Happy Friday! We’re bringing you the latest roundup of industry news. This week, we’re looking at new Gartner research, reports by Reputation and Digital River, and the 4-day work week trials. 

Key news

  • Our partners, Awards International, are pleased to announce that the 7th edition of the UK Digital Experience Awards are now open for entries! Here’s everything you need to know
  • Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) and NPD have completed their merge to create a leading technology, analytics and data provider. The combined company will benefit more than 7000 clients, and provide work for employees globally. 

51% of organisations plan to raise wages for its top performers only

New Gartner research has found new statistics into employee wages and performance correlations. This comes amidst the global economy suffering from rapidly rising inflation and cost-of-living crises, as well as employee burnout looming over businesses, too. 

Gartner’s survey conducted of 130 CFOs and CEOs, found that only 28% of them would raise wages for all their workers, regardless of their performance – in response to inflation. Survey respondents indicated that employee performance will be a key determinant in awarding pay rises to both salaried and hourly employees. 

The reasoning for these wage increases for the top performing employees has been pinned as fuelling an employee compensation strategy. This indicates that respondents plan to reward those workers who are presenting a top working ethic, despite the current state of society. 

Randeep Rathindran, vice president of research in the Gartner Finance practice, has commented.  

  • “The data shows that for now, executive leaders intend to hold the line against large-scale pay increases. Many employees expecting pay adjustments that fully compensate for cost-of-living increases may be disappointed.”   

While it can be viewed that work performance should be rewarded accordingly, the reveal of these attitudes may lead to a divisive and hostile working environment. This could play into issues of favouritism, and even deeper-rooted concerns where it comes to gender and race inequality and exclusion, for example. With so many global societal and economic issues, this is territory that should be tread through very carefully. 

The first findings from 4-day working week trials

The UK’s trial, lasting eight weeks so far, is the world’s largest test run on this new work system. The six-month pilot commits 3,300 workers across 70 companies to work 80% of their usual week in exchange for promising to maintain 100% of their productivity.  

The programme is run by 4 Day Week Global, Autonomy, and the 4 Day Week UK Campaign in partnership with researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College. Back in May, we held an interview with Charlotte Lockhart, a founder and managing director at the 4 Day Week Global – one of the companies who have been conducting these trials. For an insider view on this, be sure to listen to the podcast episode

The first thoughts and results are starting to flood in. Many have commented on this to be “life-changing”, as they have more time for their life and social commitments outside of work.  

“The five-day working week is a 20th century concept, which is no longer fit for the 21st century.”

– Mark Howland, Charity Bank director.  

Many of these employees taking part in the trial have come up with solutions to navigate how they will achieve 100% of the work in 80% of the time: 

  • Adopting traffic-light systems to let people know if they are available to socialise or collaborate, or if they need to focus solely on their work instead 
  • Concentrating on projects (rather than team meetings and email correspondence, for example) for two hours every morning and afternoon 
  • Banning internal meetings that run longer than 5 minutes 
  • Working 9 hours a day, rather than 8 

However, a PR agency in London were not totally on board for the idea. The shift over to this trail was regarded as “genuinely chaotic”. There are concerns that productivity levels could deteriorate over time, which would reinstate the 5-day working week in their business. 

There’s still a lot that can be learnt from these trials with 4 months remaining, but a lot has already been discovered in these initial stages. If successful, this is something that will require a lot of patience and readjustment, of course. But with the new state of the world and working attitudes, a realignment might be exactly what we need to keep society functioning. 

Reputation report: Google review insight into customer engagement and retention

79% of shoppers trust online reviews – they are significant to building a brand. The Reputation Data Science team recently analysed thousands of Google customer reviews. This covered 2,300 locations of some of the UK’s largest retail brands. This found that the retail industry wholly left their customers feeling satisfied or pleased over the last year. 

Further research has also found that having at least 50 online reviews can boost your search rank by 50%, and click-through rates by 266% – compared to companies with no reviews. 

Here are some further findings: 

  • Customer sentiment in the UK is positive (75%). This is despite ongoing post-pandemic disruptions, staff shortages and the cost-of-living crisis 
  • 97% of customers who check online reviews also check the business’ response to these. This is why response stats (as stated above) are so significant 
  • Retail brands are falling behind their counterparts in automotive and hospitality, with only 3% of google reviews receiving a response 
  • High-street reviews are mainly positive. Britain’s high street retail brands must prioritise responding to reviews to boost online presence and visibility in local search listings 

The pandemic expeditied digital transformation, meaning the customer journey now starts online for many customers, including retail. Our research also highlights that online reviews have a direct correlation to a business’s search rankings and website click-through rates – an impact that cannot be ignored. […] Here is a huge opportunity for high street retail brands to get ahead of the competition and significantly boost online presence and visibility in local search listings, by capitalising on the positive review sentiment and prioritising responding toreviews – good and bad. 

Chris Sparling, CX Strategy Director at Reputation

These new findings have clearly emphasised the point of customer engagement. Whether an online review be negative or positive, demonstrating your dedication to conversing with customers and being open to accepting feedback is key. 

A third of UK shoppers plan to increase their online purchases

The new research, revealed by Digital River, explores how the UK’s spending have changed over the past six months.  With online retail remaining strong, in-person shopping looks likely to suffer the most with people tightening their budgets. A third of respondents have shopped online more frequently in the past six months. This is compared to just 9% that have shopped in-store more often.  

Although 58% of UK adults have reduced their spending on non-essential items in the last six months, nearly half (47%) continue to make at least one online transaction a week. 

  • Consumer struggles. 17% of adults are struggling financially, with 35% just ‘getting by’. This was found to have a minimal impact on their willingness to shop online.  
  • The continued rise of eCommerce. 22% expect to shop online more frequently in the future. A third have shopped online more in the past six months.  

These findings come in the midst of the UK’s biggest cost-of-living crisis in a generation. Despite ongoing financial issues consistent across the nation, citizens are still set to purchase online where they can. Perhaps this provides more insight into the UK’s need to make purchases in this tough time, which has colloquially been coined as “retail therapy”. 

Now more than ever, retailers should be prepared to help their customers wherever they can. For example, lowering delivery prices and offering more discounts. Not only will these gestures play well to consumers in this crisis, but they will leave a good impression. It can place businesses ahead of the game and competition. 

41% of shoppers would ensure their online purchases would be among the first to go if spending reductions were needed. This is a long and careful game that retailers must play. 

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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