Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 17, 2019
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4min497

The most exciting gathering of award winners and experts in the field of complaint handling will take place London this autumn at a brand new conference, and now is your chance to join them for a special  discount price.

The Winning With Complaint Handling conference is hosted by Awards International, and will feature six insightful panel discussions from UK firms which have wowed judges at the annual UK Complaint Handling Awards.

Taking place on September 25 at the Park Plaza Riverbank in the heart of London, this unique one-day event will offer practical techniques on transforming complaints into improved products and services, and provide guidance on creating customer loyalty through outstanding complaint handling strategies.

Industry insight: Winners of the UK Complaint Handling Awards will discuss strategies for success
Attendees will be able to interact in real time with each panel using the Slido app, to put questions to panelists and vote on issues as speakers discuss the need to adopt dynamic, technological solutions instead of traditional approaches.
As with all Awards International events, the conference will be an excellent networking opportunity, as guests will include representatives from a wide range of sectors. A full line-up for the conference will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, joining Awards International CEO Neil Skehel as Co-Chair of the conference will be Daniel Ord, Founder and Director of OmniTouch International, and one of the world’s leading authorities on contact centre excellence. Daniel also leads CXM’s Contact Centres Masterclass.
Co-Chair: Contact centre expert Daniel Ord will welcome guests to Winning With Complaint Handling
“I’m thrilled to be welcoming attendees to London later this year for what will be one of the best opportunities to learn the skills and strategies of award-winning firms,” Daniel said.
“Our panel discussions will feature valuable insight into what the very best brands are providing customers when it comes to complaint handling.”
Neil Skehel added: “This isn’t just another conference; you will be an integral part of this event and your priorities will shape what we discuss. It promises to be an educational and inspirational experience for everyone involved.”
Tickets for Winning With Complaint Handling are now available, while those who book before midnight on July 19 can enjoy a special Early Bird Discount, saving them £100 on the full price. Click here for further details.

Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 29, 2019
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4min219

Multi-award-winning water supplier Business Stream has appointed a new Director of Business Transformation to help the company deliver its ambitious growth strategy.

The Edinburgh-based firm has enjoyed recent awards success, including at the 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards, where it won Gold in the Innovation in Complaint Handling category, along with two runner-up gongs; the 2018 UK Business Awards, where it secured two Gold category titles; and at the inaugural International Customer Experience Awards in Amsterdam last autumn, when it was victorious in the Best Digital Transformation Strategy shortlist.

The Business Stream team pictured at the 2018 International Customer Experience Awards in Amsterdam, with CX consultant Ian Golding (left), and Awards International CEO Neil Skehel (right).

Now Margaret McLay is on board as Director of Business Transformation, and with a proven track record in change and IT, will be responsible for leading the effective delivery and coordination of the company’s transformation programme. She will report directly to Business Stream’s Chief Executive, Jo Dow.

Speaking of her new appointment, Margaret said: “I am really excited to be joining Business Stream at a time of significant growth.  In my new role as Director of Business Transformation I am looking forward to working in partnership with the executive team to enable the business to maintain excellent customer service levels and to achieve its strategic goals.”

New Business Stream Director of Business Transformation, Margaret McLay.

 Jo Dow, added: “I am delighted that Margaret will be joining the company. It’s an exciting time for the business as we look to expand our market share and deliver a market leading level of service to our customers in Scotland and England. This latest appointment will strengthen our leadership team and help us drive forward our ambitious plans for the future.”

Earlier this year Business Stream bought the customer base of its competitors Yorkshire Water Business Services (YWBS) and Three-Sixty, both part of the Kelda Group, doubling its market share and cementing its position as one of the top three retailers in the UK water market.

Business Stream expanded its operation in April 2017 by acquiring the non-household customer base of Southern Water when it began competing in the new £2.5bn English water market. The new market has enabled 1.2 million businesses and public bodies in England to choose their water supplier for the first time.

Scotland’s non-domestic market, which covers all premises across private and public sector organisations, opened to competition in April 2008. Since then, Business Stream customers have saved more than £242 million on their water bills and conserved over 43 billion litres of water.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMay 10, 2019
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3min458

UK Customer Experience Awards winner Feefo is revealing good news for the travel industry, with a new study showing 70 percent of UK holidaymakers believe a good experience is provided by companies.

The reviews ands customer insights firm, which won Silver in the Best use of Insight & Feedback – Solution or Programme category at the UKCXA finals in London’s Wembley Stadium last year – has published a new eBook using research conducted among 500 UK consumers.

It provides exclusive insights into fast-emerging travel trends from significant industry insiders such as Karl Thompson, Managing Director of Sandals UK & Europe; Gavin Tollman, CEO of Trafalgar Travel Group, and Austin Houghton-Bird, Online Customer Experience Manager at UK Complaint Handling Awards winner Thomas Cook.

Although the research finds most consumers are positive about Customer Experience in the travel industry, 30 percent are either unhappy or unimpressed with what they paid for. Moreover, only a little more than half of the 16-24 age group (54 percent) have a positive word to say about their most recent experience of booking a holiday.

Matt West, CEO at Feefo, said: “There are still serious CX gaps in the travel industry, even though the research is broadly positive. As our highly-respected contributors make clear, consumers in today’s experience economy value consistent quality and uniqueness over mundane factors such as price.

“The relatively low level of satisfaction in the 16-24 age group, for example, indicates how too often, younger travellers don’t find the unusual or spectacular ‘Instragrammable’ experiences they demand. Or it may be the full integration of technology which they take for granted, was not available.

Matt added: “Successful operators know they must use cutting-edge customer insight tools to understand demand and keep ahead of changes in sentiment or taste.”

 

 

 


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthApril 26, 2019
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4min730

UK Employee Experience Award winner Let’s Get Healthy is behind a new campaign to help the Co-op support customers and colleagues who have suffered a bereavement.

Let’s Get Healthy, which won Gold in the Health & Wellbeing category at the 2018 UK Employee Experience Awards in London, is delivering training to Co-op customer service centre staff that will equip them with techniques to offer support including arranging funerals and other post-bereavement plans.

Co-op – winner of the Best Contact Centre and Product Service Improvement: Transforming Customer Care categories in the 2018 UK Complaint Handling Awards –  is one of many thought leader firms providing training for colleagues to help them be resilient in what can be very stressful times.

Following a successful pilot of the campaign in November 2018, the programme will now be delivered across the customer service centre. The campaign includes a briefing session with senior managers, a one-day face to face course, and a seven-week plan of activity led by team leaders and operations managers to embed the learnings.

The dedicated training is designed to empower more colleagues to be brave-hearted and resilient, supporting adults through the stages of bereavement while being mindful that employees will have lost loved ones too.

Leeds-based Let’s Get Healthy has previously  provided corporate wellbeing services to firms including William Hill, G’s Fresh, Travis Perkins, and Northern.

Claire Carroll, Head of Member and Customer Services at Co-op, said: “We held sessions with our colleagues, and they shared with me their personal experiences of losing a loved one and supporting customers who have experienced a similar loss.

“Let’s Get Healthy designed a programme called Heart that helped my team be brave hearted when dealing with customers who may be broken hearted. The language itself has made it easier for us all to talk about death and how we deal with it. Providing tools and techniques to be resilient is essential in the type of work handled in service centres and this is the third year we have worked with the team at Let’s Get Healthy and we see huge benefits each year.”

Maria Bourke, Managing Director of Let’s Get Healthy, said: “Co-op identified the need to embed health and wellbeing as part of its wider business strategy to invest in its colleagues. This may be a unique topic to cover but bereavement affects every single employee in every single employer across the UK.  It’s always great to support thought leading organisations and I am thrilled that the roll out has started across Co-op.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthMarch 11, 2019
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4min665

The 2019 UK Complaint Handling Awards have taken place in London, celebrating the people and  initiatives behind some of the best customer service operations in Britain.

Hosted by Awards International – holders of an Independent Awards Standards Council Gold Trust Mark – the event saw hundreds gather at the Park Plaza Riverbank hotel last Friday, when teams of finalists made presentations to an expert panel of judges throughout the day.

Finalists were competing to secure Gold and Silver titles across 18 categories, with one Overall Winner also named for their high score at the event, which this year was sponsored by Aptean and Ecosheme, and partnered by Resolver, Henley Business School’s Henley Centre for Customer Management, and The Malcolm McDonald Academy.

Following a gala lunch, the 2019 Overall Winner title was awarded to outsourcing services firm Firstsource, which claimed Gold in the Customer Insight Strategy category. The victory built on the success of the company in last year’s awards, when along with mobile network giffgaff it won Best Personal Entertainment & Telecoms.

Other big winners this year were banking giants HSBC, which won an incredible four Gold category titles, and United Utilities, which won three Gold titles, including the highly coveted Complaint Handling Leader of the Year award for their Head of Service Recovery, Sally Ainsworth.

The 2019 roll of honour also included Wessex Water in partnership with The First Word, which won in the Best Complaint Handling Training category; One Vision Housing, which claimed Gold for Best Use of Customers’ Insight and Feedback; and Capita, whose team walked away with the Customer Relations & Remediation award.

Speaking afterwards, Awards International CEO Neil Skehel said: “What an event this has been – we are incredibly fortunate to have such a vantage point on the high standard of complaint handling services in the UK.

“So many organisations are ensuring they have a robust complaints procedure at the heart of their structure, and these awards not only celebrate the best initiatives behind that, but they also allow representatives from all of these wonderful companies to come together and inspire each other, share best practice, and ensure complaint handling continues to go from strength to strength and remains central to a quality service.”

“On behalf of Awards International I would like to offer a huge congratulations to all of our winners, and I want to thank all of our finalists for coming and competing in what is now one of the most important events in the UK’s customer service calendar.”

 

 

 

 

 


Will ArcherWill ArcherMarch 7, 2019
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6min691

So, you have an effective complaints procedure in place; you are engaging with customers, finding problems and working through solutions, but just one important question remains: “How well are we doing?”

There is, of course, one clear sign of an effective complaints procedure, and that is a happy customer. Yet it can be a bit more complex than that. The typical reward for good complaint handling is increased sales and improved customer retention.

However, it is not always apparent whether these factors are down to your complaint handling alone. So how can we reliably measure success?

One possible measure is reputation. For the last three years, the UK Complaint Handling Awards has sought to recognise organisations that have made a success of their complaints procedure. The event is hosted by Awards International, and for many companies that have received such an award, industry acknowledgement is a reliable mark of success. The results can also be surprising.

“It’s interesting, if not ironic, that when it comes to winning awards, the most competitive industry sectors are also often the most complained about sectors,” explains Donna O’Toole, CEO of awards consultancy August.

“The rail networks, banks, loan providers, insurance companies, telecoms, and utility providers that the public so often love to hate are also the businesses leading the way in transforming their complaints handling processes – and in turn, improving the overall Customer Experience.”

Donna explains that in recent years there has been a rise in businesses realising the long-term value of how they handle customer complaints in the short-term. When shortlisting companies for the awards, successful companies are typically those that demonstrate transparency, better communication strategies, and have implemented innovative tools to help employees respond faster and more effectively.

Industry peer recognition is a valuable indicator of success but there is also a data-driven method of measuring complaints performance.

The Resolver platform is constantly monitoring user feedback throughout the complaints process. It does this by asking users to rate their experience at each stage of the complaint, thus enabling the data team to generate a score on how effective each company, and each sector, is in complaints handling. As with the awards, the results are not always what one would expect.

“It is really interesting because sometimes a lot of the things are counter-intuitive,” says Michael Hill, Resolver’s lead complaints management consultant.

“Sometimes people will give a company a high satisfaction score, despite the fact they have not achieved full resolution of their complaint.”

This highlights the value that customers place in being able to actually express what is really upsetting them. People are more likely to feel better if they have had, at the very least, a fair hearing or, at best, feel they have been treated fairly after going through the process.

On the other end of the scale, Michael notes, there are customers who have been very upset with their experience despite getting their complaint resolved. This is either because they still feel their complaints have not been listened to, or that the company did not follow up.

“We get quite a few companies that have failed to pay out compensation, having agreed to pay, or just take too long to deliver on their promises,” Michael explains.

“Businesses get right up to the end of the line, and technically everyone should be walking away happy, but people are still dissatisfied. It can get complex.”

When it comes to which sectors perform well by user satisfaction, it is usually those industries with a strong regulator or a free escalation service, such as an ombudsman. This is often because it inspires more confidence in the consumer that their issue will be resolved. Again, these can often be the industries that get the most complaints, such as financial services. On the other hand, you have sectors like retail where there is no established ombudsman or regulator, meaning many customers are left feeling very frustrated.

Having a high volume of complaints doesn’t necessarily mean a business is getting things wrong. It is the satisfaction score that matters. Michaels notes that the best-performing companies are those which have strong lines of communication with the public and are quick to respond and engage with customers when a complaint is received, regardless of complaint volume or, in some cases, eventual outcome.

Michael adds: “We would say any business that encourages complaints is going to see more coming through the door, but this is simply better visibility of the problems caused for customers. If they resolve them quickly and effectively, then they will keep their customers. If they don’t, customers will vote with their feet.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthFebruary 15, 2019
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3min625

UK Complaint Handling Awards winner NewDay is undergoing a new Voice of Customer (VoC) transformation with the help of crowdsourcing service providers Limitless.

The credit card firm, which was named Overall Winner in last year’s UK Complaint Handling Awards in London, is using  Limitless’ soon to be launched Crowd Feedback solution to easily capture valuable customer feedback and drive key product improvement.

NewDay has over 5 million customers across the UK, and is inviting them to enrol on the Limitless app. Customers are tasked with conducting tests on a range of products and then provide feedback, in exchange for cash rewards. All feedback is channelled to NewDay’s customer support and product teams to accelerate service improvements and generate fresh ideas for new product development.

The VoC programme was launched with NewDay customers using Aqua and Amazon MasterCard credit cards. Both cohorts are providing vital feedback that is fuelling product and process changes.

Francesca Rea, Director of Customer Service and Service Delivery at NewDay, said: “Our company vision is to help people be better with credit. We put our customers at the heart of whatever we do, and the Ambassador programme is very much in the spirit of what we believe in. We’re delighted that this has opened new avenues for us to connect with and reward our most engaged customers.”

 “As a business, we are focused on delivering innovative credit products; timely customer feedback is critical as it accelerates our speed to market and allows us to stay ahead of competition. We will continue to work with Limitless to explore new ways of capitalising on the knowledge, experience and brand passion of our customers to improve our service offerings for everyone.”

 




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