Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 24, 2019
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3min62

The demand from hotel guests to be able to order in takeaway food from outside sources could eat into the profits of hotels who fail to listen to customers, it has been warned.

Industry thought-leader, EP Business in Hospitality, along with guest experience management firm HGEM, has jointly hosted a thought-provoking business forum made up of world class hoteliers, to question how external food delivery services such as Deliveroo and Just Eat are impacting hotels and food service today.

The debate was triggered by new consumer research conducted by HGEM, which revealed that 67 percent of millennials are more likely to make room reservations with hotels that are prepared to accept third party food deliveries ‘in-room’.

In addition, although a further 80 percent of consumers expect hotels to have an on-site restaurant only 72 percent will use it, and only for breakfast. Even though many hotels offer a room service menu, which also spans ‘out of hours’ a resounding 81 percent of hotel guests say they would never use room service. Yet the appearance of external pizza delivery drivers turning up at luxury hotels to deliver food ordered by guests directly from their rooms is becoming far more commonplace today. In fact, external in-room deliveries are predicted to rise by 83 percent in the future.

Many are questioning if there is a business opportunity for hotels to allow delivered-in services from external providers or if it is simply case of if you can’t beat them, join them? The debate is forcing many operators to re-evaluate their guest service options to decide whether the ‘delivered-in’ model should become a natural extension to those services already on offer, or perhaps a natural extension to a more luxurious service.

Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality, said” “It’s a fascinating topic for our industry, interestingly the initial thinking was that hoteliers would be resistant to third-party food services delivering food to their guests, but that wasn’t the case. Many believe it is now a guest expectation to be able to have food delivered in from outside providers and that refusal could alienate future generations of customers. Boutique hotels in particular, believe that this can actually work to their advantage in terms of add-on sales for beverages to accompany the deliveries and also building relationships with local restaurants, which can be effective and authentic.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 15, 2019
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3min241

A majority of European mid-sized call centres understand the advantage in a connected customer journey, but only 14 percent are confident in meeting current and future needs.

That is one of the findings published in a new independent research study conducted by global business consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, which found that revealed that 77 percent of call centres surveyed recognise the connected customer journey as elevating their competitive advantage and having an immediate impact on their business.

The report, Midsized Call Centres Take a Digital-first Approach; Cloud Solutions to Power Customer Service in 2019, explores what CX means to mid-sized organisations in terms of business impact, priorities, and technological maturity.

The report is based on a survey of 600 business and IT leaders across 26 countries involved in defining and implementing customer service strategies. One-third of respondents were based in Europe, with the research conducted in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and The Netherlands.

More than 40 percent of survey respondents believe anticipating and catering to consumer needs are by far the most important capabilities in providing good Customer Experience. In Europe, 76 percent of mid-sized call centres surveyed indicate the ongoing digital disruptions across industries will significantly impact them. As a result, such call centres are accelerating investments in digital channels and emerging technologies.

Executive Vice-President of report sponsors PureCloud at Genesys, Olivier Jouve, said: “It’s no surprise that the majority of organisations are looking to cloud, AI, and big data to deliver the kind of experiences consumers expect today. For smaller organisations, a cloud-based, omnichannel contact centre is the best way to deliver predictive and personalised service across every channel.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 15, 2019
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3min382

Brands in the UK and the rest of Europe are failing to meet expectations in Customer Experience, and it’s having an impact on customer retention, a new study has warned.

The findings are contained in the Experience Index Report from Adobe, which surveyed over 3,000 consumers from across Europe on their expectations of brands across sectors.

People cite an overcomplicated or time-consuming purchase process as their biggest turn-off, with consumers from the UK (43 percent), France (50 percent), and Germany (41 percent) inclined to abandon their online shopping cart following a negative experience. One in three consumers from the UK and France say they would never buy from a company again following a bad experience.

Meanwhile, a poor Customer Experience has a significant impact on a brand’s reputation, with over a third (36 percent) of people across the three countries surveyed likely to discuss a poor experience with friends or family.

The report revealed the biggest expectation among consumers is more personalisation, with over two-thirds (68 percent) of British, German, French consumers demanding personalised experiences both in-store and online. Augmented reality museum tours, loyalty programmes sending out test products, and retailers using voice activated tech in-store ranked as the experiences that impress the most.

When asked to rate brands on the Customer Experience they are currently receiving, the average score was 54 percent for UK consumers and 50 percent for those in Germany and France.

Complicated websites are the biggest turn off for consumers across the three countries, with more than two-fifths (45 percent) stating this is the biggest barrier to a good Customer Experience. Another pain point for British customers (27 percent) is brands failing to honour their returns policy.

John Watton, Senior Marketing Director at Adobe said: “Whether it’s retail, hospitality, travel, or finance, brands are now operating in a buyer’s market where one bad experience can put consumers off for good. It means that Customer Experience Management is now an imperative for brands, so that they can effectively manage experiences across all points of interaction, whether it’s digital, in-store, or via a contact centre.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 14, 2019
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3min264

Bombarding customers with irrelevant marketing messages is costing retailers conversions and customer loyalty, new research warns. 

A study of 1,000 UK shoppers by marketing tech firm BounceX found that customers want relevant, timely email communications from retailers. Almost two fifths (37 percent) of respondents said they would be more likely to make a purchase if they received a personalised notification about a product they have already looked at online, while over a quarter (28 percent) find onsite overlays helpful, as long as they are personal and enhance their user experience.

Both of these statistics demonstrate the impact of showing the right message to the right shopper at the right time in order to increase conversions, BounceX has suggested.

Robert Massa, General Manager of BounceX EMEA, said: “The need to know your customers and provide personalised marketing messages of value is becoming vitally important for brands and retailers. By enabling retailers’ to recognise site visitors on a unique basis, they have greater clarity of where each individual customer is on their individual buying journey which allows them to trigger relevant emails or overlays to deliver the online personalisation that customers now both demand and expect.”

With 269 billion emails received globally each day in 2017, and the number expected to rise to 320 billion by 2021, being able to identify and understand a shopper’s digital buying behaviour, across channels and devices, in order to serve them the most relevant message at the right time and frequency, will be an increasingly critical capability.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of consumers feel they receive too many marketing emails from brands, with a third (34 percent) regretting giving their email address to a brand. Over half (57 percent) of shoppers say that receiving too frequent marketing messages would cause them to unsubscribe from a retailer’s database entirely, meaning in their efforts to engage their customers, retailers could in fact be turning away the very audiences they are trying to influence. In fact, a third (32 percent) of shoppers would be more likely to make a purchase if a retailer did not bombard them with marketing messages.

“As the research shows, timing is everything and knowing when not to communicate with your customer can be just as important as knowing when to communicate with them,” added Robert.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 13, 2019
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4min291

Wolverhampton is the seemingly unlikely “testbed” for a new physical store from eBay, which aims to reinvent the high street.

The new concept store recently opened its doors to customers as part of a scheme that seeks to merge online and brick and mortar platforms. The ‘Retail Revival’ initiative was launched last year after research revealed 25 percent of small retailers do not have an online presence.

The new venture involves 40 local businesses in Wolverhampton selling their goods in the pop-up store, located in the city’s Railway Drive.

Vice-President of eBay in the UK, Rob Hattrell, said at the store’s recent opening: “The small retailers taking part in Wolverhampton’s Retail Revival have already shown that physical and online retail can survive – and thrive – together.

“They have achieved more than £2 million in sales as of March and many have employed more staff as a direct result of the partnership. This pop-up store aims to take that growth, and the value of this programme, to the next level.

“It will explore how stores of the future could combine technology with that vital human connection to powerful effect – whatever the size of the business.”

Retail Revival participants have already made £2 million in sales, and benefit from training and support covering eBay selling basics, as well as digital skills.

An admirer of the scheme is David Nicholls, Retail and Hospitality CTO at Fujitsu, who said: “This latest move from eBay to open a concept store is a great testbed for it to see how the physical world can come together with the digital word to build bigger more connected market for small local retailers. The first phase of creating this cohesive experience began last year and set out to help local physical retailers build a digital presence and help them to better tap into their local market and increase their profile with the wider customer base online as Ebay found that 25 percent of small traders don’t have a web presence.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 10, 2019
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3min339

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 10, 2019
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3min346

UK Customer Experience Awards winner Feefo is revealing good news for the travel industry, with a new study showing 70 percent of UK holidaymakers believe a good experience is provided by companies.

The reviews ands customer insights firm, which won Silver in the Best use of Insight & Feedback – Solution or Programme category at the UKCXA finals in London’s Wembley Stadium last year – has published a new eBook using research conducted among 500 UK consumers.

It provides exclusive insights into fast-emerging travel trends from significant industry insiders such as Karl Thompson, Managing Director of Sandals UK & Europe; Gavin Tollman, CEO of Trafalgar Travel Group, and Austin Houghton-Bird, Online Customer Experience Manager at UK Complaint Handling Awards winner Thomas Cook.

Although the research finds most consumers are positive about Customer Experience in the travel industry, 30 percent are either unhappy or unimpressed with what they paid for. Moreover, only a little more than half of the 16-24 age group (54 percent) have a positive word to say about their most recent experience of booking a holiday.

Matt West, CEO at Feefo, said: “There are still serious CX gaps in the travel industry, even though the research is broadly positive. As our highly-respected contributors make clear, consumers in today’s experience economy value consistent quality and uniqueness over mundane factors such as price.

“The relatively low level of satisfaction in the 16-24 age group, for example, indicates how too often, younger travellers don’t find the unusual or spectacular ‘Instragrammable’ experiences they demand. Or it may be the full integration of technology which they take for granted, was not available.

Matt added: “Successful operators know they must use cutting-edge customer insight tools to understand demand and keep ahead of changes in sentiment or taste.”

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 10, 2019
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4min310

New research reveals that over 80 percent of businesses are talking about the benefits of a customer-first approach, but few of these are turning talk into action.

A global research report from Optimizely that surveyed over 800 purchasing decision-makers from marketing, product and IT teams in the UK, US, and Germany, reveals that over half (51 percent) of respondents said customer centricity isn’t focused on enough in their organisation, despite the rhetoric.

The Digital Experience Economy report uncovers the keys to success in the new age of Digital Experience and reveals the cultural and structural barriers that are holding back innovation.

The findings show that employees from different departments across organisations need to be empowered to have a meaningful impact on Customer Experience. According to 79 percent of business leaders, the CX would benefit if the product, marketing, and IT/engineering teams worked together more closely.

Ninety-one percent of respondents claimed that their organisation’s employees are capable of delivering a constant flow of new ideas focused on improving the Digital Experience. However, over a third (34 percent) say that organisational structures make it too difficult to turn an idea into reality and team members don’t have the time to focus on developing new ideas. Thirty-two percent say silos cause issues, as responsibility for delivering new ideas is kept locked down in one team within an organisation.

Currently one-in-five organisations (20 percent) still have a culture where failure is not an option, but this could change soon. In the past three years alone, 68 percent of executives have altered their attitude to change, with 94 percent of these claiming their organisation has become more open. It is leaders who are driving this trend, as 43 percent of decision-makers embrace failure more than less senior employees.

Dan Siroker, co-founder and Executive Chairman at Optimizely, said: “Innovative organisations such as Amazon and Google have consistently embraced failure as a part of their culture. Being able to experiment and fail fast allows organisations to innovate, and stay in touch with the ever-changing Digital Experience Economy. A business-changing idea can just as easily come from the customer support desk as it can from the board room. For this reason, organisations need to ensure they have a culture that allows all employees to have a voice when it comes to Customer Experience initiatives.”

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 9, 2019
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3min459

Capgemini, the digital transformation firm behind major wins at the UK Customer and Digital Experience Awards, has signed a contract with EDF Energy to revamp its CX offering.

Through its cloud contact centre solutions brand, Odigo, Capgemini will offer a Contact-Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solution, as part of EDF’s wider Customer Experience transformation initiative. The energy supplier aims to use innovative technology to optimise the service it delivers to its 3 million customers.

Odigo will replace the existing on-premise contact centre platform with a cloud-native solution, enabling EDF to deliver a quicker, simpler, and more effective service to customers; have greater autonomy over the ongoing maintenance of the solution; and access to a full suite of features for future innovation.

As part of the multi-year deal, the Odigo CCaaS system will deliver a range of services, including routing inbound/outbound interactions, real-time monitoring, workforce optimisation, and secure card payments.

Niels Roberts, Digital, Automation and Process Excellence Director at EDF Energy, said: “Not only does Odigo have the tools and functionalities to help us deliver a great experience for our customers, but it also offers a flexible, cloud-based commercial model to allow us to continually adapt to our customers’ needs. We are excited to work with Odigo over the coming years as part of our CX transformation journey.”

Erwan Le Duff, Managing Director of Odigo, added:”Building on Capgemini’s long-standing relationship in the UK, we are delighted for Odigo now to be implemented at EDF Energy; together we will transform its contact centre telephony and support the realisation of its customer experience vision. In an age of instantaneous digital communication, effective customer touchpoints are critical to the success of an organisation – we believe Odigo’s CCaaS offering will give EDF Energy the tools to build strong customer relationships, both now and in the future.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 7, 2019
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2min242

One-in-three workers feel uncomfortable approaching their managers about problems at work, according to new poll conducted by the TUC.

The findings are published in a new report, Improving Line Management, which revealed that 32 percent of respondents have issues bringing matters to their direct superiors. The study also founds that while the majority of UK workers feel supported by their bosses, more than a third (35 percent) do not believe their line manager treats them and their colleagues fairly.

More than two-fifths (45 percent) of workers believe their line manager does not help “morale” at work. Meanwhile, the poll also reveals that many UK workers feel in the dark about their workplace rights, and nearly half of respondents (44 percent) say their line-manager fails to ensure they know their rights at work.

Despite being crucial to workers’ well-being and productivity, less than half of UK managers got any training in the last year, according to most recent government statistics.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Having a good manager is crucial to how we get on at work. But businesses are not investing enough in training managers. It’s shocking that so many workers feel afraid to raise issues with their boss and are not being told about their rights at work.

“If we want better and more productive workplaces, we need to step up investment in training – including for managers. Anyone who isn’t getting the support they deserve at work should join a union today.”

 




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