Paul MaguirePaul MaguireJune 30, 2020
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9min503

There has never been a more critical moment to get automation right. As businesses brace for a rough road ahead, simply using technology as a means to streamline manual processes, cut costs and reduce human errors is no longer enough.

While that gave organisations a competitive edge in the past, companies must now take their use of automation to the next level to achieve maximum competitive advantage. That means using automation technologies to drive revenue growth and service improvement by creating new customer experiences that win brand loyalty.

Automation has been quietly transforming the way companies interact with their customers for some time now, but often with mixed results.

A recent survey of large organisations across the United States and Europe conducted by IDG found that most businesses are already using some form of technology to automate business process and customer interactions – ranging from AI (56 percent) to chatbots (53 percent) and Interactive Voice Response (55 percent) to Robotic Process Automation (45 percent).

Many more survey respondents reported that they plan to deploy those technologies in the next 12 months. Yet worryingly, only 41 percent of respondents believed that the way their organisation is using automation helps them to meaningfully forge stronger customer relationships.

Clearly, companies are switched-on to the fact that automation has the potential to upgrade their customer relations, but effective implementation with positive business outcomes is proving a challenge. So where are businesses tripping up? The IDG survey results offer some pretty big clues.

Off-the-shelf software – not such a bargain after all

Firstly, let’s make one thing clear: when it comes to customer service, automation shouldn’t just be about swapping out human workers with bots. While chatbots and Interactive Voice Responses (IVR) are useful for answering straightforward requests quickly, forming that human connection with customers and delivering a higher-value service is something only well-trained human employees can do.

We’ve all experienced, at one time or another, the frustration of being caught in an endless automated loop with an unsympathetic bot when all you want is to get through to a real person. That kind of experience damages a brand’s reputation while causing customer and revenue loses.

Instead, automation should be a mean for employees to better serve customers and create new experiences. It should connect them to relevant data that will help them to build a complete picture of their customer to both reactively handle requests but also identify unmet needs and anticipate future wants. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where many organisations are falling short.  

The IDG survey found that fewer than a third of respondents felt their organisations’ tools greatly help them understand customers, empower them to fix problems and think or act strategically. Why? Well, 65 percent reported that the applications their organisation uses are only somewhat effective at best at providing all the data and context they need to have a full picture of their customers. 

Commercial Off-The-Shelf-(COTS) Software has long been a popular choice for organisations (particularly smaller, more budget-conscious ones) looking for a light-touch, quick application that can automate certain homogeneous tasks and streamline processes. Such products can be good for that. But what they lack is flexibility. In most cases, these COTS software need to be customised to suit each organisation and their unique use cases, thus driving up implementation time and costs. The packaged software cannot adapt to each company, changing business requirements and market needs quickly or easily.

And survey respondents agreed – a shocking 85 percent indicated that their organisation had experienced one or more negative impacts from using packaged software. They reported feeling limited by what the software was capable of and that it even made tasks more complicated. 37 percent said such applications had a negative impact on customer satisfaction.

That’s unsurprising when you think about the sheer amount of different processes that take place in each department of each company every day. Every company will have its own unique processes that are forever changing. A one-size-fits-all solution is never going to work when the need to adapt, evolve and change is imperative in today’s environment. 

Where low-code software comes in

Building custom applications goes a long way to addressing that problem but takes a lot of time and money. That’s why low-code software is transformative. It removes the manual-coding usually required in software development so developers can build multiple high-quality custom applications and automate workflows quickly. It also means that rather than spending months working on one big product that will be out-of-date when completed, developers can make an application that can constantly evolve to meet changing demands.

To put this into perspective, insurance provider Aviva has created 32 new applications using the Appian low-code platform in three years. That’s around 10 new insurance applications per year. And each application has helped improve the way their employees interact with and service their customers.

Over the course of 20 years, Aviva had inherited 750 other insurance companies, along with their systems, data and processes. As you can imagine, that was a challenge for their call centre agents trying to shift through legacy systems to get to the information they needed – far from ideal when there’s a customer waiting on the other end of the line. By using one way low-code automation, Aviva was able to unify 22 different systems under one custom platform, giving operators 360-degree view of their customers and speeding up customer service response times by nine times. 

With organisations flung into new and unprecedented challenges, many will understandably hope that automating processes will drive down costs. Ultimately, it will be effectively engaging new customers and retaining existing ones that will deliver the greatest material benefits in the long run. That’s what must be kept in mind when they consider deploying automation.    


Sandra RadlovackiSandra RadlovackiJune 26, 2020
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5min688

The current situation made it inevitable for many organisations to shift their work to home in order to stay operating.

From universities transferring to online learning, to restaurants having to offer only online order and delivery, the digital environment has seen a swarm of new occupants joining in during the time of emergency, which put to test all brands that weren’t investing enough into their digital presence.

The new normal poses many challenges to brands, the biggest one being having the capacity to thrive in sudden reality turnover. As the whole world moves to the digital, understanding digital experience management will be of key importance in staying afloat in the current climate. Businesses that can satisfy consumer needs through digital channels will be the ones to survive the crisis.

The rule of three

By focusing on three key digital outcomes, you can foster a sustainable and differentiating experience:

  • How did the interaction make the customer feel? Pay attention to emotion.
  • Did the customer have any trouble achieving their goal? Keep track of the effort customers have to put.
  • Was the customer able to achieve the goal? Was the interaction successful?

Let’s discuss one by one:

1. Emotion

In today’s uncertain world, conveying meaningful emotion through digital channel presents a significant challenge for brands. By finding the right balance of listening and speaking, you can establish an empathic connection with your customers. Understanding what are the priorities of your customers, employees and partners alike can help you deliver a complete service founded on trust and confidence.

2. Effort

It is paramount to eliminate any potential obstacles on your customers’ journey. The customers should struggle as little as possible – if at all, in achieving their goal. Try to simplify the process and make it easier for your customers to make decisions. The task itself should not be challenging, as the seamless flow and connection of your brand’s digital channels are crucial for fulfilling customer expectations. Make your messages clear and effective, and above all timely. The current climate is unpredictable and changes could be happening when you least expect them. By tailoring communication to the place and time of the situation you can ensure customer loyalty and keep customer churn at the minimum.

3. Success

When it comes to the third and final element of digital experience, the customer can either successfully complete the task or not. It is how much trouble they went through until completing the task that counts. Ask yourself what you can incorporate to make a difference in approach to your digital experience. Analyse your strong and weak points and finetune them to make your customers successful in each of their experience with your brand.

How do others do it?

An Australia based media company leverage verbatim feedback to adapt to their customer’s needs quickly. The company learned that their pricing blocks were too loud when reporting on COVID-19, and in accordance with that, they managed to change and adapt easily and rapidly.

The Covid-19 has turned the world upside down. Isolation and hardships of many can give your brand a chance to excel your digital experience with a refreshed and empathic sense of purpose. What you do now is what will differentiate your brand in the post-COVID -19 world, as the one who went above and beyond when it was needed the most.


Sam HoldingSam HoldingJune 17, 2020
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5min875

Just a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent; and for most marketers, this is not news.

Customer experience and loyalty have lately been brought into the epicentre of marketing operations, as the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic impact affect critical business KPIs at organisations across a variety of industries and geos.

Many businesses are redirecting their strategy to focus more on customer experience, from both a proactive standpoint and a reactive one. During a crisis, like the current pandemic, it all comes down to customer communications.

For most industry sectors, email marketing is pivotal to customer experience and loyalty, and not without a good reason. Email is a truly powerful tool:

  • It follows your customers everywhere: on laptops, smartphones, tablets, watches, etc.
  • It’s friendly and easy to use for consumers, and cost effective for businesses
  • It’s a rich medium that supports a wide range of content type, design assets, and engagement tools

Using email marketing effectively can have a direct, positive impact not only on sales, but also on customer engagement and loyalty. So, how can organisations develop a good email practice? Here are a few tips to help transform the ability to educate and inform, minimising frustrations for both marketers and customers during challenging times.

Make it relevant

Like most of us, your customers probably receive hundreds of emails every day. Each morning they go through their inbox and choose what’s for reading and what’s for the junk folder, or prioritise those emails that appeal to them most.

Content that’s relevant to your customer base, which is brief but well-written, is more likely to be read. If your audience is large and diverse, perform some segmentation and adjust your content to match each group’s interests and needs. Another good practice is to use geographical criteria in order to help your customers connect with other customers, service providers in their area, or the local community.

Make it clear

During a crisis, it’s more important than ever to understand and use customer data. Knowing where customers are in their journey can help organisations identify needs and create opportunities for proactive message development.

By offering helpful information to customers, brands can effectively evangelise their customer-first approach, while demonstrating their ability to understand customer needs by merging data with communications and thoughtful messaging.

Make it transactional – but be human

According to Experian, transactional emails are opened 8 times more often than typical marketing emails. But even when it’s generated automatically, the email is still a communication stream and, like any other type of communication, it can bring together all the characteristics of human interaction.

Emails come packed with expectations. People expect your emails to follow the usual norms and principles of social interactions. Particularly during the lockdown, It’s essential to keep in mind that your audience is made up of real people – so be friendly, be candid, and use normal language.

Invest in proactive outreach to lighten customer service backlogs

While ramping up a customer service workforce takes time, strategising email marketing to mitigate the burden on customer experience is something that can be done with speed and efficiency, and provide rapid return. Clear, informative messaging has the ability to proactively address future confusion and allow for self-troubleshooting.

Tightening your messaging strategy and content makes it easy to further support your customer-facing workforce by maintaining consistency and minimising confusion as the team engage with customers.

These “front-line” interactions hold a lot of weight for the overall brand and can be the difference between well-informed, satisfied customers and confused, dissatisfied ones.

Ask for feedback

No matter how good you are, or how closely you are following your well-designed strategy, there’s always room for improvement. By asking your customers for feedback you can maintain a healthy, open, two-way communication between your organisation and your target audience while showing that you are willing to adjust and cater to their needs.

Bonus: collecting feedback frequently will help you remain relevant to your customers’ needs and interests.


Peter BarkerPeter BarkerJune 5, 2020
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6min1097

It’s proven that intuitive personalisation deepens customer engagement and improves conversion rates.

Therefore, against the background of ever-growing content estates and increasing customer expectations, a robust content strategy is paramount to successfully achieving this level of personalisation.

Why the cornerstone?

We’ve seen a continual trend in businesses taking a journalistic, storytelling approach to conveying their value. In the professional services sector, customers are looking to buy knowledge, understanding and deep specialism.

Being able to demonstrate this to a prospective client in a very contextually relevant way is key to achieving conversion. And this is true across all industries, though the product may differ, the benefits of a well-executed content strategy remain the same. Indeed, 92 percent of marketers reported that their company views content as a business asset.

Your audience, their individual challenges, their place in the customer journey, when and how they are served the content all play a huge part in the success of your business. With so many moving parts, how can you build an effective content offering? Where do you start?

It’s time to get personal

We know that people now expect to be known by brands and it’s been proven to increase customer engagement – in fact, 74 percent of customers feel frustrated when website content isn’t personalised. But to plan and design a successful personalised content strategy you’ll need to understand your user’s journey and then bake it into your content creation.

Start with what you do know and build from there. You’ll have access to explicit data points like geographical location and so on. From this, you can start to uncover more implicit data based on user interactions and behaviours. This is the foundation for segmentation, which will ultimately decide the kinds of content you serve and should inform how you brief and create content.

This knowledge will help you create a clear taxonomy and tagging strategy, which is key for fulfilling the technological requirements of content personalisation.

Clear taxonomy at the heart

To create this a robust personalisation platform, you need to build profiles from all your customer behaviour: explicit user activity and data, CRM and other sources. That allows for unified profiling – combining data sets to pattern match your content taxonomy. This can all be done through a platform such as Sitecore or Episerver. You can then create a taxonomy based on your profiles and tag content to be served to the right users. Once established, you can test and optimise in real time to see what’s working, what’s not and feed new interactions and content quickly.

It’s an approach Rufus Leonard recently deployed for a leading global professional services client. Architected on a high-performing Azure PaaS solution design, we consolidated and re-platformed two global sites into a central Sitecore platform; geared towards accelerating new customer acquisition and building loyalty.

Content was king for the new site, with over 30,000 articles to navigate in multiple languages. So the new site features complex dynamic UI delivered to double accessibility requirements and content management across the huge multilingual content estate, extensive taxonomy and Azure search integration.

The next step is to automate

Fortunately, the last couple of years has seen artificial intelligence-led automation being introduced to reduce the workload in both understanding your customer segments and their likes and dislikes.

In addition, we can now also use intelligent auto classification of content, where the system understands where content fits in your taxonomy and what profiles or segments will respond to it best. So get a system that you can feed initially and which will learn some rules and be able to curate your digital estate with less work.

The future of content

People now expect personalisation so much, they may only notice it by its absence. Start small, build on what you know, test and optimise continually. A personalised content strategy and platform requires investment, effort, data aggregation and an organisational mindset shift to really be effective in driving engagement, but the benefits to your business and your customers will be exponential.

Rufus Leonard is a winner at the UK Digital Experience Awards 19. 

There is still time to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount at the UK Digital Experience Awards 20!


Rebecca BrownRebecca BrownJune 4, 2020
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9min925

Author: Rebecca Brown

Moving with the times, innovating or keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to customer experience is never easy.

Sometimes it can feel like it’s made even harder by the array of options open to businesses. Being spoilt for choice in an era where decision fatigue is high and the pressure is on to evolve or cease to exist, can leave you more than just confused. It can feel outright overwhelming, especially when it comes to your online presence.

AI has been leading the way when it comes to online innovation, with sophisticated chat-bots that can actually replicate conversation, and automated marketing campaigns that learn from your customer behaviour.

A top ten list of successfully deployed chat-bots was published this week, which talked about a bot that had been programmed to answer questions as Albert Einstein. Suddenly that question of who would you invite to a dinner party, past or present, takes on whole new possibilities…

That said, for every successfully deployed intuitive chat-bot, there are many that haven’t worked so well, leaving customers feeling angry and frustrated at the lack of human assistance. A great example of a bot that’s just missed the mark completely is InspiroBot – a bot that’s sole purpose is to generate inspirational quotes with an image behind it. Whilst I’m sure it’s still getting a fair hit rate based on the occasional blooper is spot on my LinkedIn feed, it’s safe to say that it’s neither appropriate or inspirational when a bot populates the statement ‘There’s no excuse for being Dumb’ as its best effort.

So you might think it’s safest to just do what everyone else is doing? Think again.

Dominos Pizza released an app that enabled the user to order their previously saved pizza by simply opening the app. No swiping, clicking or frantically searching for payment cards that your toddler may or may not have tucked down the back of her mini oven. Just instant, easy ordering. So impressive, that it almost makes you want to try and replicate it doesn’t it? Only here is the issue – it really can’t be applied to the vast majority of brands.

It can be so tempting to look at what other businesses are doing (or what your competitors are doing) when considering how to move your business into the next generation, but even that isn’t guaranteed to work.

Your competition may have different brand values, a different customer base or different systems that they plug into. There can be no one size fits all approach to maximising the potential of your website whether it’s one page detailing your services or a complex web estate.

So, what are your best options?

Call in the experts

As a CX practitioner, I would never try to pass as a surgeon. I wouldn’t be very good and I’m incredibly squeamish. So why try to perform the functions of a web designer or user experience expert? Leaving the innovation to UX professionals who’ve trained, who keep up to date with the latest technologies and can do the relevant customer research required to build an effective solution is by far the best way. If you can’t afford to hire someone permanently then there are some great contractors or agencies out there, doing really exciting things!

Don’t try to be like everyone else

Speak to your customers, find out their frustrations with your online presence and fix what irritates them the most. Your customer’s frustrations will be unique to their experience with you, so implementing a solution that worked for others will leave you just as likely to fail as succeed if you haven’t done the relevant research.

Don’t assume that innovation has to mean gadgets and AI

Sometimes the most innovative thing you can do is listen – actually, properly listen – to your customers. As long as you have sufficient technology in place for your customers to contact you when they want, this innovation comes from changing the way your business and its people think, feel and behave – not from buying the latest Content Management System or implanting speech analytics.

If you listen to what your customers have to say, make it as easy as possible for them to say it and then take positive action to not only respond, but to learn as an organisation so that your next customer doesn’t have the same problem, then that’s more innovation than a lot of businesses… Get the basics right, and you’ll see customer loyalty soar. Then if you want to dabble a little with AI – why not?

Bring your customers on the journey with you

Change can be scary. As a society we’ve just undergone a monumental change to the way we live our lives without prior warning, without getting a say and at a whiplash-inducing pace. To a lesser extent, customers feel the same effect when one of their suppliers changes.

To offset this, we need to ensure that any period of reflection and subsequent change is communicated loud and clear to our customers, well ahead of anything actually happening – ideally with a consultative approach. If you believe in making your business the best it can be, and having that reflect in your online offering, then you probably want to make it clear that in your eyes the work will never be ‘finished’.

Continuous improvement is what customer experience is all about, so position that carefully with your customers. State it on your website, in your surveys, on your calls – something as simple as ‘We care about the journey our customers have, so we are committed to consistent improvement across all our services. We might ask you some questions from time to time to help us make sure we get it right, and you may see some changes along the way.’ This is enough to cover most bases, whilst reassuring your customer that they are – and always be – at the heart of everything you do.

 

Check out the previous instalments of Bill and Doug:
Experience Isn’t Enough – You’ll Need a Map Where You’re Going!
Easy as ABC: Employee Recognition and How To Do It Right

Richard WheatonRichard WheatonJune 3, 2020
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9min804

The rise of mobile as a primary tool for shopping is an inexorable trend – indeed, it is projected that mCommerce will double from 2019–2023 (Eamarketer), ultimately accounting for three-quarters of total e-commerce.

In this new ‘mobile-first’ world, speed is perhaps the most important criteria for good customer experience. Yet, too many brands have been slow to adapt to this new reality. Despite offering a great experience in other ways, they haven’t viewed speed as a KPI that will positively impact business performance and ROI.

We know instinctively as consumers that mobile digital experiences that are responsive and tailored to our needs have a direct impact on the brands we choose to interact with. Research from Salesforce reveals that 83 percent of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.

Additionally according to a study by Forrester 70 percent of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer.

To investigate these broad assumptions, Google commissioned Fifty-five and Deloitte Digital to embark on the most comprehensive site speed study to date, ‘Milliseconds makes Millions’, that for the first time quantifies the impact of speed on four specific metrics conversion rate, bounce rate, page views per session and average order value.

Surprisingly a study across a range of brands with similar buying intent had not previously been published, presumably due to the challenges of accessing a sufficient quantity of comparable data across several sites to generate statistically robust findings.

Milliseconds make millions

Over a four week period, we analysed mobile site data from 37 retail, travel, luxury and lead generation brands across Europe and the US. It was based on 30 million unique user sessions. Even a small improvement to mobile speed can have a positive effect on business results for brands.

One of the challenges in discussing site speed is that the range of terminology, metrics and dimensions can be confusing for busy executives and digital managers to digest and use to make decisions.

Fifty-five’s goal was to unearth some golden nuggets of insight to make sure that progress can be achieved swiftly. Fifty-five monitored over 30 individual metrics, and reduced them down to a concentrated list that has the most measurable impact on commercial performance. The four specific site speed metrics referred to below are, to give them their technical names, Max Server Latency, First Meaningful Paint, Estimated Input Latency, and Observed Load. These metrics, according to the data, provide some indication of the most valuable areas to investigate.

Our analysis shows that a mere 0.1s change in load time in these four key metrics along the user journey dramatically increases conversion rates. In the retail sites, conversions grew by 8 percent, and in travel by 10 percent on average. With a 0.1s improvement in site speed, we observed that retail consumers spent almost 10 percent more, while lead generation and luxury consumers engaged more, with page views increasing by 7 percent and 8 percent respectively.

The conclusion is abundantly clear. There is a great opportunity to increase sales by making your mobile pages more responsive. And conversely, brands that aren’t focused on speeding up page downloads could be missing out in millions of lost revenue.

The study reveals clear evidence that site speed improvements have a measurable impact on customer engagement, conversions and ultimately a brand’s bottom line.

Adopting a mobile-first mindset

So how should brands react? There is a clear need to make site speed a priority across the organisation by introducing it as a KPI.

They need to introduce the right processes and allocate resources to constantly monitor and optimise their site speed. And we’ve identified seven key steps brands should take to meet the challenge of delivering a truly speed-centric customer experience. These are:

1. Understand the speed status

In order to choose where and how to invest in speed, brands need to know how their site is currently performing. This is both in a stand-alone context and also in comparison to your competitors. Tools such as Google Test My Site enables brands to understand, measure and benchmark your mobile site speed. The Lighthouse is another useful tool which allows you to understand your site speed in the context of different devices.

2. Be clear on the potential impact of mobile site speed on the bottom line

Being equipped with this data will help quantify the impact that site speed changes have on your customer flow, to help you prove the validity of considering speed as a primary performance metric and, ultimately, sell more.

3. Adopt a mobile-first strategy

Mobile-first is essentially a design strategy, more appropriate for satisfying today’s consumers than a purely responsive approach. The mobile-first approach considers mobile users’ needs first and foremost, and its best-practices natively consider site speed and responsiveness as crucial elements of the user experience.

4. Identify speed as one of the primary performance metrics

It’s essential to build consensus to make speed a priority KPI and performance metric. Site owners, designers, strategists, developers and suppliers need to keep speed top of mind when undertaking any mobile site improvements or overhauls.

5. Introduce page speed budget to project teams and clients

Page speed budget or web performance budget is a set of constraints that project teams can use to ensure the mobile site meets performance standards and loads quickly across devices and platforms. It’s easy for a website to grow in size with new functionalities, content and design items but it’s essential to understand the impact on customer time and bandwidth.

Performance, especially speed, should never be compromised for an aesthetic or functional site addition. By introducing a speed budget, the impact of each site amendment or update can be assessed to understand the positive or negative consequence. Anything that does have a negative consequence should be reconsidered.

6. Use the right tools in the right way

All of the above assumes you have the means to report on the status and the effect of site speed at the right level of granularity. It is crucial to use the right tools for both measurement and reporting. Your analytics package needs to be set up correctly, with a strong focus on conversion point, funnels and appropriate KPIs.

7. Create the right culture with the right people

Data & good visualisation need to be embedded within the organisation to establish a performance-centric culture for decision-making. Then, people throughout the business – leadership, strategists, developers, designers, content practitioners and project managers – will have better insights into what is at stake when making decisions around site decisions, and speed will then become a priority metric.

By following this plan brands can ensure that customer experience is being led by the key priority of the end user. Investing in speed is the best route to delivering a truly first-class customer experience.


Sandra RadlovackiSandra RadlovackiMay 25, 2020
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3min843

A 0.1 seconds improvement in site speed can lead to 10 percent growth in retail sales, according to new research.

The findings of the latest research report ‘Milliseconds make Millions’ reveal the dramatic impact of mobile site speeds on consumers’ willingness to spend money and engage with brands online.

The in-depth report was compiled by global data company fifty-five and Deloitte Digital, and commissioned by Google. It is based on 30 million user sessions on mobile websites of a variety of brands across a number of sectors.

Fifty-five analysed mobile site data from 37 brands from the retail, travel and luxury sectors across Europe, over a four-week period.

The results were surprising as a mere 0.1 second change in website load time can influence the next step of the user journey, ultimately affecting conversion rates.

The findings of three key sectors show:

Retail

Improvement in site speed of one millisecond across four site speed metrics made a striking increase, with consumers spending 9.2 percent more. The findings of 20.5 million sessions across 15 retail brands show that speed on product pages is essential, 3.2 percent increase from Product Listing Page to Product Detail Page and a 9.1 percent increase in progressing to Add to Basket.

Luxury

The data shows that luxury consumers seem to be the most sensitive to speed improvements. The clicks to key pages (e.g. “Contact Us”) are majorly increased, by staggering 20.6 percent, when the key site speed was improved by 0.1 seconds. There was also a 40.1 percent increase in users moving from product detail to add to basket and resulting in overall longer sessions. These findings are based on 2.1 million user sessions across 10 luxury brands.

Travel

The findings based on 7.4 million user sessions across six brands showed steady growth, culminating in a 2.2 increase in check-out completion.

Richard Wheaton, Managing Director at fifty-five London comments: “As the most comprehensive site speed research report ever completed, this is a wake-up call to brands to adopt a mobile-first mentality. The benchmarks we’ve created in this report will help brands move beyond being inwardly focused, and identify wider measures of performance that may be putting themselves ahead or behind their competitors. Brands really need to re-think their digital processes and KPIs in this mobile-first world, to ensure that site design and technical enhancements are generating the positive ROI, and not actually unintentionally harming sales by driving customers away.”


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3min1330

A recent report published by Revuze, a no-touch analytics platform examines the possible issues in understanding your customers while offering a self-service solution that solves it all.

Customer insights require time, effort and maintenance since all customer data today is gathered through some type of AI programme. Big organisations demand effective solutions.

Here are the three main signs that show you may be in need of a self-service customer solution:

1. Guessing all the sources and ways consumers talk about a service or a product

Data is not always easy to spot since consumers have a long list of topics linked to a product or a service. While consumers are still talking about your product, it can be expressed in so many different ways that it requires familiarising with the updated trends and even new phrases.

2. Long processing time

Dealing with consumer insights may take longer than we want it to be, having in mind that the pace at which businesses operate is not going any slower. This requires manual configuration and tuning which in turn takes a long time to process all the necessary data.

3. Consumers are looking for more

Consumers today are more demanding than before when it comes to choosing a product or a service. The number of aspects they consider before choosing is great than one might think, needless to say that not every customer values the same things in a product or a service. In reality, customer insights should be based on more than five to ten variables.

If any of these signs are present in your business, a self-service solution would take care of automation, access to different types of insights and the data is available to a larger number of roles in the organisation.

To see the complete report, along with two other papers from Revuze, free download is available for a limited time here.


Morten IllumMorten IllumApril 22, 2020
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5min1106

As we are a few months into a new decade and look back at what we’ve achieved in just 10 years, I’m in awe of how much we’ve managed to accomplish in such a short space of time.

Not only has the last decade given us ubiquitous smartphones and Wi-Fi, plus the introduction of 5G networks, it’s also rolled out the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, edge computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Mixed Reality.

This was the decade that saw former Fortune 500 companies going spectacularly bust because they failed to keep up with the changes created by technology. On the flip side, it also saw basement-born start-ups using technology to completely transform trillion-dollar industries.

It’s clear that this past decade has been one of the most disruptive, yet productive periods of history ever.

And at the very heart of all this progress is one crucial element. Data.

Data is the new oil, but better

Just as steam, electricity and electronics propelled the three revolutions that preceded it, data – and in particular the sheer volumes created by IoT – has been the driving force behind what’s become known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

To give you an idea of scale, at the beginning of the last decade, the world produced about 1.2 zettabytes of data. By 2025, the IDC says worldwide data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes, and 90 zettabytes of this data will be created on IoT devices.

There’s no doubt that data truly is the new oil, but better, because unlike oil, data is easily extracted (with the right technology in place of course), and its supplies are infinite. What’s more, we can use data numerous times to gain new insights and unlock new value.

It’s D-Day for data at the Edge

Data has ushered in a new digital era for businesses, society and individuals – one that’s revolutionising customer and employee experiences, creating more dynamic, responsive, and personalised business models, and even sparking entirely new industries. Importantly, however, it is also an era that has seen activity move increasingly to the edge of the network.

As we have entered a new data-driven, decentralised decade, this will bring fresh challenges. For example, while the growing use of IoT is providing organisations with new data to make intelligent decisions about business operations, it’s also opening more and more doors all over the network for malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities. Securing these devices and this data will be critical this year and the years to come.

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from the past decade is that it would be reckless not to plan for the eventuality of further disruption. With data set to drive the next decade of that disruption, business must act now to leverage the massive amounts of data they continue to generate.

This will require businesses to implement highly reliable, secure and accessible infrastructure at the core, and innovation and intelligence at the edge. It will require stakeholders to embrace uncertainty and ambiguity, and it will also require an understanding that some risk-taking will be needed.

Because we don’t know what this new decade will look like. We don’t know exactly what obstacles we will encounter and what opportunities we will embrace. But we do know that data will be at the centre of it all.


Tiffany CarpenterTiffany CarpenterApril 15, 2020
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8min1403

For brands, a huge benefit of a customer’s digital footprint is it provides them with a better understanding of the customer as an individual.

The plethora of online user data that brands collate – combined with offline data – is supposed to facilitate a more consistent and tailored consumer engagement. Yet, how do consumers really feel about their ever-growing data trail?

Our recent Experience 2030 research suggests that the gathering and use of personal data is being met with a strong sense of concern by consumers. While 46 percent of respondents are willing to trade personal data for free products and services, 73 percent felt concerned about how brands are using their data. So, how do brands turn the tide and win back their trust?

A concerned customer

The volume of data available to organisations opens up a world of possibilities within the customer experience, for both the consumer and the brand. However, most brands are not delivering on this potential yet. Instead, their approach has left consumers cold, with 71 percent believing companies shouldn’t even be allowed to share their data with other brands. This is likely to stem from the fact that 73 percent of customers are questioning exactly how brands use their data. Unless you’re able to take this data, apply analytics to drive better decisions and execute those decisions in the moment, you aren’t going to keep up with the competition when it comes to customer experience.

This uncertainty has manifested into a feeling of distrust amongst consumers. It’s now reached a point where 61 percent feel that they have no control over the level of privacy they need for themselves, their family or their children.

A combination of recent data scandals and widely publicised hacks may have contributed to this feeling of concern. However, it’s also worth considering that many consumers may also feel they aren’t getting a fair exchange when they share their data.

So, what are brands doing wrong? Why is it that despite access to so much valuable data and significant investments in analytics and data science, customers are still not receiving the type of tailored and personalised experiences they expect in exchange for sharing their data.

Unfortunately for most organisations, the process of filtering through vast amounts of data, spotting patterns in customer behaviour and then using this information to drive decision-making is a painstakingly slow process. By the time the insights are deployed into customer interactions, they lack the relevance and context required to engage customers, leading to frustrating customer experiences and limited business value.

Showing customers products and services they’ve just purchased from you, or that they’re no longer interested in, is a sure-fire way to annoy customers and lose their trust.

Brands must find a way to bring their operational structure in line with their vision of a customer-centric future and create a customer insight process that accelerates the time from data to insight to decision to impact in a rapid, repeatable and scalable way.

You’ve got to make that change

To achieve this, organisations need a way to rapidly bring together a complete view of their customer.

This covers what they have done across all channels, past and present, and predicting what they may do in the future. It involves combining online data, offline data and even third-party purchased or collected data with data quality processes that ensure that your customer data is trustworthy, valuable and ready for analysis.

 

Analytics needs to be democratised with marketers given access to advanced analytics delivered to them in an uncomplicated, easy to consume way. Analytical decision helpers should be deployed to embed real intelligence directly into the marketing process to support marketers in crafting messages, offers and content across channels.

Predictive analytics and machine learning should ensure that accurate insights are delivered at the right time, dramatically increasing the reach and value of data and enabling brands to make evidence-based decisions at every stage of the customer journey.

Finally, this all needs to be operationalised, so it becomes an ongoing, dynamic process, embedded directly into the customer interaction.

Insights derived from self-learning customer and behaviour analysis must be fuelled by real-time contextual data from every customer interaction, to dynamically refresh every customer recommendation, offer or message and deliver instant experiences that are highly relevant.

By providing such a personalised service, consumers will have greater visibility into how their data is being used, giving them a greater incentive to share.

Making the impossible possible

This may well seem like a daunting task for a lot of brands, but it’s proven both feasible and worthwhile by ICA Banken. Offering financial services to Swedish customers, ICA Banken has committed to providing a personalised marketing approach to each of their 750,000 customers. As is the case with many retailers in the digital age, the brand’s interactions with their customers are largely digital.

Using SAS Customer Intelligence 360, the bank has been able to collect the customer’s data in real-time, tracking the user’s behaviour on the app and how they got there in the first place. By collating this digital behaviour, the bank has been able to gauge the core interests of each consumer and provide them with customised offers in response to this.

The impact has been immense. ICA Banken’s customer engagement increased by 70 percent and their efficiency levels have improved several times since adopting the new approach. Where it used to take them weeks to design a marketing campaign, it can now be produced in a matter of days. This is a level of efficiency which all brands can achieve by collecting, integrating and, crucially, analysing the correct customer data.

Providing data has to be a two-way street where both the customer and the brand benefit. For the customer, offering up their personal data should be the gateway to a more personal experience. This can only be achieved if brands accelerate the process of collecting data, analysing it for valuable insights and making data-driven decisions, even in real time if needed. As demonstrated by ICA Banken, the results are worth the effort.

 


Claire BonniolClaire BonniolMarch 13, 2020
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7min1614

‘Poor Customer Experience’ is costing financial institutions $10 billion in revenue per year, a figure that was revealed in 2019 by a Fenergo research.

In the context of a troubled economic environment, cost wars, and a need for transparency, it is more than necessary that financial services seriously look at a drastic customer centricity shift to stay in the competition.

Why are financial services late with CX transformation?

Investments banks don’t go the same way as their retail counterparts. 

Retail banks made their CX transformation a decade ago, trying to transform their services from pure transaction to advisory. Digital services have reduced the need to go to a branch for simple operations or meet bank employees in-person.

Until recently, investment banks could differentiate through the quality, accuracy, and innovation of their financial products. Their clients used to be loyal to one or two providers only, and trust came from the expertise of brokers and staff. But this is no longer the case and clients have become much more volatile.

There are two main reasons why high-end B2B environments are often late in CX transformation. Firstly, they like to create bespoke services per client, and fear that they would lose a good long-term customer relationship if they design journeys per customer segment.

Secondly, it is not natural for key account managers to put a value on systems rather than on their own industry or product expertise, which brings internal resistance.

What is the impact of providing a low Customer Experience?

Small and bigger customers benefit from a large range of product offers and potential providers, and can get self-care through many fintech services. Providing a low Customer Experience therefore can have a huge negative impact.

To give some examples, the onboarding time remains too much of a burden for many customers. The consequence is that they prefer to look for other partners who would provide quicker processes: 36 percent of customers leave due to a slow or inefficient onboarding, according to Fenergo.

The same impact would be faced on revenues (customers spend less when CX is poor), customer retention (they leave more often, which results in a higher new customer acquisition cost), or even employee engagement (many major investment banks such as Goldman Sachs invest in employee engagement programmes).

What can digital bring to an improved Customer Experience?

The booming development of fintech has set the scene for new digital services. Many customer pain points can be solved thanks to digital innovation. Checks and KYC make the onboarding a lot quicker and smoother.

Research and financial information become broader, more efficient, and cheaper. Information is key to be the first in proposing good investment, and everything that can accelerate the research becomes a differentiator. Gathering and analysing the data from your existing customers is also a huge help to improve the services and predict customer behaviours. Technology with platforms such as Qualtrics or Medallia have become as important as CRMs or accountancy software. To give a last example, customers want to have access to self-care apps because it quickens the simple operations processes…

These are just a few examples of how technology can improve CX. Solutions have developed very rapidly and have become a must in financial services packages. 

What needs to be done on the human side?

Fintechs have changed the way investment banks can deliver valuable services and continue to create money and jobs.

It’s now time to prepare the organisation for this new world. The job has changed and will continue to change. So, how to cope with this transformation?

Putting CX transformation in place is not just about bringing digital tools into the customer journey. Customers need personalisation, the sentiment of being treated like a VIP, efficiency, self-care, and a high level of ‘human touch’ when they want it.

With my 20 years of experience in the field, I can argue that customer centricity is first and primarily an ability to behave with care. There is a specific skillset for customer culture that has to be transmitted to the frontline, back-office staff, managers, and internal coaches, and that is not common at all in investment bank environments.

In addition to this skillset, CX transformation programmes have to be put in place, to set the strategy, establish the data management, design bespoke journeys to wow customers and staff, and train and monitor.

Is your organisation already on the way? You can check where you are in the transformation CX path with this free assessment tool: DiagnostiX.co.uk.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 11, 2020
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3min1306

Over two thirds of all web content published by brands still goes ‘unseen’ by consumers, according to new research.

A global study from digital experience analytics firm Contentsquare found that of all the sectors analysed, banking has the highest amount of unseen content (75 percent), closely followed by beauty websites, where 74 percent of content is rarely being accessed by visitors.

Meanwhile, technology brands are the most effective content marketers, with 40 percent of their content viewed by users.

The 2020 Digital Experience Benchmark incorporates global Contentsquare session data from some of the world’s biggest brands. The anonymised data set includes over 7 billion web sessions from over 400 websites around the world, providing insight into previously misunderstood user behaviours.

The report also found that mobile continues to be the context for most new site visits. Fifty-five percent of visitors get to a site using their mobile phone, with luxury topping the mobile traffic table (67 percent).

The energy sector, which has been lagging in the smartphone traffic boom, recorded an 11 percent increase in mobile traffic since 2019, and travel saw a five percent increase. Mobile experience is now a critical battleground in every industry, regardless of its typical purchase size,  frequency or cycle time.

Aimee Stone Munsell, CMO at Contentsquare, said: “The window of opportunity for brands who haven’t turned Digital Experience into a competitive advantage is rapidly shrinking. The good news is today, we’re able to locate with precision the stumbling blocks along the customer journey.

“Marketers and UX teams who have a granular understanding of customer behaviour can uncover simple improvements that shrink the experience gap and multiply their conversions.”


Sandra RadlovackiSandra RadlovackiMarch 9, 2020
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2min1201

Leader in contact centre solutions and cloud CX Genesys and their long-established partner nGUVU have joined forced in strengthening and bettering Genesys’ workforce by implementing gamified solutions such as machine learning and behavioural analytics.

Applying gamification to Genesys’ workforce engagement managemenet (WEM) suite allows businesses to fundamentally increase employee engagement, customer retention, and cost savings.

A well thought-out combination of advanced cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies including gamification and machine learning will transform ordinary transactions into meaningful connections, reminding customers about Genesy’s central vision, which is Experience as a ServiceSM.

Examples of immediate improvement of key business metrics can be seen in the results of two companies, Carestream Dental and Senske Services. The former, a global provider of imagining systems and practices management software for dental practices, has seen an increase in employee performance corresponding to 12 new team members. The latter, a tree and pest control company, notes 15 percent higher revenue since incorporating the nGUVU solution. 

According to a prediction that two thirds of global workforce will be comprised of Millennials by 2025, turning to solutions that favour game mechanics, friendly competition, and rewards will ultimately lead to evolving workforce.

nGUVU Chief Executive Officer Pierre Donaldson said: “This marks a major milestone for nGUVU, and we couldn’t be more excited to join the Genesys team. The scalability we gain from Genesys Cloud WEM benefits our existing customers and gives organisations of all sizes across the globe a powerful gamification solution to help their employees become more effective and engaged.”


Kayla MatthewsKayla MatthewsMarch 3, 2020
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10min1949

Technology is consistently progressing through new developments that affect everyday life and business.

Customer service has seen the benefits of tech through the implementation of chatbots. But there are also challenges that come with chatbots, even as they change our methods of communication.

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates conversations with people digitally. In a chatbot, you won’t be talking to another person, but rather a piece of intelligence. Most commonly in customer service, chatbots work to understand your inquiries and respond accordingly to them.

In general, there are two types of chatbots:

  • Non-learning chatbots: These are fixed and provide limited assistance. These perform the operations that programmers equip them with. They can solve basic or repetitive questions but cannot learn from human behaviours, reactions or emotions.
  • Learning chatbots: These use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve upon their functions over time based on interactions and communication with consumers. As they learn, they develop better responses and improved customer experiences.

You may see learning chatbots on the eBay or Lyft platforms. They are gaining popularity quickly, too. In fact, 60 percent of consumers used a chatbot within the past year.

While AI chatbots are the better option, they do come with some growing pains and adjustment periods.

Challenges of chatbots

A chatbot can optimise any business, but it does come with potential challenges that require attention and fine-tuning. These include:

1. Security

One of the biggest issues for any piece of tech is security. In customer service, it is especially important to ensure that customer information is safe and secure.

Many people fear their information getting lost or stolen because of unsecured networks or breaches. Companies must design clear privacy policies as well as invest in the safest security networks and programs for encrypting data.

This requires financial resources, but meeting these needs is a must. Businesses must meet any security costs if they are to incorporate chatbots.

2. Understanding customers

Although AI learns from experience, it still can run into issues regarding understanding customers. This can take a number of different forms. Since voice bots are becoming a prominent force alongside chatbots, text as well as voice understanding are both necessary.

If the chatbot cannot detect human emotions or tones, it might not pick up on the urgency of the request. On the other hand, if the AI does not understand the request itself, it can provide incorrect information or data.

These errors could lead to decreased customer satisfaction and an unproductive encounter. Although AI is an advanced form of tech, developers must still plan for fixes.

3. Real person request

While some people may enjoy talking with a chatbot, there will be others who request to speak with a real person. Additionally, if there are issues with the chatbot communication tool, the customer may need to speak with an agent.

It is important for companies to have customer service agents in addition to any chatbot services they offer. The challenge lies with having the proper balance and allowing customers to adjust to both options.

4. The right balance

One company that has implemented an efficient solution to these challenges is Wells Fargo. The bank uses AI and Facebook Messenger to provide an extension of their services.

With their chatbot, people all over the world have access to their transactions and more while requesting service or assistance. It can also offer insight and personalised guidance with financials.

Security is strict, and a customer service agent is readily available for additional assistance. AI is constantly evolving, so the issue of understanding customers will be an ongoing development. But Wells Fargo provides an efficient example of chatbots implemented well.

Benefits of chatbots

Although there are challenges that come with implementing chatbots, there are benefits too. On top of providing the newest forms of AI tech for communication, chatbots also help with budgeting, availability and user experience:

  • Availability: Chatbots are available 24/7 and are individualised for each user. This means they have no set limit and can help as many customers as needed. This can improve the customer experience at all hours of the day and night after work hours end.
  • Budgeting: If a company has budgeting restrictions, chatbots can help in the customer service department. If it is not in the budget to hire other employees, chatbots can take on some of the responsibility, resolving inquiries. Chatbots are typically cheaper to implement, too, as opposed to hiring more staff.
  • User experience: Chatbots provide readily available and fast assistance for customers. With a smooth and efficient conversation, customers leave with a solution. The overall user experience makes for more satisfied customers who are more likely to become repeat customers.

These benefits outweigh the challenges in the eyes of many businesses. They increase the success of customer service interactions and satisfaction while helping to stay on budget. As AI continues to adapt and learn, chatbots will only improve upon their ability to assist users.

UNICEF’s U-Report offers an example of optimising AI chatbots. Their chatbots allow people from all over the globe to share their needs.

With this service, UNICEF is able to assist is raising voices that otherwise do not get to speak out. While it isn’t necessarily a chatbot for talking, it does communicate by sending out polls, collecting data and publishing it within the company. UNICEF can then aid areas and people in need.

Here, chatbots not only provide benefits for UNICEF’s engagement but also for children and others in need of help. Chatbots can change the game for many lives and experiences.

Are chatbots for all businesses?

Chatbots can help any business with their user engagement and communication. More specifically, they’re a big help in service-related industries like retail, finance and travel.

The challenges will arise in any company, but taking the steps to prepare beforehand can make for an efficient adjustment period. Chatbots can then change the company for the better.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthFebruary 27, 2020
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3min1540

UK Customer Experience Award winner ContactEngine has been named as one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies in The Financial Times 1000 ranking.  

The rating is the result of a joint project by the Financial Times and Statista, which – now in its fourth year – conducted months of research, public calls, intensive database research, and directly contacted tens of thousands of companies. In the end, they were able to identify outstanding companies among the millions of existing European enterprises.

ContactEngine, the conversational AI technology used by large corporations across industries to automate customer communications, is deployed by the top UK, European, and North American brands in telecommunications, utilities, financial services, auto, and retail, including British Gas, Whirlpool, DHL, Sky, TELUS, Verizon, Virgin Media, and BT.

The winner techs it all: The ContactEngine and BT team collect their UK Customer Experience Award at Wembley Stadium for Use of Technology

ContactEngine’s partnership with BT earned the firms a Gold title for Use of Technology at the 2019 UK Customer Experience Awards in London.

The company was also recently presented with the Best Use of IP Award at The Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 Awards Dinner.

Speaking of the latest high-profile recognition of his firm’s work, Dr Mark K. Smith, CEO of ContactEngine, said: “We are pleased to be recognised as one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies. It’s a testament to all those involved in ContactEngine – our employees, investors, and clients – and to the technology in transforming the way global brands engage with their customers.

“Looking ahead as a business, we continue to focus on growth and expansion both geographically and by industry – it’s an exciting time for us and for our customers.”

 


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 26, 2020
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5min1317

Focusing on Customer Experience directly leads to higher business growth, reveals Adobe’s 2020 Digital Trends. 

According to the study, UK brands leading in CX were three times more likely to exceed their 2019 business goals. It was also found that those leading in CX all shared a common approach to investing more in people, technology and structures.

Now in its tenth year, the Digital Trends report, in partnership with Econsultancy, surveyed over 13,000 global marketing, advertising, ecommerce, creative and IT professionals to understand their 2019 achievements and 2020 priorities.

Alvaro Del Pozo, Vice President of Marketing, International, at Adobe said: “Today’s consumers have more choice, are better informed, and are more demanding than ever.

“A customer-led approach is no longer optional – it’s business critical. Brands need to connect with customers in more dynamic and engaging ways. By focusing on creating the right culture and team, supported by the right technology, brands will be able to react to changing customer and market needs, faster than ever.”

Businesses in the UK clearly recognise the importance of taking a customer-first approach, with almost a quarter (24 percent) of British brands ranking CX optimisation as their most exciting priority for 2020. Encouragingly, the UK’s focus on CX outranks the global and European average of 22 percent, ahead of both Germany (23 percent) and Italy (16 percent), and behind only the Nordics (26 percent) and France (25 percent).

However, a clear maturity gap has opened up between CX ambition and actual capability in several European countries, with just one in 20 brands from the UK (5 percent), Germany and the Nordics (both 6 percent) ranking their CX development as ‘very advanced’.

French brands rank themselves highest in Europe when it comes to CX maturity, with 16 percent saying their strategy and technology is aligned to the customer experience, ahead of Italy at 12 percent.

For brands seeking to close the maturity gap, they must look beyond a single piece of technology or initiative, instead focusing on creating an organisational structure and culture that adopts a customer-first model.

Having the right people will be critical for brands looking to reach CX sophistication in 2020. However, the hunt for quality talent is proving to be a challenge for many, with one-in-five (19 percent) UK businesses leading in CX, admitting that attracting and retaining talent in CX-related areas is their most pressing challenge in 2020, second only to France (20 percent) in Europe.

Perhaps more worryingly, almost a third (31 percent) of British brands say finding people with the right digital skills is preventing them from creating successful digital experiences, ahead of the European average (29 percent).

To plug the digital skills gap, particularly around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), brands must ensure they take an agile approach to upskilling, which aligns to long-term business strategy, flows from the top down, and spans the entire organisation.

 The appetite for AI and ML among UK businesses is continuing to grow in 2020, with 43 percent of British brands already using AI/ML or planning to invest this year. Brands that embrace automation possess a clear business advantage. Equipped with the ability to make intelligent real-time decisions that are personalised to the individual, businesses will be closer to their customers than ever before.

Encouragingly, a third of UK companies cite targeting and personalisation as their main area of focus in 2020 – while one in five say data-driven marketing that’s focused on the individual is their top priority, ranking ahead of both France (11 percent) and Germany (15 percent). This indicates that commitment to automation will only continue to grow this year and beyond.

Click here to download the full 2020 Digital Trends report.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthFebruary 14, 2020
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4min1197

A new digital CX service is promising to alert employees and management of potential issues facing their customers as soon as they arise.

Finnish tech firm HappyOrNot is integrating ‘Real-time Collaboration’ into its product suite in order to deliver further service enhancements to its 4,000 clients, which include McDonald’s, Elkjop, Amazon, JACK & JONES, and London Heathrow Airport.

The new software allows for managers and employees in all sectors to be alerted as soon as a potential issue arises (based on spikes in ‘Smiley’ data), such as long waiting times at airport security or unstocked shelves in a retailer.

When the number of negative or positive responses from designated Smiley Terminal and Smiley Touch products exceeds a preset value, staff are sent automated push notifications through the HappyOrNot mobile reporting app.

Once these alerts are sent, managers and frontline staff are able to acknowledge the alert and comment on the situation as it unfolds.

All within the app, they are able to communicate and issue direct instructions and on how to handle the situation. For example, if ‘wait time’ is a commonly-cited problem on a Smiley Touch, receiving frequent dark red negative feedbacks, retail employees will be alerted to this and can open a new checkout in response, while also telling their colleagues the issue should be solved.

Managers and team members are also able to review alerts and log processes retrospectively, meaning organisations can learn from previous problems to prevent them from happening again in the future. Alongside this, managers can celebrate staff who respond quickly and effectively to any issues, as demonstrated through the app.

Heikki Väänänen, CEO and Founder of HappyOrNot, said: “We’ve all been there. You’re waiting, impatiently, in line at a store, confused as to why more checkouts aren’t open. If a staff member were to arrive and start serving customers, wait times would be halved and we’d all go home happy.

“Despite this frustration, it’s not fair to expect staff to have a psychic awareness of these problems. Through our data, however, teams are notified of situations like these, and can in real-time collaborate to fix issues. All this means that customers are happier and able to get on with their day, staff are less stressed and feel empowered by their ability to resolve issues more quickly, and businesses can flourish as a result.”


Peter LaversPeter LaversFebruary 12, 2020
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14min2693

The SAS/Futurum Experience 2030 report has posed an interesting question: what will drive customer loyalty by 2030?

The landscape of customer loyalty is changing. Gone are the days where consumers placed blind faith in brands, shopping habitually for their convenience.

Empowered by technology, consumers are using easy browsing to compare the competition, finding the best deals for them at the click of a button. Does this mean that all hope of customer loyalty is lost?

Definitely not. Brands simply need to react to this new age and work harder to firstly understand the driving forces of loyalty, and then to actually earn it.

Customer loyalty theory boils down into two different aspects:

  • Behavioural loyalty customers repeat purchasing your brand/product. This is sometimes referred to as “continuity”, as it could be simple convenience that drives this behaviour, or customer “inertia” (can’t be bothered to switch) – neither can hardly be described as loyalty!
  • Attitudinal loyalty usually described as some sort of ladder with ‘trial buyers’ at the bottom and ‘advocates’ or ‘fans’ at the top. Some CX practitioners are of the opinion that if you ‘wow’ customers enough you’ll make them advocates (high NPS) or fans (with your brand metaphorically tattooed on their arms). There’s merit in this argument, but we can’t automatically assume that high attitudinal loyalty equals your “best” (i.e. most profitable) customers – that depends on their spending power. We also can’t assume advocacy higher up the ladder – studies have shown that new customers are just as likely to recommend a brand if their purchase experience was good

I hope that you see from this (perhaps over-simplified) description that a brand needs both attitudinal and behavioural loyalty to be sustainably successful.

For business value to be delivered, I hope it’s also clear that behavioural loyalty keeps the bread on the table.

It is sobering to realise that some of your most profitable customers (high continuity with low cost-to-serve) may have little or no attitudinal loyalty. These customers may well consider moving their business to a new entrant or more convenient provider if the competitive offer is sufficient to overcome inertia.

The question in the SAS/Futurum Experience 2030 report is clearly more focused on behavioural loyalty, asking for “up to THREE features you believe will be most important to you in deciding to be loyal to a brand or organization”.

The results give eight attributes that consumers say will drive loyalty in the future:

ATTRIBUTES CONSUMERS SAY WILL DRIVE LOYALTY 2025 – 2030

(Top three most important to be loyal)

1

High Quality Products or Services

2

Low Cost or Special Discounts

3

Special Recommendations, Upgrades or Incentives

4

Immediate Availability (delivery within a few days)

5

Immediate Availability (same-day delivery)

6

A live person on the phone to answer questions or provide support

7

Sale notifications on my mobile or app

8

Social Responsibility (supporting causes I agree with)

High quality is top of the list. It’s worth reminding ourselves that ‘quality’ is not necessarily about ‘premium’ or ‘luxury’. In its most rudimentary definition, it’s about delivering what was ordered on-time, on-cost and to the required specification – very much about getting the basics right.

‘High’ quality is doing it well! If you can consistently deliver what you promised when you promised it at a reasonable price then you stand a chance of building both attitudinal and behavioural loyalty. It’s not sexy like CX delight theory, but it earns you the right to go on and build and deepen the relationship.

The features that come 2nd, 3rd and 7th are very transactional, and consumers are confirming that their behaviour can be influenced by offers if they’re well-made and appropriate.

This very much speaks to the need for providers to excel in real-time personalisation. Companies will build loyalty if they can truly understand customer needs and propensity, and then meet individual customers on their journeys to make relevant value-adding offers.

Expectations for quick or immediate delivery have soared in recent years, and the fact that they come 4th and 5th on the list shows how empowered consumers now are. Providers used to specify what “on-time” meant. Customers can now easily decide if that’s not good enough and switch provider.

The 6th most important feature – live person interaction – is a timely reminder to companies dashing for digital transformation that they mustn’t lose the human touch. There was a chatbot option in the question but it didn’t make the top eight. Should we scrap our digitisation plans?

NO!

What we should do is have equal weighting in those plans for CX and cost efficiency. Transformations that ignore CX in favour of cost savings will lead to customers feeling like they’re just a number and that they’re being ‘processed’ rather than engaged. Good “design thinking” is always CX-driven and should always address attitudinal and behavioural loyalty.

The final feature on the list (social responsibility) is the only one that’s purely attitudinal. Brand image didn’t even make the cut!

This is definitely one to watch, particularly with respect to climate and environmental issues. Even highly loyal customers will reconsider that loyalty if you’re caught out by  something that society deems as irresponsible e.g. single use plastics.

It’s interesting to note that one of the options in the question – VIP (loyalty) programmes – also didn’t make the top eight. This is a fascinating finding in its own right. It suggests that consumers are beginning to twig that they can get a better/cheaper/quicker-delivered deal by shopping around than by sticking with an existing provider and getting a retrospective “reward”.

Is this the death-knell for loyalty programmes? I suspect not as they are often an economic vehicle by which many of the features that did make the top eight are offered. Simple spend-related programmes are now ubiquitous. My advice is that if you are considering launching or re-engineering a loyalty programme then it needs to be something very special and truly innovative.

We need to change our mindframe: “be a loyalty company, not loyalty programme”. This is how the SAS/Futurum Experience 2030 report regarding ‘Loyalty in the Digital Age’ concludes.

We must instil this attitude into our brands if we are to achieve customer loyalty. It does away with the passive approach of the past, instead urging brands to combine both attitudinal and behavioural loyalty methods. To do this, we must provide innovative design-thinking approaches to our transformation programmes, becoming increasingly customer centric and insight-led in the process.

As a result, we can disembark from the merry-go-round of ever-diminishing customers who have yet to consider our brand and begin to establish a clientele who have truly bought into the brand.

This is how we achieve sustainable business and profit.


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamFebruary 5, 2020
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7min1697

2019 was a milestone year for IBM, marking its 30th year as official supplier of information technology and consultant to the All England Club and The Championships, Wimbledon.

Wimbledon is the long-standing jewel in the crown of IBM’s live projects. Every year, behind the scenes, IBM analyses millions of live data points that continuously drive Wimbledon’s iconic pursuit of greatness – from match and player statistics to weather forecasts, cyber security events, and website visits.

All this is key to ensuring flawless delivery of the world class Championships and its connected fan experience.

Challenge

IBM’s global agency of record and partner for over 25 years, George P. Johnson (GPJ) was last year tasked with creating an experience that raised awareness of IBM’s ground-breaking work on the tournament through innovation.

The experience marketing agency needed to create a tech installation that brought IBM’s involvement in Wimbledon to life – increasing brand awareness by surprising and provoking intrigue amongst the general public, complimenting wider Wimbledon IBM client hospitality activities, and ultimately increasing the brand’s sales pipeline.

Solution

Building on the Wimbledon theme of ‘Tennis in an English Garden’, GPJ created the IBM Technology Garden, a unique real-time data activation.

Complex data sets captured by IBM were translated into mesmerising data visualisations in the form of digital flowers. These interactive visual representations of IBM’s impact on the game, the fan-experience and global media allowed visitors to read, experience, and understand how IBM brings The Championships to life through innovation.

Enticing, inspiring, and designed to encourage interaction, each visualisation constantly evolved and transformed to surprise the audience – enhanced by every serve, shot and point of the Wimbledon Championships. 

The spectacle centred on watching the flowers grow as they were ‘fed’ IBM’s tournament data, made possible by GPJ’s longstanding partnership with IBM, which allowed the agency to utilise the real-time data collected for the installation.

Power flower: The IBM Technology Garden at last year’s Wimbledon Championships

Every flower was uniquely created based on live data and structured using biological building blocks, beautifully brought to life and nurtured in the Technology Garden.

The forms were driven by the concept of morphogenesis; a biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape. GPJ perceived this as a metaphor for the flexibility of IBM’s software offering, that can constantly change and adapt to the rising challenges imposed by Wimbledon and our ever-growing data-driven world.

Designed to reveal IBM’s hidden story, the Garden acted as a catalyst to conversations with customers at the official Championships. Whilst live data drove the activation, the focus was on demystifying and simplifying complex data sets for the audience. These were captured across five areas throughout the day with different IBM solutions:

  • Fan Engagement – IBM Cloud and AI
  • Match data – IBM Cloud and AI
  • Weather data – IBM Watson Analytics
  • Cyber Security – IBM Security
  • Website visits – IBM Cloud and AI

GPJ used colours from both the IBM brand guidelines and the shades of UV light photography, a technique used by scientists to expose patterns visible only to insects; like bees that can see a wider spectrum of light than humans, to echo that there’s more to IBM’s role in the Championships than meets the eye.

To support the installation, GPJ designed an interactive iPad app that allowed audiences to navigate the live datasets, showing both the raw numbers and how they influenced a given flower.

The digital activation was built with reuse in mind, allowing highlights of the 2019 Championships to be replayed and relived. Firstly, travelling around the UK to multiple IBM events and then finally taking centre stage at IBM’s UK client centre – increasing the value of its creation for IBM by using it across multiple events throughout the year.

Verdict

Across two weeks, GPJ created 2,000 unique versions of the installation, with approximately 20,000 people experiencing the IBM Technology Garden.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthFebruary 4, 2020
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2min1276

One of the UK’s most popular conference venues is inviting visitor feedback on toilet cleanliness through an increasingly popular review app.

The NEC in Birmingham is now using integrated management tool and review app Cleen, which enables customers and visitors to log reviews of washrooms.

Users can either compliment accessible and clean washrooms or post feedback on issues such as the need to refresh soap supplies or toilet paper. The free app allows users to upload photographs to support their review, which can then be viewed by other Cleen users.

The NEC now has its own Cleen dashboard, enabling the venue to have immediate access to reviews in order to take action and directly respond to customer feedback. Each toilet has its own individual QR code displayed above some of the hand dryers to identify where it is located and some washrooms also have a tablet to enable customers to leave a review without a phone.

Steve Cartmell, Group FM Contract Support Manager said: “We are committed to providing all our customers with the very best experience possible. The Cleen app and the introduction of another ‘Changing Places’ fully-accessible toilet for people with severe disabilities will further enhance our offer to visitors and ensure that they can alert us if there are any issues we need to deal with quickly.

“We believe in setting and maintaining the highest standards across our venue and this is another example of how we are always striving to exceed customer expectations.”

 

 

 




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