Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 9, 2019
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3min459

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Lucinda PullingerLucinda PullingerApril 25, 2019
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9min346

According to HSE, around 15.4 million working days were lost due to work-related stress or anxiety last year, with 23 percent of full-time employees admitting to feeling burned out at work all the time.

Following these recent statistics, we wanted to identify the early signs of burnout and how to effectively avoid hitting ‘rock bottom’.

While January is one of the toughest times of the year for career blues in the UK, it is especially important to look out for signs of burnout later in the year as well. Stress and exhaustion at work impacts employees of all ages around the world, and at every level of the career ladder. Similar to imposter syndrome, high achievers and perfectionists are particularly susceptible to burning themselves out.

Six key factors that lead to burnout at work

  1. High Workload: In the UK, 44 percent of stress or depression at work is caused by a high workload
  2. Unclear Job Expectations: In America, only 60 percent of employees say they know what is expected
  3. Conflict: One of the main work-related factors causing burnout
  4. Lack of Managerial Support: Those with a strong support system are 70 percent less likely to experience burnout
  5. No Work/Life Balance: The inability to manage work and personal life can have a snowball effect
  6. Stressful Working Environment: There is a correlation between stressful jobs and burnout

If your work and family life are consistently stressful, you’re almost certainly at risk of burnout. Most people only realise that they are truly burnt out when it’s too late and then they need to work towards eliminating the symptoms, often while still having to deal with the stresses that caused it in the first place.

Keeping an eye out for warning signs can help you make changes proactively, making it easier to prevent burnout, while you still have the will and motivation to make the changes required.

Career burnout symptoms

Disengagement

Over-engagement is a symptom of high-stress levels. Going to sleep and waking up thinking about a problem or a deadline is a perfect example of over-engagement. When you start to disengage with your work or personal problems by ignoring or avoiding them, burnout warning bells should start ringing.

Helplessness

Stress usually manifests as a sense of urgency, often resulting in hyperactivity. Anyone facing perpetual deadlines knows the feeling. Burnout, however, is characterised by helplessness and hopelessness; the belief that nothing you do is going to have any effect on your situation or drive any real change.

Blunted emotions

When under stress, you may find that your emotions are exaggerated and more difficult to control, resulting in you becoming angrier or upset easier than usual. With blunted emotions, however, you may feel that you do not have the energy to react emotionally to situations, or that you are unable to feel excited or worried at all.

If you’ve started exhibiting any of these symptoms, you may be approaching burnout and should act to minimise its severity and effect. 

Effective ways to deal with burnout

Acknowledge your problems

It’s easy to ignore or downplay other issues in your life that may be contributing to your burnout. Make a list of all things you worry about daily, including the things you feel that you have no power to change. By ordering these by a level of importance, you’ll know which issues you need to address first.

Seek support

Whether it’s from a co-worker or manager, talking about the problem and seeking advice is a critical step into addressing the causes of your burnout.

Book time off

In some cases, merely having some time away from work, helps re-evaluate your priorities and enables you to get to the root of your stresses. If you’re worried about using up all your annual leave, strategically book leave to optimise your time off.

Slow it down

It’s vitally important to learn to create a mental divide between work and your life outside it, as it’s extremely unhealthy and unproductive to be thinking about work during ‘off time’.

Ask for more flexibility

With a huge shift towards businesses becoming more agile, the growth of remote working, and an increasing amount of co-working and flexible workspace options around the world, more companies are starting to introduce flexible working hours to reduce commuting time and increase happiness.

Take a few minutes each day to acknowledge your anxieties for what they are; irrational and exaggerated, and prioritise things like spending time with friends and family and outdoor activities.

It’s important to be honest with yourself during the onset of burnout. Remember, these are simply tips to help you improve your situation in the short term. Burnout has genuine health implications, and we strongly recommend that you seek professional help in overcoming it. A mental health professional will provide you with tools to make your recovery simpler and easier to maintain.


Amanda RichesAmanda RichesJanuary 15, 2019
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7min1473

Whether you chose to set New Year resolutions or not, January is a good time to reflect on the year before and grasp the opportunities of a new beginning.

I’ve been reflecting on what successful CX leaders we partner with at Medallia are doing, and have identified five key actions to ensure success in 2019…

1. Start with the end in mind – build an impact plan

Visualise where you want to be at the end of this year. What will make you say this is the best year ever for your Voice of Customer programme? If you wrote your company report now, what would you want it to say about your Customer Experience?

Clients with truly successful programmes have an impact plan. They know what outcomes they are targeting and then set programme priorities to really drive impact. For example, retailers targeting increased basket size in-store may use their programme to instil and track behaviours that link to spending, such as assisting customers and inspiring them to buy.

Companies wanting to improve and increase digital transactions can collect insight online to quickly fix site errors or identify self-serve opportunities (look into how Western Union use digital insight). Think about what your C-Suite care about. What business outcomes are you looking to drive? What three programme priorities should you implement in the next 100 days to drive these outcomes?

2. Engage your leaders with a clear list of asks

Visible leadership is the number one priority for a successful programme, but getting consistent CX leadership can be difficult. Provide them with tools to help them, and focus on the tangible things they can do to support the programme.

Ask your leaders to:

  • Schedule feedback at the start of every key meeting
  • Ensure their teams feel empowered to take action
  • Regularly recognise people based on positive customer feedback or actions they’ve taken to improve the experience
  • Participate visibly in closed loop conversations. For example, a CEO of a Telco client of ours meets with two detractors (0-6 on the NPS® scale) every fortnight. He finds this extremely rewarding and insightful, but it also sends a clear cultural message that recovering detractors and fixing their issues is of paramount importance

Usually you can find at least one leader who is absolutely committed to delivering amazing CX. Not those who are simply supportive; I mean those who really do ‘walk the walk’. They live it – they put their own reputations on the line to drive programme success. How can they help you engage other leaders in doing the same? If you’re a leader and your customers are your number one priority, then what are you waiting for?

3. Make it easy for your customers to give feedback – anytime and anywhere

Take an honest look at your programme – are you really covering all the touchpoints or journeys that are important to your customers? Do you have a comprehensive view of your Customer Experience? Have you mapped out your Customer Experience to highlight the potential gaps? And do you give your customers the flexibility to choose where and how they want to give feedback?

Whilst an email to web/mobile survey is often core to programmes, ensure you give your online customers the opportunity to tell you why they abandoned their basket or perhaps never even put something in their basket because the descriptions or photos were unclear.

Think about how you can solicit feedback through new interaction channels like mobile messaging. Place tablet surveys accessible in physical locations.

4. Encourage others to join the party

Too often I see programmes get stuck with the core CX team or one or two others analysing results, themes, and driving action. You will not drive change from what you centrally control – you have to engage and enable the whole organisation.

This shouldn’t be just operational, call centre, or sales champions. Make sure you provide tools, reports, and training to support your wider teams, e.g. HR, IT, Finance, Legal, Buying, Marketing etc. Set expectations with them about how they should contribute to CX, and make the focus about finding improvement opportunities.

5. Forget about the number and become a storyteller

In 2019, concentrate less on the numbers, and actively communicate stories across your organisation. Don’t get me wrong, numbers are important to pinpoint areas to investigate further, but an over-focus on scores is unhealthy.

We should all spend our time driving action on the things that matter to customers rather than worrying about – or worse still, challenging the numbers. Humans are motivated by stories. Communicating how one business unit saved thousands of call centre hours by implementing SMS claim status updates helped a leading global insurer energise other markets to find similar impactful improvements.

More than 10 years on, I still mention the customer from my first hotel CX programme who raved about how their child’s lost teddy was sent back to them in a makeshift bed in a box with tiny holes so that “Teddy could breathe fresh air on his journey home”. The action of this housekeeper inspired so many others to find ways to surprise and delight their customers.

Drive quick wins, work with your committed leaders to innovate and test improvements, look under every stone for success. Then build your own stories and shout about them!


Joe JarrettJoe JarrettDecember 19, 2018
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6min986

Is the increase in martech spend at the cost of Customer Experience?

There’s a growing challenge in marketing that we’re not speaking about nearly enough. For all the investment brands are ploughing into technology to increase capability and visibility, many still seem to be failing to gain the focus to truly place customers at the heart of the brand. Now is the time to have this conversation (and, in fact, I find myself having this conversation with Simple customers increasingly often).

Martech spend has surpassed that of labour this year as Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey for 2018-2019 reports, with the growing popularity of software-as-a-service tools across many industries pushing spending up by almost one-third in just a year.

According to the report, “marketing technology has accounted for an increasingly significant share of marketing expense budgets in recent years. In 2018, this march of martech shows no signs of slowing down. Up from 22 percent in 2017, martech now accounts for a whopping 29 percent of the total marketing expense budget, making martech the single largest area of investment when it comes to marketing resources and programs.”

So how can brands harness the power of so much martech to get closer to their customers? And what’s the best way to ensure technology is enabling marketers to get closer to – rather than further from – their customers?

At a recent event hosted by Simple in London we put these questions to a panel of senior marketers and technologists responsible for some of the highest profile brands in the world over the past two decades. Here’s what they had to say:

Engage on a human level

With so much required of modern marketing departments it’s easy to lose sight of who the company is targeting and why, said Abigail Comber, CMO at Oyster Yachts.

“You should be able to ask of any colleague in marketing, ‘When was the last time you saw the whites of your customers’ eyes?’ Because if they haven’t then they don’t know their customer,” explained Comber, who formerly held roles as Head of Brand, Customer & Marketing at British Airways.

“Hearing customers tell stories about their lives helps marketers remember that they are dealing with human beings as opposed to data and digits.  Without that context, money is being wasted on flowing data into the wrong channels and building frequency for a customer that ultimately isn’t that interested in the brand because you haven’t scratched the surface of who they are as a person.”

Use data to your advantage

It’s now not uncommon for a marketing department to use upwards of 90 tools and apps to drive transformation. While this might be seen as an opportunity to be 90 times more connected, so much technology is fast exhausting marketers’ time, budget and sanity. After all, with 90 times the tools and technology comes 90 times more data, 90 times more cost and 90 more things to draw your time and attention away from your customers.

“Data is a support and we are drowning in it,” said Comber. Now more than ever before marketers’ need to understand the difference between research or data and insight, she explained.  “We focus so much on data that we often lose sight of where our customers are in their brand experience journey at any one time.”

Eliminate complexity

While there are many niche tools that purport to give brands the insights necessary to drive this change, much of the focus to date has been on campaign execution, said Simple’s global CEO Aden Forrest.

“Everyone wants a digital transformation, but what they’re really saying is that they need to put the customer at the centre of their universe,” he explained.

“The questions marketers should be asking are, ‘How can we be more relevant to our customers? And how can we get our brand more consistently delivering to those customers?'”

In 2019 marketers need to align, focus, and understand the customer in order to create the right outcomes.

 


Mark GreenMark GreenNovember 9, 2018
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5min712

In business, the adage “It starts at the top” can prompt an uncomfortable question: “Can the boss finish what he or she started?”

Many CEOs and entrepreneurs wrestle with this challenge, with both short and long-term implications. Meanwhile, a disconnect develops between the CEO’s initial big-picture vision for the company and its seemingly sporadic execution toward those goals.

The Global Leadership Forecast 2018 highlights issues of greatest concern to CEOs;  among them is a lack of alignment among senior leaders. The last problem any CEO  wants is an inability to get everyone on the same page, aligned and executing their strategy.

I’ve witnessed CEOs struggle with this question: ‘”Why is it so difficult to execute what I already know I should be doing”. They and their teams generally know what to do and how to get it done. But they avoid the decisions and actions they know could advance their success.

All roads lead back to obstacles within your mind. New behaviours leading to execution require new ways of thinking.

Here are five ways for CEOs to change behaviours that obstruct them from leading their company efficiently and effectively:

If/when, then

A study on influencing behaviour by German researchers found that formulating an “if/when, then” plan – stating a specific time to accomplish a task – provided a cue to provoke the desired response. I’ve worked with many CEOs who were not classically trained in accounting and finance and are overwhelmed by numbers. Such fears drove them to avoid financial information and reports. Making an if/when, then statement compels them to change the behaviour.

Relate and repeat

To change, one needs to believe that change is possible. Cultivate relationships with those who can help you see that the change you desire is attainable. Then repeat by testing out the new behaviour or thought pattern and seeking feedback.

Know when to say no

As the company leader, being a giver is important – but not to the point where sacrifice damages your own performance. Credible research shows that high-performing givers knew when to say no. Track your yes-to-no ratio. It’s the only way to protect your time, energy, and focus as a leader.

Forget perfectionism

Perfectionism is a waste of time and energy for a CEO. The 80/20 Rule – also known as the Pareto principle, first articulated by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto – holds that roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. The 80/20 Rule also applies to perfectionism – the majority of the value in any endeavour comes from a small amount of the overall effort. Perfectionism frequently limits our progress and fuels our fears. If you can keep the 80/20 Rule in mind, you can reduce your fears and accomplish more.

Hold yourself accountable

One way CEOs and entrepreneurs can judge their performance is by asking themselves self-assessment questions daily. You need accountability strategies that require you to evaluate your progress and focus on the importance of your goals. Often, the best way to modify a behaviour is just to jump in. Seek out examples of the behaviours you want to employ, embrace some discomfort, and emulate them until they begin to feel natural.


Clare GabaClare GabaJune 13, 2018
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3min1340

If you are starting out with a new business venture, or even if you are well-established, then before you begin to look into digital marketing you must ask yourself the question: ‘Who are we?’

This is a question that should be asked before you do anything really; it seems relatively straightforward, yet you would not believe the multitude of people who cannot answer simple questions about who they are and what their company does.

So, before you start to put plans in place, ask yourself these questions:

1) Who is our customer?

If you think your audience is young professionals, your marketing department thinks it could be children, and your COO reckons an older audience is better suited, you have a bit of a problem!

2) What is our challenge or opportunity?

Where is the gap in the market? What is your USP (unique selling point)? Where do you position yourselves? Where are you making a breakthrough where others haven’t?

3) What is the main customer benefit of our product or service?

It’s all well and good designing furniture that you deem to be of a high quality (justifying a higher price point), but why is it such high quality? Have you looked at your competitors? What benefit does your furniture offer over theirs? Look? Feel? The brand behind it? The comfort? The list goes on.

For example, with my marketing startup, weflourish, I pride myself on being new to the marketing consultancy ‘game’, but with over 10 years’ in-house experience under my belt across multiple industries.

4) What do our customers say about us?

Surveys, focus groups, testimonials…in other words: feedback, feedback, feedback!

You may think your staff understand your company best, and they often do, but don’t forget to find out how the public sees your product or service, as they will give you a valuable unbiased point of view, one that you really need to succeed.

5) Can we visualise the Customer Experience?

If you can’t envisage the user journey, how can you expect the actual customer to have an easy, fluid experience in purchasing your product?

Simply put, if you or your colleagues stumble upon any of these questions, or answer them differently to each other (I advise conducting this activity as a team task), then a larger discussion is needed amongst the team in order to get yourself on the same page internally, before you go further afield.

Please send thoughts at clare@weflourish.biz. Clare Gaba will be judging at the 2018 UK Digital Experience Awards.


David TaylorDavid TaylorJune 8, 2018
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5min1429

Like every other area of technology, social media continues to evolve on an almost permanent basis. In a post-GDPR and post Cambridge Analytica world, where algorithms completely govern what users see online and uber-influencers control the purchasing decisions of millions, the time has come to construct a proper strategy to engage fully with both your customers and your staff.

Years ago, in a pre-digital age, a marketing or PR team would manage a company’s brand profile. While word of mouth was important amongst customers, none of them had the platforms to communicate positive or negative messages very far. Nor in fact could their staff.

In today’s predominantly digital world, any organisation’s brand is a complex jigsaw made up of potential contributions from the sales and marketing team, suppliers, customers and of course employees. Together they then make up your overall digital footprint.

So how can you harness the power of these stakeholders or at the very least, minimise the risk of them damaging your brand?

The first step is to have a proper digital business plan for your company. This is not a marketing, sales, PR, or social media plan but one which looks at almost all areas of your business including HR, recruitment, internal communications, IT, and even governance. You’re planning for a future in a predominantly digital world, so you need to adjust how you run your company.

This plan also needs to look at your staff and customer needs today and five, ten15, years into the future. Plus, you must put together really comprehensive, proactive social media guidelines for both your staff and even your suppliers.

Closely linked to having a proper business plan is a thorough examination of your company’s corporate culture. Are you inspiring real creative energy, are you looking to innovate your offering, do you have a leadership team who ‘get’ social media, do you encourage your staff to come up with new ideas and do you really listen to what your customers are saying?

Content has always been king, and never more so than in a multi-channel, multimedia world which requires huge volumes of articles, images, videos and now filters, emojis and games.

The trick is to understand where to source the content. Fortunately, there are four different sources: 1) internally, 2) externally, 3) your customers with User Generated Content, and 4) your own staff with Employee Generated Content. Together, they should ensure you always have interesting and engaging content to fill not only your digital channels but also your traditional and internal ones too.

Content is nothing without community. As many staff as possible within companies now need to be at least willing to be proactive on social media – whether they are customer-facing or not. This is where you need to harness the power of your internal brand ambassadors.

The more you can get your staff and your customers to engage with the content you are creating, the higher your brand visibility will be on almost all the channels. Of course, this can then be amplified by using targeted advertising on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn to reach the widest possible audiences.

The final piece of the strategy is to harness the data to build your business for the future. Monitor the conversations, the trends, the engagement with your posts, track the performance of your website, your insights. Also, in this post GDPR world, make sure your CRM system is constantly updated and you’re looking to migrate away from email lists to more proactive social data.

While none of this is simple and does require a major shift in the way that businesses need to be run, the good news is that it doesn’t necessarily require a large budget. It’s about being digitally-adaptive so your company can thrive today and well into the future.

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 9, 2018
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2min881

Worldwide professional services firm FDM Group has been announced as the latest official partner for the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards, which will take place this spring.

Hosted by Awards International in London’s Park Plaza Hotel on May 17, the daytime gala event will celebrate and reward exceptional organisations and individuals at the forefront of promoting and inspiring Employee Experience (EX) across the UK.

FDM Group is the latest business to join the awards as official partners, alongside Benefex, Cranfield School of Management, Customer Experience Magazine, and event sponsors Barnardo’s.

The cutting-edge company enjoys hugely successful relationships with global clients, and has UK offices in London, Leeds, Brighton, and Glasgow while their international outposts include New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Andy Brown is FDM Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, and he said the company is “delighted” to have joined the 2018 Employee Experience Awards at a time when the concept of EX is becoming ever-more crucial to the running a business.

“Understanding how we create strong, positive emotional connections with our employees so they are motivated and inspired is crucial for the benefit of their wellbeing and that of the overall organisation and this is where Employee Experience plays a part,” he said.

“These awards provide an opportunity for us all to share best practice in employee experience and encourage others to do the best they can for their people”

Neil Skehel, the CEO of Awards International, said:

“It is a pleasure to have a partnership with an internationally recognised firm like FDM Group. Their influence and involvement with the 2018 awards will help us reach our goal of making this year’s event the most successful to date.”


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamNovember 23, 2017
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2min479

It seems clear that the great British public will now very rarely be bothered to write or call companies when something is wrong.

Instead we are likely to simply moan or let rip on social media before stopping to use a brand or service, probably without telling the company – a trend that has spawned the growth in social media monitoring.

That’s just one of the main findings from the annual ‘Customers in Britain’ survey earlier this year, which records that ‘traditional’ complaint behaviour now runs at less than half the volume recorded a decade ago.

Until about 2010 the survey regularly recorded that about half of all adults made three or more complaints per year to any brand or organisation – and it’s these higher volume complainers who in particular have gone elsewhere: no doubt social media is now their main channel.

Perhaps less surprising is that the highest proportions of classic ‘direct to the brand’ complaints behaviour is generated from more traditional rural areas, the older age bands and more upscale social groups.

In terms of sector, we have seen for many years that the highest volumes of complaints are received by the supermarkets, banks and utility suppliers. However, whilst retailers generally do well at turning adversity to their advantage, with no-quibble refunds or exchanges, utilities struggle to get the same high scores for complaint handling and satisfaction, whilst the lowest scores for complaint resolution go to Central and local Government services.

‘Customers in Britain’ is an annual survey available to purchase, with a free overview also available from Firebrand Insight.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamAugust 9, 2017
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6min436

More power to the display.

Much of the recent talk surrounding the iPhone 8 has focussed on its hardware. Now, courtesy of a new leak, we can go back to speculating its design. The latest image — via the web’s resident handset leaker Evan Blass — indicates Apple’s next flagship will be mostly screen, and very little bezel.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

 The render shows the new iPhone within a neon yellow case, much like the Urban Armor Gear shell for the iPhone 7. Unlike the exclusive leaksEngadget obtained in May, the latest image is just of the front of the phone. It suggests the top of the phone will have a notch for the dual camera sensors and central earpiece — the rest of the front will be taken up by the phone’s display.

As usual, it’s best to greet this latest render with a dash of skepticism. For starters, the date on the iPhone is March, which indicates it could be a few months old.

If it does turn out to be accurate, however, that means Apple is following the screen-dominated designs spearheaded by SamsungLG, and the Essential Phone. Blass also pointed out the similarities with Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s device, going so far as to say he preferred the look of the Essential Phone.

Rubin’s former company, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be following the pack. The latest leaks of Google’s upcoming Pixel phone suggest it won’t cut down on its top and bottom bezels.

The new image should get fans talking as they anticipate the next iPhone’s release. Your feelings will likely betray which camp you reside in: pro-, or anti-bezel.

Written by: Saqib Shah

Source: Engadget

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