In this interview, Ian – who also leads the CX Professional Masterclass and CCXP Exam Workshop – outlines the work of CX professionals, how companies test their CX offering, how organisations can change and improve to become more customer-centric, and more…
The International Customer Experience Awards is returning to Amsterdam in 2019 following an inaugural event that brought together some of the biggest names in global CX, and the very best customer-centric organisations from around the world.
Entries for the event are now open, with a special Early Bird offer available for those who register before June 12th. Finalists for the event, which is hosted by Awards International UAE & Netherlands, will be announced in August, with the gala ceremony taking place on November 21st.
The Gulf Customer Experience Awards, hosted by Awards International UAE, is the biggest celebration of CX in the Middle East and beyond, with the next awards finals taking place in Dubai next January.
As Customer Experience continues to be the key differentiator for competitive brands, leaving product and price in its wake, these awards recognise and celebrate the businesses and organisations which are truly placing customers at the very heart of what they do.
Click here to register your interest for the next awards in 2020.
Boston Dynamics demo clip shows we are not quite living in an I, Robot future – even if the machines can skate better than you can
Technology baron Elon Musk is scared of AI, warning of visions of the robot apocalypse when Terminator-esque machines decide they no longer need humans. But judging from the progress made by arguably the most advanced humanoid robots, if Terminator does show up, it won’t even be able to stack shelves without falling over.
The hilarious outtake was part of a video demonstrating the advances made by former Google-owned Boston Dynamics, featuring a series of robots including the Atlas humanoid automaton, which while impressive in many respects is far from a highly capable robotic killing machine – or job taker.
While robotics have certainly come a long way, now able to stand, or even roll on skates in a video that can only be described as the stuff of nightmares, Boston Dynamics has shown that an i, Robot-style future is currently very, very far from reality.
So for the time being, the now Soft Bank-owned Boston Dynamics may not have achieved the goal of a house robot, but at least it has provided the world with amusement at a robot that tries so hard, but ultimately fails. But maybe don’t laugh too hard, a machine never forgets.
(Reuters) – Shares in Direct Line Insurance Group (DLGD.L), Britain’s largest motor insurer, jumped to a record high on Tuesday after it reported better than expected first-half profit and raised its interim dividend.
Intense competition in British motor insurance has put pressure on premiums in recent years but the average price of car insurance hit a record high in the second quarter, driven by new rules for personal injury claims and a tax rise.
Direct Line said operating profit from ongoing operations rose 9.5 percent to 354.2 million pounds, well above a company consensus forecast of 268 million pounds, and it raised its interim dividend by 1.9 pence to 6.8 pence.
Its shares jumped as much as 7.6 percent to 403 pence and were 6 percent higher at 0900 GMT, the top gainer in the FTSE 350 index of non-life insurance companies. FTNMX8530. The previous record high was 399.1 pence on Dec. 17, 2015.
Shares in smaller rival Hastings (HSTG.L), which reports half-year results next week, were up 2.8 percent while British motor and home insurer Admiral (ADML.L) was 2.9 percent higher.
Direct Line said its solvency capital ratio rose to 173 percent from 165 percent.
It also released 49 million pounds of reserve after a review of the additional costs from a lower Ogden discount rate indicated a smaller than expected increase to claims costs.
The Ogden discount rate was cut to minus 0.75 percent from 2.5 percent in February, effectively raising the amount insurers must pay out in the event of successful personal injury claims.
Direct Line, whose brands include Churchill, Green Flag and Privilege, said gross written premiums rose 5 percent to 1.69 billion pounds in the six months, with a 10 percent rise in gross written motor premiums.
Its in-force policies from continuing operations rose to 15.8 million, up 0.5 percent from a year earlier. It reported a combined operating ratio of 88.9 percent and maintained its target of 93 percent to 95 percent for 2017 and the medium term.
Does your work have a free bar and give you free ski trips? If not, you’re in the wrong job.
What if going to work was more than just doing your 9-5? Imagine if on top of your usual salary you also benefited from a load of great perks. It might seem like a pipe dream to many but there are businesses out there with on-site hair salons, free beer on Fridays, all expenses paid ski trips and rooftop bars.
Not to mention one that offers a £10,000 bonus once you complete 10 years of service. Here we have rounded up some of the best perks enjoyed by Greater Manchester workers. Now get updating that CV!
There are hundreds of full-time, part-time, permanent and temporary jobs available on our jobs site here.
The scheme, thought to be the first of its kind, has been set up to give employees time to bond with their new pet.
BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “At BrewDog, we care about two things above all else: People and beer. We also just really, really like dogs.”
Manchester City FC
Being a fan as well as a staff member would reap the greatest benefits at Manchester City .
Employees at the Premier League club benefit from 20 per cent discount on merchandise and are also entitled to two half price season tickets.
The club is keen to promote a healthy lifestyle and all employees are entitled to free breakfast and lunch which is carefully prepared by a first team nutritionist.
Although sugars, chocolate and red meat are out we are told the chicken, fish and quinoa is plentiful.
Employees at electricals giant AO.com may be the least stressed in the region – with an on-site pamper pad they can using DURING work hours.
The online retailer certainly knows how to look after staff as its Bolton headquarters boasts a glitzy nail and hair salon, relaxing massage room, and on-site Starbucks.
Workers can book to use the spa facilities during contractual hours as management believe ‘personal time should be spent on things that matter the most like friends and family.’
The treatments are heavily subsidised by more than 50%, with a gents haircut starting at just £3, and the cost taken straight out of wages – with a cashless card system in place.
This business management consultancy is all about Zen.
Staff enjoy free weekly exercise classes, including rock climbing and Tai Chi, to keep fit in mind and body.
They also hold a family BBQ for Peninsula employees and their children with face painting and bouncy castles. Founder Peter Done said:
“In the media, there has been a huge focus on creating more fulfilling and decent work in light of the recent scandals over bad working conditions and insecure contracts and here at Peninsula, we are happy to offer good work to all our employees.”
Not content with a cutting edge new office in Salford Quays, telecommunications giant TalkTalk have some great staff perks.
Starting with the obvious – free broadband, TV and discounted mobile packages for workers. And if they live in a superfast broadband area they will upgrade you free of charge. Bonus.
Personal benefits range from Beer Club, which delivers a crate of different craft beers every month, while others are tempted by the ability to purchase the latest Apple gadgets directly through their payroll.
Accountancy firm Sedulo are vying for Manchester’s coolest office space with a retro sweet shop, pool room and swanky bar.
Staff get to use the quirky business rooms named after influential entrepreneurs and have access to a fully-stocked Tiki bar on the roof.
The festive season must be circled in every office calendar as workers get whisked away to a European destination for a long weekend of fun and team building. These have included Barcelona, Milan and Portugal.
“The Auto Trader is a little northern secret,” says operations director Nathan Coe.
With 650 people based at its ‘super cool’ office at Number One First Street, not many people realise the sheer size of its operations right here in Manchester city centre.
But here it is and the people who work there are possibly having a great time of it.
With a beauty room, gaming area and film and knitting groups most bases are covered.
While the serious stuff looks good too – adoption leave with enhanced pay, volunteering days to spend with a charity of your choice and flexible working.
The Dash Wand first launched in the US in 2014 (though only made it to the UK in 2016), and now it’s getting an upgrade. Amazon is banking in Alexa, its voice-controlled assistant. Press a button and you can talk to it to place shopping orders, or ask it questions, or control your smart home’s lighting. (It doesn’t play music, however, unlike the Amazon Echo smart speaker.)
Alexa originated in the Amazon Echo smart speaker, but Amazon is now on a mad dash to include AI assistant in as many platforms as possible, from fridges to cars. Amazon — like Google, Apple, and others — is betting that the next big frontier for tech will be AI and smart assistants that control your home, and it’s determined to take advantage of its early start on the competition.
The Dash Wand with Alexa now means it is cheaper than ever for people to get Amazon’s AI assistant in their homes. The Echo Dot, Amazon’s previous cheapest Alexa-enabled device, costs $39.99 (or £44.99 in the UK). The new Dash Wand is going for just $20 in the US and includes $20 of Amazon credit — making it, Amazon says, “essentially free.”
UK customers may have to wait, however. It’s not currently listed on Amazon UK, and Amazon’s tech products often launch months or even years later in the UK compared to the US. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Here’s a video of the Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa in action:
Google has released a pair of new ads to promote its connected home speaker Google Home. The ads arrive alongside a current Google Home sale, and both embrace that playful style common in a number of the search giant’s commercials.
The videos make use of almost identical visuals — featuring a slow zoom into a Google Home speaker that appears to be sitting on a kitchen counter, and the same voice actress, but they cover different aspects of the Google Home experience.
One is concerned with impressing your friends with TV casting and music streaming, while the other focuses more on what it can do as a personal assistant. Take a look at them in the videos above and below.
Google seems to be targeting a relatively young audience with these commercials — using phrases like “oh-em-gee” (OMG) and situations like showing the Google Home off to friends — while its Super Bowl commercial was more family-oriented (and even featured presumed retirees making use of it).
Whoever they’re for, it looks like smart speakers could be here to stay, with Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Essential, and possibly even Samsung, all now involved in their production.
For more on the Google Home, visit our full review at the link.
The iPad has never been a full-fledged computer. At its launch back in 2010, it was mocked for having a large screen without a typical large-screen operating system like macOS or Windows, and it was dismissed as just a bigger iPhone. But, as it turned out, people found a whole bunch of really cool and enjoyable uses for that enlarged iPhone, and even as iPad sales have slowed over recent years, Apple’s tablet has proven enduringly popular among those who’ve acquired one. At WWDC 2017, Apple underlined its commitment to pushing the iPad as its next computing platform, and for the first time ever, it even has me interested.
In all the time it’s been around, I haven’t been able to answer the question of who the iPad is for. It’s often been the wrong question, mind you, as the iPad shows its strengths best when it’s serving narrowly defined purposes and applications: a sketching pad for some, a comic book reader for others, and a great way to show off pictures for all. But with the changes to how the iPad works in iOS 11, Apple is ready to answer the question of who the iPad is for in a bold and emphatic way: it’s for everyone. What this latest generation of Apple’s tablet represents is a maturation into a truly versatile and powerful computer, thanks to Apple’s usual mix of tightly integrated hardware and software upgrades.
iOS 11 is a software update dedicated almost entirely to the iPad Pro. It brings better multitasking, drag-and-drop functionality, access to the device’s file system via a new Files app, and even an auto-hiding app dock that works strikingly like the one in macOS. The app switcher from Apple’s desktop operating system has now made its way to the iPad. For so many years it was macOS that was leeching iOS features up into the desktop environment, but with iOS 11 Apple is taking on the harder task of bringing macOS versatility to its mobile devices.
By itself, iOS 11 looks like a laudable advance, but it’d be an incomplete solution for people who’ve traditionally favoured laptops, the incumbent one-size-fits-all computer of choice. People like me. But what’s happened over the past year is a vast, if subtle, upgrade in the hardware capabilities of Apple’s portable devices. The iPhone 7 brought with it the new A10 Fusion chip, which has ungodly amounts of performance and can legitimately rival Intel’s most power-efficient offerings for ultraportables and 2-in-1s. Now in its A10X Fusion form for the iPad Pro, this processor is the key that unlocks a whole new tier of capabilities and functionality from Apple’s tablet.
During the WWDC keynote, I saw the new iPad Pro used with the Affinity Photo app to do some complicated image blending and reprocessing work, and every task was accomplished almost instantaneously. Apple has also upped the refresh rate of its new iPad Pro to 120Hz, which will mean even smoother animations while helping lower latency for stylus input down to a supposedly industry-leading 20ms. And yes, as usual for a new iPad release, the new 10.5-inch Pro model has the best and loveliest display Apple’s ever made.
With performance that’s edging into laptop territory and now software that’s bridging the gap to a desktop operating environment, the iPad Pro’s established advantages over something like a MacBook or MacBook Pro grow in significance. After the MacBook Pro was downgraded in terms of ports and other pro features last year, I’m now much more open to tolerating the iPad’s limitations in order to gain the benefit of its strengths. That would be things like better battery life, easier portability, and a substantially lower price, starting at $649 for the latest iPad Pro.
One of these new 10.5-inch iPad Pros, with its reduced bezels and still vanishingly thin profile, is much easier to tote around than any MacBook Pro. Reducing the footprint of a device is much more impactful nowadays than shaving a few extra millimetres off its thickness, and I can envision a daily carry scenario for myself where an iPad Pro shrinks the size of bag I need to use. There are some really lovely and small camera bags — like the Domke F-803, for instance — that work really well with just an iPad slotted in, but struggle to fit a proper laptop. Well, now maybe I no longer need a proper laptop if I have something that’s close enough.
Getting to grips with the iOS 11-powered iPad Pro at Apple’s event yesterday, my colleague Jake Kastrenakes noted that he never felt like he could move quickly and efficiently around iOS before, but the new version is the first one that feels like it could change that. I’m on exactly the same page: iOS has always felt like a more leisurely way to use a mobile device, not quite the lean and mean productivity workhouse that I could sculpt together in macOS. But with more robust split-screen multitasking and the ability to float additional apps and picture-in-picture video on the screen, I foresee finally being able to get Real Work done on an iPad.
Being able to manipulate files in the self-explanatory Files browser is basically the tipping point: I get the extra degree of control I’ve always felt has been missing on iOS, and now I’m wondering exactly what I’d be losing if I switched to doing my research and writing on one of Apple’s tablets. Sure, I’d need to hunt down a good third-party keyboard, but there’s never a shortage of good accessories for Apple devices. By making the changes it’s made in iOS 11, Apple looks to have successfully attracted professional holdouts like me while still retaining its touch-friendly and accessible interface for the majority of others.
Some might point to the iPad’s lack of mouse input or external monitor support, but consider that even a fully specced-out $2,000 ThinkPad wouldn’t have those when you’re cradling it in your lap on a packed train en route to work. And unlike a Windows laptop, Apple’s iOS is designed with touch input from the start, so an iPad has the advantage of being tailored to situations of limited space. The inconvenience of working on the move is the iPad’s great equaliser. That’s also why I’m not too worried about the limited number of apps I can run side by side or the relative paucity of memory on iPads. Those limitations, which Apple is gradually loosening anyway, are less oppressive when working in a truly mobile environment.
Productivity these days comes in many forms and sizes, and I’m starting to buy into Apple’s premise that the next frontier for it will be the iPad, Pro or otherwise, rather than the MacBook, the latter of which got only the most token of spec upgrades at WWDC 2017. Another thing I notice from Apple’s promotional materials is that in almost all photos of the new iPad, there’s the Pencil stylus somewhere in the vicinity, hovering with productive intent. Of course, that’s not solely Apple’s idea, as Microsoft has pushed the idea of pen computing and 2-in-1 devices through its Surface Pro line for years, and Google has recently also joined in with the S Pen-equipped 2017 Samsung Chromebooks and its initiative to bring Android apps to Chrome OS.
We always knew the future of computing was mobile — because the present already is — but this year we’re seeing what that means beyond just the ever-present smartphone. The traditional laptop clamshell is being broken up, styluses are all the rage, and the lines between mobile and desktop software are being eroded into nothing.
This isn’t the final step to the iPad becoming a computer, but it’s certainly a major one.
Adobe has launched a new way to turn your physical documents into PDFs with editable text, and it’s completely free. The company has released a new mobile app simply called “Scan” for both iOS and Android, and to create a digital copy of a document, you merely have to point your phone’s camera at it. There are loads of other scanner apps, out there, including Office Lens — even Google Drive has a built-in scanning feature for Android devices. This app, however, is perfect if you use Adobe’s apps extensively. It automatically uploads your scans to Adobe Document Cloud, so you can access them on any computer, phone or tablet.
You can edit your files on Adobe Acrobat, but you’ll have to pay for Acrobat Pro DC to be able to edit digitized text and to generally be able to tweak documents to your heart’s content. If you’re just after a scanner app, you don’t have to worry about that. But if you need the extra features to be able to edit scanned PDFs for work or school, you’ll have to pay $15 per month.
The scan is far from perfect at this point, based on a few trial runs we did: it still has a hard time recognising documents, and it tends to cut off printed text boxes or tables. It does work, though, and in case the scan isn’t perfect, you can always rotate it and do some other minor alterations before saving it as a PDF.
This is the seventh brick-and-mortar store that Amazon has opened so far. It is located at the Columbus Circle, the first of its kind in New York.
It is an enormous 4,000 sq ft space with more than 3,000 titles all rated highly on the Amazon with 4 or more stars. There is something for everyone in here and Amazon made sure that everyone leaves with something in their bag. If you are not sure what to pick Amazon is there to help, they organised the store in such a manner that you have sections: If you like – you will like.
All their Prime members pay the Amazon prices and Non-prime members pay the list price. You can see all the prices by scanning the book with your phone.
After you make a choice and pick up your books there is an amazing Amazon electronics section where you can try out all the latest Amazon tech.
Six more locations are expected to be open by 2017 and we hope one of these appears in UK soon.
Last year we saw the first folding Mavic Pro drone from DJI, which was the first instance of portable drones being available on the market. Today DJI came back with the new Spark drone which can fit in the palm of your hand and can really be a part of your everyday life.
The Spark has been described as the storytelling device used for taking photos and making videos with amazing gesture based controls. You don’t need anything else but your hands to capture those special moments of your life. There is an optional remote control but controlling the drone with your hands looks so much cooler.
It has a 12MP camera and can fly at the speed of 31mph. There is a 16min flight time with one charge since the Spark runs on batteries.
For a staggeringly low price of $499 you can preorder your own drone and it will be shipped next month. Available in 3 colours.
Google has again found a way to help businesses bring their best to the table. Nowadays, most employees within a company work from various locations, cities and offices. So Google came up with the best way to connect those people and put them all in one space where they can hold a meeting working together on the same thing at the same time.
Jumboard is a 55-inch collaborative digital whiteboard which enables people to write, draw and make plans. It has a number of different options making it easy to use and it is connected to your cloud so you can insert any document you need.
You can order the Jumboard through G Suite website for a price of $4,999. Make sure that before you start using it G Suit plan is utilised otherwise you won’t be able to access any of your files.
Once again Nike has proved their dominance in Customer Experience. They have fulfilled a runner’s dream by building a running track where you partake in a virtual race against yourself and your running track is shaped as a footprint.
This stadium is 200-meter-long and takes up space as an entire city block. There is more than enough space for all the runners but a limit has been set to 30 runners at the same time.
How you partake in this virtual race is that after you have set an initial lap time, a sensor is tied to your shoes which enables your avatar to follow you around the track and compete in this virtual race against yourself.
To keep track of who is winning when you run faster your avatar gets bigger.
Yesterday Google introduced the Google Lens at the I/O developer conference. It is a completely new AI system that can be integrated into any smartphone.
Lens is a set of vision-based computing capabilities that are able to understand objects in your surrounding and instantly provide you with information about them, meaning that this new tool allows you to take action based on the information you are provided with.
How it works: you simply point your smartphone in the direction of an object you would like to know more about and the Lens gives you details about it. If you see a flower in the park you can point your phone at it and Google Lens will tell you what kind of a flower it is.
Another interesting feature that Lens has is that you can connect to any router by pointing your phone at the router’s setting sticker and your phone will automatically connect to that network. This news has triggered the loudest cheering among the audience as you can see from the video.
But that is not all, Google Lens has worked together with Assistant and has enabled you to point your phone at a concert poster and it will automatically be added to your event calendar.
With 80% of all web traffic predicted to come from video by 2019, the demand for video content is greater than ever before. Unsurprisingly, it’s become an integral part of many brand marketing strategies.
Due to the rise in video’s popularity, however, it’s become all the more difficult for brands to capture user attention – not to mention hold it for longer than five seconds.
This is where interactive video comes in. Instead of a passive user experience, interactive video requires the person watching to take action – e.g. answer a question or make a decision – usually to inform how the rest of the video unfolds.
There are many benefits, including longer viewing times, greater engagement, and even data capture.
While the technology is certainly nothing new, there appears to have been a surge in brands experimenting with it lately. Here are a few examples and the reasons why it works.
Mended Little Hearts
Mended Little Hearts is a charity for children with congenital heart disease. Its recent campaign, ‘Give a Fuller Life’, uses interactive video to show how donating money can transform the lives of those affected.
The animated video depicts a day in the life of 11-year-old Max, who we first see wandering along the street looking lost and lonely. Viewers are prompted to pledge a donation, which results in Max’s life becoming a little brighter each time. Gradually, the street becomes sunnier, and family, animals, and toys also start to appear.
The video is simple but surprisingly emotive, effectively highlighting how a small act (which often involves just a few clicks online) can dramatically transform a child’s life.
Focus is a 2015 movie starring Will Smith as a veteran conman. Alongside the standard trailer Warner Bros. released an interactive video to promote the movie before it hit cinemas.
It allows viewers to test their own skills as a con artist by making a series of decisions as they go. The potential ‘marks’ include an internet mogul, an investment banker, and an art dealer, with each one presenting a different challenge for participating viewers.
While Focus turned out to be fairly predictable as a film, its interactive video is far more innovative. Combining gamification and movie marketing – it’s a great example of how to pique interest and engage consumers in the run up to a release.
Most recruitment videos tend to be quite dry, however, Deloitte chose a more light-hearted attack for its New Zealand graduate recruitment program.
Filmed as a ‘day in the life’ of a Deloitte employee, the gamified video allows users to choose how they’d react to a number of different work-based scenarios. From telling a co-worker about spilt coffee on their jacket, to what to do if a printer breaks – each one highlights the various skills and attributes valued by the company.
The result is a highly engaging and immersive video experience, which effectively educates viewers about Deloitte while simultaneously prompting them to think about whether they’d be a good fit.
To promote its Civic Type R, Honda wanted to create a video that showcased another side of the typically reliable automotive brand.
The result was an interactive, dual-narrative video that allowed viewers to switch between two storylines. The first involved a father picking up his daughter from school and taking her to a party. However, when viewers pressed the ‘R’ key on their keyboard or tablet, the other side of the story was revealed, with the father becoming an undercover cop by night.
By controlling exactly how the video can be watched, the user experience immediately changes from a passive to an active one, becoming far more engaging as a result.
What’s more, the video is also an example of how to engage a wider audience, with all kinds of people likely to enjoy it, regardless of whether they have an interest in the brand or product itself.
Maybelline New York
While a lot of beauty-related videos are more interactive than other industries (in that they offer tutorials or advice), Maybelline takes this one step further with its interactive tutorial video for Big Eyes Mascara.
For the video, Maybelline teamed up with Kelly Framel, a popular fashion blogger, to create a tutorial of four different looks based around a single core product.
The video allows viewers to navigate different beauty tutorials, choosing the style and context of each one, such as ‘day’ or ‘night’ and ‘club tropicana’ and ‘rebel chic’. While the video isn’t exactly ground-breaking, it shows how interactive video can potentially be used to increase conversion.
Unlike buying a car, for example, the nature of shopping for beauty products is much more instinctive and spontaneous, meaning that interactive video can prompt an immediate response from viewers.
Just like children are able to learn from their parents, robots are now able to do the same with our help through VR, but in this case, you only need to show them the task once. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
The new algorithm has been introduced to these robots and their performance is powered by two neural networks.
One of the networks takes images and helps the robot see the position of the targeted object. What is interesting here is that the robot was taught through VR, which means that the robot never actually saw the real world and is able to interact with it.
The second network keeps records of actions demonstrated in the VR, and the robot imitates the tasks given paying close attention to what task comes next.
This platform is still a prototype, and there is a lot of room left for advancements. Once this system has been completely developed there will be no limitation to what extent the robots could be used to aid humans.
Just like any other bike this one has lights, turn signals and a horn. Although, this is not like any other bike out there. This especially powerful E-bike was named ‘Moar Fat Tire E-bike‘.
Moar’s fat tyres allow it to easily go off-road and move over other surfaces not designed for riding a bike which makes this bike suitable for riding almost anywhere. And that is not all, this E-bike has a foldable aluminium frame which makes it easier to transport. The highest speed Moar is able to reach is 30mph with an 85mile range.
As the article’s title suggests this E-bike si able to tow an SUV thanks to the 48V battery with the 750W motor. Watch the video till the very end and check it out for yourself. However, this is still a prototype and its creators believe they can sell if for around $1,199 once it is open for sale.