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HOW TO GET THE MOBILE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE RIGHT Big Interview how Cisco changed its brand language and the customer experience

www.engagecustomer.com @engagecustomer

customer engagement in the retail sector 24 April 2014, London Retail - a sector in flux This Directors Forum will take a look at the key issues, challenges and trends in this fast moving and volatile industry sector. It will spotlight the developing dynamic in relationships between retailers and their employees and their customers and how these fundamental and ongoing changes in consumer behaviour are impacting on retailers as they strive for sustainable success. Venue: Blue Fin Venue, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU. Time:

09:00 – 17:00


Thursday April 24th 2014

Delegates will learn: • How world class retailers are deploying winning customer engagement strategies that are designed to engender consumer loyalty and greater wallet share • The latest trends in consumer behaviour including ‘showrooming’ and how retailers are having to adapt their offerings in an omnichannel retail environment

For sponsorship and promotional information contact Nick Rust on T: +44 (0) 1932 506500 M: +44 (0) 7968 416007 E: nick@engagecustomer.com #engageforums Engage Customers Forums are organised by


• How the rise and rise of online retailing is impacting the High Street and the strategies retailers are deploying to make the best of both worlds • How social and mobile customer engagement technologies and initiatives are impacting on the retail sector in an age where customers trust their peers more than brands

Register https://engageretail.eventbrite.co.uk

• The commercial benefits that come from adopting a joined-up approach to retailing through giving consumers the choice they demand in how they purchase and the channels they choose to make those purchases

a word from the editor

Steve Hurst, Editorial Director, Engage Customer @engagecustomer


Our second Customer Engagement Summit held at the end of 2013 was world class and described by one leading analyst as the best customer experience event he had ever attended - but don’t worry if you missed out we have lots more top quality content coming up in 2014 where that came from This year we have our most extensive and ambitious series of online and live face to face events since our launch in 2009. This includes our first ever Customer Services Outsourcing Summit in the Spring and a major extension in our involvement with the highly regarded Peer Awards and also of our webinar programme - and of course the year will culminate once again with our third Customer Engagement Summit at the end of November.

Five years ago we predicted a perfect storm of financial meltdown, leading to the need for sustainable customer retention strategies, coupled with new customer communication channels to market, and in particular the now ubiquitous mobile channel and the proliferation of social media tools such as Twitter as customer and employee communication channels, would all come to pass. And indeed they are coming to pass. And how!

So plenty of world class thought leadership events to get your teeth into - for a full calendar of our events either turn to the back cover of this issue of Engage Customer or go to our website www.engagecustomer.com

Our customers have the technology – and the power

Well 2013 was certainly a defining one of change in the world of employee and customer engagement - and the scene is set for further rapid changes through 2014 and beyond.

It’s true to say that for the first time in history our customers – and our employees – have access to, and are using, more advanced technology than the organisations that purport to serve them. This fundamental shift in the dynamic of the relationship is acting as a catalyst for customer and employee behavioural change – and that pace of change is continuing to accelerate as we enter 2014.

When Michael O Leary, chief exec at Ryanair, said in a TV interview after issuing two profits warnings that his job was to ‘change customer behaviour’ he clearly had got it wrong. Indeed it is Ryanair who is changing. Customers will no longer tolerate having two fingers continually put up to them by organisations such as Ryanair.

It is my strongly held belief that the customer of the future, indeed of now, is not in the least bit interested in your internal silos. They will expect the organisation they are interacting with to be on the channels of their choice at a time when they want to use them. If as an organisation you do not live up to that expectation they will leave you and find a competitor that does – and they will never ever come back.

The 50 per cent increase in profits at Ryanair’s arch rival EasyJet who base their business model on a robust customer service and engagement offering is testament to that – and it was interesting to note that the month after Ryanair announced its new customer engagement strategy the airline carried a record number of passengers!

And it’s important to remember that whatever else happens your customers will always have all the money. Yes HR has got to be talking to marketing if you are to have a realistic chance of long term survival. The change has come. For my full report on the Customer Engagement Summit go to pages 18-19.

Customers have forced Ryanair to change its ways



How customer and employee engagement can drive performance and profitability

www.engagecustomer.com Providing insights, best practice, news, and networking for customer and employee engagement professionals across all departments and channels. Join the Engage Customer community today and benefit from free invitations to events, print and digital magazines, weekly newsletters, webinars, monthly reports and more

Engage now at: www.engagecustomer.com @engagecustomer T: + 44 (0) 1932 340367


contents News Beat


Employee engagement pivotal to business success says CBI. Consumers trust public sector more than private sector. KLM flying high with social media. Outsourcing sector powers ahead.

Cover Story - why contact centres are at the tipping point


Contact centres are balanced at a tipping point says Paul Scott. Unless its leaders can raise their game to address omnichannel customer journeys rather than isolated telephone calls contact centres are destined to become an irrelevance

The Big Interview - how Cisco changed its brand language


The language an organisation uses when it is interacting with customers and employees is of paramount importance. This is recognised by customer technology giant Cisco which re-invented its brand language. Steve Hurst asks Michael Lenz Director of Brand Experience Design at Cisco how and why

How to unify customers in the telecoms sector


Michelle de Haaff says the word ‘churn’ should be left to the dairy industry and not be synonymous with the troubled telecoms sector – and she has some solutions for this burning churning issue

Customer Engagement Summit ‘best customer experience event ever’


The Customer Engagement Summit last November was attended by 450 business leaders and won universal accolades from Sponsors and delegates alike. Steve Hurst reports

Getting the mobile digital customer experience right


Sean Conry looks at the increasing ubiquity of the mobile customer engagement channel and how it is transforming the Voice Of the Customer space

Why Ladbrokes put its shirt on its values


Jeremy Starling looks at how betting giant Ladbrokes used employee and customer engagement to create a vision and values programme fit for the gambling customer of today

Why engaging customers literally pays dividends


The UK is fast becoming a nation of online shoppers and shopkeepers yet customer satisfaction levels are falling. Larry Freed looks at new research to find some answers to the challenges ahead

Power to the people ... and the people will do the rest


One of the most talked about sessions of the Customer Engagement Summit featured Brand Biology, Virgin Media and a grumpy technician called Mick. Jill Dean gives us the low down.

Chanelling the omnichannel customer engagement experience


David Turner looks as what a truly omnichannel customer experience looks and feels like, why it is good for business, and the steps needed to achieve it

The Final Word - the big hole in Voice Of the Customer


What has ‘plateauing’ got to do with VOC? Colin Shaw reckons it all comes down to value – or rather the lack of it

To join Engage Customer (free membership) and receive weekly Alerts, Digital Magazines and Invitations to the Directors Forums go to: www.engagecustomer.com Editorial Director: Steve Hurst steve@engagecustomer.com T: 07545 088407 Sales Director: Nick Rust nick@engagecustomer.com T: 01932 506500 Managing Director: Chris Wood chris@engagecustomer.com T: 01932 340367 5

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 engage customer magazine is published by engage customer Ltd, the organisers of the Customer Engagement Directors Forums. ©engage customer ISSUE THIRTEEN • FEBRUARY 2014

KLM flying the highest when it comes to social media Employee engagement pivotal to economic success says CBI The critical importance of raising employee engagement levels is highlighted in a major new report that reveals more companies expect to create jobs than not over the next 12 months for the first time since the onset of the recession in 2008. On the Up, the CBI/Accenture Employment Trends Survey, covers businesses employing more than one million people between them. It found that 51% of firms expect their workforce to be larger in 12 months’ time, with private sector workforces anticipated to grow across all regions. Encouragingly, there are also an increasing number of opportunities for young people to find work, with companies planning to take on more graduates and apprentices. The survey also reveals a continued cautious approach to pay, and underlines the vital role played by flexible contracts in underpinning growth and job creation. Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said: “We’re starting to see the recovery have an impact on business plans to hire, with more than half of firms boosting staff numbers next year and more opportunities for young people. “It’s good to see jobs being created across most regions, not just London and the south-east. Our labour market performed well throughout the recession and pay caution and flexible contracts will continue to underpin growth. “For the UK to remain an attractive place to do business, as the recovery takes hold, wage growth must go hand-in-hand with growth in productivity.” Highlights of the 2013 survey’s findings include: • Jobs for permanent staff are increasing more rapidly than temporary posts, with a balance of +18% (35% plan higher recruitment and 17% lower) of firms planning to raise permanent hires and +14% their temporary workforce (29% higher, 15% lower) • Graduate job prospects are picking up with +20% of organisations planning to increase their graduate in-take in the next 12 months (33% plan to increase with 13% reducing) • Firms are rapidly growing their apprentice numbers (+34%) and four in five firms (81%) expect new job opportunities to open up for young people in the coming year. Olly Benzecry, managing director for Accenture in the UK and Ireland: “The news that firms are expecting to grow their workforces is another welcome sign of the UK’s economic recovery. The skills agenda is critical to not only sustain this growth but to make it inclusive, increasing employability and opportunities for young people who are not in a job, training or education. “UK businesses clearly recognise the value of closer collaboration with education and the need for more vocational training and apprenticeships, and this is starting to translate into action through initiatives such as Movement to Work. Even so, there is much to be done if the UK is to remain competitive in the global economy, attract investment and tackle the challenge of youth unemployment.”


Dutch airline KLM has outperformed the rest of the travel industry in the first Travel Social Media Benchmark from eDigitalResearch, topping the Facebook league table with over 4.5 million followers, 1.7million more than any other travel brand. The Travel Social Media Benchmark from eDigitalResearch measures the performance of travel brands across the most popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The results highlight how KLM’s comprehensive social media programme has engaged with more online users than any other travel brand and have a staggering 1.7million more Facebook likes than second place Air France. KLM are also the only travel brand to appear in the top five for their Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest presence, demonstrating how a well-defined social media strategy can help to engage with large online audiences. The results also highlighted that, on average, the airline industry is engaging with more social media users than any other travel sector; although this is most likely helped by their naturally international customer base. British Airways have topped the Google+ league table with an appealing and stimulating campaign attracting almost 2.5million followers, while American Airlines have taken the top spot in the Twitter results. Derek Eccleston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch, explains, “The great thing about Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites is that they transcend borders. They are a fantastic platform for brands with an international reach, or even those looking to expand their horizons a little, to engage with new audiences across the globe. However, if brands are serious about reaching out to large international audiences, as well as using platforms as a customer service tool, it is essential that their social media accounts are well maintained, including outside traditional office hours and at important weekend periods”. However, the benchmark also found that, like many retailers, travel brands are failing to update their social media accounts on Saturdays and Sundays. On average, travel brands post less than half on a weekend than they do during a weekday. For the travel industry especially, the 24/7 nature of social media means that customers who are attempting to interact with brands on social media platforms are likely to expect an almost instant response, especially as more and more brands are opening up their social media accounts as a valid customer service channel. Elsewhere in the benchmark, the hotel sector performed particularly well in the Pinterest league table with Four Seasons taking the top spot with 31,383 followers, followed by Mr and Mrs Smith and Hotels.com in second and third respectively. To download the full Travel Social Media Benchmark results please complete the following short registration survey https://ecustomeropinions.com/survey/survey.php?sid= 602714207.


news beat

Consumers trust public sector more than private sector Despite high profile surveillance and data gathering incidents, consumers still appear to trust government bodies more than private sector organisations when it comes to having access to their personal information, according to a recent online survey by EY. Over half (55 percent) of consumers say they are comfortable sharing their personal data with central government bodies, such as the NHS and HM Revenue and Customs. Consumers, however, appear more sceptical when it comes to sharing their personal information with private sector organisations even when these provide dayto-day services. Around a quarter (26 per cent) would be happy to share personal details with their energy provider, while just over 32 per cent would be happy to share their data with financial institutions and only 20 per cent with supermarkets. The online EY survey of just over 2,000 consumers and 748 senior business decision makers looks at the shift of consumers’ attitudes towards personal data sharing and the action businesses need to take to adapt their customer insight programmes accordingly. Key findings include: 1. Central government bodies top the list of most trusted organisations for consumers to share personal information with (55 per cent) 2. Consumers sceptical towards suppliers of day-to-day services such as financial institutions, energy providers and supermarkets 3. Search engines (7 per cent), social networks (8 per cent) and mobile apps (5 per cent) score the lowest levels of

trust amongst consumers when it comes to personal data sharing Steve Wilkinson, Managing Partner, UK & Ireland client service, said: “What our survey shows is a shift in attitudes and practices towards how consumers treat their personal data, and the access they will allow to their data, both now and in future. Despite well publicised government mis-steps towards data privacy, consumers still appear more willing to share personal data with public sector organisations. On the other hand, there is a growing trend to revoke the access that private companies have to such information. As a result, we are likely to see a change in which bodies have the greatest access to customer information in the next five-to-10 years.” As the prominence of social media websites has grown, consumers have become more cautious about who they share their information with online. In total, just 8 per cent of consumers feel comfortable sharing their personal information with social networks, only 7 per cent with search engines and 5 per cent with mobile apps. Half of consumers (50 per cent) that use social media networks claim that their use of them has made them less open to sharing personal data and two fifths of consumers (40 per cent) now restrict all access to their personal data on social media sites. Steve explains: “When it comes to online channels, consumers are even more sensitive about who they are willing to share personal information with. The rise of digital natives – those that have grown up with an inherent understanding of technology – means that today’s customers understand the dangers

of sharing information online and try to protect it by restricting the access private companies have to their personal data.” Despite consumers’ changing attitudes to private data sharing, there is a disparity among business executives about which organisations will have access to customer information in the future. In total, three per cent of business decision makers expect local government to become a valuable source of customer data 10 years from now and a further four per cent of business executives predict that central government will become a provider of customer insight. A further 16 per cent of senior business decision makers anticipate that customers themselves will be an important source, while 12 per cent identify social networks as a viable option. In total, 10 per cent of business executives state that search engines will be among the most valuable sources used to gain customer insight in the future. Steve comments on the significance of the results: “Organisations are currently heavily investing in new solutions that can help them capture the growing volume of customer information and deliver insights that can be used to improve the customers’ experience. Despite the explosion in Big Data - and new technologies to capitalise on the opportunities that it affords - few organisations are currently thinking abut their long-term investment or identifying what will be the biggest sources of information in 10 years’ time. Business executives should focus on analysing the change in customer attitudes towards personal information sharing, to avoid rendering current investments pointless.”

Infosys bullish as outsourcing sector powers ahead The Indian outsourcing giant is raising growth forecasts along with many of its rivals as the burgeoning outsourcing sector enjoys rapid growth ahead of Engage Customer’s Customer Services Outsourcing Summit this Spring

between 11.5 and 12 percent from a previously forecast 9-10 percent, citing higher demand for its services.

our clients, we have continued to focus on growth, and continued to focus on margins improvement."

Infosys whose customers include BT Group and Bank of America is chasing more bigticket contracts from Europe and the United States this year and keeping a lid on costs as the outsourcing services giant powers ahead with a turnaround to regain market share.

It reported its first decrease in its workforce in nearly five years, with overall attrition rates in the December quarter rising to 18.1 percent from 15.1 percent a year ago. "While the organisation is going through transformation, there may be some minor disruptions," Chief Executive SD Shibulal told an analysts' briefing after announcing the company's earnings.

The departure of 1,823 staff in the December quarter, and several senior executives over the last six months, comes amid a strategic shift led by founder N.R. Narayana Murthy, who was brought back last year after a string of disappointing results.

India's second largest software services exporter has raised its revenue growth outlook for the 2013/14 financial year to

"But as you can see over the last two or three quarters as the transformation has happened we have continued to focus on


Infosys was once considered a bellwether of India's export-driven $108 billion IT outsourcing industry, but an inflexibility on prices, among other factors, resulted in it losing market share to rivals like Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Cognizant Technology.


Paul Scott is Director of Benchmarking at Dimension Data contact him on www.paulm.scott@dimensiondata.com


The phone-centric contact centre is balanced at a tipping point says Paul Scott. Unless its leaders can raise their game to address omnichannel customer journeys rather than isolated telephone calls, contact centres are destined to become an irrelevance



cover story

“The contact centre is now only one of a plethora of contact channels whose leaders work in isolation and constantly vie for their organisation’s attention, budget and recognition” For decades customer management leaders have asserted that the contact centre should sit at the heart of business strategy and structure. As the primary interface with the customer, they argued, it shapes customer opinion, reinforces brand loyalty and acts as a conduit through which customer sentiment can be understood and acted upon. It’s an argument that is becoming increasingly unconvincing. While the telephone reigned supreme as the dominant customer interaction channel the contact centre certainly occupied a pivotal position. However, this year’s Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report tells us that more than two thirds of all customer interactions are now handled via selfservice and digital channels.

And, while organisations remain fixated on channels, the focus on the customer is being lost. Generation Y (the 80’s and 90’s generation) is the biggest demographic group since the baby boomers. Its members are highly demanding, vigorously social, constantly connected and blithely channel agnostic. For them any conversation about channels is meaningless. They just want to get things done on the channels that suit them. And they expect the organisations they work with to keep up. An online search can spark a web chat that leads to a social media exchange and perhaps even a phone call. A purchase that begins online can be completed in store. Generation Y consumers are happy to make those journeys, skipping between channels, seamlessly. When organisations can’t skip along with them, frustration settles in and loyalty dwindles.

Channelled thinking

Evolution of non face-to-face interactions Customer Preference: Evolution of non face to face interactions 100%





0% 1990s Human Agent


2000s DTMF MR

Speech IVR

2010s Web (all devices)

Source: Aggregated data from Dimension Data and Merchants Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report



So, if the contact centre hopes to stay relevant, its leaders need to broaden their horizons. They need to stop thinking about telephone calls and start thinking about all channels; to shift their focus from the success or failure of isolated customer interactions to that of integrated, seamless customer journeys. Organisations need a unified strategy for customer contact across all channels, for all purposes. And, if contact centre leaders can only raise their game, they can be the ones to drive it. They are, after all, the ones with thirty year’s plus experience of managing large volumes of customer contacts; assuring their quality, reinforcing their efficiency and reporting their impact on customer satisfaction, loyalty and tenure. The Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report tells us that organisations are failing dismally to manage self-service channels; to monitor their performance or to measure their impact on the customer experience to anywhere near the kind of performance levels seen in voice channels. As a result, and unsurprisingly, they are failing to achieve the cost benefits that lower-cost selfservice channels can offer. For the past three years in a row, companies have dramatically failed to achieve the migration from phone to self-service (and the attendant cost benefits) they have targeted. The disciplines of measurement and analysis so sadly lacking in self-service deployments are second nature to the contact centre leader. The processes and methodologies that have been used to measure telephone interactions must now be adapted for and applied across all channels. But they must be


The problem with contact centres is that they find it hard to divorce themselves from the channel that brought them into being thirty years ago and has dominated their evolution ever since – the phone. To be fair though, they’re not alone in having a single minded channel approach. Organisations have built a wealth of ‘channel strategies’ along with management infrastructures to support them, from the web, to social and mobile. However, in virtually every case, they haven’t joined them up or thought how best to resource them. Far from being ‘the biggest’ or ‘the only’ customer interface, the contact centre is now only one of a plethora of contact channels whose leaders work in isolation and constantly vie for their organisation’s attention, budget and recognition.


“Organisations need a unified strategy for customer contact across all channels, for all purposes. And, if contact centre leaders can only raise their game, they can be the ones to drive it”

A customer contact strategy It is, in fact, this customer contact strategy that deserves the place at the heart of the business that the contact centre has long aspired to. It captures who an organisation’s customers are, what channels are appropriate to serve them, why they make contact and how their needs are met. It is informed by the organisation’s vision, mission, brand values and competitive positioning. It is liberated or constrained by the company’s revenue and cost targets, budgets and plans. Most organisations operate on three or five year strategic planning cycles and should do the same for customer contact. They must ask themselves, how are our customers contacting us today, over which channels, for what purpose and to what benefit? And how do we want that picture to change over the next three to five years?

It goes without saying that technology is a key enabler of multichannel service delivery. The Benchmarking Report shows clearly that convergence, consolidation and channel integration are front of mind for our respondents.

What are the most common challenges What are the most common challenges faced as a result of your Integration


Lack of flexibility


Upgrades too expensive




Legacy systems (that cannot yet be replaced)



System downtime



Multiple sytems

7.9 7.5

User knowledge lacking/unable to utilise all functionality 5.9





Rank 1 12.0

Rank 2 Rank 3

8.4 9.7 2.7

New chances



8.6 16.2

Poor implementations 6.3

Return on investment not acheived






This is hardly surprising. In order to deliver an omni-channel customer experience organisations must be able to achieve a 360 degree view of the customer and integrate all channels, the latter being an achievement managed by only 9.5% of our respondents to date. To optimise the omni-channel customer experience they need to apply analytics across all channels, have the ability to draw management information in real time and use the insights they gather to build a rigorous programme of testing, learning and improving.

The contact management operational role will, inevitably, change. Rather than running isolated contact centres, it will be responsible for a disparate network of skilled people and technological resources that facilitate customer journeys over multiple channels. It will be responsible, not only for managing customer journeys, but for designing them for maximum benefit. By studying the way customers choose to interact, it becomes possible not just to facilitate the customer journey but to optimise it, so that customers find it easier to do business; to self-serve, to find what they need, to interact and to purchase.

We talked earlier about the dislocated approach most organisations have taken to channel deployment. This is due in part to the dislocated and fragmented technology infrastructures that exist in many contact centres. The need to integrate is paramount, if omni-channel customer management is the goal. Hosted or cloud-based services as a low-cost, low-risk means to access advanced technologies offers a viable escape route from the ‘too difficult’ or ‘two expensive’ box. We forecast that these services will become the dominant technology adoption route over the next three to five years.



A customer contact strategy will, in turn, drive a service delivery strategy, that looks at the physical and human resources that are needed to deliver it, as well as the capacity and cost plans that will track the investment required to implement that strategy and the return on investment that will accrue as channel shift naturally occurs. The smartest organisations will look beyond the obvious cost of running customer contact operations today – which will hopefully reduce as channel shift occurs – to factor in the revenue value arising from more successful customer interactions and extended customer tenure. These are, after all, the natural advantages to expect from the delivery of a differentiated omni-channel customer experience.


Percentage of contact centres I n=557

placed in the context of a fully thought out customer contact strategy, closely affiliated to the organisation’s overall goals.

cover story

Omnichannel not multichannel Preparing for an omni-channel future isn’t really a choice but a necessity. As Trevor Harvey, Director of Planning at Saatchi & Saatchi suggests; “If a company doesn’t develop an omnichannel strategy it will die. In today’s ‘participation economy’, a brand or business that deliberately chooses not to engage with its audience by their preferred methods of interaction chooses not to interact with them at all.” His words are quite a wakeup call. We spoke earlier about the rise of Generation Y, but they are far from being a demographic in the wings whose expectations we can plan to meet in some far distant future. Its oldest members are approaching their early thirties, on the cusp of the most economically active period of their lives. And, of course, the truth is we are all adopting a wider range of channels with growing speed and confidence. It is worth noting, for example, that the over 55s are already the dominant age group on the internet accounting for over 20% of online visits, and their rate of smartphone adoption is equal to that of 35 to 44 year olds. To date customer management professionals have focused on adding channels. In the future they must focus on integrating them, managing their performance and maximising their potential to generate positive outcomes, both for their customers and their organisations. The telephone-focused contact centre may have lost its dominant role, but its skills, disciplines and processes offer a backbone capable of supporting the omnichannel customer experience. It’s time for contact centre leaders to raise their game!

Find out more and download your free summary report at www.dimensiondata.com/microsites/ccbenchmarking.



big interview

HOW CISCO CHANGED ITS BRAND LANGUAGE AND THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE The language an organisation uses when it is interacting with customers and employees is of paramount importance. This was recognised by Cisco, one of the giants of the customer technology space who turned to a London based agency to help reinvent its brand language. To find out more Engage Customer spoke to Michael Lenz Director of Brand Experience Design at Cisco

I’m what most would call a disrupter. Though I prefer to think of myself as an agent for positive change. My early professional work was user interface system design. I took complex messy software systems, blew them up and rebuilt them in a much more usable, scalable, systematic way. That led to a real focus on understanding the needs of the people using the systems. And that led me to a career in user experience design.


The first ten years were about how people work with other people – and how technology helps. My focus was on helping Cisco establish what the future of work looks like and then working with our partners and customers to make it happen. I still see the influence my team had on products all over. Not just ours, but the companies’ that we met with too. I was so excited by what we were doing and the results we were getting that I really wanted to apply our expertise to Cisco as a whole. So, two years ago I proposed, and created, an Experience Design team inside Cisco Global Brand. You see, every interaction


First off Michael could you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to your role as Director Brand Experience Design at Cisco?


big interview

“We heard from customers, partners, even our own employees – people didn’t understand us. Our new brand voice changes all of that. When we can talk to customers or employees about things that matter to them in ways they can understand that changes the relationship, for the better. In the long run, that’s how you build a brand”

Cisco is a global company with I believe 60,000 employees and 532 different office locations – what are the advantages and disadvantages of working with such a multi-national organisation when it comes to establishing and retaining a consistent brand perception? I don’t worry about perception, directly. Perception follows the quality of the experiences that people have with the brand. My team helps make sure that we, as a company, are fulfilling our brand promise and delivering an experience that exceeds expectations. To influence culture and affect change within a company this large, the biggest advantage we have is really our technology and how we use it. We embrace technology. We don’t just make it. We use it constantly – to our competitive advantage. It makes it so much easier to have strong, active relationships across the globe when you have TelePresence and WebEx at your fingertips. It’s a testament to our own products how fast we can communicate with and align the organization. As an example, we recently introduced a Brand Language. This brand language program focuses on simplifying how we communicate and helps us do it in a way that is distinctive to Cisco. To do this, we engaged The Writer, the UK’s largest language consultancy, to help define the language and roll it out through a playbook and hands-on workshops. Previous clients of The Writer conducted similar hands-on workshops in-person by flying the trainers all over the world. That’s a heavy financial investment as well as physically taxing on the London-based trainers. And the carbon footprint of all that travel is something we prefer to avoid. Using our own TelePresence (a high-definition video conferencing solution), we’re able to conduct these workshops at a fraction of the cost while the trainers get to tuck their kids in and sleep in their own beds every night. The Writer had tried virtual sessions before on low-fidelity collaboration products and weren’t satisfied with the results. But, when you have no delays in audio or video and the image is the full-HD you see in TelePresence, you can train just as if you are in the same room. You catch all the non-verbal cues that are so important for teaching because you can actually see cues in the


eyes or in the wrinkled nose of someone that doesn’t quite get it. And then you can pull people back into the conversation as needed. So with virtual training, we were able to take a budget that would have trained a handful of people and trained all our communication professionals. At this point we’ve trained more than fifteen hundred people. I don’t want to think about how hard a program like this would be to deliver without the help of our collaboration products. That would be a real challenge. You are based on the West Coast of the US could you tell us a bit about how you came to start working with The Writer an organisation based in London? There are only a handful of agencies with their demonstrated success regarding a real brand language. There are plenty of companies that think they have a brand language, but in reality they have a tone of voice or they have an editorial style guide. We were looking for someone that really got it. Someone that understood that language is a foundation of the customer experience, and key to how our brand is conveyed. Our vendor had to have both consulting and technical knowledge with the chops to handle working with sales people responsible for a $1 billion account, or a technical engineer talking about a video codec. And then, turn around and talk to investor relations working on our earnings announcement. I was also looking for someone who could help us develop a curriculum and roll-out the training required to change how an entire company uses language. And I preferred an agency with a global view of language. There weren’t many agencies that had that complete package. We considered splitting the work up but The Writer convinced me that they were the best strategic partner for us. I’m happy with the decision. They’ve proven themselves over and over. It turned out very well. What benefits has working on the language, and The Writer bought to Cisco and the way you interact with your employees and your customers and the language you use as part of those interactions? We don’t sell socks. We deal in sophisticated technology and complex ideas. Our services and solutions are solving tough business challenges. That’s what we’re dealing with. The more complex the idea, the more important clear and concise communication becomes. An example? Right now, we’re educating people about another major disruption that is changing business everywhere. It’s called the Internet of Everything (IoE). It’s the networked connection of people, processes, data and things. To help people understand


a person has with Cisco is an experience that shapes how that person feels about us. Those experiences either contribute in a positive way and add value to the brand, or they detract from it. If an experience delivers on our brand promise it adds value. When it falls short, we see opportunities for improvement. The brand charter lets us have conversations about those opportunities and influence the company in meaningful ways.


big interview

what IoE means for them, we have to use simple, clear language and avoid technical jargon. We need to tell stories that matter to the people we are talking with in ways they can relate to. The new language allows us to distil the message to its simplest form, and make sure that we are focused on what is most relevant to our audience.

Michael Lenz is Director of Brand Experience Design at Cisco www.cisco.com

As a premium brand we also have to make sure that we are very clear about what makes us different. And about how we add value that others can’t. Our competitors try and turn things into a commodity conversation, but they just can’t offer the same combination of services and solutions. If we are confusing or use a lot of jargon or generalities, the customers won’t know the difference between what we offer and what someone else does. Being able to clearly articulate what makes us unique is a huge benefit. What are your views on the links between the use of language, identity, brand perspective and brand perception?

“Every interaction a person has with Cisco is an experience that shapes how that person feels about us. Those experiences either contribute in a positive way and add value to the brand, or they detract from it”

I touched on this a bit earlier, that trying to separate them is impossible. Most people think of brand identity and it brings up a mental image of a logo and colors and that’s only part of it. The written and verbal language we use is, in a lot of ways, more important. We heard from customers, partners, even our own employees – people didn’t understand us. Our new brand voice changes all of that. When we can talk to customers or employees about things that matter to them in ways they can understand that changes the relationship, for the better. In the long run, that’s how you build a brand. I keep bringing it all back to our brand promise. Are we delivering on it? When we do, we make amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has an important role to play in the Summer Olympics in Brazil in 2016 – how has the work you have been doing with The Writer impacted on that? We won the bid. That tells you a lot right there. Winning a bid like this is tough. It’s highly competitive and there are a lot of factors that contribute to success. And you aren’t just bidding on the games; you are investing heavily in the future of the host country. That just made it more important that we were clear and told our story the right way. We had a direct hand in pulling together the proposal. We had a terrific editing team at The Writer and with Mark Buchanan, my brand language lead. Together they really made the English proposal sing. We guided translation and The Writer looked at the document again in Brazillian Portuguese. Then we delivered the final proposal in both languages. It is a great example of how a very technical document can be clear. This sponsorship also represents our commitment to Brazil. Not just for the summer of 2016, but to the people there and their future. Finally Michael how do you see your role and the relationship with The Writer evolving as in the future? The Writer has been a strategic brand partner for us. I don’t see that changing. Once we have successfully cured the foundation for our new language, we will move to the next layer. I fully expect The Writer to be there with us. Our team is doing some really incredible things with the Cisco brand and our brand experience design team hasn’t even marked our second birthday yet. We’re just getting started. We have a lot of programs on the runway. The language program is just one of a dozen tracks that we have underway and the first that is wheels up. I believe in taking incremental steps that will lead to critical mass. All of those steps will help us deliver our brand promise to our customers. It takes time to get these programs in the air. I know what’s coming, and I can’t wait to share what’s next.



big interview

Now open for Entry All finalists speak at conference and feature in The Independent newspaper.


The 2013 Peer Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton

Would you like acknowledgement and exposure for your success? The 2014 Customer Engagement Peer Awards categories are… • • • • • •

B2B Customer Engagement Customer Service Mobile Customer Engagement Multichannel Customer Engagement Social Media Customer Engagement Voice of the Customer

How to enter http://thepeerawards.com/enter-now

For Sponsorship opportunities please contact: Nick Rust E: nick@engagecustomer.com T: 01932 506500 M: 07968 416007


Michelle de Haaff is VP of Marketing, Medallia www.medallia.com

Michelle de Haaff says the word ‘churn’ should be left to the dairy industry and not be something that is synonymous with the telecoms sector – and she has some solutions to this burning churning issue and employees are siloed. At best, keeping customer data secluded and compartmentalized in these silos is causing churn — and at worst, it’s resulting in bad social media blowups that get you on the front page of the Daily Mail.

Whether wired or wireless, it’s hard for consumers to see substantial differences between connections, speeds, and hardware to support. This leaves but a very few ways on which to differentiate — one of the most important remains the customer journey.

Purchasing commodities does have one distinct advantage over more complicated products and services like those offered in Telecom — the customer journey lacks complexity. Purchasing grocery goods, for example, only has two touchpoints: The supermarket aisle and the piece of toast. Perhaps a customer also saw an advertisement or tried a sample in the store. But, what about Telecom? Let’s take customer William, for example. He’d like to get WiFi for his flat. It’s not unrealistic to imagine he’ll:

This is hard to get right in telco: with wide product offerings, broad geographical reach, and many potential touchpoints with customers, the current experience for customers is fragmented,



The word “churn” is thrown around more in the Telecom industry than it is at a butter factory. It’s a fitting word because many of the services that are offered in Telecom are at risk of becoming commodities — if they haven’t already.


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1. Browse competitor websites to narrow his options 2. Speak on the phone (at least once) to arrange service 3. Visit a retail location to pick up his router and schedule installation 4. Wait at home for a technician to arrive and install

Reducing negative noise (and preventing social media doomsdays) requires fixing the root cause. In a recent report titled, “How Unified Is Your Customer Experience?,” Forrester Research outlined four key areas to measure (and begin to improve upon) that very question:

The dangers of fragmentation Even at a minimum, that’s four interactions with a company through four very different channels. This fragmentation of the customer journey means that the feel and quality of each step — each experience — can vary drastically. From call center agents to retail stores to house calls, you often have to remind yourself that these are interactions with the same company. Also, as you move between experiences, you don’t feel treated like the same customer. Even if William has an overall positive interaction at each step along the way toward getting his WiFi, it’s unlikely that there’s any coherency between those interactions. Without forming a unified “big picture” about his experience, it’s also unlikely that he has loyalty toward this Telecom versus a competitor. In other words, he’s being set up to churn. Why is the Telecom experience so fragmented? Because managers and employees across the customer journey are siloed from each other — they don’t communicate. Whether a given customer has had a positive or negative experience at one step, they move on to the next step without this information being shared. Not only does this create inconsistency, but it also makes employees sitting ducks for frustrated customers (or, at the very least, agents of lost momentum). If a call center agent doesn’t know that William just had to wait in line for an hour at a retail location and is angry about it, then the agent can’t be proactive in tailoring service for improving William’s experience. Instead, the agent will probably just help fuel William’s uncontrollable rage. Siloing each segment also hurts organizational growth and improvement. When successes and failures aren’t shared across a company, history has a tendency to keep repeating itself. The same kinds of customers will have the same kinds of experiences and will continue to have the same negative reactions. Employees within these silos aren’t just missing at sharing important customer feedback; they’re also not sharing larger company goals and values. They don’t feel part of the big picture. This further diminishes a consistent brand experience — and probably individual employee performance.

No more silence of the churns Historically, frustrated customers churned silently. They might be able to detract from your business within their limited word-ofmouth network, but rarely beyond it. Today, they can tell the world, and the cost of these detractors could be of nuclear proportions. With so much of social media now mobile, Telecoms are easy targets, and even when a hurricane or hardware issue is disrupting service, they still bear the bulk of the blame. Customers aren’t just venting because they now have a broadcasted soapbox, but also because a fragmented customer experience leaves them with the feeling that their Telecom isn’t listening to them. Their social audience becomes an easy proxy, and it’s likely all-ears. By not striving for a unified, seamless experience, these companies aren’t just churning existing customers — they’re churning potential customers too.


• •

Value — Are touchpoints adequately gratifying customer needs and are they able to all support the same value proposition of your product? Transition — How seamless can customers move from one part of their journey to the next? Presentation — Is look and feel consistent across touchpoints?

Customer trust the key If you are able to execute on these three areas, then you should be able to work toward Forrester’s final metric: Trust. The trust of a customer. Trust that they can receive the same value from a company regardless of when, where, and through what means. These customers should also feel that they are being treated throughout this process as the same customer. They feel heard. When a customer feels heard through your feedback system, you have created a funnel to divert negativity from more public channels. Instead of bashing you, if a customer has a problem, they’ll feel comfortable calling you up and speaking to you. In order to succeed at the areas Forrester outlines though, you first need a way of wiring your business across touchpoints to collect feedback in measurable and actionable ways. By doing so, you give yourself the opportunity for: • • •

Multi-modal data collection — and make sure you get all of it. Don’t sample size. Comprehensive feedback for individual customers — not just interactions-based data. The democratization of data across your organization — Make it actionable. Allow different segments across businesses (not fragments!) to share successes and problems.

One company that’s done so is o2 Telefónica. In the UK alone, they have more than 22 million wireless customers and 800,000 broadband subscribers, which are serviced by some 450 retail stores and the o2 Online Shop. Clearly, organizing their customer feedback and giving everyone visibility to the customer experience would present a big challenge. They enlisted Medallia to help them do so, and they now manage a system of over 38 survey programs, IVR imports, on-line data collection, and SMS data collection — all through one interface. It’s become their “Air Traffic Control” through which they manage and synchronize all elements of their “customersphere.” Through this, they’ve removed silos and allowed information to travel to every step of the customer journey. This is improving both the customer experience and the company as a whole. (If you’re an o2 customer, perhaps you’ve noticed some positive changes?) Complexity can no longer be an excuse for a large company, Telecom or otherwise. It’s time for them to defragment, create a unified journey for customers, and leave churn to the dairy industry.




The Customer Engagement Summit 2013 was attended by 450 business leaders and has won universal accolades from Sponsors and delegates alike. Engage Customer editorial director Steve Hurst reports


There has been a universally positive response from delegates and Sponsors to Engage Customer’s second Customer Engagement Summit held at the end of last year in London and attended by close on 450 leaders in the employee and customer engagement space. The Customer Engagement Summit is enjoying dozens of accolades from organisations ranging from hugely influential employee and customer engagement analyst Ovum to household brands such as Barclays.

One of THE highlights of the whole day was a live performance case study presented jointly by Summit sponsor Brand Biology and Virgin Media. Jill Dean CEO of Brand Biology and Suzie Carr head of Talent Performance and Management at Virgin Media were joined on the platform by actors playing the part of a Virgin Media customer and a Virgin Media engineer under the title “Grumpy tech meets grumpy customer: this can’t end well … or can it?” This entertaining session was one of the most highly rated of the whole day and added another dimension to the whole Summit.

The Summit is the only joined-up customer experience event to drive successful customer and employee engagement strategies for organisations looking to improve customer retention, loyalty, and business performance and profitability.

Ovum and Barclays on board

It included world class case studies, presentations from leading practitioners and academics from around the globe, workshops, panel discussions, breakout sessions, top notch opportunities for high level networking with peers and an evening networking party addressed adroitly by Ben Page chief executive of leading research organisation Ipsos MORI.

And Summit delegate Charlie Casey Senior Customer Optimisation Manager Retail and Business Banking at Barclays said “Thank you and well done for pulling together such a varied, compelling and inspiring set of speakers. The talks were all of an incredibly high standard and were so consistently brilliant I would not wish to single out one.”

Speaking directly after the Summit via social media site Twitter lead analyst at Ovum Jeremy Cox who also presented at the event said it was the best customer experience event he has ever attended.


“Speaking directly after the Summit via social media site Twitter lead analyst at Ovum Jeremy Cox who also presented at the event said it was the best customer experience event he has ever attended”


summit report



The Summit was effectively a ‘mash-up’ - and much, much more of the content of our hugely successful series of Directors Forums that have run over the past three years.

Ryanair bad – Easyjet good Conference chair Mike Havard opened proceedings by instancing the falling fortunes of Ryanair who have issued two profits warnings and contrasting this with the rising fortunes of EasyJet who have reported a 50 per cent increase in profits as an example of how an organisation who concentrates on customer service is winning out against one that has - until now at least - put customer service at the bottom of its priorities. Mike was followed by Anthony Hilton senior business commentator at the Evening Standard and Independent who made an excellent opening keynote. The importance of connecting employee and customer engagement throughout the organisation to enhance performance and profitability was pivotal to the whole Summit. The message was clear - our customers and employees for the first time in history have access to better technology than the organisations that they connect with. The trick now is what are we doing to do to catch up with them? Yes HR has to be talking to marketing.

The case studies just kept coming Underpinning the whole Summit was a mouth-watering raft of world class case studies which kept delegates engrossed and engaged throughout the day from organisations including Lego, Lloyds Banking Group, Argos, BT Retail, Carnival UK, Nationwide, Boots UK, Lebara, o2,BSkyB, Norfolk County Council and Siemens. Conference chair Mike Havard commented that the content at the Summit was among the strongest he had ever seen and this was echoed by delegate after delegate and Sponsor after Sponsor. Summing up Engage Customer editorial director Steve Hurst who put the Summit programme together said: “It has been fantastic to hear our Sponsors and our delegates’ response to this year’s Summit. It is absolute proof that content is king at this kind of event and the willingness among delegates to learn from best practice and great employee and customer engagement initiatives is hugely encouraging. “The chief aim of the Summit was for delegates to go back to their organisations armed with all the tools, strategies and techniques they need to deliver successful employee and customer engagement strategies over the long term for sustainable competitive advantage and the feedback we are receiving suggests that we have more than achieved just that end.”

“Underpinning the whole Summit was a mouth-watering raft of world class case studies which kept delegates engrossed and engaged throughout the day from organisations including Lego, Lloyds Banking Group, Argos, BT Retail, Carnival UK, Nationwide, Boots UK, Lebara, o2,BSkyB, Norfolk County Council and Siemens”


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Sean Conry looks at the increasing ubiquity of the mobile customer engagement channel and how it is transforming the Voice of the Customer space



One metric that I keep my eye on comes from an email marketing and analytics company, Litmus. They keep track of hundreds of millions of email-open statistics, and now show that a staggering 48% of email is opened on a mobile device. Marketers cannot ignore the message – get

mobile-savvy now, or risk alienating your customers. Since companies can no longer predict how and when their customers are going to interact with their brand, a new approach is needed. One of those concepts you will hear more about if you have not explored it already is Responsive Web Design (RWD) – an approach that provides a decidedly different experience depending on the type of device in use. There’s been tremendous growth in the tools, technologies and best practices now available to enable companies to take a responsive design approach to optimising for mobile. This represents a natural and much


Sean Conry is VP Mobile Solutions Confirmit www.confirmit.com

There is no escaping the fact that mobile devices have had a major impact on the sales and marketing landscape. The rapidly expanding number of consumers that now use smartphones and tablets over any other medium to interact with their favourite brands means that companies increasingly need to create content and communications channels that work effectively – and attractively – throughout the mobile medium.


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needed development in all digital consumer touch points, but is particularly important for Voice of the Customer (VoC) programmes.

much more engaging experience than a traditional survey, but it also provides a wealth of information that you can use to drive action as a wider part of your Voice of the Customer programme.

VoC tailor made for mobile VoC programmes are ideally suited to mobile delivery because they are designed to interact with the customer ‘in the moment’ in order to understand and improve the customer experience, and drive change across the business. If you don’t create a mobile VoC programme that offers a great experience in itself, you run the risk of undermining all other customer interactions.

Even more popular is for companies who already have a corporate app which is well-used and established amongst the customer base, to create web surveys which launch from within the existing app. Again, this has to be done correctly, but if it is, the whole experience can be seamless, and engages an audience who are already choosing to interact with your brand through mobile.

Businesses that want to expand their VoC capabilities, as well as focus on delivering engaging digital experiences, clearly need to focus on their ability to communicate with customers. For businesses who gather feedback about customer experiences, offering only a desktop or laptop version will not be sufficient as your customer may choose to respond via their smartphone or tablet.

2) Responsive Web Design Surveys: As mentioned above, you need to account for people who choose to open a more traditional online survey on their mobile device. And not just a single mobile device. It’s important to make sure that your surveys will work on whichever type of smartphone or tablet a customer chooses to use, and it must automatically take on the key design elements of the appropriate operating system.

It’s important to remember that mobile devices work very differently. They are designed for touch interaction, yet traditional web experiences present customers with elements like buttons, check boxes and grids that become so tiny on many mobile phones that they are virtually unusable, and certainly not engaging. When we think about surveys and feedback, we see that customers who are subjected to such experiences will close the survey and never try again. The risk of losing feedback and worse, alienating a customer, is extremely high.

This will hugely increase not only the number of responses you get, but the quality of the feedback as well. Poor feedback experiences garner poor quality data, and when you’re trying to understand the customer experience, the last think you want to do it to generate a new, disappointing one. Consumers have increasingly high expectations of mobile experiences and it’s just not acceptable to provide something that fails to meet those expectations.

Customers want dynamic interaction Customer Experience professionals need to be mindful that the modern consumer expects an interactive and dynamic experience with any brand. Fortunately, there are several key tools that businesses should consider to ensure that they fully utilise the mobile channel - and strengthen the overall Customer Experience Management (CEM) programme. Each provides different benefits and requires a different way of thinking in order to engage customers effectively. VoC practitioners should consider who their customers are, how they already interact with the business and what they’re trying to achieve as they assess which of these approaches to use. 1) Mobile Apps: If you’re building a long term customer feedback channel, and particularly if you are building up a panel of engaged customers who will provide you with regular feedback, it’s worth investigating a mobile app dedicated to the task. You can design such apps to match your branding, so that customers feel it’s a seamless part of your customer interface. Apps like this enable users to provide feedback on their own terms, creating a “diary” whereby they can provide insights when it suits them, rather than because you’ve initiated contact. Additionally, applications like this provide consumers with the ability to send you more than simple rating scale answers or free-text comments. They can capture or display video, audio and photo clips (e.g. of a situation taking place in your retail store) and you can use GPS information to validate exactly where they were when they provided the feedback. Such rich media not only provides a


3) SMS surveys: It’s probably fair to say that the jury was out on SMS as a feedback channel for some time. Many companies leapt on the opportunity and executed their campaigns badly which gave the concept rather a bad name. However, done correctly SMS provides a highly valuable way to gather very specific feedback on key events. More than with any other feedback channel (even other mobile channels) it’s crucial to keep the questions short, to the point and timely. A real advantage of SMS surveys is the ability to let people ’opt in‘ to the survey themselves – for example through QR codes or sharing a short text code via posters, receipts or literature. This enables you to gather feedback from unknown customers (or noncustomers) who can be hard to reach through other channels. This helps to add another dimension to the insight you gather through your wider VoC programme. SMS also serves nicely as a delivery mechanism for mobile web surveys. Mobile represents a huge opportunity to better understand – and improve – customer experiences. But the key to it all is the ability to turn requests for feedback into positive experiences in themselves. Interacting with customers in a way that they understand and enjoy is surely the best way to increase engagement and to really understand what the customer experience is all about. And above all, integrating mobile feedback data within your overall VoC programme will ensure you do more than add another silo of information. It helps you to add to the holistic view of your customer, providing more opportunities to drive change across your business.


An International Summit providing insights on how business transformation for customer services across all channels can drive performance and profitability Speakers will include leading independent industry experts, local and international case studies, panel sessions and roundtables. Opening Keynote Speaker: Peter Ryan, Practice Leader, Ovum Chairman: Mike Havard, Director, Ember Services Other speakers include: • Mark Hillary, Outsourcing specialist, globalisation author and blogger • Rebeca Hassan Executive Director, Nearshore Executive Alliance (Latin America)


https://outsourcingsummit. eventbrite.co.uk



Topics to be covered: • The social media / multichannel paradigm - using outsourced analytics to get a full customer view across channels • Outsourced home-based agents – a cost-effective solution for UK enterprises? • Getting the most out of onshoring – using the UK regions as a cost effective delivery strategy. • Choosing an outsourcing partner • Security, big data, personal data • Managing in-house and outsourced services across all channels For Sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities contact: Nick Rust, Sales Director E: nick@engagecustomer.com T: 01932 506500 M: 07968 416007



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“Ladbrokes wanted the Values to come from their employees so they had an emotional connection with them and would live them on a consistent basis”

WHY LADBROKES PUT ITS SHIRT ON ITS VALUES Jeremy Starling looks at how betting giant Ladbrokes used employee and customer engagement to create a vision and values programme fit for the gambling customer of today

Jeremy Starling is Managing Director at INVOLVE www.involve.co.uk

Whilst the rise of online channels has changed the nature of the betting industry forever, Ladbrokes wanted to harness the power of their people to get excitement back into the betting shop business and drive their financial performance. Ladbrokes has almost 16,000 staff and 2,800 retail shops, predominantly in the UK but with some overseas. As a customer-facing business, the people are the key differentiator in the battle to maintain customer interest. Ladbrokes wanted to help inspire a culture change, to make it a better place to work and a better place for customers to spend time. They chose INVOLVE, as employee engagement and development specialists, to create a Vision and Values programme to harness the very best of Ladbrokes on exciting, high-performing business days like The Grand National. Ladbrokes wanted to


weave this into every aspect of daily life in the organisation and reignite the passion of their employees. Research shows that the more that employees identify with a goal, the more they will work hard to achieve it. Ladbrokes wanted the Values to come from their employees so they had an emotional connection with them and would live them on a consistent basis. To uncover the Values that staff would buy into, INVOLVE spoke to 1,000 Ladbrokes staff who worked in retail stores, stadia and head office teams. These employees were asked about their thoughts on what made up the best of Ladbrokes when the business was performing at its peak.

Buzz, bold, team, winners We worked with Ladbrokes to create and implement a five-year programme to help reinforce the Values to: 1. Drive business performance 2. Support culture change and business transformation 3. Empower retail managers with more freedom to make decisions for their stores.


In recent years the gaming and betting industry has seen a revolution, fundamentally altering the identity of the sector. Traditional bookies and betting shops are being superseded by the increasing move towards online betting and mobile gaming channels.


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“By encouraging staff to create the toolkits rather than handing out pre-made ones, we knew that each employee could say “I helped create that” and feel inspired to own the initiatives and take on the Values” The four Values identified through the in-depth internal research are Buzz, Bold, Team and Winners. The first year of this campaign, known as the “activation” phase, aimed to raise awareness and generate understanding of what the Values were, what they meant and, crucially, what kinds of behaviours they should fuel. INVOLVE planned a series of activities through 2012 that would help reinforce these values in the business and deliver culture and behaviour change by “turning up the volume” of the Values among employees. Ladbrokes held “breakthrough” events at two clusters of shops to trial the effectiveness of the event format. The team at INVOLVE worked with the managers and employees in the stores to empower them, coach them around the Values and experiment with ways to “turn up the volume” of each of the four Values, one per week. This had a positive effect on the shops and customer scores and sales increased by 22% after the events. Sickness absence also decreased by 4% compared to other shops in the same area.

Engaging the wider business Having road-tested the values, and proved they could make a tangible difference to the organisation, a series of seven day-long Activation Events were designed and run by INVOLVE around the country to engage the wider business. Inspired by the nature of the business, and the Olympics, the events had a sporting theme, with venues adapted to look like sporting arenas and racetracks. Office and shop-based managers from every Ladbrokes location attended events (2,300 employees in total). Teams spent the morning of the day-long session building the ultimate values-led employee; mapping out their behaviour, their actions and character. The afternoon session was spent turning these ideas into reality; with all participants donning paper jump suits, writing their ideas on them and asking others in the event to bet on their success. Each of the seven days ended with an employee race to underline the Olympic theme. At later events, staff played at a Values Casino where employees could only win by demonstrating they understood the Values. One employee was so inspired at an Activation Event that he wrote a rap about the Values. He was asked to perform this at subsequent events, and it was played into every store and office through the inhouse TV channel. The ideas created by employees at the events were used to make Values Toolkits for every store to help sustain engagement. The toolkits also contained Dare Cards which were used to set challenges for neighbouring stores. Dare Cards included challenges such as having tea with the customers or dressing up in fancy dress to get more people in the shop. The toolkits have helped deliver a key part of the ongoing culture change; empowering and enabling managers to make decisions for their own stores that reflect the Values and help improve performance, as well as giving them more freedom to make decisions. Managers have the freedom to decide what will work in


their store, rather than relying on traditional top-down retail management. This shift gives the people closest to their customers the opportunity to use the Values to create a better experience for the customer.

Scores on Ladbrokes doors To sustain impact, further examples of innovative ways in which the Values can be brought to life and applied in everyday business have been shared through Ladbrokes’ internal publication, The Score. This now has a dedicated section focusing on a different Value and highlighting examples from across the business every quarter. After Year One, the second year of this five year plan has moved from “what” and “why”, to “how”, with specially designed events giving greater emphasis to ways to bring these to life in day-to-day business, once again calling on staff and employees for great ideas, inspiration and practical applications. The entire programme was based on engaging and involving staff in the business and the results of the programme reflected this focus. The Ladbrokes annual colleague engagement survey, undertaken in June 2012, saw a record upward swing of 12% in the staff engagement scores of those managers who had attended the Values events – despite widespread change happening within the business. Other results included: • 65% of people had a conversation with their manager about the Values (within four weeks of the launch) • 85% of people know and understand where the company is heading as a result of the campaign (breaking the target agreed for the campaign six months ahead of schedule) Beyond understanding the Values, the wider business has started to see a huge impact from this culture change: • Group net revenue grew by 7.4% to £1,053.3 million • Profit per shop was up by 15.7% to £82,000 • Group operating profit of £206.1 million, up 8.0% • Customer Net Promoter Scores were up 7% on the year

Culture of excellence The Vision and Values programme was devised as a means of fostering a culture of excellence throughout Ladbrokes. Sixteen thousand people have defined their own framework that represents Ladbrokes at its very best. Allowing staff to come up with Values ensured that these were better understood, more relevant and more appealing. This avoided accusations of Head Office “ivory tower” thinking as employees were involved in coming up with the ideas and making them happen. By encouraging staff to create the toolkits rather than handing out pre-made ones, we knew that each employee could say “I helped create that” and feel inspired to own the initiatives and take on the Values. Since starting the programme, the unique values of Buzz, Bold, Team and Winners are being brought to life in every aspect of the business from policies and processes to in the way we communicate and the great service we offer to customers.


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WHY ENGAGING CUSTOMERS LITERALLY PAYS DIVIDENDS The UK is fast becoming a nation of online shoppers and shopkeepers yet customer satisfaction levels are now falling. Larry Freed looks at new research to find some answers to the challenges ahead

Larry Freed is CEO of ForeSee www.foresee.com

“Our findings supported Engage Customer’s Editorial Director Steve Hurst’s comments in his round up and look to the year ahead, that Ryanair clearly have a lot of work to crack on with. Unsurprisingly the company bottomed out the Index and by a significant margin too”

With this in mind it was especially disturbing to see the results of our annual ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 UK Retail Edition which measured customer experience across the UK’s top 40 online retailers in November and December – a critical time of year for those businesses.

First fall in seven years For the first time since we started measuring satisfaction in the UK seven years ago, we witnessed a fall in satisfaction levels among UK online shoppers - down from an aggregate score of 74 in 2012 to 73 this year. Compounding this further was that only two retailers (five percent of the measured list) broke through the recognised 80-point indicator of customer experience excellence. Now you may not think this is significant, but you’d be wrong. There is a powerful and quantifiable relationship between a positive customer experience and increased loyalty, sales and recommendations and in fact, the predictive capabilities of our methodology show that, based on likelihood scores, highly satisfied visitors to retail websites in the UK are: • • • • •

61% more committed to the brand 63% more likely to buy from the retailer online 51% more likely to purchase from them offline 70% more likely to recommend the retailer 61% more likely to purchase from them next time • 52% more likely to return to the site Given such benefits, our research has shown that every one-point increase in satisfaction


translates into a 10.6 percent growth in a retailer’s online revenues. Retailers that are seeing declining or flat scores are leaving money on the table that with an improved customer experience they would be able to convert into revenue. On the one hand, this underlines the seriousness of the situation for those retailers whose satisfaction scores are average, below average or declining. On the other, it highlights the enormous opportunity for sales growth and competitive advantage there is to be seized by any retailer that can achieve an above-average customer satisfaction score or break through the elusive 80-point barrier.

Amazon topping the charts Disappointingly our index revealed that only Amazon surpassed the threshold of excellence this year, however neither its US or UK site has shown any improvement in score (amazon.com maintained its 2012 score of 84) and amazon.co.uk actually fell by two points on last year’s score (of 86) to equal its US counterpart’s score. Others at the top end of the scale included John Lewis – who fell by a point to 79 this year, but did manage to hold on to its third place position in the Index, Apple (with 78 points), Marks & Spencer (with 77), ASDA Direct and Ikea (both with 76). At the other end of the scale, our findings supported Engage Customer’s Editorial Director Steve Hurst’s comments in his round up and look to the year ahead, that Ryanair clearly have a lot of work to crack on with. Unsurprisingly the company bottomed out the Index and by a significant margin too – resting a full eight points behind the three next-worst performers. With a score of 60 (down one point from 2012) the airline is clearly continuing to frustrate its customers and we suspect the Chairman’s dogmatic approach to customer relations will continue to impact its bottom line into 2014.


Today, the UK is arguably the number one Internet shopping nation in the world and an EU study backs this up – with stats such as 82 percent of the country’s Internet users regularly shopping online, the highest proportion among all 28 member states. At the same time, the rapid take-off of online food and grocery shopping in the UK has reportedly moved it ahead of the US overall.


Perhaps Michael O’Leary could learn a thing or two from Tesco Chairman Richard Broadbent, who recently acknowledged the realities of the new retail landscape by saying that the company with the best relationship with its customers – and not the best product. A great example of their fresh customer-centric approach was a response to a blog a frustrated shopper had posted entitled: “The worst place on Earth”. The post the bloggers experience with a particular store’s slowness to stock shelves and its employees’ apparent indifference but instead of ignoring the unflattering attention, Tesco filled the shelves and hired new employees. This example illustrates how, in a transparent, multichannel environment where an increasing proportion of shoppers have grown up with the Internet as part of their lives – both as a retail channel and a communications medium – doing everything you can to build loyalty is the most effective means of preventing customers from deserting to the competition.

phrase of 2013 “big data with bad metrics is a big waste of time”! It shouldn’t be about the amount of data you can collect but about the quality of it. Take online retailers for example who tend to know a lot about what customers and shoppers have already done: which pages they clicked on, where they came from, how much they spent and what they abandoned in their basket. But ask them for accurate and reliable information about shoppers’ future behaviours, what are they likely to do next and what they can do to influence those decisions, and for the majority you’ll get a blank look in reply! What many don’t realise is that by understanding the impact of specific aspects of their own website on overall satisfaction, they can save costly investments in upgrades that have little influence on behaviour and can instead focus their efforts on the changes that matter to consumers.

Riding the wave of change

Demand quality data and set proper metrics

As Steve mentions, the way businesses and their employees engage with their customers changed enormously last year and this is set to evolve into 2014 and beyond – so organisations must try to keep up! Very often it’s now the customer who has the better technology than the organisation trying to sell to them and they want to interact with their preferred brands and stores via a multitude of platforms. Delivering consistent brand messages across channels will also be important for achieving a superior customer experience. Remember - consumers don’t separate or differentiate mobile from web, call centre or in-store experiences. To them, it’s one brand, regardless of the channel. Many organisations forgot this last year and will continue to struggle because of their efforts to “optimise” each channel independently.

It is important to use metrics that are predictive and actionable. A limited, one-question metric like NPS that has not evolved over time will not give an organisation the insights and ability to act on it to be successful. Applying the right system of analytics and the right metrics will make big data truly valuable.

On the flip side, organisations themselves are battling to harness and act on valuable ‘big data’ across the multitude of channels they now use with customers, however to quote my favourite

Above all though, remember that those who focus on improving the customer experience will have the most success – and don’t forget, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.


To sum up, we completely agree with Steve in that 2014 will be the year to keep customer strategies front and centre and we expect it will be on their terms too. A fundamental shift has indeed occurred, but it’s an opportunity to be grabbed with both hands – but do it well or it could work against you. After all, we’ve all seen examples of poor customer communications, marketing and social media campaigns going awry through poor execution.


Join us and 600+ delegates in Brighton on 28th April when we are jointly hosting

The Customer & Colleague Engagement Forum with the Professional Planning Forum For more information contact: E: events@planningforum.co.uk T: 0333 123 5960


REGISTER VIEW AGENDA Places are offered at the special rate of just ÂŁ195+VAT pp please use code - KEYENG

Monday April 28th 2014 Hilton Metropole, Brighton 8:00



Opening Keynote Bridging the gap: people build success


Refreshments and networking in the exhibition area


Keynote Theatre


Lunchtime Keynotes Cross-Channel contact management


Nailing the Evidence


Keynote Theatre


Refreshments and networking in the exhibition area


Closing Keynote Growing professionalism in the industry



AND THE PEOPLE WILL DO THE REST One of the most talked-about sessions at last November’s Customer Engagement Summit featured Brand Biology, Virgin Media and a very grumpy technician called Mick… Jill Dean, Brand Biology’s CEO, tells us more about Mick and the challenges Virgin Media faced in making him feel like he had 20,000 people behind him willing him to do an awesome job

Great expectations Almost overnight, the strength of the Virgin marque meant there was an expectation that hadn’t been there before. Not just from a customer perspective, but from an employee’s as well. The former were expecting their customer experience to live up to the Virgin reputation for great service. The latter were expecting their employee experience to embody the Virgin brand values. Living up to these expectations was a major concern. But the business didn’t want to pay lip service to what it means to be a Virgin company. It wasn’t a case of painting the walls red and expecting instant change. And, as the three organisations had already undergone significant change, there were also considerable operational challenges to overcome. To begin with the new company focussed on getting the basics right for the people who worked there, and getting the processes in place to support them in their jobs. These were the building blocks for their long-term strategy, and fundamental to creating the


best possible Virgin brand experience in the future.

Engage for success When we began working with Virgin Media in 2008, they had an ambitious strategy for growth. The company recognised that both its top and bottom lines would benefit from focussing on its people, engaging them with the brand and its strategy, and making them feel like they were vital to its success. One of the critical success factors was getting them to understand what good looks like in terms of the Virgin brand experience – as an employee and as a customer. “Being an employee of a Virgin company brings with it a huge responsibility to live up to the Virgin brand values and the Virgin philosophy,” explains Maurice Daw, Virgin Media’s Chief People Officer. “Richard Branson's business philosophy to put his people first is the key. He deeply believes that engaged people give customers discretionary effort and customers respond by staying longer, spending more and raving about us to their mates and family. That's what keeps our shareholders happy. So having engaged people is fundamental to our business strategy.” With a workforce needing a common direction in the wake of the merger, and employees, particularly those on the frontline,


Today, Virgin Media is the UK’s leading ‘quad play’ provider and the largest Virgin brand in the world. However, in 2006 it was a new company in the midst of bringing together the approaches, cultures and people of three very different organisations - NTL, Telewest and Virgin Mobile - under one brand.



Grumpy technician Mick and equally irritable Virgin Media customer David did not get off to a very good start …

Back to the front (line) We first came in to work with the technicians in Virgin Media’s Access Division, the guys out on the road primarily fixing faults and dealing with unhappy customers when things had gone wrong. It’s fair to say that they were hired on technical ability rather than people skills, and in the majority of circumstances delivery of an on-brand customer experience was farthest from their minds. With Net Promoter Scores indicating that customer satisfaction levels were extremely low, there was a critical need to address basic service standards. But Virgin Media also wanted the technicians to be brilliant at the basics in a way totally reflective of the Virgin brand. Senior management within Access had a vision that the service their technicians delivered would be ‘Simply Brilliant’ in every interaction, whatever the circumstances. But in order to equip the technicians with the competencies, mindset and behaviours to deliver that service, we needed to understand what it was really like for them at that time. Which is where Mick comes in…

Time for a Total Reality Check We needed to see the employee experience from the technicians’ perspective and listen to what they had to say – only then could we ascertain the breadth of the gap between vision and reality. So we met technicians like Mick, amongst others. And what stood out was that was that Mick simply didn’t feel like he had the rest of the company behind him - that in his job, it was almost like he had 20,000 people conspiring against him. It became clear that not only were there still operational issues getting in the way of Mick doing his job, but also a feeling within


the workforce that things were simply not going to change. So while senior management looked at the operational side, we embarked on a programme to engage with the technicians and really convince them that not only were things going to change but that they were going to be instrumental in bringing that change about.

Simply Brilliant The overarching aim of the programme we devised was to make every Virgin Media experience – as an employee or a customer – a Simply Brilliant one, no matter how difficult the circumstances. To do that we needed to let Mick and his colleagues know that the business understood what he was up against, that they knew what it was like out on the frontline. We had to show respect for what Mick and his colleagues were being asked to do, to change their actions and behaviours in order to deliver that brilliant Virgin Media experience. And we had to give Mick and his colleagues a voice. All in all, we had to show Mick that he could make a difference too.

Grumpy tech meets grumpy customer Going back to our session at the Customer Engagement Summit, the two moments which had the biggest impact were when Mick himself entered the room and when Mick met David, a rather irritable Virgin Media customer (both pictured above). But why was the impact so great? We believe it’s because these moments absolutely, 100%, reflected reality. And these moments form a fundamental part of behavioural change programmes such as Simply Brilliant. Having met Mick and listened to what he had to say, those watching could appreciate why he was behaving the way he was. But they could also understand why David was reacting to him so


feeling the pressure to be ‘Virgin’ but not really knowing what that meant, there was a long way to go.


“At the heart of the approach Brand Biology used to deliver Simply Brilliant sits an inconvenient truth - that logic alone cannot change behaviour. You need to create that emotional impact in order to foster the desire to change” Jill Dean is CEO and co-founder of Brand Biology Ltd, a brand experience consultancy specialising in the delivery of ground-breaking behavioural change programmes that bring brands to life. The company works nationally and internationally, transforming workplace behaviours and making corporate cultures more people-centric, increasing engagement and delivering significant business performance improvements. Visit www.brandbiology.com for more information.

badly – and in some cases maybe see themselves reflected in David’s behaviour. Our belief is that while we can all sit in a room talking about how to deliver great customer service, the one thing we should do is look at it from the customer’s – and the employee’s – point of view. That’s why we brought the customer into the room with Mick as part of Simply Brilliant. So he could see the impact of his own behaviour and begin to feel the need to change. Then when we started to talk about ‘what good looks like’ in terms of an on-brand customer experience, he is ready and willing to play his part.

So we took the leadership and management population through Simply Brilliant, to enable them to appreciate what it was really like for Mick and what he was being asked to do. And we showed them what it looks like to be a leader within Virgin Media, to ensure that Mick’s employee experience delivered on all the promises the Virgin brand had made. The result was a leadership team which role-modelled the Virgin brand behaviours, to inspire and engage Mick and his colleagues to deliver that Virgin brand experience in all their interactions.

Engaged for success The science behind behaviour change At the heart of the approach Brand Biology used to deliver Simply Brilliant sits an inconvenient truth - that logic alone cannot change behaviour. You need to create that emotional impact in order to foster the desire to change. But that’s just the first step, which for Virgin Media we achieved by actively confronting the issues of real life, and showing an understanding for what we were asking the likes of Mick to walk back into. We then introduced technicians to the idea that not all people are the same. We call this harnessing the power of personality and it’s about understanding your own strengths and weaknesses as human beings, as well as what you can do as a person to influence the behaviour of those around you. The final step is to equip the technicians with the competencies and behaviours to deliver that on-brand Virgin Media experience, but in the way the customer wants it to be delivered based on their individual preferences. We put them into the real situations they found themselves in with the real people they encountered and allowed the technicians to “practice, practice, practice”. The result is a workforce that not only wants to change the way it behaves but actually knows how to.

Leading the way However, Simply Brilliant didn’t stop with the technicians. The organisation knew that in order to convince Mick that he really did have 20,000 people behind him willing him to do an awesome job, the change had to come from the top.


Virgin Media know that its people want to be connected to the organisation’s aims and ambitions, and more importantly involved in actively pursuing them. For those considering a similar programme, the evidence speaks for itself. For the last few years the Access division has seen its Net Promoter Score steadily rise, due to an increase in the number of 9s and 10s its technicians are receiving. They have also seen an increase in engagement, as proven by the results of their annual survey. And what is most interesting is the correlation between the two. Virgin Media is able to show that those people who are more engaged are getting higher Net Promoter Scores, upholding Richard Branson’s belief that engaged employees deliver a better customer experience. In a nutshell they are really putting in that discretionary effort which means they are performing better, more efficiently and more effectively for the business.

Why wouldn’t you? The Virgin Media story isn’t an uncommon one. Whether an organisation is large or small the stakes are just as high. Any organisation that has an ambition, a strategy, a set of values or an overt brand promise that its people need to deliver on, must not only equip them with the skills, mindsets and behaviours to do just that but also openly address the challenges that stand in their way. So as I asked at the Customer Engagement Summit: why wouldn’t you, if your company is investing significant amounts of money in developing that strategy or brand promise, equip your people to deliver that result?


Nobody wants to be backed into a corner. We all want options. This is especially true for your customers. Options — letting your customers interact with you the way they want to, when they want to, from wherever they want to. That’s where multichannel communications comes in. Interactive Intelligence gives you the ability to route, monitor, record, and report on all media types – voice, email, web chat, fax, SMS, and social media. All-in-one. That way, your customers get choices and a consistent service experience across all channels, and you get a distinct advantage over your competition.

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CHANNELLING THE OMNICHANNEL CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT EXPERIENCE David Turner looks as what a truly omnichannel customer experience feels like, why it is good for business and the steps needed to achieve it

David Turner is CEO of Webhelp UK, an outsourced service provider that has trebled its business in five years by supporting its clients’ journeys towards omni-channel customer management. experience@webhelptsc.com www.webhelptsc.com

Customers now expect you to interact with them across a range of channels. They’ll only be impressed if you can follow them from one to the next.

Customer first If there’s one big problem with the approach organisations have taken towards channel adoption, it’s that they have too often focused on technology ahead of the customer. “We need a strategy for mobile,” they say. Or for tablets. For Twitter or online or social or phone. Maybe. But what they need first is a strategy for the customer. There is a simple concept at the heart of omni-channel thinking; to understand what customers want to do, and make it seamlessly easy for them to do it, using whatever channels or devices it takes. Regrettably, in pursuing a raft of wellintentioned but isolated channel strategies, organisations have simply reinforced the managerial and technological silos that get in the way of a seamless customer experience. Breaking them down will mean changing the way organisations think and work. The retail sector has probably gone further down the omnichannel route than most. They focused first on bringing the in store experience online and are now working assiduously


to bring the online experience in store. In financial services, Virgin Money is taking its lessons from the same book, converting its newly acquired branches into ‘stores’ and ‘lounges’, where consumers can browse financial products, bank online or meet face to face with an advisor. What these early adopters have recognised, is that they can use the myriad channels technology makes available to mirror customer behaviour and drive transactions. Customer first, technology second: The golden rule of omni-channel.

The omni-channel two-step To my mind there are two steps towards an ideal omni-channel approach. The first is to facilitate customer behaviour; the second, to begin to shape it. We know that customers’ channel choices are based on several factors; where they are (work, home, on the move), the devices available to them there (phone, computer, tablet, smartphone) and what they want to do. An organisation that’s taken the first omni-channel step will, at the very least, be able to recognise the customer across each of those channels and acknowledge previous interactions. So, if a customer calls the contact centre after attempting an online purchase, it’s reasonable to assume that’s what they’re calling about and get straight to the point on the call. If they’ve entered their customer details via an IVR, they shouldn’t have to repeat them to an agent. The brand experience – from look-and-feel to tone of voice – should be consistent, differentiated and reassuring. However they’ve made contact, customers should feel they’ve entered your world and that they can get things done there. To take the second omni-channel step, organisations must use what they know about customers to encourage cross channel



Companies that think they’re doing well by offering their customers several channel choices for customer service and sales need to think again before patting themselves on the back. Unless those channels are connected – so that conversations started on one channel can be continued on another – the customer experience is likely to be disappointing, cost more than it should to deliver and generate less revenue than it might.

case study

journeys that drive towards a desirable conclusion – the completion of a purchase or the resolution of a problem. Picture the scene; you see an advert for that ‘perfect winter outfit’ in a magazine, you scan a QR code from the advert that takes you to the retailer’s website, where you can buy direct or find a conveniently located store. The steps in that journey have been carefully orchestrated by the retailer, moving you from one channel to the next to satisfy your desire to purchase and his desire to sell. Understanding what customers want to do enables us to design optimal customer journeys and use appropriate channels to make them happen.

Business sense At the head of this article I suggested strongly that omni-channel makes sense for the business as well as the customer. In this retail example (the use of connected channels to maximise sales opportunities) the benefit is self-evident. In a customer service environment the benefits are less obvious, but no less real. The omni-channel service operation we deliver for the on-demand NOW TV brand, is aimed at creating self-service customer journeys that are so smooth, agent assistance isn’t needed. Today, 90% of interactions are agent assisted; our target is that only 50% should be The value for NOW TV is in the cost efficiency this will deliver. We’re using a shared knowledgebase to make sure customers get consistently accurate information across each self-service channel, a unified CRM system to ensure they are recognised and that our ‘conversations’ with them can ‘hop’ from channel to channel, and cross-channel analytics so that, over time, we can model customer behaviour and refine our services to match it.

Unlock the potential You’ll note that I’ve listed an impressive array of technology items there and, certainly, technology is needed to unlock omni-channel potential. It’s one of the reasons many organisations are turning to outsourced service partners (OSPs) to help; because their own technology environments are either too old or to ‘disconnected’ to join the dots in omni-channel customer journeys. Certainly the best of the OSPs can overcome that hurdle. Realising that their future prosperity depends on their ability to manage multiple channels they have invested ahead of the curve in the necessary technologies. But technology isn’t the only or even the biggest challenge. The biggest roadblocks on the omni-channel journey are entirely manmade. Breaking down the organisational silos and creating common purpose between the departments that ‘own’ each channel is the painful but necessary first step. It can only be achieved if directed from the top. Understanding why you’re doing it is the key to getting buy-in. It isn’t about ‘delighting customers’ or jumping on any ‘killer app’ bandwagon; it’s about designing and delivering customer experiences that unlock previously unimaginable opportunities for revenue gain and cost reduction. In our experience, the organisations that have been most successful in omni-channel are those that have appointed a Board level executive with overall responsibility for the customer experience and the remit to overstep organisational boundaries to effect change. But, once appointed, where should such an individual start?

Contact centre at the centre In most organisations the contact centre has the greatest degree


of interaction with customers and the most ‘industrial strength’ processes for managing them. For that reason it is, perhaps, the logical place to begin. It would be wrong to assume, however, that, because the contact centre has processes, they are necessarily the best ones, or that the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they drive are the most appropriate. In every case these will need to be readdressed, re-evaluated and redesigned to accommodate omni-channel approaches. It would be ambitious indeed to describe here the ideal processes for any and every customer management operation. Let’s instead consider the three KPIs we at Webhelp focus on most particularly. The first is Customer Effort. The debate about what constitutes a ‘good’ customer experience will likely run on forever, but, to my mind, a ‘good’ experience is one that’s easy for the customer and profitable for the organisation. Making it easier for customers to make contact, resolve their issues and complete their purchases can only have two possible outcomes: it will cost less to serve them and they will be more likely to spend. Elevating an ‘easy’ experience into a ‘delightful’ one is a recognised source of customer advocacy across any channel. Psychological research repeatedly shows that direct behavioural experiences have the greatest impact on peoples’ attitudes towards brands. For that reason we supplement Customer Effort with Customer Satisfaction (CSat) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). To capture precisely the impact of the customer interactions on advocacy, we have developed ‘Touchpoint NPS’. Contacting customers immediately after an interaction – via whichever channel it finally concludes upon – we ask about its impact on their likelihood to recommend the company, giving us a true measure of how brand value is being built or destroyed.

Get outsourcing right Whatever additional key performance measures you decide upon for your customer management activities, some of which will be defined by the idiosyncrasies of your industry or your business, make sure any outsourced operations you have are measured in the same way. It is all too common for the OSP’s performance to be judged purely on productivity measures; an unfortunate legacy of ‘old-style’ procurement approaches that saw outsourcing as little more than an opportunity to achieve cost reduction by harnessing a third party’s economies of scale. This will lead to a service-compromising dichotomy in your approach, where your inhouse operations are focused on enhancing the customer experience and your outsourced operations are focused on ‘doing it cheap’. There is, indeed, a sea-change occurring in customer management outsourcing that you may benefit from. Mature players are positioning themselves to manage omni-channel interactions and to advise clients on the way their customers might select and use them. Consider; in the past you may have valued your outsourcer’s ‘volume-based efficiency’; in the future you may value their ‘volume-based insight’. And you can reinforce your ability to win by basing their remuneration, not on agent seats or calls per hour (irrelevancies in an omni-channel world), but on the contribution they make to your real business objectives – the growth of revenue and advocacy. Download your copy of Webhelp’s white paper, ‘Channelling the experience: Serving customers in an omni-channel future’ at www.webhelp.com


the final word



What has ‘plateauing’ got to do with VOC? Colin Shaw reckons it all comes down to value – or rather the lack of it Recently I have been talking with a number of organisations who tell me they are seeing a plateauing of key stats such as Net Promoter (NPS) and they don’t know why. What is causing the plateauing? Let me example what I believe is the issue… Let’s assume that one of your listening posts, picks up that ‘late delivery’ is an issue. You then create a program of change and the problem gets fixed. All is OK now, right? NO! That’s the issue. The issue is that you are just taking what the Customer is telling you and assuming that is the entire issue, but it’s not. When we at Beyond Philosophy look at Customers we look at them from a Human centred approach. This means we must recognise your customers are people and as such are complex beings that are driven, not by 100% logic, but by emotions as all human beings are.

Where’s the value? Therefore, just looking at the aspect of ‘late delivery’ is only a proportion of the problem as there is usually a hidden aspect of the interaction that is missed. For example, in this case the hidden aspect could be that the Customer does not feel ‘valued’ by your organisation and the issue of late delivery is just an example of not valuing them in the Customer’s eyes. There are many other aspects that will be causing the Customer to feel that way but it’s not being captured anywhere. Maybe it is about the way the rep spoke with them, or the lack of communication. The list can be long. So when the ‘late delivery’ part of the Customer issue is fixed the NPS rises, but only to a point. The reason it plateaus is it has not dealt with the underlying problem of not feeling ‘valued’ in this example. So what has happened is that over the years most of the ‘easy to do, logical aspects’ of the experience have been dealt with and subsequently improved the NPS, but only to a point so it then plateaus.

It won’t rise further until you address the emotional aspects of the Customer Experience.

For customers read employees The same applies with employee engagement. Organisations are not considering how their employees feel or the emotions that are being evoked by their leaders. If they did they would see the trait of the best leaders having the most engaged people. Have you ever considered running an exit interview and asking the employees how they feel about the organization when they are leaving? Do they feel frustrated, annoyed, stressed or hurried? If you did, and you measured these things regularly, you would be able to predict which employees are at most risk and which leaders engender these negative emotions. What are the emotions that you want your leaders to evoke in their people? Has this been defined? If not, why not? Surely evoking positive emotions in your employees will drive engagement? How are you measuring these emotions? Looking at employee engagement is great but you have to break it down into what drives engagement. Here’s the issue, Customers and employees are people! Huge shock, ‘eh? Well, with this in mind, you should be designing emotionally engaging experiences for them so they become loyal. Then your voice of the customer/employee programs should be measuring these. You will find the most engaged teams will have the highest customer satisfaction as well. Good luck in 2014!

Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books, an engaging key-note speaker & also recognized as one of the original top 150 Business Influencers by LinkedIn. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialized research & training from their headquarters in Tampa, Florida, USA. Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter: @ColinShaw_CX



2014 Events Forums Customer Engagement in the Retail Sector - 24th April Customer Engagement in Financial Services - 22nd May Social Customer Engagement - 3rd July Employee and Customer Engagement - 18th September Customer Engagement in Telcos/Utilities - 23rd October TBC: Change Management

Webinars March - Thursday 13th March - Thursday 27th April - Thursday 3rd May - Thursday 8th June - Thursday 5th July – Thursday 10th September – Thursday 25th November - Thursday 6th December – Thursday 4th

For Sponsorship opportunities please contact: Nick Rust nick@engagecustomer.com T: 01932 506500 M: 07968 416007

www.engagecustomer.com Customer Engagement Peer Awards May - Finalist published in the Independent newspaper June – Finalist Conference October – Awards Ceremony

Outsourcing Customer Services Summit 28th March, London

Customer Engagement Summit 27th November, Victoria Park Plaza, London

Engage now at: www.engagecustomer.com @engagecustomer

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