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engage customer ISSUE SEVENTEEN I NOVEMBER 2014








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a word from the editor

Steve Hurst, Editorial Director, Engage Customer @engagecustomer

WHY ENGAGING YOUR PEOPLE IS THE BEST WAY TO ENGAGE YOUR CUSTOMERS In a recent Financial Times survey of chief execs they identified human capital and customer relationships as the two most critical challenges they face in their quest for long term business success. The only surprise to me is that it has taken this long for our business leaders to realise that the key to success revolves around our employee and our customers. Still better late than never and it’s gratifying to know that those who hold the purse strings and the power when it comes to our customer and employee relationships are finally on board with the thinking that sparked our launch of Engage Customer more than five years ago.

Benefits straight to the bottom line Of course the evidence is plain for all to see. The improved business performance and market capitalisation of organisations who deliver great service through their people is now a given – and even those who improve their service from non-existent to just about OK (take a bow Ryanair) see benefits go straight to their bottom line. My concern is that while CEOs are putting their people and their customer relationships at the top of their business agenda – are enough of them really drawing a causal link between the two, and making it part of an overarching business strategy? My fear is that this is not yet the case – although the signs are that businesses are moving in the right direction, and those who do are enjoying a clear competitive advantage. 3

Our Cover Story in this issue of Engage Customer is a case in point. It refers to the latest Customer Experience Excellence research from Nunwood that identifies each year the top 100 organisations for service excellence in the eyes of their customers. Our story is based on an exclusive webinar that Engage Customer ran with Nunwood to coincide with the release of the results of that consumer research.

First direct first among equals Interestingly the research identifies as a unifying factor among the Top 10 of that Top 100, the best of the best, that they put their employees first. In doing so their people work within a culture that lends itself to delivering high level and consistent customer experience. Nowhere is that better exemplified than in the case of first direct, who deservedly top the Nunwood league table for the first time. This virtuous circle formed by highly engaged, motivated and well directed employees interacting across departments with increasingly sophisticated and demanding digital age customers is the only sustainable way forward and will remain a focal point for our activities. This includes the launch of our first Employee Engagement Summit in April 2015. ISSUE SEVENTEEN • NOVEMBER 2014


DeďŹ ne your your customer customer vision









WHY ORGANISATIONS SHOULD ENCOURAGE AND RESPOND TO CUSTOMER REVIEWS – FOR BETTER OR WORSE In this exclusive for Engage Customer following on from our webinar on the importance of customer reviews editorial director at Engage Customer Steve Hurst quizzes Charlo Carabott co-founder of Mazuma Mobile


OVO - THE UTILITY THAT SEES ITSELF AS A RETAILER In this exclusive for Engage Customer we spotlight utilities challenger brand Ovo and ask customer services director Justin Haines how running the business around the customer is differentiating Ovo from its competitors


FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW ABOUT THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY The customer journey is constantly unfolding every time there is an interaction with you whatever the channel – in this exclusive for Engage Customer leading practitioners map out the five key things you need to know


Expert Opinion WHY CONTACT CENTRES ARE THE NEW ENGAGEMENT CENTRES Contact centres are usually the first responders for your customers - the most likely to hear when something’s not right, the ones expected to quickly solve problems, all with a personal, reassuring response that instils customer confidence in your company


KEY INGREDIENTS FOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE SUCCESS IN 2015 Karine Del Moro has her own tasty recipe for future success when it comes down to the customer experience and here she lists eight winning ingredients in true Master Chef fashion


MOLSON COORS RAISING A GLASS TO ALL CUSTOMERS In an exclusive interview with Engage Customer, Laura Lee, UK customer experience director at global brewing giant Molson Coors talks about its ambition to be ‘first choice for our customers’


CONTACT CENTRES POISED TO TAKE CENTRE STAGE As the customer experience moves up the pecking order of board level priorities the contact centre is well positioned to fulfil a central role in an organisation’s customer engagement strategies says Dave Paulding




GET READY FOR THE INTERNET OF THINGS WITH AN OMNICHANNEL STRATEGY The Internet of Things (IoT) is still a fledgling concept says Dave Ogden, but it is one that could make all previous customer service initiatives redundant worldwide




Cover Story HOW THE UK’S TOP 10 BRANDS PUT THEIR EMPLOYEES FIRST To coincide with the release of the Nunwood 2014 UK Customer Experience Excellence results, Engage Customer, in partnership with Nunwood, ran an exclusive webinar to discuss the findings of the UK’s most in depth customer experience report. Here Nunwood Senior Partner Tim Knight explores the key findings

FORUM REVIEW Customer Engagement in Telcos/Utilities


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Editorial Advisory Board To join Engage Customer (free membership) and receive weekly Alerts, Digital Magazines and Invitations to the Directors Forums and other Engage events go to: www.engagecustomer.com @engagecustomer Mainline:

T: 01932 506 300

Steve Hurst


T: 01932 506 304

Nick Rust


T: 01932 506 301

Chris Wood


T: 01932 506 303

Rachel Blake rachel@engagecustomer.com

T: 01932 506 302

Kelly Frazer

T: 01932 506 305



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 Published by: Engage Customer Ltd, Nicholson House, 41 Thames Street, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 8JG ©engage customer ISSUE SEVENTEEN • NOVEMBER 2014

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cover story

“One theme which unites the brands in the top 10 is the way in which they put their employees first. Staff members appear enthusiastic about the brands they represent, and they are invariably proud to work for them. This is most apparent with first direct, whose staff offer a remarkably consistent experience; one customer even stated that they felt as if they were talking to the same person every time”

first by name and first by nature


The top 10 brands have ably demonstrated their dedication to continual improvement, and it is therefore unsurprising to see first direct at pole position in the customer experience excellence rankings. Indeed, many financial services brands have seen a marked improvement in 2014, and first direct is no exception, with a customer base that comprises of "fans" rather than everyday clients. It also boasts a dedicated team of knowledgeable staff members, who are committed to resolving issues within a short timeframe. Meanwhile retailer John Lewis has landed in second place, showing particular aptitude in resolving customer concerns and turning negative experiences into positive ones (the brand refers to this process as ‘heroic recovery’). John Lewis has also been praised for the product knowledge displayed by its enthusiastic team members. In third place is the online television-based retailer QVC, which displayed particular strengths in customer empathy, offering information and advice to its viewers and followers in a placid, downto-earth manner, more akin to a chatty family member than a hardened salesperson. A full list of the top 10 brands can be found in the graphic below:


CEE 14

































Nationwide make top 10 for first time Nationwide is particularly worthy of note, attaining a top 10 position for the first time. It is riding the crest of a success wave for financial services brands, and there is a growing sense that customers are regaining their trust in the banking sector, with higher Integrity scores being noted across the board. Moreover, much of Nationwide's success can be traced back to its successful On Your Side advertising campaign which launched earlier in the year. However, one theme which unites the brands in the top 10 is the way in which they put their employees first. Staff members appear enthusiastic about the brands they represent, and they are invariably proud to work for them. This is most apparent with first direct, whose staff offer a remarkably consistent experience; one customer even stated that they felt as if they were talking to the same person every time.

Utilites continue on downward path M

Elsewhere, the Customer Experience Excellence scores in the Travel sector enjoyed a 0.6% increase in 2014, along with Entertainment which rose by 1%. One sector which continues to experience



“Nationwide is particularly worthy of note, attaining a top 10 position for the first time. It is riding the crest of a success wave for financial services brands, and there is a growing sense that customers are regaining their trust in the banking sector”

difficulties, though, is Utilities, which has dropped by 0.8%. This is largely down to the fact that much of its business is built around meters rather than customers, and many brands are struggling to make the necessary transition. One of the most fascinating insights found was the shift in customers' expectations, and brands are now required to deliver an experience comparable to the best organisations they interact with. For example, there is increased pressure on online retailers to deliver the same experience as, say, Amazon, and these higher-scoring brands are in turn expected to improve upon their past successes. This is known as The Expectation Cycle, and it shows that the art of creating the optimum customer experience is a neverending task.

The Six Pillars However, if a brand wishes to gain insight into its particular strengths and weaknesses, its performance can be assessed according to six universal customer experience facets, known as The Six Pillar SystemTM. This system comprises the pillars of Personalisation, Integrity, Time and Effort, Expectations, Resolution and Empathy, and they are the key principles that leading brands consistently master.

Tim Knight, senior partner, Nunwood www.nunwood.com


And whilst many brands may master these facets to varying degrees, one pillar which has become increasingly important to customers is that of Time and Effort, which takes into account the amount of time it takes a customer to achieve their

objective, and the amount of effort they have to expend in the process. Companies have shown a growing awareness of the value that customers place on Time and Effort, and have started to use this pillar as a weapon against their rivals. This was demonstrated by a recent ad campaign commissioned by the supermarket chain Lidl, in which the brand stated that Morrisons, its competitor, had "found a way" to match its prices.

Lidl did Morrisons know Lidl proved this point by publishing the 28point process that a customer would have to go through in order to gain a discount on the Morrisons website, informing the reader that they could either follow each of these steps, or they could "just go to Lidl" instead. For a company to become a customer experience leader it must consistently adhere to all six of the pillars, and yet apply them selectively depending on the nature of the interaction. For example, if a financial services customer telephoned to discuss a particular issue, the pillar of Resolution could apply if the enquiry led to a successful outcome, or the pillar of Empathy might be more appropriate if it led to the regrettable closure of the customer's account. Mastery of these pillars, therefore, is essential for improving customer advocacy, customer loyalty, and customer retention, and these are rewards which the top 10 brands are already reaping.


the big interview

WHY ORGANISATIONS SHOULD ENCOURAGE AND RESPOND TO CUSTOMER REVIEWS – FOR BETTER OR WORSE In this exclusive for Engage Customer following on from our webinar on the importance of customer reviews editorial director at Engage Customer Steve Hurst quizzes Charlo Carabott co-founder of Mazuma Mobile

I co-founded Mazuma Mobile in 2006 with John Lam. At the time, I already had over 15 years of experience working in the mobile phone industry. With the consumer mobile


industry thriving in the UK, John and I were one of the first to recognise the opportunities that existed in providing an incentive for consumers to recycle their phone and created a business model that others soon followed. As such, we have led the market on a number of initiatives such as data protection, antistolen phone trade and educating consumers

Charlo Carabott, co-founder of Mazuma Mobile www.mazumamobile.com


First off Charlo could we know something about your background and how you came to be joint founder of Mazuma in 2007?


transparent and honest about how you handle negative reviews also encourages those who have something

on the best way to recycle their devices. It is a big leap of faith for consumers to part with something as valuable as their mobile device via an online service. We’ve worked hard to ensure that creating a positive and reassuring customer experience forms the core of what we offer. I’m pleased to say that today we are now regarded as an authority in the market, but more importantly consumers view us as a reputable, efficient and friendly service that forms part of their phone upgrade process. Briefly tell us what Mazuma does and the sector you operate in

good to say to feel like they should express it. People trust a business more if they feel they are being listened to”

Mazuma Mobile is an online mobile phone resale service, committed to safely and efficiently recycling old mobile phones or tablets - helping consumers make cash in the most environmentally friendly way. We resell more mobile phones than any other online recycling company and we are UK’s leading independent and fastest growing company in this sector. When we started, the sector was booming, and we reached a turn over £5.3 million in the first year. Soon, a high number of competitors jumped on the wagon, some of them with mixed results and -maybe more importantly- with a different, lessquality oriented approach to customer service. As of today we cover 30% of the market of all UK online mobile recycling. The mobile phone marketplace is unrecognisable from what it was in 2007 how has your business evolved? Smartphones have changed the way we perceive our devices. Mobile phones have been status symbols since the mid nineties, and brands like Nokia and Motorola released new devices every year. However, these phones were sturdy if a little limited in what they could do. The feature


battle was played on for instance, the camera specs or cover colours. After Apple and Samsung made smartphones relatively cheaper boosted by network subsidies and accessible data connections, the real demand for the latest versions of devices began. Apple in particular have really led the market in creating the consumer appetite for the newest and latest devices on the market, with measured product updates and clever marketing. For us the business has had to evolve to meet the needs of savvy customers who are seeking the best deals in terms of the latest devices as well as a competitive landscape where there are many more mobile phone recyclers - good and bad. So for the most part our business has had to evolve so that it offers a consistently high quality of service above all else, which we have had to maintain as volumes of devices coming to us increase. Can customer reviews make or break a business? Today’s consumers have a voice and we welcome it. Reviews have been an integral part of our marketing strategy from day one when mobile phone reuse was still a new concept. In the early days we simply invited customers to write a review on our website. These proved to be powerful reassurance for anyone wanting to try not just us but also needing to understand the concept of the service. Since then, consumers become more sceptical and savvy. So we have found great value in working with a third party reviews site - in our case Trustpilot- so that consumers have the added assurance of the neutrality of the reviews. We are one of the top rated companies on Trustpilot with 98% rating.


“Being responsive,


the big interview

“A positive customer experience and the feedback that follows, reflects positively not just on our brand but I find it to be a really strong motivator for employees, having positive impacts on staff morale”

What can a business do to ensure it gets great reviews from customers? First and foremost, it’s about providing a genuinely good service and experience for customers. Following that, encourage your customers to provide a review - good or bad - either via your website, email communication or social media pages. Being responsive, transparent and honest about how you handle negative reviews also encourages those who have something good to say to feel like they should express it. People trust a business more if they feel they are being listened to. The trick is to make sure consumer perceive their opinion is valuable to the community, not for the company, so that they come back and review on a regular basis... making it second nature after purchasing. Tell us about your relationship with Trustpilot and its importance to your overall business strategy Mazuma Mobile has over 95,000 customer reviews on Trustpilot with a 98% Trustscore. We publish customer reviews and the score on our website and it’s an amazing way to inform our clients that they can trust us. Using third party to take your reviews is an advantage, because sometimes customers are wary of companies who collect this type of data in house. We try to nurture customers’ trust in Mazuma in everything we do, from avoiding misleading messages on our website and ads, to responding immediately to any enquires via our support desk. Giving our customers a simple way to provide their feedback positive or not- has had a clear positive effect on the way they perceive our brand. We listen to our customers and have refined our service in response. For instance, often customers are looking for a quick payment option and might grumble about waiting all of three days for a payment - which is by industry standards already pretty quick. We were the first to introduce same day payment in the industry. Similarly, we were at first inundated with requests to assist in deleting data from particular models of phones and tablets. In response, we were the first to create a data deletion tool on our website that features hundreds of models and provides step-by-step instructions on how to delete information.


What’s your view on the relationship between employee engagement, customer engagement, performance and profitability? Ultimately they all fit together. I strongly believe happy customers are good for business. A positive customer experience and the feedback that follows, reflects positively not just on our brand but I find it to be a really strong motivator for employees, having positive impacts on staff morale. In turn, a customer engagement strategy that is working well via a reviews process can help to identify weak points in your business model. If you respond to it quickly, it will of course improve your company’s performance and overall success. As our business is based low margin, high volume, it is extremely important that we remain lean and efficient. To do this we need to always ensure our customers are well informed and happy. Happy, well informed customers tend not to contact us wanting information or wanting to complain. As a result we are able to transact with 1000’s of customers on a daily basis without the need of a huge call centre. We find investing in providing an excellent service is a lot more cost effective that providing a poor service and managing unhappy customers as a result. Finally Charlo what are your plans for Mazuma going forward? We see the future of mobile reuse as continuing to be an integral part of the mobile phone industry ecosystem. Five million of our phones have joined the mobile industry’s redistribution chain in the developing world and right here in the UK and we have paid out over £212 million. Our vision for the future is for the mobile reuse industry to develop stronger partnerships with operators and handset retailers and move from the periphery of the industry to a core part of the customer experience. We are already half way there, with our service having become an integral part of the consumer upgrade process and their purchase decisions. In order for this to happen, we strongly believe in continuing to advocate a high quality of service and industry practices so that mobile phone reuse is seen as a credible option for consumers.


OVO - THE UTILITY THAT SEES ITSELF AS A RETAILER In this exclusive for Engage Customer we spotlight utilities challenger brand OVO Energy and ask customer services director Justin Haines how running the business around the customer is differentiating OVO from its competitors

Justin Haines is customer service director, OVO Energy www.ovoenergy.com

As a challenger brand, OVO Energy is focused on delivering first class customer service. The business is designed and run around the customer and built to adapt quickly and nimbly to the changing environment we operate in. This means a number of things to ensure we differentiate from competitors. The majority of the management don’t have energy industry backgrounds and instead come from great retail brands which excel at customer experience and engagement. We invest in the best technology so that we are as rigorously cost efficient and user friendly as possible; we in fact consider ourselves a retail business first; a technology company second; and only as a distant third a utility. We don’t want to be a no frills energy provider, we want customers to enjoy their interaction with us. We are also honest and transparent about the price we ask customers to pay, ensuring that we pass any savings made on wholesale energy prices directly back to the customer, so when we save, they save and we are also fair and don’t offer short term introductory deals which soon shoot up, nor offer deals to new customers that aren’t open to renewing customers. While the utilities sector has a poor overall reputation for customer service OVO is saying customers are in every conversation – how does that manifest itself and what are your customers saying about you? OVO was founded with a singular and simple idea in mind: if an energy company was to be


built from the ground upwards around what was best for the customer, what would it look like? This idea that an energy company should be designed and run with the customer in mind has been the foundation upon which OVO’s growth has been built, and it underpins our values that as company we treat people fairly, offer competitively priced products and are transparent and simple to understand. When we’re making decisions as a company, we imagine the customer’s in the room with us. If they wouldn’t like what we’re thinking about doing, we don’t do it. And since every single one of our customers is a switcher, or they wouldn’t be with us, we’ve always known if we didn’t work hard enough to keep them they’d vote with their feet. We haven’t lost sight of this vision, even despite our customer base increasing by 280% since the beginning of 2014. Our customers remain our number one priority and we are proud of the feedback we get. MoneySavingExpert recently recognised us as the number one energy company when it comes to customer service, and we also placed first for overall satisfaction in the energy helpline Customer Satisfaction Awards. You currently have circa 400,000 customers and have a target of 1million customers by 2017, how do you intend to achieve that? Today’s tech savvy customers exist in a diverse, global marketplace and have much higher expectations of service and reliability than ever before. Thinking like a retailer, rather than a utility, helps OVO guide behaviour in the right direction and investing in customer service is our top focus.


As a new challenger brand how is OVO Energy differentiating itself from its competitors including the Big Six utilities?



To help meet the target of one million customers by 2017 OVO has invested heavily in growing its workforce. In the last 12 months the company has more than doubled in staff, we have also relocated our London team to larger premises and will be moving our head offices in Bristol to a new location in the winter to accommodate this growth. We believe that through our key innovations and reputation for excellent customer service we will continue to build trust in the market, and by offering competitive pricing and rewards for customers, for example through our cost reflective pricing and our 3% interest to those accounts in credit, we hope to continue to grow our customer base and ultimately achieve our goal. The launch of OVO PAYG, In Home Technology and OVO Communities also offers new and unique solutions to both current and new customers, adding to the potential reach of our customer base. OVO makes much of its green credentials – how important a differentiator is that for you in a highly competitive marketplace? We think it’s important to balance being ‘green’ with being affordable. Our Better Energy tariff has more than the UK average of renewables included as standard, and along with our Greener Energy tariff, which is 100% renewable energy, are two of the most competitive tariffs available on the market today. Over the last 12 months we have in fact dropped our prices seven times, becoming the first supplier to offer an annual bill below £1,000 with our Better Energy tariff. I understand your intranet is known as the kitchen table – how did that come about? Our founder and CEO, Stephen Fitzpatrick worked in the City for five years and he no longer liked what he saw. He promised his wife he’d get out by the time he was 30 and in 2008, around their kitchen table in a Cotswold barn, they began to formulate their vision of building a customer focused energy company from scratch. We are proud of our roots, and the values that have been with us from day one. We want each and every one of our staff to understand where we have come from, and live our humble values, so we called our intranet the Kitchen Table in celebration of this. What is your stance on the links between employee engagement, customer engagement and performance and profitability? Our business is built around our customers. From the top calibre staff we employ and the market leading technology we use every day, everything revolves around delivering excellent customer service, and it is from this that we believe profit will follow. The journey starts with people engagement, right from recruiting the right people, training them well and treating them fairly. We


have already seen some great customer engagement based on a committed workforce. We manage the performance of our employees, but this is balanced in favour of quality of the customer experience, which gives a very clear message to our teams about where we expect their focus to be. Our straightforward tariff structure and cost-reflective pricing model means that none of our customers are stuck on uncompetitive tariffs with disproportionately high profit margins. But an acceptable margin is needed to ensure a business can grow and continue to offer great service for customers. If we can do what’s right for customers, and make money, then we believe profit is our fair share of the value we bring to society. The problem with profit is when it comes at the expense of your customers. It is important to remember that efforts made to engage customers are all wasted if you’re not in the business of creating and maintaining trust. Building any company fit for the future depends on that! Without trust, then your performance and profitability will not be future proof. Tell us about your relationship with Rant & Rave and how that fits in with your overall customer engagement strategy? When searching for the best way to engage with our customers, we measured the top ten reasons our customers call us and we’ve made sure that our customers can do all of those ten things online. By doing this we reduced our customers’ propensity to call us. It’s about operating efficiently whilst empowering customers. However, if our customers interact with us less, when they do actually need to call us we need to be truly brilliant and wow them. In order to keep them as an advocate or get them fast on their way to becoming one. This is where our use of Rant and Rave comes in. It’s an online system which gives us real time feedback on how we are performing. The team at Rant and Rave were flexible in taking our feedback about some changes we needed to make it perfect for us and our customers. It’s made a big difference; I’d go as far to say that it’s revolutionised how we deliver our service at OVO and it boosts employee engagement too. Each call and email we deal with is instantly scored out of ten by our customers. This means when we score high, we can reward our advisors for a fantastic job well done but more importantly when we score low, it means we can work hard – and quickly – to turn that negative into a positive. It’s real time which means you capture how your customer is truly feeling - it allows our engagement to be based on emotion which is extremely powerful. The ability to combine all of our live feedback, unite every aspect of the customer journey and then measure this against other quality measures such as our Net Promoter Score has given us unparalleled insight into our customer service levels and has created an altogether more streamlined and efficient strategy.


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things 2 youFive 5 need to know now about the customer journey


The customer journey is constantly unfolding every time there is an interaction with you whatever the channel – in this exclusive for Engage Customer leading practitioners map out the five key things you need to know

1. The customer journey is a macro/micro concept Although the customer journey may have some common components, it can be as singular as the individual traveling it. Managing the customer journey requires companies to understand “who is the customer, what are they trying to accomplish, how are they trying to accomplish (it) and how do we do a much better job of responding and creating a great experience for them?” explained Vellmure.


Companies must be able to take a macro/micro view of the journey: what happens in the aggregate, at the mass level and how does the journey play out at a granular, personal level, with each individual’s needs and context.

2. A map is important for any journey Organisations often seek to capture the journey, in all of its twists and turns, through a process called customer experience mapping and Vellmure explained how it is an “organisation’s attempt at understanding [interactions] from the customers’ viewpoint.” He added that: “How customers interact with companies is superfragmented,” citing a study of 3,000 customers in which each customer journey was different. The customer journey map, as an overarching concept, may not reflect all customers’ realities at the micro level but mapping, as an exercise, helps to create a macro template of how interactions should unfold. Mapping provides a way for companies to: “follow in their customers’ footsteps, to see what’s working and what’s not,” observed


NICE invited a panel of accomplished practitioners of the customer experience for a frank roundtable discussion about the paths customers travel in their interaction. The expert panel comprised of Principal at Innovantage, Brian Vellmure; Founder of thinkJar, Esteban Kolsky; Director of Knowledge Management and Social Customer Support for T-Mobile USA, Krissy Espindola, and the debate was moderated by Director of Solution Marketing at NICE Systems, Adit Moskovitch. Together they consider the five things you need to know about the customer journey.



Espindola. Service organisations seeking to understand and optimise the customer journey must “focus on what your customers expect of their experience and modify your touch-points and processes accordingly.”

3. Feedback comes in many forms When mapping or seeking to optimise the customer journey “the voice of the customer is probably the most important thing for any organisation to look at” observed Espindola. That voice, she said, can help companies to understand “what customers are saying about your brand and use it to inform decisions about marketing, servicing and channels, and take meaningful action” to shape the customer experience. But, she points out that there are a variety of ways to “hear” the Voice of the Customer - formal surveys to gather feedback is one very important element, but there are more. “You don’t always have to be pinging your customers, asking for their feedback.” Social media, including Facebook, Twitter and even Google, are excellent sources of contextual information and feedback. Kolsky pointed out that when seeking resolution to a problem most customers start their journey on Google. Panelists also cited highprofile success stories of leading companies using online communities (a relatively new social channel for companies to explore) coupled with their feedback survey insights to engage customers in the journey of other customers. Clearly, when analysing the journey, social networks need to be considered as another feedback - and service - channel. However, Vellmure sounded a note of caution about the Voice of the Customer as expressed on social channels, as research shows that people are most likely to share either the positive or the negative on social media. But as Kolsky highlighted, it’s not only about what customers say on digital networks, but also what they do online - or digital behavioural data. If your infrastructure is capable of gathering and aggregating digital data in sufficient volume, you will find, he said, the middle between the extremes, or “the truth about what customers care about.” It is this broader, Big Data-driven interpretation of Voice of the Customer that’s most relevant to understanding the customer journey today.

4.Keep it easy and consistent In building an infrastructure over which the customer journey will play out, Espindola commented that it is important to minimise customer effort. Moskovitch noted how research from NICE Systems (NICE Customer Experience Survey, 2013) shows that customers want to expend as little effort as possible during service interactions, explaining that 96% percent of customers reward low effort with greater loyalty. Additionally, in a survey conducted by Forrester, nearly 80% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good customer service (“Demand For Effortless Service Must Influence Your Customer Strategy,” Forrester Research, Inc., June 10, 2014). Service organisations would do well to understand what’s happening with customers along their journey and optimise in a way that makes it seamless for them, Espindola concurred. Furthermore, Espindola added, at every touchpoint, the experience should be consistent. “Organisations must understand the holistic customer journey - from marketing to customer service to retention, and make a concerted effort across departments to be able to provide an experience that is similar, no matter what


channel an interaction occurs on.” Moskovitch agreed: “The customer experience should be seamless and continuous, consistent and cohesive for customers. They should not be exposed to the ‘noise’ that’s created by organisational silos, broken processes and other service clutter.”

5. Flexibility is not optional However, as Kolsky pointed out, “channels are inherently inconsistent.” What is more, customers don’t take the same path, and they don’t think the same as companies do. And Vellmure raised the spectre of obsolescence, warning against the danger of building an infrastructure to provide consistency across channels when, in five years, the entire model of how customers are served, including the kinds of questions they ask and how they ask them, is likely to change. To him, the ability to understand and respond to the context of interactions - not providing consistency - is critical. Moskovitch concurred: “As service providers, we can expect (and certainly create) an experience that’s consistent. But we can’t expect the process of the journey - that is, the actual steps each customer takes - to be. A customer should always experience there journey as a seamless and cohesive experience, but behind the scenes, our technology has to be flexible enough to follow and support whatever path the journey takes. It’s service consistency and process adaptability we should strive for.” According to Kolsky the best solution is to “build an infrastructure that enables customers to get what they want.” Instead of rigid systems and corporate bureaucracies, he advocates building a nimble system that supports the individual journeys customers take. This kind of flexibility may require companies to look at service in new and different ways, he said. Continuing old bureaucracies and legacy ways of doing business may hamper the natural flow of the customer journey, Kolsky said, which may be much more random than corporate structures can comfortably accommodate. He said the customer journey is not about “organisations needing to justify their own existence,” adding that “you have to find the balance between trying to do what’s right for the customer and what’s necessary for the organisation.” “The journey is organic and reflects what happens in the customer’s world,” agreed Moskovitch. “By analysing the journey across all touchpoints we can discover painpoints for our customers - things like bottlenecks, channel deflection, self-service disconnects and so on. Understanding the customer journey should inform the design of customer-facing touchpoints, processes and procedures, not the other way around!” The customer journey is a multi-faceted array of interactions and exchanges, online and offline, direct (to and with the company) and indirect (to friends or followers on social media, or peers in online communities). Our panellists agreed that it’s important for service organisations to visualise, map, and therefore understand and optimise the customer journey, and to cast a wide net for Voice of the Customer feedback to support that the process. As you work to make the journey seamless and consistent you also must maintain flexibility to support customers’ individual journeys, in all their unique contexts. That might mean letting go of comfortable legacy process that may hinder you in supporting new journey paths. Be open, be nimble and remember that the journey is constantly evolving.


The 1st

Employee Engagement Summit will take place in London on 16th April 2015

16 APRIL 2015

The Employee Engagement Summit has been launched to meet the growing demand by businesses to focus on implementing effective employee engagement strategies and operations as a number one business priority. Recent surveys have shown that Employee Engagement is now the number one focus and challenge for CEO's having overtaken Customer Service. The Employee Engagement Summit is organised by the Engage team who organise the Employee and Customer Engagement Forum, now in its fourth year and the highly regarded Customer Engagement Summit.


For more information contact Nick Rust on: nick@engagecustomer.com T: 01932 506 301 www.engageemployee.com

WHY CONTACT CENTRES ARE THE NEW ENGAGEMENT CENTRES Contact centres are usually the first responders for your customers - the most likely to hear when something’s not right, the ones expected to quickly solve problems, all with a personal, reassuring response that instils customer confidence in your company

Keeping up with the ‘empowered customer’ Achieving all this is a tall order to be sure, but contact centres everywhere are facing customers that are empowered like never before. Today’s “always on” consumers expect instant, seamless access to information across all channels and on whatever platform suits them at any given moment. When they actually do decide to contact a company agent - by phone, email, chat, Tweet, or text - it’s likely because they can go no further on their own and require personalised results and expertise from people who are moving as fast as they are. All of which means contact centres are in need of the most accurate, relevant and timely information from across the whole organisation for each customer. In fact just as this digital revolution is emboldening customers, it’s also enabling smart companies to start transforming their contact centres with technology, too. “They’re the people that customers call when it’s something that’s not simple,” says Heide. “We need to get away from the thinking that contact centre people aren’t very qualified or are outsourced and start considering the long term. You have to increasingly turn to accomplished communicators and foster a culture of engaging with your customers. But you also have to give


them the right tools - to have everything the customer has, in real time.”

Solutions for better data sharing and staff empowerment Among those tools: technology that can better share and analyse customer data in order to put those accessing it on equal footing with clients on any number of platforms. These software systems, known as customer engagement platforms, integrate information from across the entire business to deliver a full picture of any given customer’s relationship with a company on a single screen - where contact centre agents can see the context and content of the data and enable them to respond dynamically, on whatever platform is necessary, as quickly as possible. Heide illustrates how an omni-channel solution worked with one British utility client. When callers would phone with questions about a confusing monthly bill, an agent’s system was newly equipped to call up the actual document of the statement on the screen. It showed that a colourful graphic printed on the bill was actually obscuring the customer’s account information. Where once an agent’s computer screen would have offered just the basic account details and left them blind to what the customer was seeing, Heide says enhanced links to digital files from around the company in this case literally put the agent and consumer on the same page. These systems touch on several elements that experts point to as key to successful customer engagement. To start, it can mean more first-call resolutions of customer issues, which drives improved customer satisfaction. In addition, it can facilitate more specifically tailored offers and


So, says Gerhard Heide, Global Market Strategy Director at Pitney Bowes, it’s only natural that contact centres are now vital to customer engagement. They’re a crucial tool to better understand clients’ personal needs and meet their expectations, to deliver the solutions they want, and perhaps get something in return, like a sense of customer trust and loyalty.


expert opinion


Gerhard Heide, Global Market Strategy Director, Pitney Bowes Gerhard Heide has nearly 20 years of experience advising many of the major B2C companies across Europe and the US on a wide range of analytical methods and service delivery technologies. He has delivered significant customer-centric solutions across many major industry sectors, including finance, communications, utility, retail and the public sector. His current focus is on CRM, business insight and social media. Heide has also worked in statistics and queuing theory in collaboration with scientists at CERN and a number of leading universities. He holds an MSc and a PhD in Mathematics from the University of East Anglia. View the recording of a recent Engage Customer and Pitney Bowes webinar presented by Heide “4 Next-Level Customer Engagement Strategies to Boost Contact Centre Efficiency.” www.engagecustomer.com

an opportunity to deal with customers based on their individual needs, in what can be a make-orbreak environment for a company.

Fewer staff defections, more customer lifetime value Research shows it’s making a difference on the bottom line, too. According to a March 2014 survey from the Aberdeen Group, companies with omni-channel customer experience management systems (CEM) reported a 7.1 percent increase in annual customer retention rates, while comparable firms that did not showed an erosion of 4.9 percent within their customer bases. Further, omni-channel CEM users showed a 4 percent annual increase in the lifetime value of these customers, compared to a 23.3 percent decline in client value across other organisations. An omni-channel platform may also help solve another costly problem: how to keep contact centre employees happier and more likely to stay on board. Industry studies reflect the notorious churn rate for this speciality: A 2013 Deloitte survey showed a 31 percent annual attrition rate among call-centre operations with more than 500 agents, and between 10 and 50 percent among those with 100 to 500 agents. By empowering employees with tools that can help them succeed - such as automated recommendations to draw better results, easier access to comprehensive customer data, and


technology that makes interactions more productive and pleasant - it can lessen frustrations for them as well as for customers. This also reduces the significant costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new staff. One industry estimate found the benefits to be mutual: Along with a 5 to 20 percent hike in revenue from the new sales opportunities afforded by the omni-channel technologies, there was also a 2.5 to 10 percent reduction in employee turnover within those same companies. Heide has been listening in on calls and seeing omni-channel solutions in action at contact centres in recent weeks and says he has been impressed by the changes he’s witnessing. “Almost every call was complicated. Nothing was easy. Some of the callers where threatening, talking of going to the press. Nothing was as simple as 1-2-3, fill in a form it’s a lot of things to go through,” he said. “Everyone was quite good. But in the past they would usually finish their calls with ‘What else can I help you with?’ - which is fine.” says Heide. “But it was lovely that now they were offering specific help for other services that are relevant to that particular customer, like would they like to set up electronic payment plans, too? If you’re a customer on such a call, where you feel the organisation really understands you and your needs, I think you have a better experience.”



It’s a long time now since customer loyalty was just about offering good prices and delivering high quality products. In a crowded market place populated by the most informed and discerning customers that businesses have ever had to deal with, price and convenience simply won’t cut the mustard.

more positively with the brand, means that the need for a great customer experience is now vital. To understand the experiences you’re currently providing customers, you’ll need to build in a clear Voice of the Customer programme, to capture the views of customers and pinpoint the areas to focus on.

Consumers are not only prepared to search for a discount, a better solution or an enhanced service but they are also prepared to walk away which puts even greater pressure on businesses to deliver something ‘extra’ to increase brand loyalty.

What’s the recipe for customer experience (CX) success? Well, there are some key ingredients that you need to lay your hands on…

1.A handful of stakeholders from around the business

The desire to attract customers, make them loyal and turn them into your advocates, and to motivate less-committed customers to engage

You can’t build a CX programme in a vacuum. It’s vital that you include people from across your company, rather than only those people who are involved purely in customer experience




Karine Del Moro has her own tasty recipe for future success when it comes down to the customer experience and here she lists eight winning ingredients in true Master Chef fashion


“In a crowded market place populated by the most informed and discerning customers that businesses have ever had to deal with, price and convenience simply won’t cut the mustard”

Karine Del Moro is VP Marketing, Confirmit www.confirmit.com

or Voice of the Customer. Involving employees from the front line, with their insight into day-to-day customer experiences, marketing teams who understand what you’re trying to convey through those experiences, and people from supporting functions, such as finance or logistics who bring a knowledge of the processes that impact customers positively or negatively.

what your customers are trying to achieve at every stage of their relationship with you, and how they go about doing so. Your map should create a framework that encompasses the entire company, how each area impacts the customer and feeds into your Voice of the Customer programme to ensure you’re able to capture feedback at the right moments.

2.A large pinch of executive buy-in

A key purpose of the map is the ability it gives you to show everyone in the company where they sit in relation to the customer and how their role impacts the customer. For those on the front line, it’s easy, but for the team members who may consider themselves far removed from the customer, it’s powerful to see how their action can make a difference.

Without support from the top of your company, your programme is destined to remain a niche project. Executive buy-in means stakeholders take the programme more seriously, that targets must be met, and most critically, that budget is assigned. You’ll need to talk numbers - e.g. ROI models - in order to capture your executive team’s attention and really lay the foundations. It may be daunting to set yourself solid financial goals, but it’s what you need to do to secure the future of your programme.

3.A selection of business goals To ensure your programme remains relevant and, more importantly, measureable, focus on the goals that are core to your business. The goals of your CX programme must be inextricably tied to the wider business goals in order to deliver real value to the company. By including a few simple variables such as turnover and churn rate, you can quickly start modelling the impact your programme will have on the bottom line.

4.3-5 clear CX objectives It is imperative that you have clear and measureable goals for your programme. “Happier customers” is not enough and there is more to ROI than increased revenue. Ensure you support these objectives with metrics that really do reflect how your company operates. For example, Net Promoter Score (NPS) which can demonstrate a clear causal link between customer loyalty, customer acquisition and the bottom line. Or Customer Effort Score which is particularly suited to the call centre environment or business areas dealing with problem resolution. Whichever metrics you use, they must give you the ability to prove the success of your programme.

5.1 customer journey map This may sound like a list of customer touchpoints, but in fact it’s much more than that. Customer journey mapping must focus on


6.1 Voice of the Customer solution Make sure you have the technology you need to manage your programme. All the exec buy-in and support in the world won’t help if people can’t access the information they need, customer feedback gets lost or you end up alienating customers with poor feedback experiences. Bear in mind that customers who choose to share their experiences with you must be treated carefully so you need to be able to follow up with them – individually or en masse – where appropriate. Make sure you can support whichever channel they use to contact you – web, telephone, social media, mobile – and create alerts to flag immediate issues so the right team can get on the case straight away. And remember that information can indeed be power if your key stakeholders have the ability to monitor the impact of your programme through a clear, customised CX dashboard.

7.A large dollop of enthusiasm This may not sound like it’s important, but it makes a huge difference. While Customer Experience and Voice of the Customer are becoming well-established disciplines which generate clear ROI, there is sometimes a sense of “herding cats” about getting all the pieces you need aligned and all the stakeholders properly involved. Use your stakeholders as CX advocates who can help to get buy-in from the whole business. And what to do with these ingredients? Treat carefully, mix well and be sure to share the final – delicious – results with your customers and employees!


LET’S MAKE THINGS HAPPEN Grass Roots is the world’s leading provider of employee and customer engagement solutions. You’ve probably encountered our work today without even knowing it. When you fill up your car or get on your bike, top up your phone, receive an award at work, do your grocery shop, claim an on-pack promotional offer, browse online, call your utility supplier, eat out and even switch off your low-energy lights at night… (phew!), the chances are that Grass Roots could have played a part in making it happen.

Employee Solutions

Customer Engagement

Promotions & Incentives




So how can we help you? T: +44 (0)1442 829400 www.grassrootsgroup.com

Meetings & Events



MOLSON COORS RAISING A GLASS TO ALL CUSTOMERS In an exclusive interview with Engage Customer, Laura Lee, UK customer experience director at global brewing giant Molson Coors talks about its ambition to be ‘first choice for our customers’

I’ve worked in a number of sales and marketing roles, predominantly in the drinks business, over the last 15 years. I’ve been with Molson Coors for just over seven years and moved into my current role just over 18 months ago. Previously I ran the Southern based sales teams so I’ve seen first-hand the actions we take that can both delight and frustrate our customers so I’m relishing the opportunity to address the areas I know need fixing! My role keeps me close to customers and allows me to work right across our business – with over 70,000 Carling stockists nationwide I get to support customers across a number of different channels ranging from independent pubs, clubs, hotels and stadia through to large managed pub chains, major events and festivals, the multiple grocers and thousands of independent retail outlets. The number of touch-points each customer group has with us can vary significantly but the need to create consistency in our service is a constant theme. What have Molson Coors been doing recently to add value to the customer experience? We’ve been working on customer experience since 2012 and I like to think we’re at the forefront when it comes to our competitor set. Our ambition as a business is to be ‘First Choice for our Customers’ so everything we do is centred around this. We joined the Institute of Customer Service last year as a Council member, the first brewer to do so, to really demonstrate our commitment to service – both to customers and importantly to our employees – and we’re actively working towards Servicemark accreditation. 23

We’ve focused on getting the basics right every time for our customers, and you can only do that effectively if you actively listen and seek to understand what they really want from you. We have comprehensive insight programmes across the business – using phone interviews, email surveys and in the moment SMS surveys and speak to around 4,000 customers per year. That insight informs all of our continuous improvement plans and it also means that when it comes to change, we're not working on our hunches anymore. We’ve also focused on playing back to customers the feedback they’ve given us as we’re big believers in telling them how we intend acting on their suggestions. Not enough organisations do it but for me as a consumer, if you ask me what I think, I want to know that’ve you’ve heard me – there’s nothing worse than being consulted and then ignored. It’s important to me that our customers really feel they’re helping to shape our progress. It’s clear to us that what matters most to our customers is not whistles and bells – it’s as simple as beer being delivered on time, their order arriving in full and that they feel supported by a friendly and efficient team. So we’ve taken our service back to the fundamentals and are delivering against the promise of a consistent and efficient service offer. Our customers all run busy businesses and we need to make things as effortless as possible for them. We use a number of measures to help us track progress. Net Promoter Scores (NPS), which we’ve doubled in 24 months, are firmly embedded in our business, but I am conscious of complimenting NPS with both Customer Satisfaction and importantly Customer Effort scores – for me the danger of NPS alone is ‘heroes’ save the day and customers just recall the end


First off Laura tell us a bit about your background and how you came to the role of UK customer experience director at Molson.



result – NPS can mask any pain the customer experiences along the way and it’s that pain that I need to resolve. Tell us about your First Choice for Customers initiative and how that works – we understand it is an organisation wide initiative with all departments involved. First Choice for Customers is the heartbeat of our business so we’ve worked to repurpose our customer agenda through a clear operating framework and with a number of engagement activities, particularly for those in non-customer facing roles recognising it can be hard for these teams to see what part they play in supporting the customer. With the introduction of NVQs in Customer Service and clear career paths for our service teams we’re helping our recruitment, retention and improving overall capability. By putting ourselves up for recognition in areas such as the Top 50 Companies for Customer Service, Top Welsh Contact Centres and Customer Experience Awards we’re creating a real sense of pride internally in the service we offer, which has boosted morale and engagement no end! Your initiative to have cardboard cut-outs of key customers at your meetings sounds fun and engaging at the same time – tell us more. It can be too easy to sit in a meeting and make decisions that impact customers without putting yourself in their shoes and appreciating how it might land. We’ve created 12 distinct characters that represent our customer base, all based on real customers, and we’re siting them around our business, in meeting rooms and contact centres. The intent is to remind teams to include the views of our customers in their discussions in a fun and engaging way. Each character’s story will play out as the customer’s journey with us progresses – so they may buy more, or less, they may complain and we may well lose their business – but our employees will start to see how all of our actions have consequences. I like to think of it as a soap opera unfurling across the business! Molson is a B2B organisation yet many of your initiatives have a typically B2C flavour about them – what is your take on this? Are the lines between B2B and B2C being blurred as customer expectations change? Absolutely. Our customers are already customers of great service providers – be they banks, travel firms or high street retailers and there can be a tendency for B2Bs to lag behind B2Cs when it comes to customers. B2B organisations all need to look to the best B2C organisations out there – the principles of what they deliver to consumers is not so different to what we do – they need to have well-trained and experienced customer teams, they receive calls and orders, make deliveries and take payments – and so do we. We’re not that different in our purpose.


To create sustainable service advantage I’m adamant that we set the bar high for ourselves – it’s not about being just a little bit better than your nearest competitor. For me there’s no stretch or ambition in that! Tell us more about your scheme to get the leadership team back on the front line – what impact has that had? The idea is to get everyone, from the Chief Executive to our HR director, closer to front line roles so that they can see and hear first-hand what our customers want from us. The experience also helps them understand the pressures on our teams and see when our systems and processes stop us being able to deliver the service we want to give. Several of our Directors have spent time with our consumer helpline, logistics teams, credit controllers and in our contact centre – taking calls, not just observing. Feedback from our teams so far has been great and we now have a long list of actions to work on and a queue of Senior Managers also wanting to give it a go. I understand as part of your support of National Customer Service week you are taking three top ideas from Molson people on board to improve customer service even further – could you tell us a bit about these. Through the ICS we supported National Customer Service Week and built it into a big focus on customer service right through October. Our belief is that every team or individual in our business is sat on a gem of an idea that would make us easier for our customers to do business with, so we encouraged them all to share those ideas with us. Our Directors convened a ‘Dragons Den’ to choose three ideas to progress, with those who suggested them now actively involved in helping make them happen which is great for their personal development. The three big ideas were: 1. The introduction of a licensee recognition programme – focused on making customers feel proud to sell good quality beer to their consumers 2. Better use of customer communications – we’ve got an SMS project about to go live and we hope that this will increase our connections with our customers and allow them to interact with us as and when they want 3. Corporate news – our customers tell us that they want to feel more connected to our business by understanding our direction and priorities. Finally Laura what is your view on the links between employee and customer engagement and how is this driving your continuous customer service improvement programme? For me you can have the best service proposition out there but if your people don't believe it and feel part of it, it’s never going to deliver for your customers. Great customer experience is all about the quality and engagement of your people, get that right and you’re onto a winner!


Visit V isit sit us at the Customer usttom mer Engagement Eng gag Summit

12 28th No November, vembe em mbeerr, ST S STAND TAND 14 Victoria V ictoria Park Plaza, London www.nice.com www .nice.com T:: 0845 200 1000 T 0 E: nice.emea@nice.com

As the customer experience moves up the pecking order of board level priorities the contact centre is well positioned to fulfil a central role in an organisation’s customer engagement strategies says Dave Paulding

In a world where product and price differentiation are playing a lesser role, it is the customer experience that is becoming the shining star of competitive advantage and can ultimately determine an organisation’s success or failure. Ensuring that this strategy covers all aspects of the customer experience and meets the demands of savvy consumers, however, can be quite a challenging task for contact centre operators and organisations as there is a great deal to consider, especially in a multi-channel environment. So what exactly should be included in a customer service strategy?


The customer experience Customers are looking for convenience and ease of use. They want to make contact with an organisation in the way that suits them – be it email, telephone, web chat or social media, and they want their query or complaint solved as quickly as possible. In recent research conducted by Censuswide it was found that the preferred method of contact was email (54 per cent) followed by telephone (37 per cent). A sample of 2000 UK consumers was surveyed and it was further found that 79 per cent of those surveyed had to contact between two and five people before their complaint was resolved. It was also found that the longest time spent in a queue was more than 20 minutes and was experienced by 42 per cent of respondents. These findings underscore the importance of first time resolution and minimised waiting times.

The multi-channel platform While telephone and email are still proving to be the dominant communication methods, web chat, online messaging and social


In today’s world of multi-channel contact centres, where the customer is undoubtedly king, the implementation of a strong service strategy has never been more important. The contact centre often becomes the one place that forms, shapes and changes customer perceptions of the organisation and, as a result, has a significant impact on the customer experience.



media are growing in popularity. As a result, it is crucial that the contact centre provides the customer with these choices. Customers expect to be able to use a variety of methods and if one or more of them isn’t available, that affects the whole experience before it has even begun. From an agent perspective, the contact centre technology should ensure that these channels are effortlessly blended so that they are presented with an overall view of the customer’s recent interactions, regardless of the channel selected. This also ensures that the customer isn’t required to repeat the same details time and time again, which is something that adds an element of frustration to any interaction.

Consistency The key to delivering a great customer service experience is doing it consistently. This is also one of the major challenges that any organisation faces due to changes in staff, technology and customer demands. When it comes to a multi-channel platform, customers also expect symmetry. If a customer calls in to an energy provider, for example, to get an account balance, the answer received should be exactly the same as if the customer had emailed the question, or even logged onto the website to check the balance himself. More so, responses must be personalised, relevant and in context. This is especially true for responding to customers via social media channels. The customer wants to be recognised and treated empathetically, something that social media channels can also help with as there is the expectation of receiving a more personalised approach due to the nature of these networks.

Dave Paulding, regional sales director UK, Middle East, at Interactive Intelligence @davepauld www.inin.com

“In a world where product and price differentiation are playing a lesser role, it is the customer experience that is becoming the shining star of competitive advantage and can ultimately determine an organisation’s success or failure”

Levels of engagement From self-service options such as IVR menu or logging in to a corporate website, to speaking to an agent on the other end of an email, web chat or telephone, the customer experience must also be seamless. The technology should reflect options that the customer is looking for; for example IVR menus should offer relevant options that can help resolve a customer query and not merely be used to reduce operational costs. Beyond that, if one channel doesn’t yield a resolution, the customer should be effortlessly transferred to the next mode of help where an agent has the customer’s details and knows what is required of the interaction.

In a nutshell Developing a great customer service strategy for the contact centre that is relevant and consistent hinges on two factors: Understanding the customer’s reaction during and after each interaction and having the capacity to offer the channels that different customers are using to carry out any number of engagements. There is no doubt that it is the customer experience that is key to success, and it is down to the customer service strategy that is supported by the right technology to ensure it is consistently good across channels.



DIGITAL CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT – THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE STRATEGY How many meetings have you sat through where participants passionately advocate a “social media strategy” or “the need to effect a ‘digital transformation’? And how many times have you experienced first-hand, businesses making ‘knee jerk reactions through misplaced investments in digital interaction tools, without really thinking about what customers need and want from them? Megan Neale reports

Just implementing web-chat, self-service, or mobile app solutions is not a guarantee that you’ve made things easier or simpler for the customer. Adding more channels to increase choice without a clear understanding of why customers choose a particular channel is a common service pitfall. A big bug bear of mine is the number of mobile apps out there designed to help the customer help themselves but simply don’t support effective service. Try it – after going through the pain of logging, downloading and registering the app, click the “contact us” button. I will bet you are routed out of the app and back to the general website (probably not mobile optimised), making you start the process all over again. What is the benefit of such a service based on poor, disjointed thinking that creates nothing but significant costs and unnecessary volumes. So then, how do you go about designing am effective Digital Customer Engagement solution? I’d say, right from the start, using the following 3 steps as guidance:

STEP 1 – Decide the level of service you wish to provide and future proof it. This will be invariably linked to your customer profile, their expectations from your business, your brand image etc. There are 4 key categories to keep in mind and my diagram explains it better: • Pre-emptive service • Self Service • Assisted Service • Traditional customer service


STEP 2: Get under the skin of your customers’ digital behaviour patterns. A lot of this is common sense, as we all behave in reasonably similar ways. The cleverness comes from applying those typical behaviour patterns to your customer engagement model - essentially making your digital customer strategy centred around customer behaviour rather than on assumptions which force use of specific channels. The tricky part here is that consumer behaviours are not linear or consistent. Almost every contact scenario presents a different set of criteria which influence how consumers choose to communicate with a brand, at that point in time. And not all those criteria are within the realm of control of the organisation. I have devised a methodology to assist our understanding of those controllable and uncontrollable contact scenarios. Firstly, identify the trigger. All customer contact starts with a trigger of some sort, 3 key ones being : •

Trigger initiated by the business ( eg. marketing, promotion, change in service terms and conditions)

Trigger initiated by the business or the customer (eg. a break-down in the service or product due to failure or user error)

Trigger initiated by the customer (eg. change of mind or circumstances e.g. moving home, bank etc)

Once the trigger for service is defined, understand the key influencers which drive a consumer's decision about which channel they will choose to contact you on. This step in the process helps you understand the thought process your customers go through to decide how to act when they need to interact with your business.


For me digital customer engagement is a science. Yes, a SCIENCE. I’m not talking about the much documented links between behavioural science and customer experience (focusing on engagement, language used, empathy etc.) Rather, I’m interested in unravelling consumer behaviour when provided access to a wide variety of contact channels and sources of information – and how those behaviours inadvertently impact your digital customer management strategies.


commercial feature


Megan Neale is Executive Director for Transformation and Operations at HGS Europe www.teamhgs.com

Channel the trigger is received on – if the trigger is initiated by the organisation then this will influence in part the channel the customer uses to act. This is not a given though and the next 7 criteria are important to consider.

Nature of query – The inherent nature of query influences the way the customer chooses to contact the company. These could include the following considerations: - Is it sensitive to me personally or someone else? E.g. health related (I require the privacy afforded by the contact channel to discuss this with the company) - Is it personal? (information that I would like protected) - Is it a general query? (I would happily discuss this in an open environment)

Location - The location of the customer at the time of the trigger is a significant influencing factor in determining the communication channel. Is the customer alone? With friends or business associates? Or in a public place? At home? At work? In a car? The organisation has limited control of the location of the customer but should consider this in light of the likely nature of the query.

Urgency – The time sensitivity of the query has a significant impact on how a customer behaves. If an issue needs to be dealt with immediately, the customer will choose the route they perceive to have the quickest resolution time. The business has absolute control over this, as it should be fully aware of the query types that require urgent attention and should promote the best channel for the customer to use.

Device Access – The customer’s course of action will also be determined by the device access they have available at the location (landline phone, smartphone, PC/tablet/laptop or even Smart TV)

Channels Available – The customer’s course of action will also be determined by the channels made available to them by the organisation and how well accessible they are.

Past Experience – Businesses should not underestimate the impact of past experience with a channel and its influence on future behaviour. A poor web chat experience can put a customer off web chat for a long time. Whilst you cannot control what other companies do, it is imperative that you don’t disincentives customers from using your preferred channels due to poor execution

Personal Preference – And lastly, customers quite simply will choose to act based on what they like to do. It’s that simple. Whilst you can’t necessarily influence personal preference you can educate customers on alternatives methods of contact which in time may change personal preferences.

I hope you see from this that almost every customer contact situation and scenario could be different and the accessibility of new information sources and channels only increases the complexity. That leads us to Step 3.


Step 3: Control the controllable Don’t worry about the aspects you will never control, but focus on the areas you can influence. Analyse those controllable aspects of the customer decision making process and start to build your digital strategy around those. Consequently you are designing solutions borne out of an understanding of customer behaviour and circumstances, offering a range of solutions which match those behaviours.

To sum up, the aim of any customer engagement strategy is to address the reasons why, when and how customers choose to contact you. This should be no different when considering a digital engagement strategy. The introduction of digital into the channel mix has simply meant that customers have more avenues to reach you. The significance of understanding what drives usage of these contact avenues is critical when designing your engagement tools. Finally, some companies view digital and traditional customer service touch points as two disparate sets. It is important that these two are interlinked - for the sake of delivering a seamless, multi-channel service and for facilitating the creation of a ‘single view of the service’ for the agent. To ignore this, would mean rendering useless all the efforts to understand and influence customer behaviour in this increasingly digital age.




Clicktools is the leading provider of premium, Cloudbased survey software for businesses. The company lives by its brand promise to help customers better understand and serve their customers. Since 2001, the Clicktools solution has enabled organizations to improve customer experience by collecting, centralizing, and acting on customer feedback, leveraging the power of CRM. Notably, Clicktools was the first survey provider to

integrate with Salesforce™ and was an original member of the AppExchange®. The company is privately held with headquarters on the South Coast of England and a USbased office in Phoenix, Arizona. More info at www.clicktools.com.

Contact details: sales@clicktools.com communications@clickt ools.com www.clicktools.com

Clicktools Ltd. 7 Branksome Park House Bourne Valley Road Poole BH12 1ED. UK.

Clicktools Inc. 1661 East Camelback Road Suite 235, Phoenix Arizona 85016, USA.

Main: 01202 761822 Sales: 0800 0432587 Fax: 0800 471 5273

Main: 1-800-774-4065 Sales: 1-800-774-4065 Fax: 1-800-767-2070


Confirmit enables organisations to develop and implement Voice of the Customer, Employee Engagement and Market Research programmes that deliver insight and drive business change. Confirmit’s clients create multi-channel, multi-lingual feedback and research programmes that engage customers, empower employees, deliver a compelling respondent experience, and provide high Return on Investment. Confirmit’s customer

engagement model provides the power to listen to the Voice of the Customer, integrate it with financial and operational data to generate powerful insight, and take action that will deliver effective business change and create competitive advantage. Confirmit has 350 employees and is headquartered in Oslo, with offices around the world. Contact details: Joe Lenny Joe.lenny@confirmit.com +44 (0)20 3053 9376 www.confirmit.com

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Ember is a customer management consultancy focused on helping clients maximise the commercial value of their customer engagement activities by identifying and exploiting opportunities for cost reduction, revenue enhancement and improved customer worth. Our approach is unashamedly financial. In every consulting project, we will identify not

only how to make your business better, but how much you stand to gain by doing so. Our services span customer management strategy, operations consulting, outsourcing procurement, contracting and mediation, innovative deployment of analytics services and increasingly the strategy and deployment of digital channels into the mix. We would be pleased to understand your challenges and explain how we can help. Contact details: Alastair Murphy info@emberservices.com 0207 871 9797 www.emberservices.com


Interactive Intelligence is a global provider of contact centre, unified communications, and business process automation software and services designed to improve the customer experience. The company’s solutions, which can be deployed via the cloud or on-premises, are ideal for industries such as financial services, insurance, outsourcers, collections and utilities. The company’s standardsbased all-in-one communications software suite was designed to eliminate the cost and complexity of multi-point

systems. Founded in 1994 and backed by more than 5,000 customers worldwide, Interactive Intelligence is an experienced leader in delivering customer value through its on-premise or cloud-based Communications as a Service (CaaS) solutions, both of which include software, hardware, consulting, support, education and implementation. At Interactive Intelligence, it’s what we do. Contact details: Jamie Salmon Jamie.salmon@inin.com 01753 418852 www.inin.com


QuestBack online surveys and managed feedback solutions empower companies to make smarter decisions, transform customer and employee experience and get ahead of

the market. Contact details: Tel.: 0207 403 3900 post.uk@questback.com www.questback.com/uk

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LiveOps is the global leader in cloud contact centre and customer service solutions. More than 350 companies around the world, including Salesforce.com, Symantec, Royal Mail Group and Neopost, trust LiveOps’ technology to enable effective multichannel, social and mobile interactions with their customers. LiveOps' awardwinning platform has processed more than 1 Billion minutes of customer interactions and managed operations for the largest USbased cloud contact centre of

20,000 home-based, independent agents. Headquartered in Redwood City, California with European regional headquarters in London, LiveOps has more than 10 years of cloud experience LiveOps is the partner of choice for companies wanting to migrate to the cloud. Contact details: Ann Ruckstuhl, Chief Marketing Officer info@liveops.com +44 (0)20 3006 8280 www.liveops.com


Mindpearl is a BPO specialist focusing on international, high quality contact centre operations. Mindpearl was recognised as the ‘Outsourcing Contact Centre Provider of the Year 2013’ at the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) Awards in the UK. With an emphasis on inbound, multichannel customer support, Mindpearl supports global brands in the aviation, leisure, telecommunications, retail and weight management industries in English and 20+ languages. With our highly skilled, motivated multilingual workforce and our strategically located ‘Follow

ADVERTISE To advertise here contact Nick Rust • T: 01932 506 301 E: nick@engagecustomer.com


the Sun’ locations, in Brisbane, Barcelona, Cape Town and Suva, Fiji, we have the know-how, experience and resources to maximise business performance and profitability. Contact details: South Africa Candace Laubscher Candace.laubscher@mindpe arl.com T: +27 (0) 21 440 6707 T: +27 (0)79 514 7006 UK Alan Graham alan.graham@mindpearl.com T: +44(0)7780 115 042 www. mindpearl.com

Medallia is a leading customer experience management (CEM) SaaS company. Founded in 2001, the company is trusted by some of the world’s top brands — including Verizon, Macy’s, Sephora, Honeywell, Wells Fargo, Sony, Four Seasons, Sodexo, and Best Western — to create experiences that customers love. Medallia enables companies to capture customer feedback across a

multitude of channels and touchpoints (such as online, social media, mobile, and contact centers), understand it in real-time, and drive action everywhere — from the C-suite to the frontline. Contact details: Medallia UK 1 Pemberton Row, London EC4A 3BG, UK 44 203 1310 200 Sales: 1 844 238 37 67 www.medallia.com


Nunwood helps businesses create consistently brilliant customer experiences. Our approach is uniquely ‘fullservice’. This means we join up customer strategy, experience measurement, feedback technology and frontline training. By connecting the dots, our clients delight their customers more frequently and achieve their commercial goals more easily. To create brilliant results, we work hard to understand what ‘brilliant’

means. Our Customer Experience Excellence Centre is the world’s largest customer experience research centre. Its work ensures every Nunwood client is connected to the cutting-edge of international experience design and best practice. Contact details: Tim Knight timknight@nunwood.com 0845 3720101 www.nunwood.com


Pitney Bowes, a global technology company, powers billions of physical and digital transactions in the connected and borderless world of commerce. We enable data-driven marketing, parcel shipping & logistics, and statements, invoices & payments through our data management & engagement software, location intelligence offerings, and shipping & mailing solutions .

Helping clients achieve their greatest commerce potential are more than 16,000 passionate employees around the world, our relentless pursuit of innovation with over 2,300 active patents, and our focus on clients, who are at the centre of all that we do – from small businesses to 90% of the Fortune 500. Contact details: Mr. Raj Madabushi E: Raj.Madabushi@pb.com T: +44(0) 1491 416835 www.pitneybowes.com/us



Presentations Customer Engagement in Telcos/Utilities Forum 23 OCTOBER, 2014 Keynote: Preparing the Plan – Important Considerations for your Customer Management in 2015 and Beyond Mike Havard, Director, Ember Services Drawing on experience and perspectives from Ember’s strategy and operational programmes across energy, water and telecoms, as well as wider industry references, Mike will aim to inform your planning and thinking for how customer management will need to evolve for organisations to stay relevant and competitive. From key trends in digital customer engagement through to the practical aspects of operational performance and MI, the session will provide guidance for your investment and planning priorities over the next few years. This will include: • Understanding the ‘value of value’ and how this should be the key focus • The danger of dogmatism in data and digital planning • Assessing the relevance of regulation • The rise of transformative outsourcing, the myths and the principles for success.

2014 Trends in Utilities & Telecoms Customer Experience Stephen Harwood, Client Services Director, Nunwood Maria Slaymaker, Client Services Director, Nunwood Since 2010, Nunwood's Customer Experience Excellence Centre has studied over 800 of the world's leading customer facing brands across a multitude of industries. This October, the fifth annual review of the UK market is released, providing one of the most comprehensive crosssector evaluations of best practice. Exclusively for the UK telecommunications and utilities sectors, this paper reveals the key characteristics that determine success - The Six Pillars of Customer Excellence. These pillars provide the universal principles that great brands weave into every part of their experience. With similarities in operating models, both the telecommunications and utilities sectors face a number of common challenges in customer experience. Adopting external best practice and challenging industry norms is essential for any brand genuinely seeking to differentiate on the customer.

Making Mobile Better for Customers Danny Dixon, Director of Customer Strategy, Three Three’s Director of Customer Strategy, Danny Dixon, will set out how the mobile operator is putting the customer at the heart of its business and how this influences everything from Three’s network strategy to its approach to pricing and customer care.

How Did They do That? Sue Forgie, Territory Manager, Interactive Intelligence Customer delight, reducing Customer Complaints, unhappy customer broadcasts going viral through social media… are all hot topics in the Telco and Utility industry. If we keep doing the same thing over and over again can we really expect a different result? Sue Forgie takes a fresh approach and discusses some exciting ideas that are practical, realistic

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The Telco and Utility sectors are both facing a number of challenges when it comes to engaging customers across channels, with both sectors consistently scoring low across a raft of respected customer satisfaction surveys.


and simple to adopt. One organisation has done that and employee productivity has increased by 25%, another has decreased processing time by 83% - improving customer satisfaction – with no increase in headcount.

Relationships – Can We Talk? Graham Wright, Account Executive, Aspect A look at the impact of communication on customer experience, the evolution of customer conversation and the creation of meaningful customer relationships. A step on the journey from Service Provider to Lifestyle Partner.

Orchestrating the Social Customer Experience Ben Kay, Former Customer Service Director, EE Over the last few years many organisations have taken (often tentative) steps into the world of Social Media (and all the challenges it brings). It is often the case that a single department takes up ‘ownership’ of social, but it lifts the lid on the organisations customer experience. It’s time to start thinking about how we expose more of the organisation to social and reap the benefits it can bring. In this session Ben will share his vision for the joined up social customer experience, as well as some practical examples and tips from his time at EE.

Telco Initiatives to Improve their Customers’ Experience Clare McCarthy, Practice Leader, Telco IT, Ovum Telcos need to improve the quality of their service delivery and service support. Competitive advantage is transient; products and services are easily copied, and globalization and the Internet have made it easier than ever for new entrants to emerge and disrupt old business models. Meanwhile customer behaviors and expectations have been shaped by the ubiquity of smartphones and social networks, giving individuals a louder voice that they are not afraid to exercise, as well as greater reach and choice. Telcos are therefore reviewing their operational and business support systems, and their business processes in an effort to improve their product design, development and delivery, as well as the way they handle faults and failures, and deal with their customers on a daily basis.

Partner-led Transformation at npower Ed Tann, Managing Director, Semita Ltd Rob Sawle, Partner Development Manager, npower Rob and Ed will talk through the ongoing transformation work at npower where a multipartner model has been put in place to drive radical performance improvement.

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Essentially, building the optimum omnichannel experience within your customer service department has to start by putting the customer at the heart of the operation, and then build the technology around this. For many years, it was entirely the opposite

GET READY FOR THE INTERNET OF THINGS WITH AN OMNICHANNEL STRATEGY The Internet of Things (IoT) is still a fledgling concept says Dave Ogden, but it is one that could make all previous customer service initiatives redundant worldwide

Although some vertical markets, such as utilities, media and automotive, have had a head start in IoT – that is, the mass of individual objects or devices connected via the internet – we are


just at the beginning of its role in our everyday lives. Analyst Gartner indicates that the IoT (excluding PCs, tablets and smartphones) will grow to 26 billion installed units globally by 2020. Since the overarching premise behind IoT is that everyday objects, from refrigerators to watches, have network connectivity, enabling individuals and organisations to send and receive data through a variety of platforms. This has an impact on many industries, and none more so than in customer service.


To make sure that this doesn’t happen, the question that contact centres need to ask themselves is, “how do we embrace the Internet of Things in order to make sure we are providing customers with a complete and satisfactory customer experience?”



“The IoT is here to stay, and as consumer technologies continue to develop, it is going to become a more relevant and influential concept. However this is not something that the customer service industry needs to fear, in fact it is something that should be welcomed with open arms”

A different breed Today’s consumer is a different breed and now demands a lot more when it comes to how they interact with the companies that they buy from. New technologies and the busy lifestyles people now lead mean that they expect a satisfactory service that quickly and effectively resolves their query – whenever and wherever they are. All of this boils down to the changing role of the customer service department within the business. There are four areas of customer expectation that are placing pressure on the contact centre; they now expect you to: • Know them: Receive a personalised customer experience where your contact centre knows who they are, their details, and what their previous issues have been in the past • Show them you know them: Receive targeted, timely notifications to show that you are aware of their history with your business and can demonstrate that you’re aware of their previous interactions and how they went • Enable them: Be able to interact with your business over a variety of platforms, whenever and wherever they is • Value them: Make sure that they are receiving the best service possible These demands that are now facing the industry must be met by contact centres, because if your business cannot provide customers with what they need, they will simply move on to another provider who can. The rise of the IoT has only driven a greater need for omnichannel customer strategies, a concept that began in the retail industry, but is increasingly being regarded as the way that customer service is going in all vertical sectors.

Same puzzle – different pieces When we compare the capabilities of an omnichannel strategy and the IoT, we can see that both of these are different pieces of the same puzzle. As technologies continue to grow, customers are going to expect a more simplistic and unified experience when dealing with customer service, and the unified simplicity of an omnichannel strategy can provide this for them, meaning customers are kept happy through receiving an optimum and entirely satisfactory service, while businesses are able to run more efficiently and retain loyal customers. An omnichannel strategy is entirely focused on delivering quick and simple solutions to customer queries, without them having to

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Dave Ogden is Contact Centre and Customer Experience Consultant, Aspect Software


disrupt their day in order to get them. If a customer is away from home and they find that they have an issue, they can simply Tweet, text, call, or go online in order to contact the provider to discuss this with them – or even better, solve it for themselves without engaging a customer service agent. Then, if they want to continue the conversation later and on a different platform, or even with a human expert in the contact centre, they can do this without having to start from scratch because all the data and information is kept from the previous interaction. However, there are a few questions that are raised. How do you best implement an omnichannel strategy so that it benefits both your business and the customer? Is it a huge technology investment? Will it replace the need for larger agent teams? Will I need to re-train my agents to fill a new kind of role? Essentially, building the optimum omnichannel experience within your customer service department has to start by putting the customer at the heart of the operation, and then build the technology around this. For many years, it was entirely the opposite, but customers are now fighting back. For instance, a business may have the best technology available and is able to implement an omnichannel system that is easily accessible to its customers. However, if agents are not capable of interacting with customers and unable to offer them the service they need, customers will simply jump ship to another provider who can. The IoT is here to stay, and as consumer technologies continue to develop, it is going to become a more relevant and influential concept. However this is not something that the customer service industry needs to fear, in fact it is something that should be welcomed with open arms. It is within a contact centre’s capability to harness the idea of the IoT to offer its customers a truly connected experience, and an omnichannel strategy that provides customer with a connected experience while also providing them with the care and attention that they need will do just that. It is important that contact centres realise that omnichannel is not just beneficial to customers, it will help also help businesses thrive both efficiently and financially, it is a win-win situation and those who don’t embrace it run the risk of being left behind by their competitors, so be prepared because the future is here.

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Events for 2015


Evolution of Voice of the Customer Directors Forum

16 APRIL 2015


Evolution of Voice of the Customer Directors Forum - 24th February 2015, London

Employee Engagement Summit - 16th April 2015, London Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, London

Blue Fin Conference Venue, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU

26th March Customer Engagement in the Retail Sector Directors Forum

24th September Customer Engagement Transformation Directors Forum

21st May Customer Engagement in Financial Services Directors Forum

22nd October Digital Customer Directors Forum

25th June Social Customer Engagement Directors Forum

25-26 November Customer Engagement Summit

16th July Big Data and Analytics Directors Forum

TBC Outsourcing Customer Services Summit

For more information please contact: Nick Rust nick@engagecustomer.com T: 01932 506301 M: 07968 416007

Engage now at: www.engagecustomer.com @engagecustomer

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