Sandra RadlovackiSandra RadlovackiApril 2, 2020
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3min578

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.


Claire BonniolClaire BonniolMarch 13, 2020
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7min1186

‘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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3min817

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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2min868

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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10min1559

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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3min1045

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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5min1005

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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4min1010

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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14min2356

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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7min1462

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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2min1064

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.”

 

 

 


Sarah De MartinSarah De MartinJanuary 30, 2020
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7min1723

“It’ll never catch on!”

Famous last words; Alexa, which many people dismissed as Amazon’s little pet project, was actually a mark of genius.

Just over five years after its initial launch, we’re now 200 million Alexa-enabled devices sold and 90 thousand voice skills down the road. Alexa has expanded beyond our homes – she can now be found cruising in our cars, on our smartphones, earbuds, spectacles, and discreetly in connected rings.

So…what’s next?

The first thing to acknowledge is that voice isn’t a fad. It’s not going anywhere, because it’s actually useful. Moreover, many of us are starting to trust it. Last year, six-out-of-ten smart speaker owners claimed to have made a purchase brokered by their voice assistant in the previous twelve months.

It’s bridging the gap between people’s domestic and working lives, and that’s only going to accelerate going forward. How? By capturing even more facets of users’ behaviour.

There’s a good reason why Alexa made it onto Fitbit last year (although it remains to be seen whether it will remain there post-Google acquisition), and why Amazon has launched smart glasses. Alexa will become more capable with the release of each new device that taps into additional data sources through sensory inputs.

Imagine the potential for ecommerce – could Amazon’s search rankings and ad strategies ever be dictated by how fast your heart’s beating, or by what your eye is drawn to on the page?

When it comes down to it, Amazon exists to sell, and its success has been built on its search and recommendations engine. You sometimes hear people say Amazon knows what they want before they do. And the thing is: this doesn’t even sound far-fetched anymore. Future iterations of Alexa will become Amazon’s secret weapon by understanding what makes each of us tick.

The more Alexa-embedded devices there are, the easier this will become. We’re already seeing this strategy unfold. Alexa was everywhere at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. She was in motorcycle helmets, electric toothbrushes, and even beds, the latter allowing users to dim the lights from the comfort of a $4,950 berth.

Of course, this is a tech show. It’s overblown and crazy – not all of these items will make an impact. Some will be dismissed as novelties, others will be deemed too fiddly, and some might simply over-step what consumers deem acceptable.

This echoes Amazon’s efforts at HQ – many devices won’t get beyond the limited beta phase, but each experiment lays down the groundwork for the next.

One thing’s for certain, though. In the next five years, Alexa will transform from a reactive assistant to a proactive companion. According to Amazon’s Rohit Prasad, Alexa will become increasingly embedded in our daily lives, taking a more active role, and even leading two-way conversations. The logical outcome is home robotics, and if anyone can make that a mass-market proposition, it’s going to be Amazon.

It seems the future has finally caught up with Amazon’s vision; by this, I’m referring as much to the human aspect as I am the mechanical. It’s easy to be sucked into the brave new world of  voice and the convenience it brings – all valid. However, the implications are equally ‘Big Brother’.

There have been instances reported where customers don’t interact directly with Alexa, yet are targeted with products based on their private conversations.

And yet it’s…fine.

There’s no massive moral outrage, people aren’t throwing their Echoes into the streets, and to be honest, there’s little more than the occasional disgruntled tweet. It comes down to the perceived value exchange, and it seems most Echo users are happy to surrender their personal data for convenience.

And while there are still areas we’re not totally comfortable with yet – the use of ‘idle’ Alexa recordings in murder cases, for example – we’ve come a long way, and Amazon’s intelligence is only set to unfold further across the customer experience.

Here’s to the next five years.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 23, 2020
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4min1474

CX and contact centre software firm Genesys has expanded its partnership with Microsoft for a brand new cloud service promising “superior interactions” for customers.

Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure will be available later this year and will enable firms to achieve the security and stability required to manage the complexities involved with connecting every touchpoint throughout the customer journey.

To accelerate adoption, the companies are providing Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure through a joint co-selling and go-to-market strategy, in which customers will benefit from a streamlined buying process that puts them on a clear path to the cloud.

With its multi-tenant architecture, Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure will give customers the ability to innovate faster and improve their business agility. In addition, by running the Genesys Customer Experience solution on this dependable cloud environment, enterprises will be able to maximise their investment in Microsoft Azure through simplified management and maintenance requirements, centralized IT expertise, reduced costs, and more.

These solutions aim to make it easier for enterprises to leverage cloud and artificial intelligence technologies so they can gain deeper insights and provide tailor-made experiences for their customers.

Microsoft’s US President, Kate Johnson, explained: “Large contact centres receive an exceptionally high volume of inquiries across a growing list of channels and platforms. One of the biggest challenges is connecting the details of every interaction across all channels to ensure each customer has a seamless experience.

“By leveraging Microsoft’s Azure cloud and AI technologies, Genesys is helping enterprises create a seamless customer journey with Microsoft’s trusted, secure, and scalable platform.”

Peter Graf, Chief Strategy Officer of Genesys, added: “We are thrilled to give large enterprises the opportunity to run their mission critical customer experience platform in the cloud environment they already know and trust – Microsoft Azure.

“Together, we’re making it simpler for even the most complex organisations to transition to the cloud, enabling them to unlock efficiencies and accelerate innovation so they can build deeper connections with customers.”

The companies are also exploring and developing new integrations for Genesys and Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure Cognitive Services to streamline collaboration and communications for employees and customers. More information will be released about these upcoming integrations later this year.

Nemo Verbist, senior VP of Intelligent Business and Intelligent Workplace at NTT Ltd., one of the top five global technology and services providers for the world’s largest enterprises and a partner of both Microsoft and Genesys, sees great value in the partnership.

“Many of our customers have standardised on Microsoft solutions, and Genesys Engage on Microsoft Azure gives them an additional opportunity to take advantage of their investment,” he said.

“Together, these solutions provide enterprises a secure and powerful foundation to communicate with their customers in creative and meaningful ways.”

For more information, register for the upcoming webinar, Genesys Engage + Microsoft Azure: Transform Your Customer Experience in the Cloud.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 21, 2020
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2min1272

US tech firm IPsoft has unveiled what it claims is the most “advanced digital employee on the market” in the form of an updated avatar that replicates human conversational behavior.

The firm’s Amelia digital employee system is already one of the market leaders, with B2B customers told “thinks like a human but works at the speed of a machine”. Now the AI system has been updated to feature a new-look avatar (pictured), which IPsoft say “provides the most human-like digital experiences in the industry”.

This new version of Amelia brings together her sophisticated cognitive capabilities – built to mirror the functions of the human brain – with the latest advancements in avatar technology. Amelia is designed to deliver the visual elements of human interaction – conversation, expression, emotion, and understanding – to everyday user experiences, driving deeper customer connections and greater business value.

Utilizing advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP), Amelia is able to understand natural language, follow context switching, and independently execute complex tasks to resolve user requests. Her state-of-the-art affective computing and sentiment analysis enable her to recognise and adapt her responses based on the mood of the user and the context of the situation.

Dube said: “By 2025, I believe that you could pass a colleague in the hall at work and not know if it’s a man or machine. Amelia’s new lifelike avatar takes us one step nearer to closing that gap between physical and digital colleagues to create a truly hybrid workforce.”

 


CXM Editorial TeamCXM Editorial TeamJanuary 16, 2020
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16min2660

Ever since the introduction of the internet, and online shopping in particular, the relationship between customer and vendor has had the potential to become impersonal, distant, and in some cases strained.

As consumers find themselves bombarded with marketing emails as soon as they make an online purchase, and vendors are relied on to provide as many communication channels for customers as possible, both sides are under pressure.

To mark the first Get to Know Your Customers Day of 2020 we spoke to nine industry experts for their advice on how businesses can keep customers sweet.

The popularisation of the subscription economy

“The subscription economy is booming,” explains Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO at Content Guru.

“Whether it’s movies, music, groceries or even razors, consumers are increasingly turning their back on traditional ‘one time’ purchases in favour of forming long-term relationships with trusted brands.

“As such, it is absolutely critical that all organisations understand how to nurture happy long term relationships with their customers. The demand for ‘as-a-service’ offerings across all sectors is clear, and now the key differentiator for businesses is not just understanding how to reach the right customer, but how to implement a consistent, successful and tailored journey across their entire customer base.

“Organisations at the forefront of today’s subscription economy rely on sophisticated customer engagement technology, such as AI-driven Natural Language Processing, to ensure they can meet changing customer demands as quickly, smoothly and effectively as possible. Increasingly delivered through the cloud, the importance of these contact centre technologies only grows as customers not only expect an attentive and efficient long-term relationship, but one that can take place seamlessly across every channel.”

Go the extra mile

“How many businesses can honestly say that they really know and understand their customers?” questions Jon Lucas, Co-Director of Hyve Managed Hosting.

Jon Lucas

“And by ‘really understanding’, we’re not talking about an annual customer survey or the occasional check-in – genuinely knowing your customers is about being able to anticipate their needs, solve their problems and help them to succeed.

“Obvious? Perhaps, but for just about every business, taking it seriously comes down to a conscious choice about how important customers are. Ultimately, any organisation of any size that wants to live by a strong customer service philosophy needs to make a commitment – both financially and culturally – to go the ‘extra mile’.

“The alternative would be a business that just ‘survives’ despite customer churn, thinks that winning new business is cheaper and easier than keeping customers really happy, and where reputation is ‘nice to have’, rather than a daily imperative.”

Tom Needs, COO at Node4, furthers this point, stating:

“For any organisation it’s important to always validate the customer service part of the equation, but this is especially the case from a managed service provider (MSP) perspective.

Tom Needs

“With the MSP market continuing to grow, it’s vital that MSPs keep pace with changing customer needs and preferences, pairing them with the best technology to champion the type of exceptional service that ensures a customer’s business stays successful.”

“One way of doing this is to own the service level agreements (SLAs) and end-to-end infrastructure, because this gives partners and customers control, visibility, and better service levels. However, the most fundamental element is the customer relationship – knowledge of unique needs and preferences comes with constant engagement. If an MSP can act on that knowledge to deliver a better service that works in line with the objectives of the customer, can anticipate their future needs and do a first-class job should something go wrong, satisfaction is going to remain high.”

Paul Zuidema, Managing Director EMEA at Ergotron explains how it’s not just technology that businesses should be thinking about, but also those products that affect work environments:

“The business world is ever-evolving, but one constant that anchors any business is its customer base,” he says.

Paul Zuidema

“Knowing them and anticipating their needs and preferences is key to business continuity.

“For us, employees working in desk-based, seated office environments are our end-user customers.

“As experts in designing and producing kinetic work environments, it’s important that we understand how to support their health and wellbeing while they’re at work, and promoting better physical and mental wellbeing through the use of the right ergonomic furniture, in the right kind of work environment.

“In a similar way, businesses would do well to also regard their employees as a type of internal customer base, providing the appropriate support and working conditions that will ultimately elevate their business bottom line.”

Reap the benefits of data

“Organisations are continually working to better understand their customers and efficiently deliver tailored services that meet the individual needs of every customer,” explains Krishna Subramanian, COO at Komprise.

Krishna Subramanian

“To do this successfully, a business needs to be able to store its customers’ data efficiently and cost-effectively, and extract relevant knowledge from this data.

“Typically, this isn’t too complicated for transactional structured data, but it is often much trickier with unstructured data (such as videos, genomics files, IoT data, etc).

“Increasingly, the majority of a business’ customer data is unstructured, and it’s growing very rapidly. Businesses are now in need of data management solutions that help them understand, successfully manage, and extract value from this overwhelming amount of unstructured data, to keep customers happy and confident in the business storing their data.”

Tulin Green, Senior Director, EMEA Marketing at Commvault agrees.

“In this digital era, customers of nearly every business will interact with them online in some way, creating a data trail. Strong data management is therefore integral to the operation of any business, especially with the increase of technologies that utilise personal customer data to provide personalised experiences online,” she says.

Tulin Green

“After all, the business that connects with potential customers best will stand out from the competition.

“However, the increase in customer data being collected and stored also comes with an increased risk. Companies that fail to prioritise data privacy and protection for their business assets – including customer data – will risk not only severe damage to bottom line profits, but to their brand reputation and customer loyalty too.

“To avoid this fate, businesses should prioritise their ability to securely manage all data, and ensure that comprehensive recovery measures are in place.

“In the instance that security measures fail, being able to resolve the issue and get data protection back in place quickly is crucial.”

Keep security threats at bay

“While living in an increasingly networked world has its advantages, it also leaves organisations vulnerable to exploitation by malware, inadvertent employee actions and malicious attacks,” points out Jan van Vliet, VP and GM EMEA at Digital Guardian.

Jan van Vliet

“For security analysts, spotting security incidents arising from within their company, which is arguably their own customer base, is particularly tricky because the attacker may have legitimate access.

“If the credentials being input are valid, the same alarms are not raised as when an unauthorised user attempts entry from the outside. Deploying data-aware cybersecurity solutions removes the risks around the insider threat because even if an adversary has legitimate access to data, they are prevented from copying, moving or deleting it. What’s important when it comes to insiders, in whatever guise, is to be able to detect malicious or suspicious activity and produce real-time, priority alerts that analysts know must be addressed immediately.”

Nir Polak, CEO at Exabeam, highlights how data science can identify unusual activity.

“Securing the network is fundamental to protecting the business and a variety of tools exist to understand traffic flow over a network and to analyse security impacts from that flow,” he says.

Nir Polak

“However, despite the capabilities of these tools, attacks and breaches continue to happen. It is time to expand the definition of network profiling to include the riskiest asset on the network: the user.

“Advances in data science, combined with computing power and applied to data already collected within most organisations, can connect the dots and provide a useful profile of network user activity.

“While data science – i.e. Machine Learning – has become an overused buzzword, in practice it can provide very useful answers in certain applications. For example, Machine Learning can discover the connections between seemingly unrelated bits of identities, to create a map of all of a user’s activities, even when the identity components are not explicitly linked.

“Other techniques can create baselines of normal behaviour for every user on the network, making it easier to understand whether each user is acting normally or not. Still other techniques can build better asset models, including which machines are likely ‘executive assets’ and at higher risk of attack. Profiling individual users enables an organisation to understand in great depth and with deep context exactly who is on the network; what they are doing; whether they should be doing it; and what it means to an organisation’s risk and security posture.”

The future in the cloud

“The cloud has brought analytics back into the hands of business users, particularly in HR,” Liam Butler, AVP at SumTotal comments.

Liam Butler

“In the ‘old days’, business analytics tools were shrouded in secrecy and owned by IT and MIS as part of the on-premise ERP system. Analytics are now part of our daily life, being used to enable insightful decision-making and to predict business outcomes.

“For example, the linking of workforce management data with training data allows manufacturers to predict workforce capacity planning issues in advance of a product launch, train employees prior to manufacturing demand or move shift patterns to meet demand.”

As demands from consumers grow and the technology landscape becomes ever more complicated, it’s time for businesses to ensure the customers that keep their profits rolling in are satisfied.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 15, 2020
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2min1695

Omnichannel CX and contact centre solutions provider Genesys is rebranding its flagship software as a service (SaaS) offering.

The company is changing the name of PureCloud – the world’s leading public cloud contact centre platform – to Genesys Cloud.

The move is to reflect the evolution of the company and mark the launch of Experience as a ServiceSM powered by Genesys Cloud, which enables organisations to achieve true personalisation at scale.

Genesys CEO Tony Bates, explained: “Through Genesys Cloud, we’re delivering Experience as a Service to make it easier for organisations to foster customer trust and loyalty. This starts by helping them know their customers as individuals, not profiles or segments, and leading with empathy throughout every connected moment.

“When businesses can provide distinctive experiences tailored for each customer, they’re achieving the level of personalisation today’s consumers are looking for – and that’s what we enable with Genesys Cloud.”

 

 


Naeem ArifNaeem ArifJanuary 13, 2020
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6min1631

With the ongoing advances in digital media, I often see organisations claiming to be “customer-centric”, when in reality they are being channel-centric.

In the search for giving the best-in-class Customer Experience, do you understand the difference?

With a new decade upon us, it has never been more relevant to invest in a Customer First strategy. The objective is not only to attract more customers, but also to retain them for repeat purchases; we know that retaining existing customers is somewhere between five and 25 times more profitable than new customers (Amy Gallo, The value of keeping the right customers, HBR).

Many organisations are focussing on specific channels, or becoming omnichannel, which is driving their business activity and direction. It is important to remember that whilst these channels are built and designed to make their user interface easy, they may not match the objectives of your own organisation.

Online channels will heavily promote on-line transactions, whereas not every customer wants to interact that way and importantly, not every product can be sold that way. The important thing is to understand what your customer wants and not what the channel wants.

Three things I strongly recommend that you self reflect on are…

1. Get clear on what is the right mix of online and in-person experience for your situation

Having worked in retail now for more than two decades, I know that retail is not dead, despite the headlines.

Yes, it has evolved and now online plays an important part in the transaction. Look at how Argos and Next use their online presence in combination with their retail presence. Online is there to confirm availability or information about their purchase, but often a customer will complete the transaction in store.

Many of their customers are using a combination of channels and considering it a complete experience.

2. Seek out partners for mutual benefit

Consider everything outside of your organisation as a partnership opportunity – this includes the traditional and digital channels that will use.

It is true that many people, myself included, will buy things online from sites like Amazon, so instead of seeing them as a threat, consider what opportunities this can create for you. Next are taking in Costa Coffee shops, whilst Sainsbury’s and Argos are also working together.

They are seeking out partners, where each is sharing their offering and their audience for the mutual benefit of all. You can develop a referral scheme or a package scheme which will benefit your customers as well.

3. Value your customers’ time

If you think about it, every single innovation that has been successful has either been more ‘fun’ or has saved time. Netflix, for example, is not a technology disruptor – it just makes it easier for us to access movies from various devices.

Work out how you can save time for your customers; they did not come to your business to queue up to pay. They came to eat or they came to buy something.

How can you make this part of the transaction quicker and easier? If they buy online, they can select the products for their basket and pay and get on with their day.

So how can you replicate this in your business? This same thinking can be applied to the start of the process – can you propose to me what I usually buy, so I can even save time up front ordering?

This article has been about customer centricity and the message is for you to think about how can you configure your business to make your customers lives easier. As you get into this new year, and new decade, see what changes you can bring to your strategy and delivery in order to reduce the friction your customer feels.

Do this, and you will see a disproportionate increase in your numbers.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJanuary 9, 2020
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2min1237

Almost a third of British firms hit by cyber-security attacks last year chose to ignore them, new research has revealed.

Thirty-two percent of UK companies said they took “no action” after an online security breach in 2019. despite this type of crime collectively costing British firms a huge sum.

Research gathered by LearnBonds sows that61 percent of large businesses identified cyber breaches over the last 12 months, although this figure falls to 32 percent when the country’s medium-sized and small firms are taken into consideration.

UK travel money firm Travelex has faced days of disruption after a software virus attack on New Year’s Eve. The move also affected Sainsbury’s Bank, Barclays, and HSBC, among others, which all use the Travelex platform.

The money firm said it was forced to close take its site offline site to contain “the virus and protect data”.

The most common attacks are ‘phishing’ breaches, where fraudsters send emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to tempt firms to reveal sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. Criminals sending malware and ransomware attacks were also common.

The average cost of these attacks for large firms was £22,700, though when medium-sized and small firms are taken into consideration the mean costs falls to £9,470, according to data from Ipsos Mori for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in November.

The department added that the “costs of cyber-security breaches can be substantial”, adding: “Things like lost productivity or reputational damage tend to be overlooked. This means that when organisations reflect on their approaches to cyber-security, they may be undervaluing the true cost and impact of cyber-security breaches.”

 


Joel MontanielJoel MontanielJanuary 2, 2020
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10min2032

Over the past few years, personalisation has emerged as one of the most dominant and prolonged trends in marketing, favoured by both big brands and small brands alike.

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a marketing team that doesn’t employ some kind of data-led personalisation. One of the reasons personalisation tactics have become so commonplace is because they provide impressive ROI and enable brands to tailor their service or offering to their customers, driving loyalty and increased spend.

But while personalisation is the bread and butter of every online marketer and retailer, the hospitality industry has been slower to adopt this valuable practice – and operators are losing out on the bottom-line benefits personalisation can bring about. To stand out from the crowd, hospitality venues need to learn from marketers and embrace personalisation across all areas of their business.

Perfecting guest experiences

The entire online experience is now personalised for each individual user.

Whenever someone logs onto a website they’ve visited before, marketing algorithms kick into action and begin leveraging an array of data points – such as purchase and browser history, psychographics, and social activity – to tailor every element of the page to their particular likes and dislikes.

Online retailers like Amazon are particularly adept at this; consumers are shown the most relevant products at the times they’re most likely to buy. Provided with so many signposts directing them to purchase, it’s no wonder that 86 percent of consumers say personalisation plays a role in their purchasing decisions.

Yet despite the fact that many of these same opportunities to personalise service and improve Customer Experience exist for hospitality operators, few have deployed the technology necessary to enable personalisation at scale.

One of the big barriers to entry for restaurants is the issue of data capture and storage. Currently, many operators rely on seasoned service staff using antiquated systems to capture notes and store guest data – which merely function as digital notebooks.

But these low-tech solutions are no longer viable for a business in 2020. What if staff turnover or simple human error lead to a valued, long-term customer not receiving the highly personalised experience they are accustomed to?

In this instance, hospitality operators need to begin leveraging the same personalisation tactics that are used online for offline, in-service experiences. For instance, online marketers typically use a platform that helps them capture, store, and leverage user data.

Likewise, data-driven operations, marketing and guest engagement hospitality platforms such as SevenRooms empower service staff to log, database, and then use guest data to personalise diners’ experiences on the fly.

Much like online marketers tailoring every element of a website to individual users, restaurants that use hospitality platforms with a strong focus on helping capture and activate guest data can ensure guests are always greeted by their first name, showed to their preferred table, and offered their favourite drinks – regardless of who waits on them.

By perfecting guest experiences in this way, restaurants can deliver the sort of memorable service that drives repeat business. And, given that regulars can account for up to 40 percent of a restaurants’ total revenue, leveraging personalisation tactics to boost guest loyalty should be a top concern for every hospitality venue.

Personalising menu recommendations

With this in mind, the need for restaurants to offer as personalised an experience as possible is clear. One area of the restaurant experience in particular that hospitality operators should look to personalise is their menus and menu recommendations.

For diners, especially those with special dietary requirements or preferences such as allergies and vegetarianism, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to wade through pages of irrelevant menu choices to find a dish to order. But just as online retailers already leverage customer data to only display products that consumers will be interested in, hospitality venues, too, can make use of guest data to tailor menu recommendations to particular diners.

Me-nu: Customer data can be used to personalise menus for regular customers

For example, when a returning guest arrives at the restaurant to eat, service staff can refer to their guest profile on their hospitality platform and check for any dietary requirements. If the guest is marked down as being vegetarian, staff can provide them with their vegetarian menu or point out vegetarian options on the standard menu.

Improving service standards by tailoring menu recommendations like this can help hospitality operators improve their guests’ overall dining experience.

Opportunities for menu personalisation extend beyond the in-service experience and into post-service email marketing, too. By tracking a guest’s order history, operators can gain an understanding of the types of dishes guests enjoy eating – and those they’re likely interested in hearing more about.

For instance, every time a guest visits the restaurant, they always order a pasta dish. If this restaurant then introduces a new pasta dish to their menu, operators can leverage the order history data and deliver a marketing email that invites these guests to try the new dish. This personalisation tactic can not only directly drive sales, but also demonstrate the kind of personalised understanding of guests that will boost customer loyalty.

Tailoring offers for special events

How many times in the week leading up to a special occasion, like a birthday, have you received an email from a brand inviting you to enjoy 10 percent off your next purchase?

Probably every year. How many times have you actually used this offer? Probably very few.

Now, how many times have you celebrated a special occasion with a meal out? Again, probably every year. But despite special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries presenting hospitality venues with a unique opportunity to boost revenue and build brand loyalty, operators have been slower to adopt the personalisation-led tactics used by marketers that are needed to make the most out of these opportunities.

Rather than waiting for guests to come to them on special occasions, operators should make use of guest data to invite them to their venues in the weeks prior to big events. For example, say a guest has an anniversary coming up in a couple of weeks.

Restaurants can leverage this information by emailing them about an offer for a complimentary bottle of champagne upon arrival as an incentive for them to book. In this way, hospitality operators can learn from marketers and embrace personalisation-led tactics to drive repeat business.

Whilst online marketers have long used personalisation to improve consumer experiences, build customer loyalty, and ultimately boost profits, hospitality venues have been comparatively slower at tailoring their offerings to individual diners.

But despite industry reticence, there are many untapped opportunities for hospitality venues willing to invest in operations platforms and begin leveraging guest data to personalise and perfect guests’ experiences.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthDecember 11, 2019
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2min2464

Customer engagement software specialists Freshworks has shed light on how customers interact with AI tech such as chatbots in an insightful new report.

In AI in Customer Service: A Survey Report from Europe, responses from 6,000 customers and 800 senior business leaders across the continent were analysed to provide answers on what consumers think of the growing technology.

The research reveals that 41 percent of European consumers “see no benefit of chatting with a bot”, while 29 percent said answers from bots “did not help solve their problem”.

For brands, Freshworks has found that 25 percent are currently using artificial intelligence solutions to improve customer service.

The research was commissioned to highlight the disconnect between what brands believe they are providing, and what exactly customers themselves say about the services.

Among the experts providing insight in the report is CX advisor and author Adrian Swinscoe. He said: “There’s been a significant gap in brand and customer perception of the type of service being delivered and received for some time.

“The addition of new technology and new channels, in many ways, is exacerbating the situation, as customer expectations increase, and businesses have to manage more ways of communicating than ever before.”

Click here to download the full report.

 

 

 

 

 

 




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