in London at the Hilton Hotel, Wembley, and will see entrants compete across 23 categories, which include Leisure & Tourism, Fintech, and Best use of AR or VR.

Presentations will take place in the morning, with the winners revealed in a gala luncheon. From the winners of the 23 categories, an Overall Winner will be chosen and awarded for their unique commitment to Digital Experience.

The awards celebrate and recognise the best Customer Experience through digital means in the UK, and each entrant will present their case to a panel of expert judges. This year the judging panel includes Gordon Rimmer, Head of Solutions Marketing at Connect Managed Services; Abhishek Verma, Senior Digital Director at Infosys Ltd; and Paul Blunden, Founder and CEO of Usability 24/7.

In the coming weeks and months, many more judges will be revealed, who will scrutinise each entry before agreeing the winner of each category.

Speaking of their involvement with the awards, ThinkEngine Founder and Managing Director Ben Michaelis (pictured), said:

“We are delighted that Awards International have become one of our Global Partners. The UK Digital Experience Awards showcase innovation and excellence that businesses and organisations show to their customers and users.
The audience synergy between the UK Digital Experience Awards and ThinkEngine are very similar, and we see this as a long-term strategic partnership to benefit both brands. We are extremely excited to start working alongside the Awards International team. The UKDXAs are highly respected and entrants show a fierce level of competitiveness in their presentations, and we are looking forward to seeing the talent on display.”

 

Welcoming the new partners on board, CEO of Awards International, Neil Skehel, said:

“ThinkEngine are experts in the field of Digital Marketing, and it is fantastic to have them with us as partners to help make the 2018 UK Digital Experience Awards the biggest and best to date.”

For more information on entering the awards, click here.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 1, 2018
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3min750

International Customer Experience (CX) consultant Ian Golding has joined Customer Experience Magazine as a Non-Executive Editor, bringing with him a wealth of industry experience, knowledge, and ideas to benefit the CX community in the UK and beyond.

Ian, who leads the successful Customer Experience Masterclasses and judges at the UK Customer Experience Awards, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on CX, and has helped countless firms realign to adapt their business for a changing consumer landscape, where the customer has taken control of how a brand is perceived publicly.

His appointment to this influential role at Customer Experience Magazine comes as Ian prepares for the official launch of his groundbreaking new book, Customer What?: The Honest and Practical Guide to Customer Experience.
 
Described by the author as “part practice handbook, part novel, and part therapy”, the new tome covers the fundamentals of CX, along with a guide on how to overhaul the culture in a business to ‘make it happen’, and most importantly, ‘keep it that way’.

Speaking of the book and his motivation behind writing it, Ian said:

“Now, more than ever, should be a wonderful time to be a customer. I have observed, and been part of, a tidal wave of focus on Customer Experience, as businesses have increasingly recognised that doing the right thing by their customers, and actively managing the experience, might make sense.”

On his new role at CXM, Ian added:

“I’m looking forward to sustaining the advancement of knowledge and education across all CX skills, capabilities, and competencies, whilst continuing to inspire all those who have the genuine passion and desire to do the right thing for customers, employees, and shareholders alike.”

Welcoming Ian on board, CXM Editor Paul Ainsworth said:

As all those who have had the pleasure of learning from Ian will know, his knowledge of Customer Experience is unparalleled, along with his infectious passion for this ever-more relevant realm in the world of business.
We are thrilled at CXM to have his influence inspire our readership to do great things for their own customers, as we navigate further into a digital age which offers challenges for businesses, but also fantastic opportunities.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJanuary 29, 2018
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5min745

Global content delivery network and cloud security provider CDNetworks has been selected by EU Automation to support the international delivery of its website and internal web-based assets.

As part of EU Automation’s global expansion, CDNetworks is playing an instrumental role in helping it reach one of the world’s largest online markets, China.

EU Automation supplies new, reconditioned, and obsolete machine parts to a variety of well-known brands in 135 countries including Mitsubishi, Siemens, or Nestlé. A fast-performing website is therefore key to the success of EU Automation’s business.

For the company’s customers, every minute of downtime inevitably impacts their bottom line. Customers need to be able to access EU Automation’s website quickly and order new parts in a fast, timely manner – any delays could further impact their revenues. In addition, as EU Automation recently made the decision to host its internal web-based assets in the cloud, showing stock levels in real-time and processing orders immediately is essential to getting customers back up and running as quickly as possible.

To improve its web performance, keep its website and web-assets secure, as well as ensure the high-quality performance of its websites and assets across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, EU Automation decided to use CDNetworks’ Dynamic Web Acceleration and SSL and Cloud DNS solutions.

The success of EU Automation is down to how quickly we are able to respond to our customers – we know they need machine parts urgently, and can be losing hundreds of thousands of pounds during downtime. Our website must be able to process orders fast,” said Jonathan Wilkins, Head of Marketing at EU Automation.

We chose to partner with CDNetworks not only because of its content delivery technology, but because of its expert knowledge and experience of launching websites in Asia Pacific – a market that was core to our international expansion plans. CDNetworks is a true partner, and the guidance and support it has given us during our international journey has been a key factor to our success.”

CDNetworks is an expert in content delivery in hard to reach markets – especially China. With many European businesses unaware of the challenges launching a website in China presents, CDNetworks helps companies understand compliance and legislation in the region, overcome challenges associated with the Great Firewall of China and the latencies this causes, and delivers websites and web applications that perform just as well as their European counterparts.

Ensuring a website performs well should be a priority for any business – but for a company like EU Automation, whose customers really depend on its performance, it simply cannot afford for its website or assets to be slow – it would really be the difference between success and failure,” said Chris Townsley, EMEA Director, CDNetworks.

In markets like China, where there is huge potential but where slow website speeds are commonplace, many European companies find it hard to navigate the landscape. We are happy to have helped EU Automation on its journey not only to international expansion, but to conquering the largest online marketplace, and look forward to continuing this journey together.”

Since working with CDNetworks, EU Automation has seen an uplift in online sales globally, the load time of its Chinese website halved (47 percent), and its web security improved. EU Automation will continue to partner with CDNetworks as it continues to expand into the North American market.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJanuary 11, 2018
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3min735

Directors are twice as likely to experience ‘workplace performance anxiety’ than employees at any other level, according to research.

Despite their extra experience and authority, employees in senior positions are more prone to experiencing workplace performance anxiety than any other role, the study of 1,000 workplaces conducted by RADA in Business showed

The commercial subsidiary of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which provides communication skills training for corporate individuals, found that senior directors feel workplace anxiety an average of ten times per month – twice the national average across the total UK workforce.

The report found that the highest rates of anxiety for directors are around communicating, affecting 94 percent of those surveyed.

Thirty-nine percent of senior directors cite networking with new business prospects and pitching as the situations where they feel the most unsure about their performance. Furthermore, almost a third (31 percent) say they are nervous of their ideas being shot down or being talked over, while a similar number (31 percent) say they are fearful of people thinking less of them.

The next most-affected group was those in junior positions, with 92 percent reporting the effects of anxiety around communicating. With most people expressing the pressure to make an impact – whether being interviewed for a new job, moving into a more senior role, or presenting to colleagues or customers – as the main situations that bring on anxious feelings the most.

In response to the widespread issue of workplace performance anxiety, RADA in Business has been working with leading UK companies to transfer dramatic techniques, such as play and improvisation, from a theatrical setting to a business environment.

Claire Dale, Tutor at RADA in Business, said: Businesses looking to direct training towards tackling stage fright and feelings of anxiety when communicating in the workplace should focus first on the lowest and highest levels within their organisations.

In the same way an actor does before a performance, those in senior or leadership positions can benefit from making small but powerful shifts in their behaviour before facing a situation that triggers communication anxiety. This could involve grounding themselves through changes in their body language and stance, improving their physical presence and gravitas, or controlling their breath to create greater vocal power.

Flexibility is also key – being able to flex your working style to different audiences and situations is an effective tool for those in both senior and junior positions. This helps to build confidence in the given situation, increasing their impact and influence in the workplace.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 8, 2018
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2min653

With analysts claiming Instagram will account for a third of all social media users by 2021, new research has highlighted the importance UK shoppers place on the use of imagery.

Sixty-one percent of shoppers revealed they expect marketing messages to include photos or images and over half (53 percent) claimed an image is more likely to grab their attention than a headline.

The research by marketing automation suite Pure360, which commissioned YouGov to poll a representative sample of UK consumers, found that 62 percent of British shoppers won’t buy from a brand if they can’t see a product they are selling in its entirety. In addition, the majority (54 percent) prefer brands to only use images of the products they sell in their marketing, opposed to any lifestyle imagery.

Komal Helyer, Marketing Director at Pure360 said: “With image sharing platforms like Instagram growing in popularity, brands are paying special attention to the power of a picture in marketing efforts to attract customers. Thankfully today they benefit from a plethora of technologies to deliver more relevant, interactive, responsive and targeted images.”

In addition, the new findings highlighted the importance of adopting a personalised approach to the imagery brands use in their digital marketing. Over two thirds (69 percent) of British shoppers said it looks bad if an irrelevant image is used by a brand and nearly two-in-five (18 percent) say there are certain colours they like to see brands use in images over others.

The research also highlighted the potential that strong imagery offers to fuel brand advocacy, with almost a quarter (23 percent) of UK consumers wanting to share images of items from retailers they like online with friends.

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 5, 2018
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2min1194

Brands trying to use emojis when communicating with customers are failing to create real life smiling faces, a study has shown.

Just five percent of UK customers would be likely to buy products or services from firms using the graphics in their digital marketing. This is despite 77 percent of those same customers using the images in messages to friends and family.

Notably, the ones most put-off by emoji marketing are younger consumers, the research from Pure360 found, with 36 percent of those in the 18 to 24 age bracket believing their use devalued a brand, compared to just over a quarter of those aged 55 and above.

Just seven percent of respondents thought brands appeared more “human” through emoji use

Komal Helyer, Marketing Director at Pure360 said: “We would advise any retail brand considering the use of emojis for marketing purposes to first consider its own brand identity, and what its customers expect to see. Emojis are potentially a great way to connect with your audience, but remember they are still a relatively new form of communication, and how consumers interpret their meanings and connotations varies greatly.

Our research shows that millennials are particularly attended to the nuances of this visual lexicon and therefore easy to alienate. So, we advise caution. First consider the emoji’s likely meaning to your customer, then use it sparingly and at the right time. Think tone and context.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 5, 2018
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2min1306

Anxiety and guilt are the biggest triggers for UK consumers when it comes to marketing techniques, research has revealed.

Messages that invoke the troubling feelings were most likely to prompt responses from British consumers, while Americans were found to respond best to achievement and anxiety.

The analysis from marketing language firm Persado found that while Brits were prepared to interact when faced with anxious feelings, the rest of Europe responded best to language invoking gratification and gratitude.

The results were found through studying the subject lines and opening stats of over 3,500 emails sent by firms including British Airways, Dell, and Gap.

The anxiety-inducing emails included phrases such as “don’t forget” and “important update”. The emails prompting guilty feelings implied consumers would regret not taking action with phrases including “too good to miss” and “don’t ignore this”.

The phrases which prompted most American reactions were much more positive, and include “you’ve earned it”, while the mainland European phrases suggesting gratitude included “we appreciate your loyalty”.

“These data points lay bare the fact that there is more than an element of truth in some of the broader stereotypes associated with consumers across the UK, USA and Europe,” said Persado Co-Founder Assaf Baciu.

“Of course, while this should prove useful at a top level, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Marketers should look to put themselves in a position to share a message that resonates not just by country, region or town, but on an individual basis. Ultimately, the better marketers can engage with every customer, the more successful they will be.” 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 20, 2017
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4min682

Organisations that fail to adapt to the new messaging culture risk falling behind and losing customers. That’s according to new international research from BT and Cisco.

The research, The Digital Customer 2017 — Chat, tap, talk: eight key trends to transform your digital customer experience, is based on an independent survey of 5000 consumers across Belgium, China, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UK, and the US.

Its findings suggest that a growing number of consumers internationally find it easier to deal with organisations via messaging and social media, a trend driven by a surge in their personal use of apps such as WhatsApp. The trend is particularly clear in China, where 37 percent of respondents said that they use the messaging app WeChat for customer service.

The research found that almost half (48 percent) of respondents get frustrated if text-based ‘chat’ is not available when dealing with organisations (rising to 58 percent in Singapore) while 70 percent of those aged 18-34 years said they are sourcing more and more of their products and services via social media.

Overall, 58 percent of respondents said they get a quicker, more instant response when using messaging compared with the phone, while 37 percent said they would choose to contact an organisation via Facebook or Twitter if they had a problem which needed solving urgently, peaking at 65 percent in India.

When asked how they would like to receive support from an organisation while accessing its services online – for example, while using an organisation’s app or researching a product on its webpage – 65 percent of respondents said that they prefer to use webchat, up from 45 percent in 2015.

With more than three quarters of consumers (76 percent) saying that they buy more from companies that are easy to do business with, the findings suggest that organisations should upgrade their contact centre capabilities to support messaging and social media to help drive business growth.

Despite the growing trend for messaging and social media, consumers’ use of dedicated customer service phone lines fell only gradually between 2010 and 2017. Thirty-one per cent of respondents in the UK and US said they had called a contact centre within the last two weeks, compared with 38 percent in a similar study seven years ago and 43 percent of respondents aged between 16-34 years said that they still want the option to call.

Andrew Small, Vice President, unified communications and CRM, Global Services, BT, said:

“While ‘typing’ to request customer support is increasingly popular, the research shows that people still want the option to ‘talk’. This creates a challenge for contact centre operators as they now need a technology platform that can handle both the evolving mix of apps that customers wish to use and traditional service channels such as the phone.

Cloud contact centre platforms are ideally placed to help. They can be deployed as a single package delivering voice, video and messaging-based customer service together with operational tools for recording and call and agent management. They’re hosted in the cloud, creating the flexibility to manage peaks and troughs in demand. They can integrate data from other business systems, which is vital for consistency in customer service. Finally, they include recording, which is essential for good service and regulatory compliance.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 15, 2017
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2min893

British airlines are failing to match their US counterparts when it comes to responding to customers on social media, research has found.

A study commissioned by Lithium Technologies found that airlines in the United States were on average five times faster at replying to queries over social media platforms than airlines in the UK.

The report comes as social media continues to rise in popularity as the main communications link between airlines and their customers when it comes to questions on services, and real-time flight updates.

Previous research found that 86 percent of customers would switch airlines following a negative experience.

Dayle Hall of Lithium Technologies said the slower response time by British carriers risked negative comments being posted by frustrated passengers on social media:

“Social media has also, for better or for worse, become the channel customers will voice their frustrations on. And regardless of how much an airline tries to avoid this, things are going to happen in the real-world that are outside the airline’s control – power cuts, storms, etc. These will inevitably lead to customers venting on social for all the world to hear.

Something that is within the airline’s control, however, is how well they can serve their customers on social channels. The right people, process and tools will enable them to provide a quick, accurate, and empathetic response to mitigate a crisis from spinning completely out of control on social.

But the opposite is also true – ignoring a frustrated customer on such a public forum will not only anger said customer, but can give everyone in that customer’s network a negative view of the brand.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamDecember 8, 2017
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4min720

Sprinklr, the most complete social platform for managing Customer Experience at scale, has announced an expanded partnership with Reddit, allowing brands to access historical and real-time Reddit data, send and receive private messages ,and publish to any subreddit all within Sprinklr’s platform.

Global companies can now use Sprinklr to listen to what customers are saying, analyse trending topics, and manage Reddit customer care directly through the Sprinklr platform.

Reddit, dubbed ‘the front page of the internet’, is the home to the most authentic conversations online. It’s the fifth largest website in the US with more than 330 million monthly active users, 138,000 active communities, and user-generated conversations. With this reach, user base and diversity of conversation, Reddit is where trends originate and spread to other social channels and the mainstream media.

Previously, brands had to engage on Reddit natively, creating a disconnected process for maintaining CX strategies and managing crisis response. Now, with access to Reddit via Sprinklr, brands can engage with Reddit users directly from the Sprinklr platform and access current and historical Reddit data to enable communication, inform decision-making, and analyse brand sentiment.

Reddit’s integration into the Sprinklr platform includes the following benefits:

  • Comprehensive customer care and engagement: Analyze topic-specific pages for relevant and actionable insights on customer care issues. Automatically route service issues to the correct agent and send and receive private Reddit messages, images and links, all within Sprinklr. Easily participate in relevant conversation by publishing to any subreddit.
  • Strategic product development: Access real time and historical data around trends, audience reactions, and key topics across the Reddit community. Reveal consumer opinions that improve decisions around product development.
  • Effective crisis communications: Listen to, monitor and analyze conversations in real time including warnings about potentially damaging messages for early response and mitigation.
  • Personalized marketing: Anticipate how audiences – including competitors’ audiences – will react to new advertising campaigns, events and marketing content. Dynamically segment key audiences for intelligent targeting and measure the reach, relevance and conversions of  advertisements on Reddit.
  • Powerful collaboration at scale: Brands can now reach, engage and listen to their customers on an unmatched number of social channels – more than 25 – on Sprinklr’s unified platform.

As home to the most diverse and authentic conversations on the internet, Reddit is a trove of consumer insights and an increasingly valuable component of any brand’s social and engagement strategy,” says Alex Riccomini, director of business development and media partnerships at Reddit.

We’re excited to partner with Sprinklr to offer their users access to business-impacting monitoring, tracking and engagement functionality for the Reddit community.”

Elizabeth Closmore, VP of Product Evangelism and Partnerships at Sprinklr, added:

“This integration takes a process that was previously time consuming and siloed – accessing Reddit data, sending Reddit messages and publishing to subreddits – and simplifies it so companies can centralise customer engagements across social media channels on one platform.

We’re looking forward to supporting Reddit as it increasingly becomes an invaluable channel for brands to reach, engage and listen to their customers.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamDecember 8, 2017
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3min774

A team of tech business management consultants, under the name Q Division, has been launched by Stratacache Capital.

The team consists of connected commerce-focused industry experts and solution engineers that help companies deliver first class Customer Experience.

Manolo Almagro, the new managing partner and a 24-year veteran in retail and tech innovation, said:

It’s not a trade secret that the physical retail world needs digital solutions to thrive. Shoppers expect modern conveniences — especially what they find online — to exist in some form within the retail store.

The big secret is the expertise required to make these customer experiences effective, scalable and return a significant ROI. The low and no-value providers entering the space muddy the waters for retailers ready to introduce or expand digital experiences.”

Q Division’s services include:

  • Innovation programmes: emerging tech research initiatives, prototype labs and opportunities for live, in-market field testing
  • Connected commerce: AI, machine learning, machine vision, robots, conversational commerce, e-commerce and in-store interactions
  • Data + analytics: use of real-time and periodic data collection platforms across online, mobile and in-store environments to drive and improve Customer Experience
  • Emerging tech Vvntures: access and exposure to investors, global solution partners and emerging retail tech startups

Dirk Huelsermann, managing partner of STRATACACHE Capital and digital media investment expert, said:

Retail is not a fair fight today. Even the above average retailer is in an existential battle with Amazon and struggling to navigate the new, deep-data world in which we live.

Q Division will help retailers and brands arm themselves with the knowledge and strategy necessary to win these battles. Manolo and his team bring exceptional experience in retail engagement and innovative strategy insight that can be the catalyst to help level the playing field.”




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