Final year university students are helping to identify changing customer behaviour in a new project with outsourced customer contact centre Echo-U.
The research was undertaken by Newcastle University Business School’s business management degree programme students, and Echo-U – whose Director of Customer Services, Mandy Holford, was a judge at the UK Complaint Handling Awards in 2018 – felt it provided the undergrads a taste of a real-world project.
The report was undertaken by students Despoina-Dimitra Chatzopoulou, Lawrence Chiang, William Hargreaves, William Mellor, Rachel Morgan, George Needham, and James Reehal. It focuses on three core trends: social media, chatbots, and omnichannel.
The research took the form of an online survey, interviews with industry expert Anthony Jones and associates, and online industry and competitor research. The findings from the report will prove valuable to the retail industry and will be collated in a whitepaper which will be made available to download from the Echo-U website.
David Blakey, joint owner and Managing Director at Echo-U, said: “I have been very impressed with the professionalism shown by the students undertaking this project and the quality of the report they have provided. This was the first year we have worked with Newcastle University, but I have already agreed to continue the relationship next year.”
Student Rachel Morgan added: “I really enjoyed the consultancy project as it enabled me to put into practice theories which I have learnt throughout my degree. As I am going into the retail industry next year, I found this project particularly interesting and insightful as I have learnt a huge deal about the future of the industry I am going to be working in. A particular highlight of this project for me was being able to work on a live brief and having the opportunity to work with a range of students, industry professionals and academics in order to provide Echo-U with recommendations.”