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

This week, we’re looking at what contact centre leaders see our future in hybrid working looking like, and how DX professionals are viewing their customers. We also have comment from Twilio to celebrate this week’s National Customer Service week.

Key news

  • The scale of retail’s fake reviews problem has been illustrated in a new poll by consumer insights organisation Which?, finding up to one in ten Amazon shoppers in the UK have been “bribed” by sellers. In the last year, survey respondents said they had received a note in their order or a message by email with incentives to leave a five-star review, including gift cards, free products and refunds. While Amazon claims to have clear policies that prohibit reviews abuse, Which? technology editor Paul Lester notes that sellers are still finding ways to unfairly influence the ratings of their products. Which? has called on policymakers to crack down on the problem by making hosting fake reviews a criminal offence.
  • The majority of chief executives think employees will be working in-office five days a week by the end of 2026, new research has found. Of the 1,300 global CEOs surveyed by KPMG, 64% predicted a full return within three years. Nearly 90% also said they are “likely” to link financial rewards like bonuses and promotions to office attendance. Meanwhile, separate research from Owl Labs showed that 40% of British workers are willing to walk away from job offers that need them to be in the office five days a week. 
  • UK government interest payments on the national debt has reached the highest level in two decades. The increase in government debt and the amount spent on servicing it is raising concerns about the potential diversion of funds from critical public services and infrastructure projects.

Commentary share: Customer Service Week

“National Customer Service week is an opportunity to celebrate the difference great customer service can make not only to businesses, but to the access to essential products and services that all of us need in society. Customer service staff are on the very frontline of organisations and serve as brand ambassadors every day – and when they’re given access to the right customer data to support more useful interactions, they can help drive very real gains in customer engagement.

“This is important at a time when customers are ranking poor marketing tactics as particularly strong brand turn-offs, with the top three being a lack of reliability (44%), lack of communication and difficulty getting a response (30%), and constant calling or messaging (28%). Brands need to embrace respectful practices in the marketing and customer service they’re running every day, to ensure respect and empathy is at the heart of every interaction.”

– Sam Richardson, CX Consultant at Twilio

Contact centre leaders point the way  ahead to a hybrid working future 

According to a new online poll from the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA), supported by Sensée, only 2% of UK Contact Centres expect all their frontline customer advisers to be working in a physical office in 12 months’ time, compared with 5% today. 

The poll shows that while there is a move back to the office from working at home, it is mainly towards a balanced home/office model – with ‘2 or 3 days a week in the office’ increasingly being favoured. Today this model is used by 34% of organisations. In 12 months’ time, however, the ‘2-3 days a week in the office’ option is expected to be favoured by 51%. The ‘totally flexible’ hybrid working option and one where organisations expect people in the office at least once per month are also proving to be very popular.  

186 CCMA member organisations took part in the online poll on 14th September 2023.

In response to the question, ‘right now, where does your frontline work?’, the results found that only 8% said 100% of their employees are working from home. Contrastingly, 5% said 100% of their employees are working in the company office. Here are the results which highlight the percentages of hybrid working from the respondents:

  • 10% – totally flexible – no one has to come into the office 
  • 15% – expect people to come into the office at least once a month 
  • 34% – all colleagues come into the office 2-3 days a week
  • 28% – something else

The results for the second question, ‘in 12 months’ time, where do you anticipate your frontline to be working?’ indicate a difference in all of these results, pointing more towards freedom in where employees can work outside of the office.

  • 6% – 100% working from home 
  • 10% – totally flexible – no one has to come into the office 
  • 13% – expect people in the office at least once per month 
  • 51% – all colleagues come into the office 2-3 days per week 
  • 2% – 100% working in the office 
  • 18% – something else

Nearly half of DX professionals lack a clear view of their customers

Despite being responsible for building and improving digital experiences, 43% of DX professionals do not have a clear view of customer preferences across their websites and apps. That’s according to a new report on digital expectations and realities from DX data and insights platform FullStory.

The new study includes over 700 digital experience professionals across product, UX, CX, marketing, and ecommerce roles spanning the UK, USA, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Findings highlight that 73% of DX professionals have a defined strategy for digital experience on their website or app but are lacking the insights needed to confidently tailor experiences toward real user behaviours and preferences. The vast majority (76%) agree that they need both more quantitative and more qualitative insight in order to provide the most satisfactory digital experiences. 

Half of DX professionals (50%) say they have no clear view of their customers’ behaviours online, while 62% don’t have visibility of customers’ attitudes and beliefs. This figure rises to 73% for those attempting to understand customer moods and mindsets.

Across the globe,  the extent to which DX pros have visibility of customers’ needs and preferences varies:

  • 67% — Indonesia
  • 67% — Netherlands
  • 63% — USA
  • 61% — Singapore
  • 60% — UK
  • 41% — Australia
  • 48% — Germany

This lack of visibility is making it difficult for companies to improve their customer experiences, with 81% of respondents saying they have no clear visibility of when their customers are frustrated in apps or online.

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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