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

This week, we’re looking at Gartner’s customer service and support predictions, and NICE’s new report investigating customer vulnerability. 

Key news

  • Manchester City Football Club has extended its partnership with Qualtrics to help the Club deliver a consistently improving fan experience. The new agreement will see Qualtrics expand its role as Official Experience Management Software partner. With Qualtrics, the club continues to capture and analyse fan feedback at every point to deliver the best experiences, in and out of the Etihad stadium. 
  • Global air cargo is facing disruption from the rapid growth of Chinese fast fashion companies. Between Shein, Temu, Alibaba and TikTok, more than 10,000 tonnes of goods are being shipped a day, equating to approximately 108 Boeing 777 freighters, Cargo Facts Consulting data found. These firms have business models that rely on speed and constant product turnover, and their unprecedented demand for air freight has left traditional carriers struggling to keep up. Furthermore, increased competition for cargo space has resulted in rising prices and delays. Speaking to Reuters, industry insiders said this model of airborne e-commerce is unsustainable both for the environment and profits. Check out our article on fast-fashion here.
  • Greggs, Harrods, Estee Lauder and easyJet are among the more than 500 companies named by the government for failing to pay their staff the minimum wage. The Department for Business and Trade said that around 172,000 workers were left out of pocket as a result. HMRC concluded its investigations in 2023, and forced 542 firms to repay more than £16m to those workers.
  • While digital mental health apps hold promise in improving access to therapy for everyone, experts are also raising doubts about their use of private data and overall efficacy. In one report, the Mozilla Foundation found that out of 32 leading health apps it surveyed, 19 “were failing to protect user privacy and security”. 
  • New research from Claims.co.uk has revealed the most stressful industries in the UK. The study analysed HSE data to examine the number of stress-related illnesses caused or worsened by employment per 100,000 workers from March 2022 to March 2023. The human health and social work industry ranks first on the list; the study found that 3,530 people per 100,000 workers have been impacted by stress at work. The list of the top 10 most stressful industries also included education, finance, wholesale & retail trade, and accommodation & food service activities.
  • Datamaxtexas.com has revealed the most popular workplace trends,analysing TikTok hashtag counts alongside Google search volumes and identifying where these trends are most popular. Job Shift Shock is the most popular work trend with a total 1.7B TikTok views and nearly 121K monthly searches on Google. Quiet Quitting ranks as the second most popular trend, having 1.1B views on TikTok and over 612.5K searches on Google. 

The Gartner Customer Service and Support Predictions for 2024 Explore the Transformative Impact of AI  

By 2027, 30% of the Fortune 500 will consolidate post-purchase tasks such as expansion, service, success and renewal into a unified customer-facing employee role, according to Gartner, Inc.

Generative AI (GenAI) promises to automate greater portions of customer service agent roles, creating employee capacity that will allow customer service and support leaders to experiment with new talent management approaches. In order to maximise the value of AI investments, increase employee efficiency, and meet business demands, some organisations will merge post-purchase tasks such as service, success and renewal, into a single role.

Gartner predicts that customer service and support leaders will also be impacted by governments who may impact organisations who have digital-only ambitions. 

By 2028, the EU will mandate “the right to talk to a human” in customer service interactions.

GenAI is accelerating the shift towards self-service, and a number of organisations are experimenting with hiding or entirely shutting down their assisted channels. In response to growing consumer backlash against AI-generated service, Gartner predicts the EU will adjust its consumer protection laws, requiring organisations to provide access to a customer service employee.

New survey reveals lack of consumer awareness around their own vulnerability status 

The majority of UK customers don’t even realise they are vulnerable, states NICE in its new Vulnerable Customer Report. 

The study has found that only 17% of UK consumers self-identify as vulnerable, despite 67% being deemed as potentially vulnerable when assessed against Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) criteria. This gap in awareness could have dangerous consequences for both consumer and business as vulnerable customers are left without adequate support when they need it most at a time and regulators are tightening rules.

Common misconceptions  

The survey found that 39% of respondents mistakenly believe that vulnerability is solely dependent on age and only applies to those aged 65 and over. Yet, 38% of respondents in all other age groups said they would struggle to meet an increased rent or mortgage payment of just £50 per month, putting them in an extremely vulnerable position financially. In contrast, just 14% of over 65s felt heavily burdened by bills and credit payments. This group was also least likely to have changed their behaviour due to financial pressure in the past year. 

Consumers refuse to talk  

However, even when vulnerability is self-identified, the survey found that consumers may not be willing to talk about it. Almost three quarters (71%) of consumers correctly identified poor mental health as a driver of vulnerability, but over one third (38%) would still not be comfortable sharing details of poor mental health with a customer service advisor. This rises to almost half (47%) for those who identified as currently experiencing poor mental health in the survey. This puts customer service agents at a disadvantage when trying to offer support to vulnerable customers. 

Based on the findings, the report lays out five hidden consumer groups at risk of vulnerability that all businesses should be aware of: 

  • Unexpected Carers: Suddenly becoming a main carer for a close family member
    isn’t easy. 30% of this group admit low confidence in managing money, and almost a quarter are hiding money problems from family. 
  • Ground-Down Gen Z: Age is nothing but a number. Forty-two per cent of this group admitted the leading cause of financial pressure was high energy and utilities bills. Twent-five per cent have used buy-now-pay-later schemes in the last year, but 16% say they have missed payments. 
  • Striving Renters: Only 21% of striving renters (who are typically aged between 25 and 44) self-identified as vulnerable, but as many as 83% could be at risk according to FCA criteria. This group would struggle to meet an increase in rent or bills. 
  • Hard-Up Homemakers: Owning an asset does not always go hand-in-hand with cash flow. Almost a third (33%) of middled-aged mortgage holders have stopped saving or investing due to financial pressures. This rises to 37% for those with at least one young child. 
  • Solo Sufferers: In a world built for two, over a quarter (26%) of this group struggle with poor mental health. 12% experience increased financial pressure due to a recent relationship breakdown and 32% are feeling heavily impacted by mounting bills.

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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