Happy Friday! ‘This week in CX’ brings you the latest roundup of industry news.

This week, we’re looking at the UK brand loyalty crisis, the AI job takeover, research into nuisance communications, and how we can revolutionise the way we interact with the web.

Key news

  • Following recent unprecedented delivery and parcel disruptions affecting consumers up and down the country, Shipup has found that the average order delivery is 4.5 days – or 107 hours*, with the quickest UK city almost one day faster than the slowest. So, unless you’re using Amazon Prime or other next day delivery services, it’s likely shoppers will be waiting a full working week for their deliveries.
  • Leading consulting firms are grappling with a slowdown in advisory work following a post-pandemic boom. The Financial Times reports that this is leading some of them to step up their efforts to push out “low performers” and increase “attrition”. US strategy giant McKinsey and company, which employs over 45,000 people, is reportedly using mid-year performance reviews to accelerate departures and offering financial incentives for some to resign. There were also 400 jobs axed this month in areas such as software engineering and data analysis.
  • The pay gap isn’t the only problem women face in the workplace. Deloitte’s annual survey of 5,000 women across 10 countries finds that professional women are struggling with their mental health, pushing through menstruation- or menopause-related pain on the job, and often feel unsafe either at or while traveling to work, among other issues. And though the list of concerns is hardly positive, it is actionable. For companies striving to achieve gender equality through an emphasis on equity — in other words, by supporting the varying needs of different employee groups — the list of common complaints offers as many targets for improvement. 

UK brand loyalty remains in crisis 

ServiceNow has published the ServiceNow Consumer Voice Report 2024: Tackling the brand loyalty crisis’The annual report highlights that 67% of UK consumers are less loyal to brands now than they were 2 years ago.

It also shows that over a third (33%) of UK consumers now prioritise the cheapest option over brand loyalty. With price point overriding such loyalties or sustainability credentials, the report also underscores how a “race to the bottom” mindset is unsustainable. While cost of living pressures and shifting customer expectations are primary reasons for declining brand loyalty, it suggests that, to survive, businesses must now adopt AI and innovative technologies to blend traditional and tech-forward customer interactions.

Based on a survey of 2000 UK adults, the findings demonstrate significant shifts in customer perceptions and behaviours over the past two years and their impact on loyalty, including:

  • Two-fifths (39%) of Brits say they are having to spend more than they did two years ago, with rising costs the predominant reason, claim 77%.
  • Although consumers want to see the introduction of new technologies, 64% would never want to see entirely AI-driven customer service.
  • In 2024, 93% of UK customers value prompt customer service response times. Two fifths (39%) expect the shift to 24/7 customer service in the next 12 months, and the overwhelming majority wanting 24/7 support in this decade. 

Today’s customers demand round-the-clock CX 

One of the key requirements of today’s consumer is that help should be available round the clock. In good news for businesses, AI is helping to bring this otherwise expensive ask closer to attainable reality.  

Two fifths (39%) expect the shift to 24/7 CX in the next 12 months, and the overwhelming majority want 24/7 support in this decade. This shows the opportunity to invest in rapid, intelligent technologies to propel customer experience into the future.  

With the proliferation of social media, customers are also expecting rapid responses. However, despite its fast pace and ready availability, nearly half (48%) wouldn’t use social media for customer experience. This suggests businesses needing to demonstrate ROI must redeploy social media budgets to meet changing CX demands.  

Return to Analogue: The future of CX is high tech meets high touch 

UK consumers are demanding a variety of different customer service channels, including chatbots, phone calls, emails and more, with 85% seeking multiple options. This underscores the importance of omnichannel customer service to meet their needs effectively. The report therefore suggests that businesses must now adopt a hybrid customer experience strategy, blending automated and human-powered services to enhance the customer experience, because neither approach alone meets current consumer expectations. The future of CX also appears to involve deploying automation to free up agents for personalised support. 

Thousands of UK jobs may have already been taken over by AI  

A 2023 survey conducted by Tech.co discovered that 47% of executives in leading businesses said they were considering delegating tasks to AI systems rather than recruiting new staff.

The most striking difference discovered was for business analysts. Just before the release of ChatGPT, there were 6,040 job openings, while in April 2024 they are down to 2,117 or 64.95% less. Even though the idea that AI bots can overtake a job with such a great focus on critical human thinking sounds highly unlikely, it is nevertheless a tool that shouldn’t be underestimated. The reason behind the drastically lower demand now can be linked to the highly advanced AI business analytical tools available to companies online. 

Because of its ability to sift through vast amounts of information quickly and analyse forecasts, risks, strategies, etc. to come up with solutions, AI is simply more efficient and cost-effective. As a result, business giants like Amazon, Tesla, and Microsoft, among others, are investing heavily in AI and integrating it into more and more operations throughout different departments. According to the Forbes Advisor, 97% of companies believe AI will help their business, while 60% think it will boost productivity.

Quite similarly, another analytical position lands in second place. The job openings for Market Analysts went from 8,656 in November 2022 down to 3,872 in 2024, or 55.27% fewer offers. GPT-4 can also act as a professional market analyst and predict the best strategy course for a company. Again, although it might not make the profession completely automated, AI is expanding the horizons of businesses and offers tremendous potential for innovation and independent efficiency gains.

Coming in as the third most threatened position is Financial Analyst. With a decline of 49.76% in vacancies, the open job offers are down to just 1,480, from 2,946 in 2022. Jobs in the financial sector are the most exposed to the constantly improving AI systems. With the option to analyse data faster than any human being, AI can read historical patterns and accurately forecast financial market trends. This suggests that with the right employees at hand, businesses can utilise AI systems to boost their financial performance without the help of an outside professional.Of course, there are many other contributing factors to the fewer vacancies in 2024, but if one thing is for sure – AI is only getting more advanced each year, and sooner than later, it will play an even bigger role in all industries and perhaps even all jobs.

Warnings of unseen scale of nuisance communications, as email scams push total complaints up by 31% year-on-year

Quadient have released data showing that, despite nuisance calls and texts falling year-on-year, the scale of the problem is far larger than previously imagined. As scammers move to digital channels to create nuisance communications, Quadient warns that consumers, regulators, and legitimate businesses may struggle to keep up.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request from Quadient found that the number of nuisance automated and live calls and texts reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fell by 10% in 2023 – from 56,015 in 2022 to 50,687. This represents the second year in a row that complaints have declined, as some avenues for scammers become outdated. For instance, complaints about Covid-19 nuisance calls and texts reduced by 89% and, for the first time, there were zero complaints about PPI scams.

There were further indications of changing habits. Complaints about texts saw the largest fall, of 27% year-on-year, while live calls were the biggest nuisance, making up 38% of all complaints. This may not be a simple matter of volume: live calls and traditional sales tactics will also seem aggressive to people who do not want to make decisions on the fly.

For the first time, the ICO also included complaints about emails in its data – accounting for 37% of all complaints. This addition means the total number of complaints about nuisance communications was in fact 31% higher in 2023.

The rise of cryptocurrency scams

The evolution of nuisance communications can also be seen in new categories of complaints in 2023. For the first time, the ICO recorded complaints about cryptocurrency, online trading, and investment scams. The 2,196 complaints recorded is already higher than traditional industries like energy supply (1,978).

While cryptocurrency and investments are an adjacent market to traditional banking, this rise should be worrying for the broader financial sector. Complaints about banking calls and texts fell by 2%, but the rise of cryptocurrency scams means consumers could be less trusting of legitimate communication from banks about trading or investments.

Surprisingly, despite investigating digital communications for the first time, live calls were still the most complained about in cryptocurrency, online trading, and investment. This could indicate that it is legitimate businesses trying to speak to customers rather than the automated calls, texts, and emails that we might associate with scammers. Conversely, automated calls were the most complained about for banking, suggesting that banks’ use of blanket messages to communicate with customers is falling flat.

Unsolicited shocks: Energy customers charged up over spam

Most industries reduced the number of complaints about nuisance calls and texts in 2023. However, complaints about calls and texts in energy savings and home improvements, and energy supply increased by 69% and 29% respectively. For both categories, live calls were the most complained about (73% and 97% respectively), and it was only text complaints that reduced (33% and 62% respectively).With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and a continual increase in energy bills, it’s not surprising that consumers feel the most disillusioned by the energy industry. The fact that live calls were the most complained about shows companies are clearly not communicating in the right manner, even when speaking directly to consumers, and this is damaging their reputation.  

Metaverse and Web 3.0 stunted by internet chaos, warn 87% of business leaders 

A new study launched by Forrit reveals that 89% of senior marketers and tech leaders are optimistic that Web 3.0 and the metaverse have the potential to revolutionise the way we interact with the web. However, the report, titled Web O.No: your business’ bleak online future and how to avoid it uncovered that 87% believe the current state of the internet will stunt these innovations – and none of the respondents have websites that are currently equipped for this transformative new internet era.

As we near the 31st anniversary of the World Wide Web’s entry into the public domain, UK business decision-makers unanimously agreed that “the Internet today is a mess,” citing security flaws, vulnerabilities with open source web management systems, ungoverned websites, and multiple layers of legacy CMS systems.

Despite the report focusing on heavily regulated industries, financial services, utilities, and the legal sector, over half of the respondents (57%) revealed they have website security flaws. They also admitted customers would lose trust if they were exposed. Security vulnerabilities were most prevalent among those who run their websites on open source solutions, rising to 79% in this group. Expert respondents underscored the specific risk of open source plug-ins. Created by multiple third-party developers, they leave websites open to malicious compromise. 

Beyond cyber-attacks, the report highlights the heightened risk of outages, dysfunctional interfaces, and hazardous content hidden within neglected pages of reputable websites. The latter is a risk for those operating multiple website management (CMS) systems – a common practice among the participants. Shockingly 44% admitted they don’t have control of the website content as a direct result of this practice. With the internet spiralling out of control, Forrit labels this chaotic online future Web O.No.

Thanks for tuning into CXM’s weekly roundup of industry news. Check back next Friday for the latest updates of the week!

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