Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 23, 2020
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4min373

CX and contact centre software firm Genesys has expanded its partnership with Microsoft for a brand new cloud service promising “superior interactions” for customers.

Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure will be available later this year and will enable firms to achieve the security and stability required to manage the complexities involved with connecting every touchpoint throughout the customer journey.

To accelerate adoption, the companies are providing Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure through a joint co-selling and go-to-market strategy, in which customers will benefit from a streamlined buying process that puts them on a clear path to the cloud.

With its multi-tenant architecture, Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure will give customers the ability to innovate faster and improve their business agility. In addition, by running the Genesys Customer Experience solution on this dependable cloud environment, enterprises will be able to maximise their investment in Microsoft Azure through simplified management and maintenance requirements, centralized IT expertise, reduced costs, and more.

These solutions aim to make it easier for enterprises to leverage cloud and artificial intelligence technologies so they can gain deeper insights and provide tailor-made experiences for their customers.

Microsoft’s US President, Kate Johnson, explained: “Large contact centres receive an exceptionally high volume of inquiries across a growing list of channels and platforms. One of the biggest challenges is connecting the details of every interaction across all channels to ensure each customer has a seamless experience.

“By leveraging Microsoft’s Azure cloud and AI technologies, Genesys is helping enterprises create a seamless customer journey with Microsoft’s trusted, secure, and scalable platform.”

Peter Graf, Chief Strategy Officer of Genesys, added: “We are thrilled to give large enterprises the opportunity to run their mission critical customer experience platform in the cloud environment they already know and trust – Microsoft Azure.

“Together, we’re making it simpler for even the most complex organisations to transition to the cloud, enabling them to unlock efficiencies and accelerate innovation so they can build deeper connections with customers.”

The companies are also exploring and developing new integrations for Genesys and Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure Cognitive Services to streamline collaboration and communications for employees and customers. More information will be released about these upcoming integrations later this year.

Nemo Verbist, senior VP of Intelligent Business and Intelligent Workplace at NTT Ltd., one of the top five global technology and services providers for the world’s largest enterprises and a partner of both Microsoft and Genesys, sees great value in the partnership.

“Many of our customers have standardised on Microsoft solutions, and Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure gives them an additional opportunity to take advantage of their investment,” he said.

“Together, these solutions provide enterprises a secure and powerful foundation to communicate with their customers in creative and meaningful ways.”

For more information, register for the upcoming webinar, Genesys Engage + Microsoft Azure: Transform Your Customer Experience in the Cloud.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 23, 2020
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4min529
An upcoming event will help businesses and CX professionals “unlock” their Customer Experience potential with guidance from expert speakers and relevant case studies.
Hosted by the Midlands Retail Forum, the Unlock Your #CX Potential gathering will bring together a host of CX experts and business owners to Birmingham for a unique day-long conference that will provide vital insight into improving customer service and meeting the expectations of the customer at a time when they are continuing to reshape the retail landscape.
Customer Experience Magazine is among the media partners for the event, which is taking shape under the expert leadership of author and Top 50 CX Star Naeem Arif, the founder of NA Consulting.
Seven soon-to-be-revealed speakers will join the line-up for the one-day conference, which will take place in Birmingham’s Jaguar Experience Conference Centre (pictured below) on March 25, with the event set to provide priceless networking opportunities for attendees.
Beginning with registration at 8.30am, seminars will begin at 10am, with further afternoon sessions planned until 4.30pm. Throughout the day attendees will benefit from exhibits and a “lunch and learn” workshop.
Details on the event’s speakers will be revealed soon, and speaking to Customer Experience Magazine, Naeem Arif described what the MRF are aiming for with this exciting event.
“In an age where there is so much competition in every industry, how do companies stand out? The answer is by offering a an amazing Customer Experience,” he said.
Naeem Arif
“But what exactly is Customer Experience? Many people know they need to work on it, but do they’re actually know what it means?
“The Unlock your CX Potential conference will not only help you understand, but it will also empower your own CX initiatives. The conference is designed to help you connect with other CX professionals, grow your knowledge, and create a better User and Customer Experience for your organisation.”
Look out for further details on Unlock Your #CX Potential in CXM in the coming weeks.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 21, 2020
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2min427

US tech firm IPsoft has unveiled what it claims is the most “advanced digital employee on the market” in the form of an updated avatar that replicates human conversational behavior.

The firm’s Amelia digital employee system is already one of the market leaders, with B2B customers told “thinks like a human but works at the speed of a machine”. Now the AI system has been updated to feature a new-look avatar (pictured), which IPsoft say “provides the most human-like digital experiences in the industry”.

This new version of Amelia brings together her sophisticated cognitive capabilities – built to mirror the functions of the human brain – with the latest advancements in avatar technology. Amelia is designed to deliver the visual elements of human interaction – conversation, expression, emotion, and understanding – to everyday user experiences, driving deeper customer connections and greater business value.

Utilizing advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP), Amelia is able to understand natural language, follow context switching, and independently execute complex tasks to resolve user requests. Her state-of-the-art affective computing and sentiment analysis enable her to recognise and adapt her responses based on the mood of the user and the context of the situation.

Dube said: “By 2025, I believe that you could pass a colleague in the hall at work and not know if it’s a man or machine. Amelia’s new lifelike avatar takes us one step nearer to closing that gap between physical and digital colleagues to create a truly hybrid workforce.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 20, 2020
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4min744

Employers have been warned not to forget about employee wellbeing after ‘Blue Monday’, with today cited as an opportunity to begin engagement with staff about issues including mental health.

The third Monday of every January, ‘Blue Monday’ was coined by psychologist Cliff Arnall in a bid to identify the peak of January ‘blues’, and in recent years has become a date noted by employers keen to improve the wellbeing of staff.

However, firms should avoid being seen to pay lip service to the concept by only taking mental health and wellbeing seriously for one day of the year, commentators have warned.

Clare Moore, Head of Marketing at HR platform People First, said managers should understand each member of their team at a “human level”, and maintain that connection throughout the rest of the year.

“That means learning about each employee, their experience at work and, importantly, maintaining meaningful contact,” she told CXM.

“This is achieved through regular check-ins. This can now be facilitated by technology, so that regardless of whether the manager and employee is in the location, they can still have the same opportunity to meet and discuss any potential issues that may arise and put the right strategies in place to support them,”

Ms Moore added: “Businesses that only take mental health seriously on a singular day such as Blue Monday or week are simply not acting responsibly, and therefore risk harbouring unhappy employees with lower productivity which ultimately impacts the service your customers experience.”

Meanwhile, Philip Richardson, partner and head of employment at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, said employers unsure of how to begin the engagement process can use Blue Monday as a starting point.

“For many of us, feelings of stress and unhappiness, whether at work or at home, aren’t limited to one day per year, but rather a perennial problem that can have a significant impact on our mental and physical wellbeing,” he said.

“The need for employers to foster a culture of openness around mental health has never been greater and while it can often have a lot of negative connotations, Blue Monday can be used as an opportunity to engage with staff on these issues.

“For employees, it’s equally important to be open with their manager or HR team. What changes can be made and accommodated in order to help you?

“Can you explore flexible working arrangements or remote working? By law, all employees who have worked for their employer for more than 26 weeks have the right to request flexible working and in many cases, where appropriate, employers are more than willing to accommodate this arrangement.

“You can also look at setting clear boundaries about ‘checking-in’ after work hours, banishing the urge to check emails for instance.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 17, 2020
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4min690

Customers are turned off by a 100 percent fully automated service, while high levels of customer service are more “essential” for B2B customers than B2C, a new report into CX expectations has revealed.

Leeds-based Romero Insurance Brokers have released their Customer Experience Report 2020, for which they surveyed hundreds of UK professionals to gauge their stance on CX expectations,

The report asks what the future of customer service will look like, how digitalisation will affect the customer service landscape, and whether upcoming generations will change the way businesses handle customer service.

As expected, Customer Experience is a key differentiator, with 96 percent of purchasers stating that high customer service levels are very important when making a business decision, while 34 percent labelled it absolutely essential.

The research shows customers expect a great level of customer service, but the majority of the time less than 75 percent of business purchases provide an exceptional Customer Experience.

Meanwhile, 45 percent of respondents would be more likely to choose a vendor that had digitalised their customer service offering, citing speed and ease of service.

However, although digitalisation is increasingly growing in popularity, no consumers are prepared to deal with a 100 percent automated service. Instead, customers prefer to choose from a wide range of communication methods depending on their personal situation. For example, 49 percent would choose real-person communication to resolve a more complex query.

There is a notable correlation between CX expectations and age. Twenty-nine percent of those aged 65 and over say they have never received customer service below their expectations, compared to just seven percent from other age ranges. This could demonstrate that younger generations expect more from businesses.

The report also shows the correlation between age and the importance of more personal and personalised customer service. For example, 85 percent of 18-24-year-olds feel access to good sales people is very important, compared to just 60 percent of those aged 25 and over.

A larger percentage of younger purchasers also feel a personal relationship with a vendor, a personalised buying experience, positivity and enthusiasm of sales staff, and empathy are very important. Businesses can ensure consistent, empathetic service by investing in staff training and ensuring they have an engaged, passionate team. This enthusiasm and care is then naturally passed on to customers.

Simon Mabb, Managing Director of Romero Insurance Brokers, said: “Our research shows the real value of quality customer service. It’s clear that the future of customer service lies in choice, flexibility and personalisation. Customers want to decide how they communicate with a business, and expect an empathetic, personal experience whether they’re chatting to an adviser on the phone or typing out their query on a website live chat.

“Customer service should be all about people, and genuinely connecting with each customer.”

Click here to read the full Customer Experience Report 2020.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 15, 2020
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2min686

Omnichannel CX and contact centre solutions provider Genesys is rebranding its flagship software as a service (SaaS) offering.

The company is changing the name of PureCloud – the world’s leading public cloud contact centre platform – to Genesys Cloud.

The move is to reflect the evolution of the company and mark the launch of Experience as a ServiceSM powered by Genesys Cloud, which enables organisations to achieve true personalisation at scale.

Genesys CEO Tony Bates, explained: “Through Genesys Cloud, we’re delivering Experience as a Service to make it easier for organisations to foster customer trust and loyalty. This starts by helping them know their customers as individuals, not profiles or segments, and leading with empathy throughout every connected moment.

“When businesses can provide distinctive experiences tailored for each customer, they’re achieving the level of personalisation today’s consumers are looking for – and that’s what we enable with Genesys Cloud.”

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 9, 2020
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2min697

Almost a third of British firms hit by cyber-security attacks last year chose to ignore them, new research has revealed.

Thirty-two percent of UK companies said they took “no action” after an online security breach in 2019. despite this type of crime collectively costing British firms a huge sum.

Research gathered by LearnBonds sows that61 percent of large businesses identified cyber breaches over the last 12 months, although this figure falls to 32 percent when the country’s medium-sized and small firms are taken into consideration.

UK travel money firm Travelex has faced days of disruption after a software virus attack on New Year’s Eve. The move also affected Sainsbury’s Bank, Barclays, and HSBC, among others, which all use the Travelex platform.

The money firm said it was forced to close take its site offline site to contain “the virus and protect data”.

The most common attacks are ‘phishing’ breaches, where fraudsters send emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to tempt firms to reveal sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. Criminals sending malware and ransomware attacks were also common.

The average cost of these attacks for large firms was £22,700, though when medium-sized and small firms are taken into consideration the mean costs falls to £9,470, according to data from Ipsos Mori for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in November.

The department added that the “costs of cyber-security breaches can be substantial”, adding: “Things like lost productivity or reputational damage tend to be overlooked. This means that when organisations reflect on their approaches to cyber-security, they may be undervaluing the true cost and impact of cyber-security breaches.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 3, 2020

4min1331

More staff in customer service roles will seek new employment this month than in any other, with new research showing that almost two-fifths of workers in these positions will seek to leave their post in January.

A seasonal slump in engagement and motivation is believed to be behind the spike in dissatisfied staff, and a survey by quality assurance improvement platform EvaluAgent found that 40 percent of customer service employees are less happy in January than any other month, leading to 39 percent actively searching for a new role.

The financial impact of this employee churn is considerable – based on the average customer service worker’s annual salary of £21,000, each departure costs businesses at least £6,300 due to recruitment expenses and reduced productivity.

The report estimates that around five percent of customer service workers will actually leave their jobs in January, so with 640,500 people currently in customer service roles across the UK, this could mean businesses stand to lose around £201,757,500 in January alone.

The survey also revealed that employers seem to be underestimating the issue, with 70 percent of workplaces not believing that staff are more likely to change jobs in January than in other months.

Fortunately, according to the research there are a number of engagement strategies that would successfully prevent customer service employees from starting their January job hunt.

According to the research, financial incentives such as salary increases and bonuses alone are an ineffective solution, with 47 percent of those surveyed saying that money would not affect their decision as to whether to stay or leave their company in January.

This was especially true for younger workers, with 59 percent of 18-24 year olds saying that money is not an effective motivation.

Instead, the research showed that businesses should be utilising a full spectrum of tools to boost employee engagement, including regular and timely feedback, which was deemed as effective as a cash bonus by 54 percent of employees.

Non-financial reward schemes were almost as popular, with 44 percent of employees saying these would prevent them from looking for a new job at the start of the year, while more than a third (36 percent) said employee benefits such as healthcare and flexitime would encourage them to stay.

Goal-based objectives can be an effective way of improving motivation, by increasing the sense of purpose and pride in a person’s work. Twenty-four percent said that this would be enough to make them reconsider looking for a new role.

Jaime Scott, co-founder and CEO of EvaluAgent, said: “High employee turnover in January is a real problem for many businesses, and can cause significant problems when it comes to productivity and customer satisfaction levels.

“Our research clearly shows there is a direct link between employee engagement and turnover, suggesting that businesses need to be making far more effort to engage their workforce at this time of year if they are to prevent the annual surge in departures.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 2, 2020
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2min986

Banks and credit card companies in the UK faced over a million complaints in the first half of 2019, new data has revealed.

The research conducted by Learnbonds.com found that of this total, current account holders registered the highest number of complaints.

The complaints lodged with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) indicate that the number of complaints against current accounts was 590,663, while credit cards and repackaged accounts registered 354,806 and 99,600 complaints respectively. Complaints regarding arrears stood at 39,542.

Most of the complaints originated from administration and customer care services with a record 744,863 complaints, while clients who were unhappy with charges and product performance stood at 243,426. Elsewhere, some 129,838 customers had issues with advising, selling and arranging of banking and credit card products.

As per the report, UK firms must report complaints from eligible complainants in regards to activities conducted from the firm’s establishment.

The data was compiled after reviewing the total number of opened, closed and upheld complaints, the amount of redress paid, the type of firm the complaint was about, the type of product the complaint was about, and the reason why the complaint was raised.

The report states: “The complaints data is used to assess how financial institutions within the UK are relating to their customers while focusing on how their performance changes over time.”

Click here to access the data.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 11, 2019
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2min1959

Customer engagement software specialists Freshworks has shed light on how customers interact with AI tech such as chatbots in an insightful new report.

In AI in Customer Service: A Survey Report from Europe, responses from 6,000 customers and 800 senior business leaders across the continent were analysed to provide answers on what consumers think of the growing technology.

The research reveals that 41 percent of European consumers “see no benefit of chatting with a bot”, while 29 percent said answers from bots “did not help solve their problem”.

For brands, Freshworks has found that 25 percent are currently using artificial intelligence solutions to improve customer service.

The research was commissioned to highlight the disconnect between what brands believe they are providing, and what exactly customers themselves say about the services.

Among the experts providing insight in the report is CX advisor and author Adrian Swinscoe. He said: “There’s been a significant gap in brand and customer perception of the type of service being delivered and received for some time.

“The addition of new technology and new channels, in many ways, is exacerbating the situation, as customer expectations increase, and businesses have to manage more ways of communicating than ever before.”

Click here to download the full report.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 9, 2019
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7min1528

Office workers in the UK would ‘fine’ colleagues for rude or offensive behaviour the most out of a list of pet peeves.

Commercial property agents SavoyStewart.co.uk surveyed 1,466 UK office workers to find out which unprofessional actions they would fine their colleagues for and what ‘rate’ they would set the fine to for each misdemeanour.

The poll follows reports that Chelsea FC head coach Frank Lampard fines players for a list of fouls including being late for training sessions (£20,000), and their phone ringing during a team meal or meeting (£1,000).

Office workers unprofessional actions/behaviour

The percentage of UK office workers who would fine their colleagues for ‘offence ‘

The average fine UK office workers would charge their colleague each time ‘offence’ is committed 

Unnecessarily being rude/offensive

81%

£25

Not meeting an agreed/set deadline

77%

£30

Not turning up at all to a scheduled/arranged meeting

74%

£22

Making/taking multiple personal phone calls during working hours

69%

£14

Taking a longer lunch break than allocated

65%

£8

Showing up more than 5 minutes late to a meeting

60%

£10

Agreeing to come to a work social but then not turning up at all

53%

£8

Showing up more than 5 minutes late to work

48%

£6

Dressing inappropriately/sloppily

42%

£5

Personal phone ringing during a meeting

26%

£2.50

Darren Best, Managing Director of SavoyStewart.co.uk, said: “Working in an office can be fun as well as challenging. It’s an environment where people don’t have control over who they necessarily work with but should make every effort to be respectable and professional at all times. But unfortunately, this does not always happen, and people’s actions/behaviour in an office can be aggravating.

“This research highlights the unprofessional actions/behaviours that office workers most have grievances with, certainly enough to fine their colleagues considerable amounts for committing them.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 9, 2019
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4min1537

It’s the end of an era for the great British railway network as Virgin Trains catered to passengers on the franchise’s final run.

The award-winning brand operated long distance services on the West Coast Main Line since March 1997, and last Saturday saw passengers at London Euston board the service for the final time, bound for Wolverhampton.

Virgin Trains, co-owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Stagecoach, has ferried almost 500 million passengers over its 22-year history, and had aimed to continue, but a row over pensions led to the Department for Transport disqualifying the brand’s bid to keep operating the line.

Routes operated by Virgin Trains are now by Avanti West Coast.

Good knight: Sir Richard joins Virgin . Train staff to say farewell to the 22-year-old service

The phenomenal work of Virgin trains staff was celebrated by Virgin Group boss Sir Richard Branson, who tweeted: “A huge thank you to all our wonderful people at @VirginTrains – it’s down to all of your incredible work every day that Virgin Trains has been the UK’s longest running and top-rated rail franchise.”

Just this year, Virgin Trains enjoyed success at the UK Business Awards, where it won Silver in the Innovation of the Year category, and was a finalist in the Team of the Year category.

In 2018 meanwhile, Virgin Trains won Gold at the UK Business Awards for Digital Team – Digital Marketing Campaign, before going on to win the biggest accolade of the day – Overall Best Digital Experience.

The Virgin Trains official Twitter account summed up the mood of the weekend with a characteristically humorous, but poignant tweet: “When leaving the train, please mind the gaping hole I’ll leave in your life.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 5, 2019
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2min1319

US Mexican food chain Chipotle is employing nurses to validate the claims of employees who call in sick, its CEO has revealed.

The chain, famous for its burritos, tacos, and guacamole, provides nurses to check the claims of workers who call in to let their colleagues know they are ill.

Despite sounding a touch extreme for some, once the illness claim has been validated, the employee will receive a full day’s pay while being told to stay at home and recover.

The practise, revealed at a conference in New York’s Barclays Center this week, is part of the firm’s improved food-safety initiative, and was implemented following an outbreak of norovirus in a Virginia outlet in 2017 which was partly attributed to an ill employee.

CEO Brian Niccol said: “We have nurses on call, so that if you say, ‘Hey, I’ve been sick,’ you get the call into the nurse. The nurse validates that it’s not a hangover – you’re really sick – and then we pay for the day off to get healthy again.”

He continued: “We have a very different food-safety culture than we did two years ago, OK?” Niccol said. “Nobody gets to the back of the restaurant without going through a wellness check.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 5, 2019
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4min1302

Companies must provide digital-first omnichannel experiences to meet consumer expectations and effectively compete in the experience economy.

That is the key takeaway from the third annual 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark report, which details how understanding younger generations’ use of – and expectations around – next-generation solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) and digital channels including private social messaging are fundamental to building exceptional, best-in-class Customer Experience.

As millennials and Generation Z become dominant consumer groups, with Gen Z purchasing already reaching an estimated $100 billion, according to research conducted by Barkley, their comfort level and familiarity with multiple digital channels including social messaging and chatbots means organisations, no matter their size, must provide digital-first omnichannel experiences to meet consumer expectations and effectively compete in the experience economy.

The global study reveals that almost 60 percent of Gen Z and millennials have used private social messaging for customer service. In contrast, just 38 percent of Gen X, 19 percent of baby boomers and 16% of those born before 1945 have done so. 

The majority of Gen Z and millennials also want companies to allow them to interact with customer service using private social messaging apps (72 percent and 69 percent, respectively).

Meanwhile, consumers are using AI more and feeling more positive about chatbots over time. Half of all consumers have used AI for any purpose (50 percent), compared to 2018 (45 percent).

This can be attributed to a significant increase in the use of an automated assistant/chatbot online (34 percent, up from 25 percent in 2018). Gen Z and millennials are more likely to agree that chatbots make it easier and quicker for their issues to get resolved, and are also the most likely of all generations to have used all forms of AI for any purpose, as well as for customer service.

Seamless digital-first omnichannel experiences, meanwhile, are vital to a positive Customer Experience. Most consumers (93 percent) want seamless omnichannel experiences, and yet they are increasingly giving companies a poor rating on seamlessly switching between channels – 73 percent give companies a poor rating, up from 67 percent in 2018.

This is especially important for meeting and exceeding the expectations of millennials and Gen Z, who are the most likely to have experienced omnichannel customer service (16 percent and 21 percent, respectively).

Paul Jarman, NICE inContact CEO, said: “Understanding the nuances of what consumers expect, and how they actually engage with brands via a myriad of digital channels, and integrating these in-demand channels seamlessly to deliver digital-first omnichannel experiences, is key to sustainable growth.

“The NICE inContact CX Benchmark looks beyond education around demographic customer service trends and gets to the root of what makes new channel options attractive. Millennials and Gen Z are bellwethers of what consumers expect and are increasingly likely to recommend a company on social media based on personal experiences – the influence they wield is tremendous.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 2, 2019
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3min1216

This year’s Black Friday footfall increased by six percent compared to 2018, despite challenges including Brexit uncertainty.

Official data from ShopperTrak shows that overall footfall for the year sits 0.2 percent up against the same period last year. Saturday, meanwhile was expectded to be the second busiest shopping day of the entire Christmas period, according to the Festive Peak Shopping 2019/20 Report released by Sensormatic Solutions.

The report maps the top five busiest UK shopper traffic days for peak trading 2019, based on insight from more than 1.5 million data collection devices in the retail marketplace and 40 billion shopper visits captured by the ShopperTrak brand each year.

This, the report suggests, demonstrates the increasing importance of the promotional event in driving in-store footfall – not just across the Black Friday weekend, but also in building momentum into Christmas trading, as retailers extend their in-store promotion strategies.

Having insight into how many shoppers are walking into their stores, along with the timing, helps retailers make informed decisions and create more impactful marketing promotions during the retail industry’s busiest shopping days.

Nick Pompa, Global General Manager at ShopperTrak, said: “We know that shoppers are in the driving seat now on how, when and where they shop, but our data shows that Black Friday still ranks as a key day for bricks-and-mortar. Our data helps retailers kick start their peak trading strategies and maximise their returns.”

“By leveraging insight from shopper traffic trends, retailers can optimise scheduling decisions, merchandising of floor sets, inventory fulfilment and even loss prevention awareness to help maximise sales opportunities presented during the busiest days of peak trading. Making the most of the footfall you have, is more important now than ever before.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 28, 2019
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3min1301

Despite being a front for a criminal empire built on crystal meth, Breaking Bad fried chicken restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos is among the best fictional food franchises for Employee Experience, according to new research.

Food box company Gousto has revealed a list of the TV and movie eateries most likely to make it in the ‘real world’, and have rated establishments such as JJ’s Diner from Parks and Recreation, The Winchester pub from Shawn of the Dead, and The Simpsons‘ Krusty Burger based on the combined averages of their real-life counterparts through success markers including TripAdvisor reviews, length of time in operation, and Instagram hashtags.

Can I take your order?: TV villian Gus Fring would make a great boss, research suggests

Los Pollos Hermanos, from the hugely successful US crime drama about the rise and downfall of mild-mannered chemistry teacher-turned drugs godfather Walter White, topped the poll for Most Likely to Succeed, and was named Most Employable and Most Influential of the 20 fictional franchises, making it among the most desirable places to work for potential staff.

Gousto found that if it were real, the chicken restaurant chain founded by sinister meth kingpin Gus Fring would employ up to 39,000 people.

Rachel Chatterton, Food Development Director at Gousto said: “There’s a clear link between food and entertainment – they are both highly emotional and our Fictional Foodie Franchise ranking is a fun way to link these, drawing on inspiration from some of the delicious scenes in our favourite television shows.

“Our study shows that there’s no one clear ‘recipe for success’ – it’s much more complex than that and takes into account a number of factors.”

Chick-it out: The fictional stats of fried chicken chain and drug front Los Pollos Hermanos from TV hit Breaking Bad

 

 

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 28, 2019
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2min1452

Leading insights agency Kantar has named named First Direct the UK’s top bank for CX in a new report that compares brand perception with the thoughts of customers.

Kantar’s inaugural CX+ report on retail banking surveyed 8,687 retail banking customers who were quizzed on both the banks they use and the perceptions of others they do not, but are considering.

Behind First Direct in second place was Nationwide, with Barclay’s third, and  The Co-Operative Bank fourth.

In fifth place was HSBC, with Royal Bank of Scotland sixth, Halifax and Lloyds in joint seventh place, followed by NatWest in ninth. The tenth place spot was claimed by TSB Bank.

The results were calculated by combining the mean CX performance score across five factors (clear brand purpose, empowered employees, empowered customers, lasting memories, and exceptional delivery) with the experience gap between brand promise and Customer Experience, identified by comparing the experience of current bank users with the perceptions of customers considering using that bank.

Amy Cashman, CO-CEO, Insights Division at Kantar said: “We all know the importance of delivering an exceptional Customer Experience. But to be a truly customer-centric organisation, banks must go further and consider how their brand experience aligns (or doesn’t) with the promises they’re making to their customers. Customer experience and brand strategy can no longer sit in organisational silos.

“The magic happens only when brand promise and Customer Experience come together.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 28, 2019
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4min1520

The UK is trailing behind Europe in customer service as brands race to adopt AI technologies to transform how they engage with customers, according to new research.

Customer engagement software firm Freshworks found that just over half (54 percent) of UK senior decision makers state their business currently  uses AI – in areas such as chatbots, virtual assistants, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and facial recognition – for customer service departments, compared to 97 percent in the Netherlands, 86 percent in France, and 81 percent in Germany.

The company’s report, The Good, The Bot and The Customer Experience, shows that AI investment reached a record $1bn (£803.9m) in the first six months of 2019 according to Tech Nation, making the UK the third biggest AI market in the world behind the US and China.

However, this investment does not yet seem to be far-reaching for UK customer service. The Freshworks study, which surveyed over 800 senior decision makers in customer service departments, found that only 20 percent of UK businesses have invested more than £250,000 in AI for customer services in the last 12 months, compared to nearly half (46 percent) of German companies, 41 percent of French firms, and 35 percent of Dutch organisations.

Across all territories, chatbots (37 percent), NLP (34 percent) and Robotic Process Automation (31 percent) were the most popular AI technologies for businesses to be adopting to improve their customer service.

The report suggests people do not want to take on responsibility for bringing AI in to overhaul current systems. Over a quarter (26 percent) of senior decision makers in the UK claim no one is driving AI deployment within their customer service department. Yet, C-Suite executives are leading the integration of AI in the vast majority of Dutch, French, and German companies (97 percent, 95 percent, and 91 percent respectively).

Addressing the brand perception gap

The findings also suggest a large gap between business and consumer perceptions of how good their customer service actually is. Eighty percent of senior decision makers surveyed in the UK believe their customer service departments to be excellent, while only nine percent of UK consumers have no frustrations when dealing with customer service agents.

According to the research, a quarter (25 percent) of businesses are using AI to improve their customers’ experience of the brand, for example using AI-powered chatbots to resolve issues quickly by filtering through simple questions and channelling the trickier customer scenarios through to human service agents. Yet, one-in-four (25 percent) of the 1,871 British consumers surveyed who have previously used customer service channels said that being left on hold for too long is their biggest frustration.

UK General Manager at Freshworks, Simon Johnson, said: “Our research shows that British brands’ deep distrust in AI risks leaving them lagging behind Europe in their approach to customer service. It’s incredibly difficult for brands to keep up with consumers’ expectations, but it’s non-negotiable that they constantly evolve their technology to include AI and Machine Learning and approach to keep their customers engaged and happy.

“For those who get it right, it can be a game changer that distances them from the competition.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 27, 2019
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3min1318

The finalists for the 2020 UK Complaint Handling Awards have been revealed, with high street and household names among the brands vying for success at the upcoming gala ceremony.

The fourth year for the awards, the final of which will take place at London’s Park Plaza Hotel on March 5, is set to be the biggest yet, with finalists including The Co-op, Aldi, Npower, Yorkshire Water, Capita, and BT among firms competing across 15 categories.

Well-handled: 2020 will be the fourth year the UK Complaint Handling Awards 

This year, categories include Best Complaint Handling Team of the Year, Most Improved Complaint Handling, and Zero to Hero – Transforming Customer Relations.

The finalist with the highest score from the categories will leave with the highly coveted Overall Winner title.

Click here for a full list of 2020 finalists.

The expert judging panel for 2020 is continuing to take shape, and places are still available to join. Potential judges have until December 24 to take advantage of a special Early Bird discount on the judging package.

The event is hosted by Awards International and supported by partners Worksmart, Resolver, Huntswood, Cranfield School of Management, Professor Malcolm McDonald, and children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Awards International; CEO Neil Skehel said: “2019 saw an incredibly high standard set by UK Complaint Handling Awards finalists, yet we are confident that with the calibre of entries we will see that bar raised further in 2020.

“We cannot wait to hear what innovative complaint handling initiatives will be shown in March, and I would like to congratulate all finalists on making the shortlist, and wish them good luck.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthNovember 26, 2019
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4min750

The winners of the 2019 International Customer Experience Awards have celebrated victory following the gala Final ceremony in Amsterdam.

The second year of the awards event saw contenders from across the globe descend on the Dutch capital, with the Dubai Health Authority being crowned the day’s Overall Winners thanks to their high scoring entry which also landed them Gold in the Best Use of Mobile category.

Meanwhile, UK winners accepting awards at the ceremony, which was hosted by Awards International, included Aspen Healthcare, whose Holly Private Hospital claimed Gold in the Best CX Strategy/Project category, while Aspen also secured the top spot in the Customer-Centric Culture – Transformation category.

World-class: The Aspen Healthcare team collect the trophy for Best CX Strategy/Project

Other British winners included Milton Keynes’ Centre M:K mall, winner of the Customer-Centric Culture category, and swimming lesson specialist Swimtime.

Hailing from further afield, global winners included pan-African great lakes region banking group KCB, which won for Best Digital Strategy, CX Leadership, and CX Team; and Telkom Indonesia, which topped the Customer Experience Team – Transformation / Solution category.

Click here for a full list of winners.

Speaking after the event, CEO of Awards International Neil Skehel said: “Congratulations to all of our winners, and to all finalists who travelled to join us in Amsterdam for what has become one of the most important dates in the global CX calendar.

“The standard of entries for this, the second year of the awards, has been absolutely fantastic, and we look forward to seeing more exciting customer-centric initiatives in 2020 a




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