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cust mer engagement issue eleven

June 2013

The official magazine of the Customer Engagement Network

www.customerengagementnetwork.com

Exclusive reports on our Customer Engagement in Retail and Voice Of the Customer Directors Forums


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Customer Engagement in Financial Services

Customer Engagement in Public Sector

Thursday June 13th

Wednesday July 17th

This Directors Forum will highlight the key issues and challenges facing the much maligned financial services sector and its relationships with customers against a backdrop of continued difficult economic conditions. It will offer practical solutions to these challenges for a troubled sector. It will drill down to the core of the problems and help delegates find the best way forward.

This Directors Forum will take a close look at the public sector and how it is engaging its internal and external stakeholders, and focus on some of the ground breaking best practice that is helping establish the public sector lead the way when it comes to customer service and engagement

Speakers to date include: Lloyds Banking Group, Barclaycard, FT, First Direct, Association of British Insurers, Henley Centre, Interactive Intelligence, Merchants, Gallup

Speakers to date include: Martin Rayson, President PPMA, Norfolk CC case study, NHS case study, BBC case study, Essex CC case study, Harrow CC case study, Gallup, HGS

Venue: Gallup, The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6HS Time: 09:00 – 17:00 Date: Thursday June 13th

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Steve Hurst, Editorial Director Customer Engagement Network @stevieboy6

We all know that customer behaviour and expectations are undergoing a seismic shift and that the pace of change is, if anything, accelerating. Customers have the technology and the power and are using both to leverage their relationships with organisations These changes are being continually highlighted through the pages of this magazine, and on our website (www.customerengagementnetwork.com) as well as in the content of our hugely successful webinars, and our face to face Directors Forums and Customer Engagement Summit. To paraphrase Professor Morris Pentel of the Customer Experience Foundation who delivered the opening keynote at our latest Directors Forum ‘for the first time in history our customers have better technology than we have’.

I could not agree with Professor Morris Pentel and Jeremy Cox more.

That ‘better technology’ is enabling customers in this digital age to have greater knowledge and insight on our products and services and to exert a more profound influence on how we shape those products and services. This in turn is making organisations re-think entirely the way they do business and their employee and customer engagement strategies

We all know that we have to be where our customers are. But that in itself is not enough. We have to be where they are, know who they are, understand why they are where they are, what they want to happen next – and then do something positive about it.

The key to customer loyalty

Analyst Ovum has picked up on this sea change and their recent London congress called for an end to the old command and control way of running a business because it is simply irrelevant in the age of the digital customer.

The research shows that organisations who customers find it easy to do business with, particularly in areas where they find value are far more likely to stay with that organisation. As our article says measuring Customer Effort is well worth the effort – so long as it is then used to add value to the customer.

An end to command and control Calling for an end to command and control and a focus on customer needs Ovum principal analyst Jeremy Cox summed it all up nicely: “A customer-adaptive enterprise is achieved not only by delivering a superior customer experience, but also through agile decision making and continuous innovation born of deep insight into the customer’s context. Advanced organisations have the ability to actively seek out and sense the changes in the forces impacting customers’ behaviours, wants, and needs, and have the cross-enterprise execution capabilities to act and adapt at speed.”

All of which brings me on to the Cover Story in this issue and our exclusive article based on new research from Henley into the Customer Effort metric. There is nothing new in measuring how hard, or how easy, it is for our customers to do business with us, but these changes in customer behaviour are making it far more business critical.

The article concludes “We believe that the real challenge facing today’s companies is to identify where customers expect low- or high-effort experiences and deliver against these expectations” There’s the nub. Our customers have their own expectations of how easy it should to do business with us across the relationship. We must gain the insight to identify those expectations and then deliver. So how easy is your organisation for your customers to do business with? There is no better time to find out.

Have your say - if you have any feedback on this issue of Customer Engagement share it with us by sending a text message, starting with the word ‘Engage’ to 66099.

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e hauvr yo say

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Customer Engagement magazine is published by the Customer Engagement Network, the organisers of the Customer Engagement Directors Forums.

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contents To join the Network (free membership) and receive weekly Alerts, Digital Magazines and Invitations to the Directors Forums go to www.customerengagementnetwork.com Editorial Director: Steve Hurst steve@ictcomms.com Sales & Marketing Director: Chris Wood chris@ictcomms.com Tel: +44 (0) 1932 341828 Customer Engagement ©ICT Communications Ltd

News Beat One in two customers are switching because of poor service. Personalisation way to shoppers’ hearts in an Amazon world. Engagement is leading focus for employers. Voice of the Customer critical to engagement

Cover Story - Why Customer Effort is easily worth the effort

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Professor Moira Clark and Dr Nicola Millard report on the findings from new research into how leading companies are applying the Customer Effort metric

The Big Interview

12-14

Putting the contact centre service culture at the heart of your business One of the most inspirational presentations at the Customer Engagement Network’s Voice of the Customer Directors Forum came from Matt Kemp, Director of Customer Services and Anija Obmann, Head of Training and Quality, at mobile operator Lebara where the contact centre is truly at the very heart of the business. Steve Hurst asks the questions

The Numbers Game - can analytics really pay?

15-17

Research from the Professional Planning Forum reveals that there are no more than a dozen contact centres in the UK using analytics in a mature way. David Naylor has some suggestions to help break the impasse

Are you listening to the Voice of your Customers?

20-22

Customers are playing an increasingly important strategic role in the development of organisations’ services and products across channels and the Voice Of the Customer is critical to the development of customer engagement strategies. Steve Hurst reports

Charles Darwin, evolution … and the contact centre

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Paul Scott looks at what the latest Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report reveals about organisations’ efforts to keep pace with the rapid evolution of customer expectations and technological capability

How customer service became the beating heart of London 2012

26-29

The London 2012 Olympics have been heralded as the greatest show on earth, the moment in which Britain, emphatically and with great style, ‘delivered on its promise’. Contact centre provider HGS had its part to play

The path to customer personalisation

30-31

The way in which companies go about their business will be increasingly shaped by the ‘user-centric experience’ – an evolution spurred by a realisation among brands that increased competition and commoditisation require far deeper, more personal customer relationships says Igor Sarenac

How customer behaviour is revolutionising retail

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Retail Customer Engagement Directors Forum brings into sharp focus sheer pace of change as technology driven consumer behaviour and expectations continue to evolve. Steve Hurst reports

The Final Word - Does this apply in B2B?

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When it comes to the customer experience this is one of the most frequent questions Colin Shaw is asked – the answer is YES!

Editorial Advisory Board Dr Guy Fielding, Richard Sedley, Rod Butcher, Hugh Griffiths, Marcus Hickman, Karine Del Moro, David Cottam, James Rapinac, Crispin Manners. Professor Moira Clarke, Professor Katie Truss, Mike Havard 5

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s t new bea Voice of the Customer critical to engagement

Personalisation way to shoppers’ hearts in an Amazon world More retailers are personalising their online and offline offerings in the face of Amazon. Being multidimensional is growing in importance as retailers now have to deliver their customer experience across a wide range of devices and channels. Now more than ever, with Amazon being a click away for every shopper and a threat to every retailer, improving the customer experience is essential for differentiation and survival. But striving for excellence and delivering superior personalised shopping experiences means compelling merchandising and targeted marketing to meet and exceed the expectations of today's connected consumers. A quick look at the numbers is encouraging as investment is forthcoming with three out of four retailers in a survey by the E-Tailing Group investing more in 2013 than in 2012. For example, key indicators are all trending upward indicating strong growth year-over-year on metrics that impact profitability. In every instance retailers report somewhat/significant increases starting with units per order for just under half while revenue gains anchor the list and almost universally increase at 87%. Conversion rates saw movement into the 3.0% - 4.9% range as retailers learn the ropes, where 70% cited gains yearover-year. Continued emphasis keying in on conversion should be expected, given the overarching customer experience direction cited by retailers in open-ended questions. And shopping cart abandonment rates have declined, thanks largely to dedicated merchant efforts. To gain an understanding of the value of specific merchandising tactics, 50 features were ranked on a 5-point scale

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(5 being very valuable and 1 indicating not at all valuable in driving revenue and results). In a world of price transparency and flash sales, it's not surprising to note that a promotional tactic like limited-hour promotions would see an 18% gain. Small gainers included tactics that exposed products earlier or better including quick view, colour change or interactive tools, while unconditional and conditional free shipping and social marketing from Twitter to social log-in all received retailer attention for their ability to drive ROI. Personalisation also plays an important role. Product page recommendations were common on the majority of retailer websites (56%), and email followed suit with one in three retailers employing retargeting and making use of email alerts. Additionally, three out of four retailers take advantage of personalisation. Mobile investment is gaining ground too. Two out of three retailers now have mobile-optimised web sites, and half have barcodes or QR codes in place. For the majority of retailers, traffic patterns from the mobile channel have catapulted to double digits as they see 5% - 20% of their web traffic coming from mobile devices, and impressively almost 1 in 3 (29%) have exceeded the 20% mark. Perhaps more significant is that almost one third of retailers (27%) received 10% or more of their revenue via mobile devices.

More than a third of organisations say VoC a key part of their customer engagement strategies with growing recognition that customers have greater power than ever and are more likely to have their say. Aberdeen Group surveyed 366 businesses about their customer experience management. Of those, 132 said they use the VoC, as a key part of their CX management. The research firm noted that in addition to its use for such goals as customer satisfaction and retention, customer input is also being used to drive new product or service creation, new sales tactics, new marketing programmes, brand awareness, loyalty and top-line revenue growth. To get the feedback, techniques employed by businesses include post-service surveys, social media monitoring, and customer-oriented events. The top actions driving Best-In-Class were three strategic moves: • Incorporating VoC as a formal part of the company business plan. • Creating a unified view of customer feedback data available to all key stakeholders. • Ensuring consistency between customer messages delivered by numerous stakeholders across multiple channels. Half of the survey’s respondents said that customers, empowered with new levels of information about products and services, have changed the dynamics of customer-business relationships. Negative word-of-mouth is a key driver of some VoC initiatives, and nearly a third of respondents said that they have experienced the negative impact of customer turnover on profitability. A previous Aberdeen study found customer churn can be decrease and bottom-line profitability increased, by responding to customer feedback with customer experience and product improvements. “Customers understand that issues will arise and products will break,” the current report said, “but it is the support activities (both proactive and reactive) that an organisation puts in place which will determine if clients will remain loyal buyers or look for other providers.” The report’s overall recommendations include development of a company-wide strategy and utilization of customer interaction data, which is now available in extensive detail, to create more targeted communications and offerings.

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One in two customers are switching because of poor service

New research reveals half of UK consumers are taking their business elsewhere as a result of inadequate service at an estimated cost to business of £12billion a year - and of those, more than nine in ten have switched at least once or twice in the last year. According to the survey of more than 2000 consumers by Independent research company Opinion Matters and commissioned by cloud contact centre vendor NewVoiceMedia, one in two (49%) are put off from calling a business at all, for fear of being kept on hold or in a queue. This means many customers could switch to a competitor without even attempting to resolve the problem first. With respondents spending an average of £472 before switching, it is estimated that £12 billion is lost by UK businesses every year through poor service. Faced with a negative experience, 56 percent of those surveyed would never use that company again, 27 percent would tell friends and peers, and 19 percent would take their revenge online by posting a review.

“Customers have a stronger influence on a business’s success than ever before and it’s surprising how many organisations still aren’t getting it right” said Jonathan Gale, CEO, NewVoiceMedia. “Customer experience is a key differentiator. By doing it well, organisations can drive the customer acquisition, retention and efficiency that make leading companies successful”. Any organisation that thinks it can keep a complaint quiet in the digital age is unrealistic – 19 percent of respondents would post an online review and 14 percent would complain via social media if they are not happy with the service they are receiving. Surprisingly, it’s the younger generation that are more willing to tolerate long hold times, perhaps due to a greater capacity for multitasking. Only 49 percent of 16-24 year olds are prepared to wait 5 -10 minutes before hanging up compared to 67 percent of those aged 55+. 30 percent would wait 1120 minutes whereas only 9 percent of those aged 55+ would wait 11-20 minutes. 22 percent of those aged 55+ hang up within 5 minutes compared to 8 percent of 16-24 year olds. Organisations can potentially increase their business if they offer excellent customer service. Following a positive customer

experience, 74 percent of respondents would be more loyal, 71 percent would recommend a company to others and nearly half (44 percent) would use the business more frequently. 34 percent are prepared to spend more money with the company. Voice is still the channel of choice for a quick response. 66 percent of respondents prefer to get on the phone and speak to someone to get an issue resolved quickly and 23% would address an issue via email. While 89 percent of those surveyed prefer traditional forms of communication such as phone and email, it was evident that a higher proportion of Generation Y are making contact with businesses through social media or text messages. “This research highlights the cumulative effect of business interactions on the customer experience,” concludes Gale. “Customers want personal and engaging experiences every time, through every channel; from the steps they take to interact with a company to the agents they deal with. ”Organisations can’t continue to let business slip away. Listening to the needs of their customers is the first step. The second is actively doing something about it”.

Engagement is leading focus for employers Almost three-quarters of respondents to The Benefits Research 2013 cited engagement as the top issue shaping their organisation’s benefits package. This figure has risen since 2009, when just under two-thirds said the same. But, when asked what action they plan to take in the next 12 months in response to economic challenges, just 15% of respondents said they plan to motivate staff to maintain morale, and only 10% did so during 2012.

and a desire to reduce or control costs (50%) were top of mind for employers.

issue shaping their organisation’s benefits package.

To achieve the latter objective during the next 12 months, 33% of respondents plan to implement new benefits for staff, while 20% aim to introduce salary sacrifice arrangements for some benefits. But only 10% of respondents plan to cut their benefits budget in the next 12 months, while 7% did so in the previous 12 months.

15% of respondents plan to motivate employees to maintain morale over the next 12 months in response to economic challenges.

In the previous three years’ Benefits Research reports, the percentage of employers planning to undertake this task was higher, at 29% in 2012, 31% in 2011 and 44% in 2010.

Cost control is also evidenced by the 38% of respondents that intend to review their benefits providers to get a cheaper or better deal, and the 31% that plan to renegotiate insurance based benefits to achieve savings in the next 12 months.

The research, conducted among almost 600 HR and benefits professionals in March 2013, also found that pensions autoenrolment (62%), a desire for flexibility (52%)

Key findings from The Benefits Research 2013 include: 74% of respondents said the desire to improve employee engagement is the top

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28% of respondents reviewed benefits providers to get a better or cheaper deal in the previous 12 months, while 38% intend to do so in the coming year. 33% plan to implement new benefits for staff and 20% to introduce salary sacrifice arrangements in the next 12 months. Some employers have already taken steps to achieve these goals. In the previous 12 months, 28% of respondents reviewed their organisation’s benefits providers to get a better deal, while the same proportion renegotiated insurance-based benefits to achieve savings.

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Moira Clark, Professor of Strategic Marketing, Henley Business School and Director of the Henley Centre for Customer Management www.henley.ac.uk

Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist, BT Global Services http://letstalk.globalservices.bt.com/en/

Professor Moira Clark and Dr Nicola Millard report on the findings from new research into how leading companies are applying the Customer Effort metric. The key questions addressed are whether it lives up to the claim that it is a better indicator of customer loyalty than other customer metrics and what are the benefits for both B2C and B2B companies

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When Harvard Business Review(HBR) featured an article back in 2010 called ‘Stop Trying To Delight Your Customers’ it flew against many of the things we have held dear about customer satisfaction and loyalty and threw a young whippersnapper called ‘customer effort’ into the mix. However, effort may seem new and revolutionary but discussion about the amount of effort customers need to put in to deal with companies has been around since the 1940s. The HBR paper raised interest in how customer effort (CE) and, in particular, customer effort scores (CES) could be used as an indicator of customer loyalty.

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“Our overall findings were clear – Customer Effort is worth the effort. The companies we interviewed had established that CE is a key measure for loyalty, voice of the customer and also provides the pay dirt of actionable insight”

Customer effort can be a global judgment about the brand generally or simple about a single encounter. Effort is effectively a cost- with the currency being time, physical exertion, emotional angst and brain power. As with any cost there is both a trade off and a desire to either minimise it or get ‘value for effort’. This will, in turn, influence our perception of satisfaction, convenience and value for money. The HBR article said that 94% of customers who found it easy to deal with a business – who had used low amounts of effort – said they’d buy from that company again. 88% of them said they’d spend even more money with that company the next time. Whereas 81% of the customers who had a hard time dealing with a company – who used high amounts of effort – said they’d tell people about their bad experiences. This article has generated considerable debate but seemingly little action. The purpose of the research by HCCM and BT was to see how early adopting companies are using effort, and frankly, is it worth it? All the companies we spoke to were motivated by a desire to see how CE could be used to increase customer loyalty. Most of these companies already used other established measures such as customer satisfaction (CSat) and/or net promoter score (NPS) but believed that using CE could predict customer loyalty as well as provide actionable insight.

Well worth the effort Our overall findings were clear – Customer Effort is worth the effort. The companies we interviewed had established that CE is a key measure for loyalty, voice of the customer and also

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provides the pay dirt of actionable insight. They also found evidence that CE is a stronger driver on negative effort experiences than positive effort experiences. In other words poor CE scores increase the risk of losing customers while good CE scores do not show an equivalent increase in customer retention. The HBR article’s strapline “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers” did seem to be true. However, we wanted to establish from a practitioner perspective what works and what doesn’t work when CE is actually applied. Here’s what we found.

1‘Easy’ does it The first point all the companies made regarding measurement of customer effort was that they got more accurate results when customer were asked ‘how easy was it’ rather than ‘how much effort was needed’. The concept of “customer effort” was understood by both customers and employees but responses to “effort” questions showed that there was some confusion whether scoring effort as “high” was good or bad. Using “Easy” resolved this issue and a great example of this is BT Retail’s development of their “NetEasy” metric (effectively a Net Promoter type metric for ‘easy’). They also found that asking a follow up question is the key to providing actionable insight. By asking customers to explain why they awarded their score, high effort situations and instances where expectations are not matched by reality can be identified and rectified. For example an IVR system (press 1, press 2…) that is being identified as high effort can be redesigned to make it simpler. It can also identify where expectations may be being exceeded but where customers don’t value it, in which case there may be a case for cost reduction.

2 Do we need another customer metric? We frequently get asked about the “best” customer metric to

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At the Henley Centre for Customer Management (HCCM), we define customer effort as “a customer’s perception of the amount of time and energy that they have to spend in an encounter with a brand or an organisation” – from the first time they visit a company’s website or shop floor, to when they’ve taken a product home and set it up, not to mention the customer service they get throughout the process.

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A significant advantage of the CES approach is the ability to produce actionable insight that can be used to help design or improve customer experiences - from the overall journey to specifics like the website, contact centre and IVR. The B2C companies felt that the CE questions gave them a clear focus on their shortcomings and what needs fixing. The B2B companies introduced CE questions as a key part of an endto-end continuous improvement philosophy. These usually started in customer services before spreading through functions such as supply chain and accounts.

3 Is CE the same in B2C and B2B companies? Our research identified that there are differences in emphasis between B2B and B2C companies approach to CE. B2C were more focused on customer service performance whereas B2B used it as a broader, continuous process improvement across all functions. This is largely because customer touch points tend to be distributed less widely in a B2C than in a B2B organisation. B2C customers mainly deal with customer services whereas B2B customers can be dealing with different departments and functions depending on what they need to do – from sales to service and accounts to logistics. The B2B companies added effort questions to their existing customer service questionnaires but also introduced complaint tracking in order to support their aim to be easy to do business with and identify areas that consistently perform weakly.

4 Using CE to improve Customer Experience Effort is still the new kid on the block as a customer experience measure. Not all the companies we interviewed had fully implemented CE. Some were still in the process of figuring out how to apply the CE metrics and how to gain meaningful insight from them. But their clear intention is to use CES to improve customer loyalty. Some were further along the implementation process. BT started by understanding how customer journeys differ and

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how their respective effort scores also change relative to each other. This required the ability to cut and analyse the results by the types of experience being measured. Just on its IVR system BT found 200 distinct routes relating to what customers were trying to do and then they looked at how easy it was to do it. The associated verbatim comments were then cross-referenced with each instance of a journey to produce trend insights and clues to better ways of implementation. ‘If customers who are calling to change the date of their bill are reporting poor net easy scores, the IVR performance can be checked and if, say, 40% of customers are breaking out to speak to an advisor as they wanted to do something else, NetEasy really helps home in on the areas to look at.’ BT Interviewees did make the point that the CE scores may not provide the whole answer. Companies need other sources of data such as single contact resolution, success rates for transactions, process failure and repeat calls to get a 360 degree view of the issue. The B2B companies were focused on improving their customer experience by using CE as an end-to-end philosophy of ‘being easy to do business with’. CE provided insights into to the areas where customers found processes difficult and where improvements should be made. High level champions and cross-functional support is essential for this, but is not always easy in an organisation where individual silos can operate with their own (often contradictory) objectives and metrics.

5 So, is it just hype or are there real benefits? Unsurprisingly, the companies contributing to our research were positive about the benefits they were achieving from their CE approaches and there was a mix of hard and soft evidence to support this. The B2C companies had data proving that CES is a strong indicator of loyalty, particularly where there are high-effort experiences. For example, BT found that the rate of customer loss for the “easy” scores was significantly less than for the others and showed a 40% reduction in their propensity to churn. Another B2C looked at actual customer behaviour against recommendation scores – see Figure I – and found that it made more sense for them to invest in the lower end of recommendation scores, minimising the “no” and “unlikely” responses, rather than moving customers from “probably” to “definitely”.

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use, or whether CE is better than other customer metrics. We found that it’s not about selecting CSat or NPS or CES, as they all measure different things and have different merits. The companies we interviewed found that the best answer is to measure all of them, and then be smart about interpreting the results. For example asking customers to rate how satisfied they are with the on-hold music might be the wrong question – they don’t want to be on hold they just want their problem solved.

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Figure 1

Average revenue from subsequent bookings

Relationship between recommend scores and subsequent revenue

No

Unlikely

Possibly

Probably

Definitely

Would you recommend us to friends and family?

ht your From ‘stop trying to delig em customers’ to ‘delight th where they value it’

suggested that we The original HBR article light customers’. We should ‘stop trying to de t strategy might be ‘deligh believe that the better it’. ue val y ly where the your customers, but on -intuitive to companies ter un This may run as co t excellence strategies bu with customer service s ay’ l challenge facing tod we believe that the rea y where customers companies is to identif t experiences and expect low- or high-effor ectations. Making deliver against these exp ers are finding it hard things easy where custom t returns in terms of can produce the highes loyalty perception of value and

In the B2B companies, effort questions added to annual surveys identified ‘trapped’ customers who would willingly defect if another supplier was available. These customers looked loyal but the CES showed they were prepared to defect. By looking at the findings of the B2C companies, it can be seen that the benefits from increasing loyalty by improving poor CE scores can be significant. None of the companies had to produce a financial case to justify investing in CE but it would not be difficult to measure how changes in CES reduce churn and then relate that to customer lifetime values. In the B2B companies it was more difficult to assess churn and attribute changes to the CES improvements but the companies believed that the benefits from their ‘easy to do business with’ programmes were significant and they had specific examples where customer defections were prevented.

What we learned The research points strongly towards ‘effort’ (or ‘easy’) being a good indicator of customer loyalty. The companies that have applied it are finding that ‘effort’ is providing them with loyalty data that goes beyond customer intention (which is where NPS works) and into actual customer behaviour. The data provided by the B2C companies also shows that the negative consequences of high effort experiences are greater than the positive. A customer who assesses a company as ‘difficult’ is much more likely to defect than a customer who is ‘dissatisfied’. However, the data also points towards the fact that delighting customers may not add a huge amount to loyalty behaviours – a job well done is sometimes worth more than the cherry on top!

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Anija Obmann Matt Kemp

One of the most inspirational presentations at the Customer Engagement Network’s Voice of the Customer Directors Forum came from Matt Kemp, Director of Customer Services and Anija Obmann, Head of Training and Quality, at mobile operator Lebara where the contact centre is truly at the very heart of the business. Customer Engagement’s Editorial Director Steve Hurst asks Matt and Anija to reveal the secrets of their success

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• Lebara has been described as having ‘cult’ status in terms of the way it operates – to what extent would you agree with that comment and why? Customer service is integral to our long-term development and our business success, and quality of service to our customers are closely connected: we are proud of our exceptional understanding of our customers’ needs. We at Lebara, want to make our customers lives better and this long-standing determination to

deliver best-in-class customer service drives each of our employees. To deliver the quality of service we want our customers to receive, it is vital each and every employee understands our values and this starts with recruiting like-minded people who live and breathe our values as part of their DNA. Every element of recruitment and induction, through to team transitioning, encompasses our core focus. This transcends to an open and honest culture encouraging feedback and ideas to improve our business and is maintained in a colourful, bright vibrant centre. • What’s your view on the relationship between employee engagement and customer engagement and their impact on performance and profitability? Lebara employees are empowered to make their own decisions and have no time limits on handling calls so that customers get the best possible level of service. As Yoganathan Ratheesan, founder and chairman of Lebara, explains ‘As a team of people we have a deep respect and empathy for each and every customer and the markets we serve. It is this respect, trust and integrity that lies at the heart of Lebara and everything we do”. Customer satisfaction is key to maintaining our success, and combined with employee engagement and empowerment, we manage to address and resolve the root cause of any issue almost immediately through “live” engagement with both our internal teams and colleagues and external business partners. Additionally, we give our team the opportunity to express themselves and give feedback through a monthly survey which measures their engagement levels and energy.

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• First off Matt and Anija tell us a bit about the Lebara’s background, what the organisation stands for and where it fits in the marketplace The Lebara Group was founded in 2001 by Leon R. Ranjith, Baskaran Kandiah and Ratheesan Yoganathan who shared a vision to transform the international calling market, by providing ethnic and migrant communities with high quality, low cost solutions for keeping in touch with family and friends. They made it their mission to build a company that would represent a range of different communities and would last for generations. More than ten years on, Lebara is one of the world’s fastest growing mobile companies, with over four million active customers, 1,000 employees and operations in eight countries. Our London call centre serves all of its European operations seven days a week, 365 days a year with staff fluent in 25 languages, which is a major asset when communicating with customers from all around the world. We have seen substantial growth since inception and are now a leading MVNO business.

“Every new product and service we develop, every new market we enter, every new colleague we employ, we will do with the aim of building a brand that lasts for generations and continues to improve the lives of our valued customers”

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“To deliver the quality of service we want our customers to receive, it is vital each and every employee understands our values and this starts with recruiting like-minded people who live and breathe our values as part of their DNA”

• Tell us a bit about your ‘five culture enablers’ and how they work in practice. I understand you produce a culture book for your people each year? Our single most important focus is “get involved”. Our team enjoy a unique working environment based on a SMILE work-place culture (Supportive, Moment of connection, Individual, Laugh, Empathy). This includes practices such as Friday story-sharing, 11am stretches and use of our own internal social media. This differentiates us from any other centre and our success would not be possible without each and everyone getting involved. To celebrate this further, we produce a yearly culture book which is written freely by each and every member of our team and includes pictures and quotes from staff, and this year we included a section whereby our CEO, David Moffatt, was even interrogated! • When you presented at the Customer Engagement Network VOC Directors Forum you mentioned that the Lebara contact centre had shown a 300 per cent ROI – can you expand on that please? As an International network, we are in a position to know the phone number of each and every customer who calls our Customer Services Centre. By comparing their tenure and retention with customers with similar profiles who have not called Customer Services, we can then see if there is a difference as a result of our service impact. What we have seen is a 10% difference in retention, which in business case terms gives us a ROI of 300% for the cost of our centre. • What is the biggest single challenge Lebara is facing in terms of its employee and customer engagement strategies? Lebara invests heavily in recruiting top talent to meet all its customer needs. Lebara’s commitment to customer service and talent development has been recognised through the many awards

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we have won for our excellent Customer Services. To maintain this level of excellence and operate with 25 languages, brings recruitment challenges, and we have to find innovative ways of continuing to offer this support. Thankfully our attrition is the lowest it’s ever been and our biggest single source of staff is now from internal recommendations. To develop our culture across non voice i.e. chat, email & social media and to provide a consistency of delivery is also an exciting challenge that we will continue to embrace moving forward. • I know Lebara is the kind of organisation that does not rest on its laurels and your continuing multi-Award s winning status would support that. What are your key plans for further expansion and improvement moving forward? Lebara’s vision is to be the brand of choice for one billion people around the world by 2020. By then it is estimated that the world’s population will be eight billion; one billion of whom will be migrants. Our long-term ambition is to be the number one brand for the global migrant community, recognised for improving their lives every day and enabling people to keep in touch with their loved ones across the world. As an example of this, Lebara is now one of the first mobile telecoms operators in the UK to offer its customers the convenience of topping-up direct from their mobile phone and checking their balance. With 13% of all internet traffic now generated through mobile, it is more important than ever to provide the most convenient tools to meet the customer’s ever evolving needs. Every new product and service we develop, every new market we enter, every new colleague we employ, we will do with the aim of building a brand that lasts for generations and continues to improve the lives of our valued customers www.lebara.co.uk

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Research from the Professional Planning Forum reveals that there are no more than a dozen contact centres in the UK using analytics in a mature way. David Naylor has some suggestions to help break the impasse The promise of analytics is irresistible: Definitive, irrefutable insights based on an exhaustive analysis of every customer interaction. And, arising from that, the opportunity to refine every process and optimise every engagement for a more profitable business. Who could resist? Most organisations, however, are resisting

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Whatever the cause, it seems that, so far, when considering an investment in analytics, most companies haven’t been able to make the numbers add up.

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David Naylor is Head of Analytics at Ember Services. Contact him at david.naylor@emberservices.co.uk

In part the slow adoption of analytics can be attributed to the high cost of technology ownership, which pushes return on investment out to an unacceptable horizon. This is compounded by the fact that many customer management teams lack the expertise and skill to interpret and implement the findings these technologies might uncover. After all, achieving ROI depends not only on capturing insights, but understanding their implications and acting upon them.

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“Instead of examining interactions from each channel in isolation, we must track customer journeys across channels if we are to understand the true pattern of customer behaviour and how our organisations must respond to it”

It’s a widely acknowledged truth that data is an increasingly big issue in every area of business. Industry analyst, IDC, estimates that the volume of data held by corporations around the world will treble within the next five years – from 5,000 to 15,000 exabytes (one exabyte equals 1 million terabytes). Customer management operations are feeling the pressure more than most. Not least because of the cross channel nature of many of today’s customer journeys. Instead of examining interactions from each channel in isolation, we must track customer journeys across channels if we are to understand the true pattern of customer behaviour and how our organisations must respond to it. So, the significant factor that makes ‘big data’ more challenging for the customer management operation than for most other areas of an organisation isn’t just the quantity of data, but its unstructured nature. While capturing it is the first challenge – solved by the call recording and online monitoring systems that are now being widely adopted – interpreting it requires a combination of analytics technology and human intellect. Customer management leaders recognise that un-mined wealth lies buried within their customer interactions. They understand that technologies exist that can bring that wealth to the surface, but they wonder how that crude ore can be transformed into the golden coin of actionable insight. If analytics technologies are the machinery that will mine that ore, then human skills are needed to refine and make it useful. Analysts today need to wield the technology tools to gather insights and use them to develop and drive business improvements, not just in the customer management operation, but across the business. If investments in customer interaction analytics are to bear fruit, they need to drive business improvement programmes that use the insights gathered to drive profitable change. Here are six steps that will allow organisations to do just that.

Step one: Frame the question The most successful analytics programmes deliver results because they have been designed to answer specific questions. Those

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questions might be very broad – why is our customer churn so high? What do our clients value about our brand? Or very specific – what do customers think about new product X? Why do we get so many calls about issue Y? Either way, the question to be addressed will drive the data to be collected and the way it is examined. It is important, too, in framing questions, to maintain an open mind. The analytics process may throw up surprising answers that will be easily missed if you allow easy assumptions or preconceptions to guide your process.

Step two: Gather the data With customer interactions proliferating across multiple channels, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But, if you’ve framed your question correctly, you can be specific about what you’re looking for, where to look and the analytics tools required – from speech to text and social. The strength of analytics technologies is that they enable you to capture and interrogate every single customer interaction. But it isn’t usually necessary to do so. In most cases running an analytics process for a set period of time, over a representative set of interactions will suffice. However, to achieve reasonable levels of accuracy and certainty, the sample sizes need to be high – which is why the technology is so valuable. For example, in a 100 seat phone-based contact centre environment, it would be necessary to analyse 10,000 calls (100 per agent) in order to achieve results that are accurate to within plus or minus 10%.

Step three: Analyse for action If the process of dynamic analytics is to answer questions that are challenging the business, the logical next step must be to use the findings that emerge as the foundation stone for change. This is the point at which traditional contact centre analysts may stumble. If they are to become powerful agents of change they need the ability to translate the insights provided by analytics into a plan of action that will deliver for their organisation. Those action plans need to be credible, defensible and achievable in the eyes of peers and superiors across the business.

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The ‘big data challenge’

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customer engagement

“New managed service options are emerging, which combine access to technology on an occasional, hosted basis combined with consultative interpretation. They’re worth investigating” Step four: Engage the stakeholders It is vital that the commitment to deploy those action plans is shared by the whole company because they are seen to deliver benefits that benefit the enterprise rather than a specific department or function. At its best analytics drives companies towards a customer centric approach in which decisions are taken, not according to departmental targets, but in line with a shared ambition to reduce overall business cost while enhancing the customer experience. It requires business leaders to take an enterprise-wide view, rather than a functionally constrained one.

Step five: Act together We have discussed the need for an enterprise-wide commitment to business improvement and for analysts to have the skills, courage and remit to engage beyond the boundaries of the customer management department. It is also important to note that, once a change action has been agreed upon, constructive collaboration across the business is essential to achieve it. Traditional organisational boundaries mean that resources and capabilities are locked up in silos and driven by local priorities. That means difficulties in one department’s schedule may delay the whole change process and compromise its results. Remember, successful change isn’t just about completing the business improvement cycle, but doing so fast enough to achieve the business benefit. A shared view of business priorities is, therefore, essential..

Step six: Assess the impacts The final stage of the insight driven business improvement process is, of course, to measure the impacts and quantify the benefits. This process actually starts several steps back; if the business case for change has been built effectively, then there will be clear benefit targets and an agreed timeline by which they should be achieved. Often the best way to validate the overall success of the programme is to return to the source. If the problem or issue was first identified via an analysis of customer interactions, the most obvious way to confirm that it has been resolved is to repeat the

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analysis. In this way, analytics can become an iterative process in which issues are identified and their resolution verified. In the best organisations analytics becomes a regular (though not necessarily constant) process that raises and addresses key business questions in order to keep the business healthy and to support continuous improvement.

Time for change There’s no doubt in my mind that multi-channel analytics, applied to speech, txt and social interactions, is a powerful force for positive change. Its adoption, however, is hindered by the high price tag attached to the technology and the scarcity of the skills needed to translate findings into actionable insight. Analytics won’t be adopted at scale under the traditional technology licensing model. With many vendors still using per-seat licensing deals that carry annual maintenance and upgrade charges, the cost of ownership over a five year period is discouragingly high. Once the staff costs to develop effective search patterns and interpret the results have to be factored in, true cost of ownership rises to between two and three times the initial license purchase. Bear in mind that ROI is dependent, not only on effective use of the technology, but on the success of subsequent business improvement programmes. Even if the required changes are restricted to the contact centre this can take time. If other areas of the business are affected, complexity and timescales can grow exponentially. Based on our modeling, you may well wait between two and four years for your analytics deployment to deliver. That makes it a numbers game most organisations are unwilling to play. New managed service options are emerging, which combine access to technology on an occasional, hosted basis combined with consultative interpretation. They’re worth investigating. Ember’s research paper, ‘More Than a Numbers Game: Making customer interaction analytics pay’ can be downloaded free of charge from www.emberservices.com.

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REGISTER NOW! For all the details and to register, visit www.confirmit.com/communityconference2013


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Voice of the Customer Forum Report 14th February 2013, London

Customers are playing an increasingly important strategic role in the development of organisations’ services and products across channels and the Voice Of the Customer is critical to the development of customer engagement strategies. Steve Hurst reports

Delegates agreed that strategies around customer feedback and feeding back on feedback, closing the feedback loop, are business critical issues. The Directors Forum examined the key challenges and issues facing customer experience leaders that are impacting feedback, and Voice of The Customer strategies as customers increasingly become a central part of their employee and customer engagement strategies VOC take traditional feedback from siloed channels and create a unified approach that takes into account the entire customer journey across multiple channels. That is done not only with tools to segment customers and collect their feedback, but also with analytics, reporting, and data management tools to derive insight from the feedback and share that insight throughout the company.

importance of emotion in VOC including use of biometrics and emotional signatures. Qaalfa stressed the critical business case for listening to our customers with an eye-opening approach to understanding customer emotion and how it adds to business value. Next up was Jay Freeman, Senior Advisor, Gallup, former Exec VP Wells Fargo Bank with his presentation ‘Wells Fargo Bank, Case Study: The link between Customer Engagement and revenue Growth’. Jay explained how while the financial promise of cultivating your customers' engagement is greater revenue, but this doesn’t just happen. There are specific steps designed to translate improved customer engagement and loyalty into increased purchase behaviour and enhanced customer longevity. Jay drew upon examples in financial services including Wells Fargo and other industries to show how companies have used customer feedback to drive revenue growth.

VOC - it’s emotional

Contact centre as a profit centre

The stage was set with an excellent and thought provoking opening keynote from Qaalfa Dibeehi, COO, Beyond Philosophy 'Understanding and measuring the value of customer emotion in VOC’.

Jay was followed by an inspiring double-act case study presentation from Matt Kemp, Director of Customer Services and Anija Obmann, Head of Training and Quality, Lebara.

‘Using a series of case study examples from the likes of BP and Campbell’s Soup Qaalfa investigated new thinking on the

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Lebara which operates pre-paid international calling SIM cards for mobile phones has won many Awards for its contact centre including European Contact Centre of the Year and Matt and Anija

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These were two of the key conclusions that came from the Customer Engagement Network’s Directors Forum on Voice Of the Customer (VOC) held in London hosted by Gallup and sponsored by Questback


customer engagement

told delegates about how Lebara has defining its brand by moving from service to experience. The Lebara story is a fascinating one and is a great example of how its contact entre in the heart of the City of London is being seen as a profit centre rather than a cost centre – with a 300 per cent ROI on its contact centre operations. More details of the Lebara story appear in the Big Interview in this issue of Customer Engagement magazine. Next up was Mark Bradley, Founder, The Fan Experience Company with his enigmatically titled presentation ‘Voice of the football fan Case Study:Why no one wants their ashes spread around a Tesco Car Park. How football finally ‘got’ customer service’ Mark explained through work he is doing with a number of leading football clubs including Liverpool and Cardiff City how what connects a fan to his or her team is stronger than any ‘brand’. Mark , who with his family has been to more than 100 football grounds in the UK in the past six years, told delegates what happens when a Club wakes up to this and starts to deliver an experience designed around their supporters’ deepest motivations. It was a fascinating story which had delegates in thrall – and Mark’s amusing anecdotes and asides went down a treat too.

London Olympics – how it was done Continuing with a sporting theme came Alex Nisbett, Customer experience and service design consultant with his presentation ‘London Olympics Case Study: Customer collaboration in the design and delivery of service experiences.’ Alex explained the different methods leading organisations are utilising to engage with customers in the design, delivery and ongoing improvement of their services. Using examples from many industries including the BBC, Mercedes Benz the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Alex demonstrated the benefits of a user-centred approach and the value it brings for customers and businesses alike.

morning presenters and chaired by Steve Hurst Editorial Director of the Customer Engagement Network with the subject ‘What winning VOC strategies are needed in a fast changing customer world’ Panel The debate was a wide ranging affair reflecting the broad nature of the topic and included views around employee and customer engagement and the use of social media in VOC strategies.

The power of Twitter Next up and continuing the social media theme came an excellent and fun presentation from Dara Nasr, Director, Twitter, former Head of YouTube, Twitter with his presentation ‘Move People with Twitter - case studies’ Using examples from the likes of PaddyPower and the NHS Dara examined how Twitter can help build brands' campaign further and faster. Dara discussed the benefits of transmedia and real time planning to engage with customers and the sheer power of Twitter as an engagement and VOC medium. Great stuff. Next came a focus on the voice of the employee from Andrew Cocks, Former Senior Employee Engagement Specialist, HSBC, Questback consultant with his presentation ‘The voice of the 'internal customer'’ Andrew explained that with organisations increasingly listening to the 'voice of the internal customer' and deriving greater value from their employee engagement research, now is the time to question current models and methods. Using case study examples including HSBC Andrew discussed how recent developments in customer research point to a future of flexible, integrated and cost effective strategic research all driven by cutting edge technology.

Customer Engagement Awards For the London Olympics he described how the learning curve from the first games helped improvements in service design and delivery for the Paralymics held a few weeks later

The final presentation of the day was by way of an announcement that the Customer Engagement Network is launching in association with the well established Peer Awards the Customer Engagement Awards.

British Gas is listening Last up before the networking lunch came Charles Breslin, Head of Customer Service, British Gas with his presentation ‘British Gas, Case Study: “Noise or Knowledge?”’

In a joint presentation Steve Hurst, Customer Engagement Editorial Director, Stephen Citron Director of the Peer Awards made this exciting announcement.

In an entertaining presentation including references to the Dalai Llama, George Orwell and Churchill (the financial services provider that is!) ,Charles looked at what British Gas’s 16million customers are telling the utility, what British Gas does with it and what we it should do with it.

The Customer Engagement Network wants to provide exposure and recognition for innovative customer engagement initiatives. All shortlisted finalists of feature in The Independent newspaper, and speak at the Peer Awards conference in Central London on 27 June, where they are judged by everyone attending the conference, including the finalists. The winners are announced and celebrated at a champagne ceremony in a prestigious Central London hotel.

Charles explained to delegates how silence can be measured and what it means. He also looked at why some people contact us frequently and how much our behaviour and language engender multiple contacts. After the networking lunch came a lively panel debate including the

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In his event summary Steve Hurst reiterated the strong business case for organisations to develop integrated VOC strategies across all the channels. Are you listening to your customers?

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Voive of the Customerr Forum Report 14th February 2013, London SPEAKER PRESENTATIONS

Keynote: 'Understanding and measuring the value of customer emotion in VOC’ Qaalfa Dibeehi, COO, Beyond Philosophy Qaalfa Dibeehi ‘Using a series of case study examples Qaalfa Dibeehi investigates emotion in VOC including’: • VOC should include investigation of emotional engagement. While many of us understand the logic for doing so, is there a business case for it? This session outlines an answer. • Objectives: • To appreciate an approach to understanding customer emotion and how it links with business value • To understand to what degree emotional engagement adds to business value

Wells Fargo Bank, Case Study: The link between Customer Engagement and revenue Growth Jay Freeman, Senior Advisor, Gallup, former Exec VP Wells Fargo Bank

Jay Freeman

The financial promise of cultivating your customers' engagement is greater revenue, but this doesn’t just happen. There are specific steps designed to translate improved customer engagement and loyalty into increased purchase behaviour and enhanced customer longevity. Jay will draw upon examples in financial services and other industries to show how companies have used customer feedback to drive revenue growth.

Lebara Case Study: European Call Centre of the Year, 2012 Matt Kemp, Director of Customer Services, Lebara Anija Obmann, Head of Training and Quality, Lebara Lebara's customer services director discusses Lebara's award winning story on defining a brand by moving from service to experience

Voice of the football fan Case Study: Why no one wants their ashes spread around a Tesco Car Park. How football finally ‘got’ customer service Mark Bradley, Founder, The Fan Experience Company

Move People with Twitter - case studies Dara Nasr, Director, Twitter, former Head of YouTube, Twitter Mark Bradley

What connects a fan to his or her team is stronger than any ‘brand’, but sports clubs often only rely on winning and / or discounting as their preferred growth strategy. So what happens when a Club wakes up to this and starts to deliver an experience designed around their supporters’ deepest motivations? Mark Bradley tells the story of Fan Engagement in the UK. London Olympics Case Study: Customer collaboration in the design and delivery of service experiences Alex Nisbett, Customer experience and service design consultant

Alex Nisbett

In this talk Alex will explain the different methods leading organisations are utilising to engage with customers in the design, delivery and ongoing improvement of their services. Using examples from many industries including travel, communications, health, media and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Alex will demonstrate the benefits of a user-centred approach and the value it brings for customers and businesses alike. British Gas, Case Study: “Noise or Knowledge?” Charles Breslin, Head of Customer Service, British Gas

Matt kemp

Anija Obmann

A look at what customers are Charles telling us, what we do with it Breslin and what we should do with it. How silence can be measured and what it means. Why do people contact us frequently and how much does our behaviour and language engender multiple contacts

Dara Nasr Twitter can help build brands' campaign further and faster. Dara will discuss the benefits of transmedia and real time planning to engage with customers demonstrating the effect of the platform with case studies.

The voice of the 'internal customer' Andrew Cocks, Former Senior Employee Engagement Specialist, HSBC, Questback consultant

Andrew Cocks

With organisations increasingly listening to the 'voice of the internal customer' and deriving greater value from their employee engagement research, now is the time to question current models and methods. Andrew will discuss how recent developments in customer research point to a future of flexible, integrated and costeffective strategic research all driven by cutting edge technology Customer Engagement Awards in association with the Peer Awards Stephen Citron, Director, The Peer Awards Stephen The Customer Engagement Citron Network is delighted to announce that it is working in association with the Peer Awards, to provide exposure and recognition for innovative customer engagement initiatives. All shortlisted finalists feature in The Independent newspaper, and speak at the Peer Awards conference in Central London on 27 June, where they are judged by everyone attending the conference, including the finalists. The winners are announced and celebrated at a champagne ceremony in a prestigious Central London hotel.

#engageforums

To download presentations go to: http://www.customerengagementnetwork.com/directorforum.agenda.php?a=10402

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Paul Scott looks at what the latest Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report reveals about organisations’ efforts to keep pace with the rapid evolution of customer expectations and technological capability

Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory, is often misquoted. It isn’t always the fittest that survive, but those who have the wit and resources to change fast when their environment demands it. It might be said that, in the past, the customer management environment hasn’t placed too much pressure on the adaptive skills of its inhabitants. The phone has been the dominant channel for three decades and customers – their appetite for service and their expectations in terms of availability – haven’t

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changed that much. Progress has been incremental rather than dramatic. Until now. Technological advances and channel proliferation have brought about a massive evolutionary acceleration. Two thirds (67%) of all customer interactions now by-pass the contact centre agent and are dealt with via self service channels. Customers want multi-channel contact, they expect it to be ‘joined-up’ and will discriminate against those organisations that can’t keep pace.

Struggling to stand still It is unfortunate, perhaps, that this current period of unprecedented channel proliferation and technological advance has coincided with a global economic downturn, which limits organisations’ ability to invest. While consumers adopt new

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For fifteen years the Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report has tracked every twist and turn in the evolution of the customer management industry. This year’s research tells us that this evolution is entering a new and accelerated phase, in which the ability to adapt quickly will be the primary advantage.

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“The arrival of hosting has provided customer management decision makers with an opportunity to experiment; to try a technology today, dismiss it if it fails to deliver, embrace it if it does”

technologies with ease and at speed, the organisations that serve them are disadvantaged by aging, inflexible infrastructures they can’t afford to replace. At a time when rapid adaptation is essential, they find themselves struggling to stand still. Less than 50% of respondents in the 2012 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report believe that their core technology infrastructure components are sufficient for their present needs. When we asked them to look ahead, less than 20% believed they would keep pace with future demands. Infrastructure – current & future needs How well do the following infrastructure meet your current and future needs? 49.5

11.5

Knowledge management systems

47.6

13.9

Workforce optimisation systems

47.6

13.2

Business support systems

45.4

CRM (customer relationship management application)

43.4

Call avoidance applications (e.g. self-service options)

39.3

CTI applications

14.4

16.1

13.2

14.6

16.6

13.2

Meets current needs

14.4 12.2

14.4

43.4

Channel routing applications (e.g. SMS, e-mail, web chat etc)

13.2

Meets future needs

Not at all

Top technology trends What are the three most important technology trends your contact centre is currently ecperiencing? 20.3

Voice, data and video convergence

18.4

14.2

Consolidation of contact centre application vendors to offer single platforms for multiple centre functions

New channel technologies (e.g. social media, smartphone apps)

13.3

18.1

Consolidation of technologies within the contact centre

11.3

10.6 4.1 4.3

10.9

Data security (legislation / compliance)

8.2

Cloud-based infrastructure

8.2 Rank 1

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7.7

12.1 13.3 7.2

17.6 8.9

They are forced to be pragmatic. They can’t afford to be interested in technology for its own sake, but for its potential to shore up their ability to adapt to accelerated customer demands. Today’s customers, more than ever, expect absolute 24-hour availability to service across multiple channels from the organisations they deal with. Comprehensive multi-channel service has ceased, to be a competitive differentiator, and become a survival factor – a prerequisite for doing business in today’s connected consumer society. Given these concerns, it isn’t surprising that consolidation, both of technologies and vendors, rank second and third in the list of dominating trends. Organisations are working hard to simplify and maintain their technology estates, while struggling to integrate new channels Technology architecture and technologies at a time of austerity. Is the contact centre technology part of the enterprise architecture or generally separate?

12.0

It is, perhaps, not surprising then, that ‘service availability’ and ‘business continuity’ are the predominant contact centre technology trends occupying the minds of our respondents. One fifth of them name these issues as their number one concern, while 43% place it in their top three. Customer management decision makers, it seems, are focused on one pivotal question; what they need to do to keep pace with rising customer expectations.

High service availability and business continuity planning

Enforced pragmatism

9.4 14.0

33.2

66.8

Part of the enterprise architecture Separate

And, there is another evolutionary factor to which customer management leaders must adapt; a progressive move by organisations to integrate their contact centre technology architectures into the enterprise.

The enterprise rises Two thirds (66.8%) of respondents say that contact centre technology is now subsumed into the enterprise. Though this is a welcome recognition that customer management is an enterprise-wide concern rather than a silo’d activity, it does mean that fewer customer management leaders have ultimate authority over their technology futures and, therefore, their ability to adapt to a changing environment. In fact, 30.4% of respondents say they have little or no influence over the design of their technology infrastructure and even more (38.2%) say they have limited or no involvement in technology sourcing.

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Paul Scott is Director of Strategic Partnerships at customer management specialist, Merchants paul.scott@merchants.co.uk

6.3 Rank 2

Rank 3

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“Technological advances and channel proliferation have brought about a massive evolutionary acceleration. Two thirds (67%) of all customer interactions now by-pass the contact centre agent and are dealt with via self service channels”

Sourcing and design Is the contact centre incolved in the sourcing and design of business requirements for new technology solutions? Design

Sourcing

10.8

19.8

17.7

No involvement

28.9

22.5

Limited involvement

32.1

22.7

Involved

20.3

Very involved

7.2

6.2

Purely a contact centre design

The fact that their infrastructures are creaky and their control over them uncertain, is driving contact centre decision makers to think creatively about how they can get the functionality they feel they need. It’s interesting to note that the number of organisations naming cloud hosting as a key technology trend has almost doubled to 21.7%. For specific and desirable applications, hosting offers a flexible alternative to either replace or enhance existing infrastructures. Hostings’ ‘pay-asyou-use’ business model neatly sidesteps the need for enterprise-level investment decisions and authorisations. Most importantly though, our respondents believe hosting offers them a valuable advantage in the evolutionary race, because of its ability to deliver technological flexibility even at a time of austerity. Flexibility and cost advantage are seen as the principal benefits on offer. Benefits of cloud-based solutions What do you see as the key benefits of IP and / or cloud based solutions? Flexibility

68.8

Cost savings

65.3

Enables move to distributed architecture

52.0

Compliance with enterprise wide technologies X as a service (e.g. Saas / utility models) Enables video

2012, we identified that 87% of customer management operations that are already using hosted technologies say doing so has helped them to become more customer responsive, while 86% say it has reduced their cost to serve.

42.8 35.8

Don’t imagine for a moment that using cloud based technologies to introduce new functionality is an architectural compromise or a way of introducing controversial applications through the back door. No, it is a way of bringing much needed functionality into the contact centre quickly and at low cost. Most importantly, the arrival of hosting has provided customer management decision makers with an opportunity to experiment; to try a technology today, dismiss it if it fails to deliver, embrace it if it does. Such experiments also allow customer management departments to validate investment decisions. Small scale experiments and pilot studies that access new technologies via a hosted model can be used to provide rapid validation of preinvestment business cases. They allow customer management departments to demonstrate a clear link between the cost of implementing a technology and the revenue benefit it will deliver. By doing this, customer management leaders may well find that their ability to influence investment decisions at an enterprise level will increase. In an environment where technological capability and customer expectation is evolving so rapidly, the opportunity to experiment, to pilot and test new functionality, can give customer management operations – and the organisations they serve – the competitive edge they need to survive. Over 600 contact centres from 72 countries contributed to this year’s Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report. Download your free Executive Summary at www.merchants.co.uk. To discuss the report’s extended findings, and their implications for your business, email paul.scott@merchants.co.uk.

26.6

Delivering the goods And hosting seems to be delivering the goods too. In another research programme carried out by Merchants in the UK in

Download your free Executive Summary of the 2012 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report at www.merchants.co.uk.

Download your free Executive Summary of the 2012 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report at www.merchants.co.uk.

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The London 2012 Olympics have been heralded as the greatest show on earth, the moment in which Britain, emphatically and with great style, ‘delivered on its promise’. Contact centre provider HGS had its part to play The athletes’ breath-taking sporting achievements at London 2012 were matched by outstanding feats of imagination, inspiration and organisation from vast teams of administrators, supporters, sponsors and volunteers who, with their individual efforts, made the Games happen. HGS, outsourced contact centre provider to the Games, had its own part to play. It not only responded to hundreds of thousands of calls and emails from the public on matters as diverse as transport, ticketing and access, it also helped to co-ordinate the activities of 8,000 torch bearers and 70,000 ‘Games Maker’ volunteers, whose contribution made London’s Olympic flame burn so brightly.

First truly digital Olympics

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HGS’ work for the 2012 Olympics began in December 2009 when it won its contract to provide contact centre services to the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, (LOCOG). “We knew the task ahead of us would be demanding,” says Michael Truman, LOCOG Contact Centre Manager for HGS. “We would have to be ready for anything. Game on!” ISSUE ELEVEN • JUNE 2013

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customer engagement

“We looked for a company whose energy and ambition to be the best they could be would match our own,” says Jo-Anne Ruggieri, Head of Contact Centres for LOCOG. “We needed a partner that was prepared to look into an unpredictable future and commit 100% to making a success of it.” The detailed plans and careful forecasting that typify most contact centre projects were spectacularly absent in this case. “We had some statistics from previous Games that gave us some idea of what we might expect in terms of a step change in call volumes in the lead up to the Games,” says Jo-Anne, “but so much had changed in the intervening years – not least advances in digital communications channels and social 27

networks – that there was inevitably a lot of ‘best-guessing’ going on. Although we knew exactly what we needed HGS to do, it wasn’t immediately clear what resources it would take. HGS weren’t fazed by that and, throughout the process, successfully rose to every challenge we presented them with.” HGS’ three-fold challenge included unstinting support for: • 8,000 torch bearers • 70,000 ‘Games Makers’ • Over 8 million spectators and the public at large

Making the Games The first challenge HGS faced was, perhaps, it’s biggest. Over 250,000 members of the public volunteered to devote their time and energy as ‘Games Makers’. They would have to be vetted, interviewed and rigorously tested. The 70,000 who made the grade would have to be trained, equipped, allocated roles, kitted out with uniforms, given detailed briefs and schedules of attendance. Every aspect of their involvement had to be carefully coordinated. Over the course of the twoyear build up to the Games, HGS spoke to many of them, often on several occasions.

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It was clear from the start that the London Games would be unlike any other. Though the third to be held in London, they would be the first truly ‘digital’ Games and the first to combine a single organising committee for both Olympic and Paralympic sporting events. All of this made it very difficult to anticipate with accuracy what the demands on the contact centre might be during its two years of operation, but it was clear to all that they would be considerable.

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“The task was immense,” explains HGS’ Michael Truman. “The first point of contact for Games Makers was a specialist on-line portal, where Games Makers were encouraged to self serve and could access information about every aspect of their involvement. Inevitably, however, they needed to speak to someone from time to time.” The plans for selection, training and briefing were – of necessity – big and complex. And, however well planned, sometimes went awry. Around 18,000 people were expected to attend orientation training at Wembley Arena on the weekend of 4 & 5 February 2011. One of the worst snow storms of the winter hit and only 5,000 made it through. Over that weekend HGS handled over 8,000 anxious calls from volunteers whose best efforts had been thwarted by the weather and went on to communicate details of new dates. “HGS were expert at taking the unexpected in their stride,” says LOCOG’s Jo-Anne Ruggieri,

A long list of services HGS not only had to coordinate with 70,000 Games Makers, but with the heads of 74 functional areas within LOCOG who would be using the Games Makers’ services. “The biggest functions were Event Services, Transport, Medical and Sport,” says Michael, “but it was a long list! We liaised with each function to create the business rules, processes and FAQs that we would use to deal with every possible enquiry a Game Maker might present us with.” As the Games got closer, HGS embedded its own team of 18 people plus management within LOCOG’s Canary Wharf offices, to work hand-in-hand with its functional teams, HR Shared Services Team, Volunteer Recruitment and Training Staff. “The close proximity of HGS’ contact centre in Chiswick had always been an advantage,” explains Jo- Anne Ruggieri, “but having their people in our building working directly with our teams meant that decisions could be made and communicated double-quick. We stopped thinking of HGS as suppliers. They became part of us.”

The communication front line HGS also embedded a small team in the LOCOG press office in the run up to and during the Games, which worked with press officers to develop appropriate public responses to stories emerging in the media. “For a long time the Games were pretty much the world’s biggest news event,” says JoAnne. “And we knew that stories emerging in the media would fuel calls to the contact centre. Having the teams working together meant we could respond quickly to manage, not only the news agenda, but its impact on the public.” Similarly the contact centre acted as a barometer of public sentiment for LOCOG, with calls providing a clear indication of the public’s enthusiasms and concerns both before and during the Games. “HGS’ ability to capture intelligence from calls – both via its CRM system and anecdotally – helped us to stay in touch with the public and anticipate expectations,” says Jo-Anne. HGS’ presence in the press office was also part of an exhaustive crisis management plan, which would have immediately been implemented if a serious event had occurred that threatened the security of the Games. “Fortunately the plan never needed to be actioned,” says HGS’ Michael Truman, “but it was certainly anticipated and rehearsed!” HGS also participated in a programme initiated by LOCOG to help coordinate the customer experience across several organisations responsible for the supporting infrastructure upon which successful Games would depend. Contact centre leaders from organisations including Transport for London, National Rail and the Greater London Authority met quarterly until March 2012 and monthly thereafter to discuss best practices and processes across the capital that would guarantee the best possible customer experience, whoever took the call. “We had to anticipate that people would call several centres in the course of their Olympic journey,” says Michael Truman. “Like LOCOG, we were determined that their experience should be consistent.”

Keeping the flame

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Between 19 May and 27 July the Olympic Torch travelled 8,000 miles, visited over 2,000 communities and was seen by over 17 million people across the British Isles. HGS was behind the scenes, helping to coordinate the involvement of the 8,000 everyday heroes who carried it on is way. “LOCOG received 25,000 nominations on behalf of people who wanted to be

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After the Games the Games Maker programme was heralded as a triumph. “The volunteers’ positive energy and courteous enthusiasm set the tone for the Games,” says Jo-Anne. “And, in turn, their tone was set by the interactions they had with us and with HGS. If the Games Makers were Britain’s ambassadors to the Olympics, HGS were our ambassadors to them.”

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“These Games have not changed us, they have revealed us as we are: people who can pull off great feats.” Boris Johnson, London Mayor

London 2012 Time Line Torch Bearers,” explains Michael Truman. “We liaised with them as they submitted their applications, helped successful candidates get organised and commiserated with those who didn’t make the final cut.” But that wasn’t the end of the story. HGS continued to be a key point of contact for Torch Bearers as their ‘big day’ approached. During the Torch Relay itself HGS handled around thousands of calls from Torch Bearers, as they checked details, collected uniforms and prepared for their run. “Inevitably, too, some runners had to drop out at the last minute for reasons beyond their control,” says Michael. “It was our job to help backfill their slots so that the 70 day relay would – literally – run like clockwork!” “We knew from the start we would demand flexibility from our contact centre partner across the Olympic timeline,” says JoAnne Ruggieri. “HGS rose to every challenge.”

Dec 2009

HGS wins contract to provide contact centre services to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

June 2010

HGS Olympic contact centre goes live.

July 2010

Nominations open for ‘Games Makers’ – HGS supports applications from 250,000 people.

Dec 2010 - Dec 2011

Nationwide Games Maker Selection events.

Dec 2011 - July 2012

Roles and venues allocated to 70,000 Games Makers.

May 2011

Nominations open for Torch Relay – HGS supports 25,000 nominations.

Feb 2012

Orientation training for Games Makers – HGS steps in to reorganise as plans to train 18,000 people in two days disrupted by snow.

19 May 2012

Torch Relay opens – 8,000 people will carry the torch 8,000 miles in 70 days.

27 July 2012

London 2012 Olympics begin – Opening Ceremony is watched by the world’s biggest ever TV audience.

12 Aug 2012

2012 Games close – over 17,000 athletes have represented 205 countries in 16 days of sport.

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Paralympic Games return to their spiritual home, the UK, and are heralded ‘the greatest Paralympic Games ever’.

Managing by the moment Calls into the contact centre increased dramatically in the lead up to the Games and increased again by over 100% once the Games began. “Call volumes were highest during the Games, but also fluctuated dramatically at crucial points during the Torch Relay and Games Maker programmes,” says Michael Truman. “That meant staying flexible was very important.” When HGS opened its Olympic contact centre in June 2010 it was staffed by just four people but, at its peak, the team reached 150, with 18 people embedded within LOCOG’s office. HGS handled over hundreds and thousands of calls and emails before, during and after the Games, and more than lived up to Olympian performance standards. In post-call evaluation surveys it was clear that the vast majority of callers were highly satisfied with their contact centre experience. Quality scores, jointly calibrated with LOCOG, far exceeded the targets set and response times, even during the high-pressure period of the Games, were ahead of expectations. “The customer experience was our absolute priority,” confirms Jo-Anne Ruggieri. “And HGS went the extra mile to deliver excellence. We certainly threw them some curve balls in the process, but they caught every one of them.”

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HGS provides highly personalised customer care, acquisition and retention services from 54 locations in the UK and worldwide. UK clients include Unilever, TalkTalk, Virgin, the Department of Innovation & Skills and the Department of Energy & Climate Change. www.teamhgs.com

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The way in which companies go about their business will be increasingly shaped by the ‘user-centric experience’ – an evolution spurred by a realisation among brands that increased competition and commoditisation require far deeper, more personal customer relationships says Igor Sarenac

Customer expectations are changing at a rapid pace. Hyper-competitive industry environments mean choice for consumers is now boundless. As a result, they seek out companies that are easy to do business with, and provide excellent customer service. The challenge for businesses lies in being able to differentiate their offering by providing an experience that is personalised, low-effort and relevant to each individual customer.

Igor Sarenac is Vice President, International Business, Convergys www.convergys.com

Many companies simply don’t realise how quickly customer expectations are evolving and struggle to deliver a truly differentiated customer experience. This year’s Index report from Forrester on Customer Experience revealed that 61 percent of companies are rated OK, poor, or very poor by their customers. While this figure shows an improvement of 2 percent compared to 2012, it reveals there is work to be done to keep pace with ever-intensifying customer expectations.

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What’s happening in the telecommunications industry demonstrates how these changes are manifesting themselves. This industry is characterised by customer churn – it’s almost compulsory for consumers to flit between providers to get the most compelling package. And while providers are forced to continually evolve their offerings to gain market share and improve profitability, this is simply not enough. What’s needed is a revolutionary approach to customer service to engage customers, exceed their expectations, and drive loyalty to the brand.

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Addressing the needs of very social customers But how do you truly address the needs of customers who are more connected, vocal, and inherently better informed than ever before? With many modes of communication and social channels at their fingertips, they hold immense power in their ability to immediately and publicly impact a brand’s reputation based on their experiences with the company. Yet many businesses still apply a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service. When a customer has an issue, more often than not, they get impersonal, inconsistent and perhaps inaccurate responses. The reality is a company’s most loyal customers often receive the same treatment as their least loyal. And the chances are, a number of those loyal customers are looking for a better experience elsewhere.

interaction scenarios that deliver the best experience for the customers in each group. Once these initial groups have been formed, they can be further segmented by supplementing multichannel interaction data and feedback collected from multichannel experiences, efforts, and desires. By combining and linking these three data types – customer segments, multi-channel interaction or operational data, and customer feedback – organisations can achieve what are known as “single customer threads” – a clear view of the experience a customer has been through. This includes the menu of automated options a customer might have previously experienced, outcomes of previous conversations with agents, or the click-stream the customer progressed though on the web-site or handset.

Arming your front-line customer service team Improving the customer experience is an initiative that extends across an entire organisation, from the boardroom to sales and marketing teams and perhaps most importantly to the front-line contact centre. As the place where customer service and sales agents directly interact with customers, it’s critical these agents are set up to succeed, armed with as much information as possible on who their customers are and how best to connect with them individually. In the age of smart customers who expect you to know them and interact with them via their preferred communications channel, personalisation is the future of experience. It’s therefore imperative organisations support their front-line customer service teams to ensure they’re equipped to deliver a truly differentiated customer experience and extend it across multiple channels.

The power of customer data Most businesses already have plenty information to deliver the ultimate customer service experience. Where they’re lacking is in their ability to identify and mobilise these resources to make the best use of their customer service teams, and rich insights and customer information, to drive customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty. The path to delivering a personalised customer service experience that separates one company from the competition starts with customer data, but it can’t end there. Businesses need to be able to transform data into actionable information to drive positive change. In a typical organisation, nearly every department seems to be chasing new insights made possible by deep data analysis – whether that’s sales and marketing, or product and service development teams. What we’re not seeing yet, however, is how that translates to serve the front-line customer service teams. The contact centre, as one of the primary places where companies get the often rare opportunity to have one-to-one conversations with customers, should be a treasure trove of customer data. But too often that information is siloed across different systems, some of which the contact centre has no control over. As a result, customer service agents have no rich insights to pull from big data.

Using data to enable customer segmentation Organisations need to put vast amounts of customer intelligence to better use, and equip their agents with the clearest and most indepth view of the customer possible. By separating customers in groups and segmenting them based on customer profiles and the most relevant mechanisms – age, contract value etc – companies can design personalised

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By following this approach to effective customer segmentation, organisations can gain a clear picture of the problems that impact overall customer effort and experience, and measurement tools such as net promoter score, and what can be done about it. They can also identify the channels best suited for each intersection of customer segment, how they can be tuned for each, and recognise the importance of customer service depending on the customer’s recent experience. What’s more, they can better understand how to use "customer interaction patterns" to predict when and how to be proactive with service via both technology and agents as appropriate. For example, they can identify the customers worthy of special treatment in terms of issue resolution and rewards, and those that are not. Many companies still provide agents with disparate or antiquated systems for assisting customers. By utilising easy to deploy technology to integrate these systems into a 360 degree view of the customer, agents become empowered to personalise each interaction, to really listen to customers, know them, and recommend what’s best for them. And when you understand your customers well enough to deliver service tailored to their individual needs, not only do you improve satisfaction, loyalty and long term customer value, but you can proactively address their needs - for example, offering them benefits or rewards for high spend or length of tenure, or better options for long-standing customers than new customers. You can also proactively suggest ways for customers to save money on services, opportunities for them to negotiate a better deal, and complementary products and services and to up-, and cross-sell.

Creating revenue-generating opportunities In this way, revenue-generation within the contact centre becomes seamlessly integrated with the customer experience. This approach can also help decrease customer effort and contact centre costs by addressing an issue before customers even know about it, again building trusting and loyal customer relationships. The business cases, the technology and the processes exist to deliver personalised, multi-channel, low effort customer experiences. Companies that embrace them will reap the rewards of growth and profitability. Personalisation in the contact centre helps resolve problems smarter and faster while reducing the effort and number of interactions required to answer an inquiry. This can translate into very real operational savings – not to mention better brand reputation, and ultimately higher revenues. That’s all the more reason to start catching up with customers today.

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Customer Engagement Retail Sector Forum Report 20th March 2013, London

Retail Customer Engagement Directors Forum brings into sharp focus sheer pace of change as technology driven consumer behaviour and expectations continue to evolve. Steve Hurst reports The retail sector is in a state of flux. While the squeeze on consumer spending is having a largely detrimental impact on the High Street, online retail sales are continuing to enjoy strong growth. And while a number of well known retail brands have disappeared over the past couple of years, others are not only surviving but thriving as they adopt winning customer engagement strategies in an omnichannel environment Against this backcloth the Customer Engagement Network’s Directors Forum on the retail sector, held on the day of the Spring Budget, looked at the key issues, challenges and trends in this fast moving and volatile industry sector. When compared with actual expenditure since the economic crisis hit five years ago research show that it has cost the retail sector £23bn in terms of lost growth and that retail’s share of discretionary income, which today stands at 32%, will decline to 27% by 2022.

He argued that the term ‘omnichannel’ is already in danger of being outdated and that within the next year ‘blended contact’ driven by customer trust Next up was Karina Govindji, Client Service Manager, Gallup with her presentation ‘Engaging retail customers through your people’

Delegates heard about the developing dynamic in relationships between retailers and their customers in an omnichannel customer environment, and how fundamental changes in consumer behaviour, driven by technology, are impacting on retailers as they strive for sustainable success.

Giving case study examples Karina demonstrated how organisations that successfully engage the employees in their stores can also achieve greater sales and profitability, as well as sustainable competitive advantage.

The mood and agenda for the day was set by Morris Pentel, CEO, Customer Experience Foundation with his presentation ‘Omnichannel retailing the new reality’

Karina discussed how through leadership retailers can create and sustain high levels of employee engagement and harness this powerful force to drive customer engagement and company performance.

Customers have better technology than retailers

Argos re-inventing itself

In a thought-provoking presentation Morris demonstrated how customer behaviour is changing and how retailers have to prepare for the challenge. Shopping through the web, app and call centre as well as in store is now part of the customers’ expectation of a single, joined up experience. He said that for the first time in history customers are in possession of more advanced technology than retailers and this is driving the change

Karina was followed by the first case study of the day delivered by Perry Price, Head of Customer Operations, Argos with an inspiring presentation ‘Customers First, Colleagues Always’

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He explained how Argos discovered its reality with respect to being customer focused. Defining the key principles that enabled its

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Morris highlighted how the arrival of augmented reality, location and cashless transaction services are set to weave all of these channels into a new experience.

Perry described the journey that Argos, one of the UK’s best known retailers, has taken in the creation of a customer lead culture, through the application of simple, yet powerful customer and colleague focused principles.

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approach to change, including the re-education of senior leadership team and utilising the power of the colleague, those that are closest to the customer.

Third Place, Regus with a Staples case study ‘Transforming Retail – new revenue opportunities’

He demonstrated how this initial work is now helping to influence the organisation’s customer vision for a digitally led future and at the same time reversing declining performance and profitability to produce excellent business results.

This presentation illustrated how there are new opportunities for retailers to offer a better customer service and new revenue strategies. Delegates heard how Staples, the second biggest online retailer in the world (Amazon are first) brought the business centre to the retail experience through its collaboration with Regus in four Staples stores and the benefits they gain from it. It is a collaboration that is likely to extend to more stores in the future.

Next up came Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, Director, EMEA Marketing, Lithium with her presentation ‘Get Serious About Social: Own the Social Experience’

Stop dabbling in social – invest Prelini detailed how Customer expectations have changed so must our businesses business. She highlighted shifting attitudes towards the social channel and how social has become a reach and resonance mechanism. Prelini urged delegates so get involved in social to stop dabbling and to invest in owning the social experience channel for your business Next up came a case study on Amazon delivered by Lisa Byfield-Green, Retail Analyst, Planet Retail who predicted that by 2017 Amazon will grow from its current position as 16th biggest retailer in the world to 2nd – behind only Walmart and catching that giant fast. Lisa demonstrated Amazon’s e-commerce sales are growing rapidly, outpacing both bricks mortar and online competitors through its customer insight and understanding and consistency of service delivery.

Amazing Amazon She examined the changing retail landscape and major strategic initiatives that are driving Amazon’s success and look at ways in which competitors can learn from Amazon while at the same time differentiating themselves and maximising their own strengths including the fact that – for the moment at least – they have stores while Amazon do not!. Next up came Conrad Simpson, Director, Interactive Intelligence Who have a series of case study examples including organisations as diverse as IKEA and notonthehighstreet.com of how Interactive Intelligence is working with the retail sector to improve customer engagement in an omnichannel retail environment Following the networking lunch came a lively Panel debate: 'A retail sector in flux: what does the future hold' chaired by Steve Hurst, Forum Chairman, Editorial Director, Customer Engagement Network. The hour long debate covered a lot of ground including how organisations should be interacting with customer through social media to how employee engagement is a key factor in engaging customers in the retail sector

Staples and Regus – marriage made in heaven Next up came a joint presentation that could well be a portent for how the High Street retail sector evolves in the future from Spencer Slee, Director, Staples UKand Phil Kemp, Head of

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Spencer and Phil also explained in detail what is the key judgement criteria for choosing the right partner; drawing on lessons learned from past experiences and highlighting the necessary systems and structure to develop and support a successful partnership. The Staples/Regus collaboration seems to be a marriage made in retail heaven. Bringing delegates crashing back down to earth came Matthew Hopkinson, Director, Local Data Company with his presentation ‘More Clicks, Less Bricks’. Focussing on nationwide research that shows one in seven retail outlets in the UK, more than 35,000, are empty Matthew looked at the major trends influencing retail and leisure locations in the UK. He posed the question on whether High Street have a future and answered his own question by saying that it does but that it will change and keep on changing.

The democratisation of retail He contended that the rise and rise of online retailing has effectively led to the democratisation of retail with no hiding place and customers in control. He said that retailers can no longer ‘fight’ with customers and have to be relevant and trustworthy to survive and thrive – which is where some of the recent High Street failures fell down. Final presentation came from Ben Stockman and founder of London’s grassroots social media festival SXSE with his presentation "The rise of the Social Business" Ben used case study examples from brands including Coca Cola and AVG to demonstrate how changing the way we interact both with our peers and with the brands we use Ben looked at how in an ever-changing landscape brands are cutting through media over-saturation and shortened attention spans to bring their products and services to the right audience.

Will you be a winner or loser? It was a fitting end to an excellent day and as Directors Forum chairman Steve Hurst said in his summing up it is changes in customer behaviour, driven by technology that is revolutionising retail. There will be winners and losers. The winners will grasp those changes with both hands and give customer what they want when they want it and deliver consistency and trust through engaged employees and dynamic operations. The losers will be those who fail in that quest.

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Customer Engagement Retail Sector Forum Report 20th March 2013, London SPEAKER PRESENTATIONS Keynote: Omnichannel retailing the new reality Morris Pentel, CEO, Customer Experience Foundation

Get Serious About Social: Own the Social Experience Prelini Udayan-Chiechi, Director, EMEA Marketing, Lithium Morris Pentel

Customer behaviour is changing and Retailers have to prepare for the challenge. Shopping through the web, app and call centre as well as in store is now part of the customers expectation of a single, joined up experience. The arrival of augmented reality, location and cashless transaction services are set to weave all of these channels into a new experience. This presentation will show what that new experience will feel like.

Engaging retail customers through your people Karina Govindji, Client Service Manager, Gallup Retail organisations that Karina successfully engage the Govindji employees in their stores can also achieve greater sales and profitability, as well as sustainable competitive advantage. Karina will discuss how retailers can create and sustain high levels of employee engagement and harness this powerful force to drive customer engagement and company performance.

Prelini

Customer expectations have Udayan Chiechi changed so must your business - Shifting attitudes towards the social channel - Social has become a reach and resonance mechanism Social is beyond hype, likes & followers - Stop dabbling, time to invest in owning the social experience channel for your business

Amazon Case Study Lisa Byfield-Green, Retail Analyst, Planet Retail Amazon’s e-commerce sales are growing rapidly, outpacing Lisa Byfieldboth bricks & mortar and online Green competitors and by 2017 Planet Retail projects that Amazon will be the world’s second largest retailer behind Walmart. This presentation will examine the changing retail landscape and major strategic initiatives that are driving Amazon’s success and look at ways in which competitors can learn from Amazon while at the same time differentiating themselves and maximising their own strengths.

Retail Case Studies Interactive Intelligence Conrad Simpson, Director, Interactive Intelligence

Argos Case Study: Customers First, Colleagues Always Perry Price, Head of Customer Operations, Argos Perry Price

Perry will describe the journey that Argos Store Operations has taken in the creation of a customer lead culture, through the application of simple, yet powerful customer & colleague focused principles. The story will explain, how Argos discovered its reality with respect to being customer focused. Defining the key principles that enabled its approach to change, including the re-education of senior leadership team and utilising the power of the colleague, those that are closest to the customer. Perry will explain how this initial work is now helping to influence the organisation’s customer vision for a digitally led future.'

Conrad Simpson director Conrad Interactive Intelligence gives a Simpson series of case study examples of how Interactive Intelligence is working with major retailers to improve customer engagement in an omnichannel retail environment

Staples case study: Transforming Retai – new revenue opportunities Spencer Slee, Director, Staples UK Phil Kemp, Head of Third Place, Regus

Spencer Slee

This presentation will illustrate new opportunities for retailers to offer a better customer service and new revenue strategies. Delegates will not just hear how Staples brought the business Phil Kemp centre to the retail experience and the benefits they gain from it but also the speakers will explain in detail what is the key judgement criteria for choosing the right partner; drawing on lessons learned from past experiences and highlighting the necessary systems and structure to develop and support a successful partnership. This session will supply fresh experiences, refurbished business models and new insights into the way we live and work.

More Clicks, Less Bricks Matthew Hopkinson, Director, Local Data Company • What has been the key retail and leisure news in 2012? • Matthew What are the major trends Hopkinson influencing retail and leisure locations in GB? • How is occupancy changing? • Where and why is there vacancy? • Do High Streets have a future and if so what may it be? • How can evidence based research and technology better inform decision making?

The rise of the social business Ben Stockman, Social Media & Business Development Specialist Ben Stockman

#engageforums

To download presentations go to: http://www.customerengagementnetwork.com/directorforum.agenda.php?a=10403

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When it comes to the customer experience this is one of the most frequent questions Colin Shaw is asked – the answer is YES! Does Customer Experience apply in B2B, B2B2C as in B2C? This is one of the most common questions I am asked. My answer in return is simple, ‘are your customers human beings’? In all cases so far the answer has been ‘yes’! The first thing to realise is that people are not always logical and rational, in fact people are irrational. How many times do you repeatedly press a lift button in the hope it will come quicker? It is illogical to think it will come faster. How many times have you got annoyed with your computer and shouted at it? What superstitions do you have?

People are irrational not logical When I speak at conferences I have a routine I go through which I, irrationally, think will bring me luck and improve my performance. It’s not logical. People are irrational and therefore your Customers are, whether they are B2B, B2B2C or B2C. So why do we build logical processes and then wonder why Customers don’t follow them? To design a great Customer Experience you need to understand how Customers buy, why they stay with you or why they leave you. To build an effective Customer Experience you need to understand their psychosocial make up, how they feel and why they act in the way they do. I would agree that B2B is more complex and Customers are more sophisticated in hiding how they feel, therefore the challenge is greater, but ‘Life’s tough, then you die’! Get over it!

Everybody is a customer The B2B2C is even more complex. If you are an Insurance company who sells to brokers as a middle man, who then sells to the end Customer, the most common question I am asked is ‘who is my Customer’, the broker or the end Customer? The answer is both. For example, car dealers sell through dealers. Many manufacturers will tell their dealers what the show room should look like or even what the colour of the carpet should be, but fall short on telling them what experience they should give Customers. This is a mistake. In my view the car manufacturer should define the

experience they are trying to deliver in the contract with the dealer and specify the end feelings they want Customers to experience. This should then be measured and if the dealer doesn’t support this, they should get a new dealer.

Pictures of product or customers? One of the biggest problems with the B2B/B2B2C environment is that people in the organsation’s corporate Head Office can be so far removed from the Customer they lose touch. I can tell as soon as I walk through the door of these places. Just look at what is on their office walls. What pictures do they have on their walls? Pictures of their product or their Customers? This is one indication of whether this is a product or Customer centric organisation. This is all great theory I hear you say, but in reality is doesn’t work. It does and I have the evidence. One of our clients, Maersk Line, was independently vetted by Forrester who recently wrote a case study on them. Maersk Line is one of the largest container shipping companies in the world and, as they are in logistics, have a very left brain, analytical bias. At the beginning of our project we discussed everything I have referred to in this column. We had the same conversation about an emotional experience; they saw the light and implemented a large programme. Over a 30 month period they improved their net promoter score by 40 points . So this is possible, it is just a question of whether you are willing to put in the effort to build a great Customer Experience.

Colin Shaw is founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy www.beyondphilosophy.com/ one of the world’s first organisations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books. Follow Colin on Twitter ColinShaw_CX

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The only joined-up customer experience event to drive customer and employee engagement solutions, performance and profitability. “Best Customer Service Event in 2012” er nt om me 13 t s ge 20 r u C ga it be m vemon n E m No nd Su 25 Lo Register Now http://cesummit2013.eventbrite.co.uk

#cesuk2013

With close on 400 delegates in attendance and a speaker line up to die for the Customer Engagement Network’s first ever Customer Engagement Summit in 2012 was hailed as the best customer event of the year – and indeed for many years. To view the 2012 Summit, video, programme and presentations go to www.customerengagementsummit.com Make sure you don’t miss the customer event of the year and REGISTER now for the 2013 Customer Engagement Summit. There are a limited number of complimentary places for our readers and community, please use this code promotional CES2013C. From the organisers of the hugely successful Directors Forums series and the Customer Engagement Network, this high level Summit will provide joined-up customer engagement and employee engagement insights and solutions across all channels. For Sponsorship opportunities

For Speaking opportunities

contact: Chris Wood

contact: Steve Hurst

E: chris@ictcomms.com

E: steve@ictcomms.com

Tel: 01932 340367

M: 07545 088407

M: 07775 604011

Customer Engagement Directors Forums and Summit are organised by

www.customerengagementnetwork.com

CEC-June2013  

June 2013 Edition for Customer Engagement Network Magazine