Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 29, 2019
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3min704

A global research study has found that businesses in the UK and elsewhere are overrating their Customer Experience, and are underperforming when it comes to providing omnichannel communication.

The 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark report polled contact centre leaders in the UK, US, and Australia. Results reveal that businesses are confident in artificial intelligence’s (AI’s) role in delivering exceptional Customer Experience, but they overrate their own CX performance.

The CX Transformation Benchmark found that 63 percent of contact centre leaders agree that chatbots and virtual assistants make it easier for consumers to get their issues resolved, and 68 percent of those surveyed agree that consumers want to use virtual assistants to interact with them.

However, compared to consumers, businesses give themselves higher net promoter scores for every method of communication tested. Businesses overestimate most channel-specific NPS by broad margins. For example:

Automated assistant/chatbot: While consumers award automated assistants an NPS of -8, businesses estimate they earn an NPS of 25, for a gap of 33 points.

Email: The consumer NPS for email is -9 while the business NPS is 19, for a gap of 28 points.

Text: Consumers give text a -2 NPS while businesses estimate 25, for a gap of 27 points.

Meanwhile, the report shows that businesses are 15 percent more likely than customers to agree that they make it easier for consumers to get their issues resolved in their preferred channels, and that they provide a consistent Customer  Experience across the purchase journey.

While 93 percent of businesses surveyed agree that consumers expect companies to provide a seamless experience when moving between channels, only 24 percent of businesses globally give themselves an excellent rating on allowing consumers to switch seamlessly between methods of communication.

Paul Jarman, CEO of NICE inContact, said: “We are at an inflection point for AI in the contact centre. AI innovations are at their best when paired with the human touch and deployed to address targeted customer and agent experience opportunities. AI in the contact centre has the potential to add significant value to CX outcomes and operational performance.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 25, 2019
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2min786

A new report analyses the gaps between brands’ perceptions of the Customer Experiences they deliver and the reality.

Zendesk Inc has revealed insights from more than 9,000 small and midsize companies, and while results indicate differences in their ability to meet the growing expectations of customers, one discovery is consistent: fast-growing companies are more likely to take an omnichannel approach, offering a seamless and connected experience for communicating with customers across multiple channels.

Acknowledging the need to provide support over the same channels customers use to communicate with family and friends, more than two-thirds of CX leaders at both small and midsize businesses say they evaluate success based on providing multiple ways to contact customer service.

However, less than 35 percent are truly omnichannel, highlighting that many companies are failing to deliver on the Customer Experience they know is important. In fact, the midsize companies outpacing their peers in growth are nearly 60 percent more likely to take an omnichannel approach to customer service, while growth leaders in the SMB group are 41 percent more likely to be omnichannel.

Ted Smith, head of market insights at Zendesk, said: “Customers don’t think about a company’s size when they’re interacting with support. They expect to be able to reach out on the channel of their choice, and to get their issues resolved efficiently. This expectation applies to all businesses, both large and small. The recommendations in these reports can help small and midsize businesses understand what their fastest growing and most successful peers are doing to deliver the kind of Customer Experience every customer wants.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 25, 2019
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6min711

Despite recent headlines on sexism in the workplace, over half of women in a new survey say they feel empowered, well-managed, and fairly treated in their roles.

The Women in the Workplace 2019 study by The Knowledge Academy found that 52 percent of 1,424 women from across all ages and industries said they feel empowered at work, and 54 percent agree they are paid fairly.

When it comes to advancement in the workplace, 59% of respondents are offered training in their place of work, while a further 65 percent are encouraged to attend training of any kind.

There was a positive response to questions on management, with 69 percent of women surveyed said their manager provides the resources needed to succeed, and an even greater 77 percent said their manager helps them to balance their work and personal demands.

Over half (54 percent) of respondents added their manager creates opportunities for them to showcase their work, while 77 percent believe their manager promotes their contributions to others.

Challenges: Survey respondents have highlighted issues that remain of concern in the workplace

However, although the majority of the feedback is encouraging, the survey highlighted challenges to overcome in certain areas.

For example, 69 percent of women feel they have had their judgement questioned in their area of expertise, while 77 percent of women feel they have had to prove their ability in the workplace more than others. Sixty-five percent say they have been addressed in a less than professional way when at work, and the same percentage  feel they have had their work contributions ignored.

To extend their research, The Knowledge Academy spoke with women in the workplace, to better understand their personal experiences. 

Alice Coleman, a 27-year-old Marketing Officer at Aston University, said: “I didn’t find any difficulties finding work in my local region – I think most organisations consider equality and diversity when employing people now.

In my department, there are more women than men, my manager is a woman, and also the head of the department is a woman, which is really encouraging. However, when liaising with other departments, I feel like as a woman – particularly under the age of 30 – it can be difficult to be listened to, or almost ‘taken seriously’.

During equality and diversity training at my workplace, it was noted that there aren’t many women in managerial positions. Although we’ve made progress, I still think there’s a long way to go in making sure that attitudes towards women are the same as men in the workplace.”

Emily Garner (23), a Content Specialist at Blueclaw, added: “I think one of the main things that attracted me to digital marketing was the workplace diversity, as I know many amazing women who hold prestigious positions within digital agencies, including our own.

“I do feel, during my initial job search, I was overlooked in favour of more experienced and primarily male candidates. But in my current role, I wouldn’t say I’ve been held back by my gender. However, I can’t help but think that I’d be more comfortable being assertive and taking control in any scenario, both business and personal, were I a man.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 25, 2019
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3min714

A majority of young British customers say they would reconsider their spending behaviours if retailers were better at communicating the environmental impact of their purchases.

In new research from inRiver, 1,500 UK consumers between the ages of 16-44 were quizzed on sustainable shopping and buying preferences, and 69 percent said product information detailing the sustainability and environmental impact would make them more likely to purchase.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of people who would purchase products from abroad if they were a cheaper price said they would reconsider this if retailers shared more data and product content about the environmental impact of delivery.

This increased transparency would encourage 60 percent of buyers to reconsider the number of purchases they return. With the issue of ‘serial returners’ costing UK retailers an estimated £20bn a year, providing consumers with a greater awareness of the environmental implications of deliveries and returns could save businesses millions while having a positive impact on the environment

One-fifth of consumers said they only buy sustainable products. Overall, when assessing the key factors considered when committing to a purchase, sustainable packaging (six percent) and materials (six percent), ethical production (five percent), and carbon footprint of delivery (four percent) were all listed the most important, accounting for 21 percent in total. Unsurprisingly however, price (41 percent) and quality (25 percent) dominated consumer preference as the key purchase drivers.

Eco factors are growing in importance for consumers, as 63 percent stated they would stop using a brand due to its detrimental impact on the environment. Moreover, just under half of consumers (47 percent) would be willing to pay more for upcycled products or those made from recycled materials, such as Adidas’ 100 percent recyclable trainer. A further 43 percent would buy these products, but would be unwilling to pay more.

Steve Gershik, CMO at inRiver said: “These findings attest to the importance of environmental considerations for today’s savvy consumers. Buyers want to know that the purchases they make and delivery methods they are sustainable, and are looking to retailers to support these choices. It’s up to businesses to harness this increasing trend and ensure the product information they provide gives consumers a clear picture of what to expect and the impact it may have.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 24, 2019
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3min588

Over a third of people living in Northern Ireland are stuck in a ‘boring or unrewarding’ job, according to a new study.

A poll of 2,000 employed adults found 29 percent say their job is ‘utterly dull’, while a quarter of employees even go as far as to describe their work as ‘soul destroying’.

One-in-five feel there is nothing left for them to learn or accomplish in their role, while 37 percent think they would have a more fulfilling job, if only they had better academic qualifications.

Over half of those living in NI said they had no plans for progression in their current role.

Samantha Rutter, CEO at distance learning provider Open Study College, which commissioned the research, said: “We spend a huge amount of time at work so it’s important to be doing something you enjoy and get some satisfaction from. For some, picking up a steady paycheque is enough to keep them coming back year after year.

“But after a while, even a regular income seems to struggle to keep people engaged and excited about work. After all, you do hear about people with the most amazing and high-profile jobs getting disillusioned with their day-to-day lives.

“Sometimes simply learning a new part of the role or doing some extra training can really help boost what you get back from your job, making it feel like less of a chore.”

The study also found a third of disillusioned workers in Northern Ireland admitted to simply clocking in for the daily grind but have nothing to excite them at work.

Twenty-six percent believe not caring if you are late means you’re mentally checked-out from work, and the same number also think struggling to get out of bed in the morning is a sign you’re not getting much out of your job.

Another one-in-five believe that when you stop making an effort with your appearance, your career is in the doldrums.

Twenty-one percent also believe just staying in the job for the money is a key sign you’re in an unrewarding job. However, a third also believed they could earn more if they had additional qualifications.

Samantha added: “Our results found many people in Northern Ireland believe getting a new qualification can lead to a more fulfilling career. This is true, but there are also lots of other things you can try if you feel like you’re stagnating at your current role.

“Employers like it when workers are actively looking to better themselves, it not only benefits the business but is also a great confidence builder for employees to progress.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 22, 2019
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3min891

Global innovator in customer engagement software Freshworks Inc has been chosen by the UK Government to run its Find a job service.

The company has been chosen by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and will provide the support and service functionality embedded within Find a Job, allowing jobseekers and employers to request help and get their issues managed quickly and efficiently, and enabling vacancies to be filled quickly by qualified applicants.

Find a job was launched in May 2018 to provide jobseekers with access to hundreds of thousands of roles across the UK, making it easier to find and apply for different jobs. As part of the service, the team behind Find a job wanted to provide a simple and easy to use support function that would help anyone that had a problem quickly get the attention they needed. Without this support function embedded into the service, jobseekers would not be able to use the service effectively or leverage the personalised job alerts.

The team at DWP chose Freshdesk from Freshworks to provide support to those that need it, including automation of the processes to save time and reduce potential mistakes, and workflow management to allow team members to collaborate on issues as and when required. The team also use Freshdesk to provide management with information when jobseekers and employers are having problems using the service, helping the service team to redesign elements and make continuous improvements to the Find a job site.

Dally Singh, Product Support Manager at DWP, said: “Implementing Freshdesk has allowed the Find a job service team to work more effectively, as well as giving us data on where people are having problems using the service. This helps us improve and enhance the service continuously, helping jobseekers stay online and quickly find roles that are right for them. The team at Freshworks made the implementation process fast and simple for us, helping us provide an excellent customer experience to jobseekers using Find a job.”

Simon Johnson, General Manager UKI at Freshworks, added: “Running any large online public sector service means thinking about how you will support members of the public at scale. Using cloud services, automation and AI can help solve problems quickly and efficiently, making it easier to help citizens use the service and get the value that they require. Getting data out of these interactions helps everyone improve the Customer Experience over time.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 22, 2019
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4min738

Social housing providers need to learn from organisations like Amazon and Royal Mail if they are to meet the expectations of their customers, according to a new report.

A poll of almost 6,000 social housing customers shows that more than four-in-five people (82 percent) expect the same level of service as they do from other companies; and they expect it, because they’re paying for it.

The new report, titled Great Expectations, was commissioned by social housing provider Acis, which owns and manages more than 7,000 properties across the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Acis joined forces with seven other housing associations – Gentoo, Midland Heart, Orbit, Regenda, Riverside, WDH, and Yorkshire Housing – in what is considered to be one of the largest studies of its kind in the UK. The report features many examples of customers wanting a service more like those delivered by organisations outside of the social housing world.

Greg Bacon, Acis Chief Executive, said: “We commissioned this research to better understand the expectations of our customers and see how we might be able to adapt to meet those expectations. Ultimately, we want our customers to be happy with the service they get from us.

“The message has been received loud and clear. Customers simply want to receive a good service. They want things to be done quickly and they want to be treated with respect. And while it’s important that providers continue to pursue digital methods of communication, many customers still want that face-to-face human interaction. Great service should happen irrespective of the way it’s delivered.”

The report reveals the top ten qualities of great service in social housing:

  1. Repairs
  2. Speed
  3. Maintenance
  4. Listening
  5. Communicating
  6. Problem-solving
  7. Keeping promises
  8. Timeliness
  9. Customer service
  10. Respectfulness

On the back of the findings, Acis is making a series of recommendations for itself and other providers, as well as the government, to implement, including to learn from and benchmark against organisations outside of the social housing sector.

Greg added: “Housing associations need to recognise they do not operate in a bubble – in a social-housing-only world. They need to remember that from their customers’ perspective they are just one of hundreds of organisations their customers encounter daily. There is a perception that it was accepted in the past that people in social housing should accept the level of service they get because they often get their accommodation paid for. This needs to change.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 22, 2019
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2min588

Government plans to compensate workers for cancelled shifts have been described as a “step in the right direction”.

The Good Work Plan outlines proposals to compensate flexible staff when shifts are cancelled at short notice and to ensure they are provided with a reasonable period of notice for their allocated shifts. The document also suggests additional protections for individuals who are penalised if they do not accept last-minute shifts.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said of the initiative: “Innovative entrepreneurs and new business models have opened up a whole new world of working patterns and opportunities, providing people with freedom to decide when and where they work that best suits them.

“It’s vital that workers’ rights keep pace with these changes, reflect the modern working environment and tackle the small number of firms that do not treat their staff fairly. We are the first country in the world to address modern working practices and these protections will cement the UK’s status as a world-leader in workers’ rights.”

The proposed measures follow the government’s announcement that it is consulting on creating a single labour market enforcement body, which will strengthen protections for workers and provide them with new rights.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady welcomed the new proposals, but said: “Too many workers are treated like disposable labour. Making sure employers compensate staff for cancelling shifts at the last minute is a step in the right direction.

“But we need to deal with the root of this problem – the explosion of insecure work. That means banning shading practices like zero-hours contracts.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 19, 2019
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4min783

At this month’s UK Digital Experience Awards, the day’s biggest success story involved an online platform behind a swimming revolution taking place across Britain.

Swimtime is the largest independent swim school in the UK, and since its foundation in 1998 has helped thousands of young people take the plunge and learn to enjoy one of the healthiest activities around. The need for Swimtime was highlighted in a 2017 report by the Water Safety Review Group, which found that one-in-three children leave primary school unable to complete a length of a pool.

In a bid to boost the number of competent young swimmers, the Swimcloud platform was introduced by Swimtime, making it easier for customers to book and manage their lessons.

The innovative technology was the basis of the firm’s presentation at the UK Digital Experience Awards at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank, and judges awarded them the highest score in the Transport, Leisure and Tourism category.

That score also turned out to be the highest of the day, leading to Swimtime being named Overall Winner.

Water result: The UK Digital Experience Awards won by Swimtime

Theo Millward, Managing Director of Swimtime, said: “Our Swimcloud platform is truly groundbreaking, delivering a world-class Digital Experience to our customers and swimmers, helping us teach some 20,000 learners every week. We are the first in our sector to deploy such advanced technology including machine learning.

“To see the implementation and our results be recognised against such an outstanding field of major companies – many with vast budgets – was a true honour and something neither I or my team will forget in a hurry.”

H2 wow: The Swimtime team accept their Transport, Leisure and Tourism trophy

He added: “When the Overall Winner of the event was announced, hearing our name read out is something we’ll never forget! It was a very special day for us, and we enjoyed celebrating our victory with a well earned gin and tonic. Thank you to hosts Awards International for organising the event, and we look forward to entering next year to defend our crown.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 19, 2019
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3min689

The finalist line-up for the 2019 UK Business Awards has been unveiled, with a host of firms preparing to compete in  London for a title this November.

Hosted by Awards International, which brings events including the UK Customer Experience Awards to the capital each year, the UK Business Awards is a celebration of excellence and innovation in British business, with 18 categories that will see firms present before an expert judging panel in a bid to win.

Among those shortlisted as finalists are Manchester United FC, EDAM Group, HSBC UK, Virgin Trains, and many more. For a full list of shortlisted finalists, click here.

Categories for 2019 include Disruptive Business Model, Team of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, and the Well Being at Work Award.

Known as ‘The Dons’ in honour of Awards International Chairman Don Hales, the even is celebrating its fourth anniversary in 2019, and the ceremony on November 8 at the Park Plaza Riverbank is set to be the biggest to date.

All the biz: The UK Business Awards is celebrating its fourth year

Those keen to attend can take advantage of an Early Bird Discount offer until September 27

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. A huge congratulations to all those shortlisted.”

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 18, 2019
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3min927

A failure by firms to consider Employee Experience is leading to staff not realising the value of workplace technology investments.

That is the finding of the Digital Wellbeing survey, comissioned by Avanade, which revealed that rather than empowering employees, the proliferation of new technologies can cause confusion, leading to a lack of adoption.

Of those surveyed, only 39 percent are embracing modern workplace technology like Slack, Teams, WebEx, and Skype, while an overwhelming proportion remain wedded to more dated technology like email (73 percent). This is preventing businesses from bringing about the productivity gains and improvements in Employee Experience (EX) they expect from their technology investments.

The study was carried out by YouGov, analysing the working habits of 1,000 UK professionals. It showed that adoption, ROI, and value are all impacted when technology is implemented without consideration for EX. The study also found that while 68 percent of employees react positively to new technologies, only 39 percent actually use them on a regular basis.

Almost two-thirds of employees believe that new workplace technologies are being deployed without consideration of their needs, and they feel this is something HR should contribute in partnership with IT.

Stanley Louw, UKI head of digital innovation at Avanade, said: “We see the workplace as the new frontier for competitive advantage and a driver of sustainable growth. Worryingly, the study shows that while businesses continue to invest heavily in Customer Experience (CX), many are still underinvesting in EX. Considering that employees play a major role in delivering CX this would appear counter-intuitive. Poor EX can also impact engagement, creativity and ultimately wellbeing.

“New technologies offer new capabilities which, not only provide opportunities to improve the way employees work, but also create new ways of working. Successful organisations are those which work with employees to help them understand the relevance new technologies have for them and their specific role, identifying how day-to-day processes and activities can be improved by incorporating these new capabilities.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 17, 2019
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3min1078

Employees in UK businesses are optimistic about the future impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their jobs according to a nationwide study.

The research was carried out by global leader in omnichannel CX and contact centre solutions Genesys, official sponsor of the 2019 UK Customer Experience Awards.

It found nearly two-thirds of employees value new technological tools such as AI in the workplace. In fact, 64 percent of UK employees say it makes them more effective and allows them to focus on other tasks.

The findings reveal an overwhelmingly positive outlook from employees, despite the negative headlines anticipating such technologies would replace humans in the workplace. More than two-thirds of employees say they don’t feel threatened by technology at work. They don’t expect the technology to become a threat anytime soon either, given that 59 percent don’t believe AI or bots will take their jobs within the next ten years.

In fact, employees see AI as pivotal to business success with more than a fifth saying they believe AI or bots will be crucial to their companies ability to stay competitive in the future. While the survey shows that people are more excited about AI technology than fearful, it also found that in the long-term they want assurances from their employers in the form of training. The research showed an overwhelming majority (86 percent) of employees expect their employers to provide training that helps them prepare for an AI-enabled workplace.

Meanwhile, a fifth of employees say they are already working with AI, while just 16 percent report a negative experience of new technological tools in the workplace.

Other findings include 64 percent of employees believing there should be a requirement that companies maintain a minimum percentage of human employees versus AI-powered robots and machinery, and 41 percent of millennials saying they spend 50 percent or more of their time interacting with machines and computers rather than humans.

Steve Leeson, Vice President for UK and Ireland for Genesys, said: “It’s encouraging that the UK’s workers recognise the potential new technologies such as AI have to make their jobs more fulfilling and the value it can bring to businesses.

Some jobs will evolve as human work combines with the capabilities of AI. It’s increasingly important for companies to assess the need for training programs to help employees further skills like creativity, leadership and empathy, which AI just can’t replace.

“Businesses that adopt a blended approach to artificial intelligence, where AI-technologies work in unison with employees, will get the best out of their technology investment and their skilled workforce.”

 

 

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 17, 2019
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3min804

UK businesses have struggled to handle an upswing in personal data access requests since General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, it has been revealed.

Research by business process outsourcer Parseq was conducted following the first anniversary of GDPR, and shows that two-thirds of UK businesses (63 percent) saw an increase in data access requests from customers and their own employees in the 12 months following GDPR’s introduction in May 2018.

One-in-ten (10 percent) businesses experienced an increase of more than 50 percent in the volume of requests. This rose to almost a fifth (17 percent) for businesses with a turnover of £500m or more. Almost nine-in-ten (87 percent) businesses that have seen an increase in requests reported they had found effectively responding to them challenging, citing complexity (54 percent) and cost (54 percent) as the biggest obstacles.

A third (34 percent) of businesses that had experienced an increase in data access requests cited a reliance on paper documentation as a barrier. This figure rose to 47 percent for businesses with a turnover of £500m or more, tying with a lack of time as their second most frequently flagged hurdle after cost.

Under GDPR, individuals can submit a data access request free of charge to receive a copy of personal data that organisations hold on them, along with information on factors such as why their personal data is being used. In general, GDPR requires that organisations must respond to data access requests within one month.

Craig Naylor-Smith, Managing Director at Parseq, said: “GDPR made it easier for people to access their personal data from organisations. With this power at their fingertips, we expected to see that data access requests would rise. However, the fact that so many firms have struggled to respond to the surge in requests suggests that the pressure this has put on businesses has been greater than they anticipated, or that many were simply unprepared for what GDPR would bring.

“It could also have been affected by the August 2019 deadline for consumers to claim back Payment Protection Insurance, with individuals possibly using data access requests to help them uncover information to support their claims.

“What’s particularly interesting to see is that so many businesses state a reliance on paper documentation as a barrier. The digitisation of paper documents can make personal information easier to process and manage, make data access requests easier to respond to and, ultimately, help businesses use data to deliver innovative services in an increasingly competitive, digital landscape.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 16, 2019
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5min1122

The victors of the 2019 UK Digital Experience Awards have celebrated success in London, with swimming school Swimtime making waves by being crowned as the day’s Overall Winner.

The event at London’s Park plaza Riverbank saw firms from across Britain present before an expert panel of judges, offering insight into the digital journeys customers make when connecting with their favourite brands. The very best across 23 categories were identified, with organisations competing to claim titles including Best Digital Change & Transformation, Best Digital Marketing Campaign/Project, and Best Mobile Strategy.

Swimtime, which helps over 15,000 children learn to swim at over 300 venues across the UK, made a huge splash in the Transport/Leisure/Tourism category, beating tech firm rivals Valtech and car rental brand Sixt to claim the Gold award.

Their entry focussed on the innovative SwimCloud digital platform, which manages every conceivable stage of the customer journey from booking to delivery, managing payments, lesson planning, and much more.

Victory lap: The Swimtime team accept the 2019 Overall Winner award

That category entry secured the Overall Winner title later in the day, and a spokesperson for the firm said: “Our team and franchisees across the Swimtime family are delighted that the work and investment that has gone into SwimCloud, is not only paying off internally but being recognised as revolutionary in such a competitive award.”

The day was jam-packed with other significant wins for household name brands, including HCL Technologies UK in partnership with Manchester United. Together they secured Gold in the Best Digital Change & Transformation – Project/Platform category after showing judges how they are delivering a unified fan experience, combining subsystems, fan touchpoints, and revenue streams.

Best App was won by BT for its innovative My BT app, while Sky in partnership with Journey Further won Gold for Best PPC Strategy.

Appy days: The BT delegation receive the Gold Award for Best App

Click here for a full list of the day’s winners.

The event was hosted by Awards international, and along with the UK Customer Experience Awards, the UK Employee Experience Awards, and the UK Complaint Handling Awards, proudly holds a Gold Standard Awards Trust mark from the Independent Awards Standards Council (IASC).

CEO of UX design piuoneers Usability 24/7, Paul Blunden chaired the awards, steering the development of the event towards its most impactful year to date, and he will return in the coming years to ensure the event continues to explore and reward the very best digital experiences offered by brands.

Congratulating the day’s winners, Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “These awards highlight the most innovative Digital Experiences customers will come across in the UK today, and show just how vital a trusted digital journey is for today’s tech-savvy consumers.

“Well done to all who attended to present before our judges, and a special congratulations to all of the category winners, who truly deserve their success. We look forward to further exciting DX developments from our winning brands in the coming months and years, and hope to see many return to compete at next year’s UK Digital Experience Awards.”

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 15, 2019
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4min807

UK financial services and utilities businesses are underperforming when it comes to complaint handling, despite their growing belief that customers are satisfied with their performance.

That is according to Huntswood’s Complaints Outlook 2019 report, which combines research from financial services and utilities firms with survey responses from over 5,500 consumers. The nationally representative survey was carried out by Huntswood’s research partners, YouGov, and has revealed a perception gap between businesses and customers – 69 percent of firms believe that their customers are satisfied with their complaints are handled, while the reality is that only 26 percent of customers actually report being satisfied.

When asked, 87 percent of firms interviewed also said that their complaint handling staff are well equipped to do the job, however 61 percent of customers are currently dissatisfied with the empathy of the staff member they interacted with and 59 percent are dissatisfied with the knowledge of the staff member they interacted with.

Resolution times also remain an issue – 49 percent of firms believe they are resolving complaints at the first point of contact, yet only 18 percent of customers claim that their complaint was resolved immediately.

Complaints Outlook 2019 also reveals a disconnect between the perceived importance of complaints handling by businesses and a lack of focus on building required professional skills. This is evident in the fact that, despite 96 percent of businesses agreeing that the impact of the complaint handler on customer satisfaction is high or extremely high, 52 percent admitted that their employees do not complete professional complaint handling training programmes or qualifications.

With increased regulatory scrutiny around the treatment of vulnerable customers, 75 percent of the firms interviewed believe that their staff are equipped and empowered to deal with customers in vulnerable circumstances, with the remaining quarter feeling they are only part of the way to achieving this.

Furthermore, 57 percent of firms believe they are creating advocates in at least half of all cases, however only eight percent of customers surveyed had a positive complaints experience and shared it with friends and family.

This perception gap should be treated as a warning to firms, with 60 percent of customers adding that they would change provider as a result of a poor complaints experience.

Paul Scott, Chief Commercial Officer at Huntswood, said: “Firms are increasingly recognising the value that can be derived from the complaints journey.  However, despite this, our research shows that there are discrepancies between how financial services companies believe they are dealing with complaints and the reality for customers. Complaints are an unavoidable part of business, so it’s critical that they are handled well and that customers feel valued throughout.

“Firms should therefore be looking to create an effective complaints handling operation, underpinned by a robust strategy which focuses on providing the best possible outcomes for customers. Doing so can deliver enormous benefits, such as deeper relationships with existing customers and an increase in new relationships from customer advocacy.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 15, 2019
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3min708

Another group of passionate Customer Experience professionals has benefitted from a Masterclass with world-renowned consultant and author Ian Golding.

Held this month in the Stevenage Business & Technology Centre, the CX Professional Masterclass saw attendees from across the UK attend the two-day intensive training with the country’s foremost authority on customer centricity, and the first person in the world to be authorised by the CXPA to teach the CCXP accreditation.

As a result, Ian – whose book Customer What? The honest and practical guide to customer experience has become one of the most respected texts in the industry – has personally mentored around one quarter of the world’s CCXPs to date.

You too can learn from the very best at the next two-day CX Professional Masterclass on September 16 & 17, and a special Early Bird Discount offer is in place for those who book their place before August 16. The Masterclass will be followed by a one-day CCXP Exam Workshop on September 18, for those who wish to prepare for, and undertake, the exam.

Sharpening skills: Attendees of the July CX Professional Masterclass with Ian Golding (second from right)

Following the recent Masterclass, participants spoke with CXM to describe what they gained from attending.

Muss Haq, Strategic Customer Insight Manager at TSB, said: “Meeting Ian and networking with people who are as passionate and enthusiastic about CX as I am, was a fantastic experience.”

Meanwhile, Chris Durnford, Customer Experience Director at London Stone, described the Masterclass as “easily the best training course I have ever attended”. He added: Ian was a great host and really made the course interesting and informative. The time flew by, and the stories and videos were very memorable.”

Click here to book your place at September’s CX Professional Masterclass.

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 11, 2019
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4min960

With almost one-in-two UK workplaces having introduced gamified rewards for staff, new research has revealed which of this kind of incentive has the biggest impact on productivity.

A survey of 1,219 UK workers, carried out by workplace incentives and rewards provider One4all Rewards, has been published in The Gamification Report. It surveyed employees from different age groups, genders, and industries, revealing which type of gamified rewards systems would motivate them the most or for the longest period of time.

Virtually one-in-two (49 percent) workers were most likely to cite surprise or unexpected rewards as being the biggest motivator. However, the research shows just 36 percent of businesses are utilising this type of gamified reward.

Fixed action reward came in second place (39 percent), with workers stating they would be motivated to work harder if their employer offered them, while random rewards in return for completing a certain task or action would work for a third (29 percent).

Prize pacing style rewards – such as rewards that are given in one small piece at a time, for example a number of small rewards given at a staggered rate – were motivating for 27 percent. Meanwhile, 23 percent of UK workers stated they would work harder or for longer to unlock social treasure style rewards, which are awarded by peers.

The majority (42 percent) of businesses offering gamified rewards systems are relying on fixed action rewards – which award a specific prize for a specific action, such as a named bonus or prize for hitting a set target.

Michael Dawson, Managing Director of One4all, said: “It’s fantastic that almost half of UK businesses have already adopted a gamified reward and bonus system for their staff – but the research shows that some could be using them to greater impact employee productivity.

“Fixed action rewards and bonuses are often the number one style of gamified rewards offered amongst UK businesses – and it’s easy to see why, as the idea of giving a set bonus for hitting a specific target is something that has been around in the workforce for a long time – but it’s definitely worth bosses considering that it’s actually surprise rewards which will have the biggest impact on productivity and effort.

“Given that these types of rewards truly embody the spirit of gamified rewards – which recognise and praise good behaviour, to encourage workers to repeat this in the hope of receiving another reward – this makes sense.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 11, 2019
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9min2247

From poor work/life balance and long working hours to a lack of progression and difficult interviews, new research reveals what it’s really like to be employed by some of the biggest organisations in both the UK and US.

Based on LinkedIn’s annual report of the most sought-after companies to work at in the UK, Power House Truths curates and dissects over 210,000 employee reviews to see where each company really ranks across a number of metrics, including senior management rating, interview difficulty and average salary.

The 2019 LinkedIn Top Companies report discloses where jobseekers want to work, based on the four main pillars of interaction on the platform: interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand, and employee retention.

The research shows that despite being the most desirable workplace in the UK and the third most popular in the US, Amazon sits tenth in the rankings. Analysis of the organisation’s 32,000 employee reviews reveals a poor work/life balance, low senior management rating, and smaller salaries when comparing them to the US coveted companies.

The US companies do far better in the overall rank in comparison to UK organisations, holding an average rank position of 5.9 compared to the UK’s 9.2. This may be due to the discrepancy in average salary between major organisations, with UK-based BP paying its employees a staggering £47,700 less than Apple – despite making £29 million more in revenue.

Although Google is the most desirable workplace in the US according to LinkedIn, analysis of its 11,000 employee reviews actually places it in fourth position. Compared to other notable organisations featured on the rank, the tech company has the most difficult interview process, but offers a high average salary and good benefits.

The research also includes an extensive list of the advantages and disadvantages of the businesses included. For example, Google’s Free Food Everyday scheme for its 57,000 employees has been upvoted by 790 people leaving reviews. However, people who work their say it can be hard to maintain a healthy work/ life balance at the company, and they feel because the company is so large, “you don’t always get a lot of responsibility”.

Uber is praised for its flexible working hours by its drivers, but over 500 employees say drunk riders and the cost of car repairs are a huge downside to working for the organisation.

Top company benefits for those working at supermarket giant Sainsbury’s include good sick pay, critical illness cover, and a 10 percent employee discount card. Downsides to working for Sainsbury’s include finding that team leaders are often contradictory and its long working hours.

Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline offers one of the most favourable work/life balances, as well as its culture and values rating, with employees praising the company’s work environment and career opportunities. However, the company could improve its senior management rating, decision-making process and average salary.

According to recruitment partner Karen Dykes, the benefits companies choose to advertise play a key role in how quickly they accumulate staff and grow. She said: “With talent shortages reported in many sectors, top candidates are looking beyond basic salary offerings to attract them to certain roles.

“Benefits packages are most certainly in the spotlight, with a particular focus on those that support work/life balance. These include generous holiday entitlement, healthcare advantages and flexible working. If a skilled candidate has multiple interview offers, benefits packages will come into play. They may be time poor in terms of interview preparation, so will narrow the field by evaluating the overall package.”

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 11, 2019
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3min918

Current digital marketing techniques are failing to win over customers, a new report warns.

Published by London-based tech firm Ogury, The Reality Report examines the attitudes of over 287,000 mobile users towards marketing and data, and suggests that current practices of digital marketing fail to provide value to users and could endanger organisations’ long-term prosperity.

Fifty-two percent of respondents agree that intrusive or irrelevant messages give them a poor opinion of the app or website that hosts these messages, while only 25 percent of UK respondents believe that targeted messages are useful.

Wider market data suggests that the majority of mobile  ads are served by Big Tech companies, otherwise known as the walled gardens. These technology behemoths have access to an incomparable mass of user data, enabling them to target users with relevant messages. However, nine out of 10 UK users find targeted marketing messages annoying, even though 13 percent out of the 88 percent find them also useful.

Thomas Pasquet, Ogury’s co-founder and co-CEO, said: “If users feel any form of intrusion, they will be annoyed regardless of the relevancy of the message they receive. Therefore, brands and publishers should always offer consumers clear and fair choices: accept anonymous data to be collected to receive customised marketing; opt-out from sharing data and therefore receive irrelevant ads; or pay a fair price in exchange for a marketing free and data collection free environment.”    


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 10, 2019
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4min636

New research has shone a light on a potential recruitment crisis which could lead to “failure” for firms.

A study published by recruitment-tech firm, Worksome found that up to a third of new employees are not passing their six-month probationary reviews, while only eight percent of businesses feel new hires have all the skills needed for the job, costing companies thousands of pounds and creating long-lasting negative effects.

The research found that, on average, businesses spend nearly £6459 a year on recruitment and hiring. If a candidate doesn’t work out, not only are these fees lost, but the salary for the probationary period is also wasted. With the average advertised UK salary being £35k, this equates to potentially £17k lost over a six month probation period.

In total, that means that one in every three new hires could be wasting £23k for a business.

The research also revealed that over a quarter of businesses prioritise cost over quality when it comes to recruitment, but 21 percent say they later come to regret that decision. Meanwhile, 32 percent of business owners say recruiters are too pushy, and rush them to make a decision.

Hiring hindrance: Only six percent of business believe that recruiters have access to the best talent.

According to Mathias Linnemann, co-founder of Worksome, there are many reasons why a business may turn to a recruitment consultant.

“The prospect of saving time can be a major lure especially in a world where it’s essential to fill positions quickly, and promise to deliver a quality of candidate that businesses are otherwise unable to access,” he said.

“For business leaders lacking confidence in recruitment, the promise of quickly supplied talent is enough to make the recruiter’s commission fees seem worth it.

“However, our research demonstrates that the traditional recruiter method of securing talent is simply no longer working. Businesses are clearly feeling that there is lack of knowledge in their business which – in a fast moving world where getting the right skills, at the right times – could be the difference between success and failure.”

Sharing his thoughts on how employers and recruiters can ensure that they don’t fall foul of the failings in the recruitment process, he added: “With a third of candidates not making it past their six-month probationary period, we can see that something is broken in the recruitment and hiring process.

“While our research suggests pain-points relating to the use of recruitment consultants, there is no one single factor to blame. For many businesses, recruitment consultants offer a vital service and so shouldn’t be dismissed, or all tarred with the same brush. If hiring managers can feel more confident about candidates and recruits before they walk through the door, they can take back a level of control and feel more empowered to make the right decisions.”


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