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Personalisation should be harnessed for better customer communication in 2022

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Paul Adams, Senior Director at cloud communications platform Twilio, has shared his 2022 predictions, drawing on observations in consumer behaviour and customer engagement over the pandemic…

  1. The increased use of first-party data to understand customers from small businesses

“Historically, Netflix and Amazon have dominated the practice of personalisation by making use of first party data, but this will be increasingly used by a wider array of businesses too. The emergence of customer data platforms has made it easier for businesses to harness this data, enabling them to replicate these same levels of personalisation for themselves. Customers now expect this personalised experience, and as more companies begin to rethink their approach to customer experience and update their communication methods, we’ll see a levelling out across businesses of all sizes.

All businesses are going to need to understand all their customer touch points, journeys and profile to the same extent in the long run. Otherwise, consumers’ relationships with your business will be generic, not personalised, and ultimately the consumer will gravitate towards the competition.  So regardless of whether you’re a broadband provider, a grocery retailer, or a holiday booking company, you’ve got to prove that the way you’re engaging with customers and the experience you’re delivering is the best.”

2. The mass digital transformation of small businesses in the B2C market 

“Digital transformation was at the forefront of business conversations before the pandemic, but the sudden need to convert businesses to a digital model overnight significantly sped up the process — by as much as 6 years for many. Businesses are now coming to the end of their natural tech refresh cycles and are accepting that digital transformation is imperative for survival in the market. While large businesses are more likely to have made this jump already, smaller organisations, which have tighter resources and more restrictive budgets by nature, have been slower to make the transition. Many small businesses simply didn’t have the resources to completely remodel during the pandemic, so instead focused on making smaller adjustments for survival. Now, these SMBs, which account  for around 99.2% of businesses in the UK, will be the ones leading this technology innovation and investing in digital transformation for the longer-term. As a result, the level of digital innovation we see from SMBs will be on a level akin to that seen from entrepreneurs in the 1980s.

“Beyond that you’re going to see a lot of industries adopting technology to support better customer engagement. We’re already seeing this in the UK’s mature market, with industries like healthcare, utilities, even buying and selling cars, increasingly moving to a more digital model. Ultimately, their product hasn’t changed but the way they interact with consumers has evolved with apps, chat bots, SMS and WhatsApp for reminders, conversations and alerts. Big brands like Uber and AirBnB have mastered this technique, and innovative start-ups are integrating these lessons into their business models. However, the SMBs that got through the pandemic with limited and underdeveloped digital migrations will now be adjusting their models and their communication methods to meet this expectation.  We’re going to see some very fast-growing companies in this space, as a pressure to differentiate mounts and the ones who engage well, with a great digital service, will be the one to own the transaction.

3. Hybrid lifestyles will be consolidated in the next year, and we expect to see an increased reliance on digital communications for older demographics remote over 30s. 

“The move from pandemic to endemic is an important shift and will have a notable impact on customer engagement. This change will be felt as we experience more new variants and subsequent periods of re-socialisation – and consumer behaviour will be driven by these patterns  as we learn to live with the disease. From this we’ll see three main camps emerge: those who want to return to how things were, those who embrace a hybrid lifestyle and others who adopt a purely remote way of living.”

“Age is a large determining factor driving this changing consumer behaviour. In many cases, it’s younger people who want to return to cities for that socialisation they’ve missed out on this past year, whilst slightly older groups are feeling the benefits of hybrid or remote working more as they have more flexibility to manoeuvre their working lives around families and other commitments. These two groups will be further consolidated in this next phase of the pandemic. Hybrid lifestyles will be solidified with new, flexible commuting patterns while remote lifestyles will become more normalised as families move out of cities and become full-time work-from-home employees.

Younger demographics have historically driven digital adoption. If you look at social media, for example, it’s the 18-35 year olds that make up 80% of users in the UK.  Yet while this age group will continue to lead the charge in embracing newer inventions, we’ll see older demographics start to adapt more to the everyday use of technology to support increasingly hybrid lifestyles. From here, we’ll see greater integration of technologies like digital communications tools to facilitate these lifestyles, so people can work more flexibly and efficiently in the way they choose. Overall, this will increase the prevalence of technology in all of our communities.

4. Business tech innovation decisions will be made based on making businesses ‘future-proof’ rather than just price. 

“The pandemic has highlighted two things for businesses when it comes to technology. First is the importance of having multiple communication channels to alleviate the risk of disruption for customers, and second is the need to invest in technology that will safe-guard businesses for the future. No one could have predicted the pandemic and its effects, but for businesses, it quickly became apparent that those who were forward leaning with their technology footprint were able to make the necessary adjustments to survive. Those who weren’t struggled, and many sadly didn’t make it.  I think this idea of making businesses ‘future proof’ has really taken root and will influence our investment decisions and priorities moving forward. Thinking about long-term solutions that can weather storms will become the way we decide on investment, more so than just considering price. This is also relevant when thinking about sustainability and climate change.

“Something else to consider here is the impact of the “Great Resignation” when it comes to future-proofing businesses. The relationship between organisations and their staff has changed for the long term, and employers are now having to ask themselves how they attract and maintain essential workforce when one in four employees are re-evaluating their careers. Investing in technologies that enable flexibility and open communication with employees and customers is no longer just an IT project — it’s about making fundamental changes to the business model to ensure survival and growth. Those who deploy the tools of digital transformation will be in a far greater position for the next uncertain wave arrives. This is what we mean when we say ‘future-proofing’.”

Movers & shakers: Talkwalker’s top 10 brands of 2021

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2021 flashed by, and brands across the globe kept the pedal to the metal to stay one step ahead of a relentless year. COVID restrictions eased and then returned, competition in the digital realm was fiercer than ever, and consumer preferences changed in the blink of an eye.

However, there were several brands that excelled against all odds, and these are the brands to draw inspiration from as we journey through 2022.

Click here to see Talkwalker’s top 10 brands of 2021.

DOWNLOAD: The future of workforce engagement in the contact centre

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By Talkdesk

This year, as employers and employees navigate a work environment that is anything but “business as usual,” leaders in every area are discovering more questions than clear answers. And the contact centre is no exception.

While many uncertainties remain in determining the future of workforce engagement, it is safe to expect that those organizations prioritizing employee experience have much to gain, both in bottom-line results and an enhanced CX.

What you’ll learn:

    • Which workforce model will dominate in the post-pandemic world.
    • What the future holds for contact centre engagement and Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) tools.
    • What role collaboration will play in the contact centre between now and 2025.


EvaluAgent and Puzzel form strategic alliance to strengthen growth and support shared product visions

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Puzzel, the leading European provider of cloud contact centre solutions, has announced the signing of a new strategic alliance with EvaluAgent, a leading Quality Assurance and Performance Management platform.

As a result of the alliance, EvaluAgent’s technology will be integrated into the Puzzel’s Cloud based Customer Service Platform, designed to directly address some of the biggest workforce engagement and optimisation challenges contact centres face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

WHITE PAPER: Transform Customer Service with Next-Gen Knowledge

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By eGain

Over 5,000 consumers told us in a survey that the biggest hurdles to good customer experience are: “contact center agents are not knowledgeable,” “different agents give different answers,” and “I can’t find answers on the company website.”

At the same time, customer service contact center agents confessed that “finding the right answers” and “answer to different questions vary in different systems” posed the biggest hurdles in providing good customer service when the customer was on the line.

The reason for both experiences is the same: Legacy knowledge management (KM) systems that are failing to deliver answers and knowledge silos that create chaos for the business and the customer. The solution is also the same: Next-gen knowledge.

What are the characteristics of next-gen knowledge? How are Global 1000 innovators leveraging next-gen knowledge to transform customer service? What has been the payoff for them and their customers? How can you get going with next-gen knowledge? Know in this white paper.

Do you know what’s missing from your CX strategy?

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By Genesys

Our team here at Genesys have been hard at work creating a digital consultancy solution focused on Omnichannel Contact Centre.  This is in the form of an online self-assessment that will enable you to benchmark against industry standards, identify relevant use cases, and define your CX strategy roadmap.  We’d like to invite you to take advantage of this digital consultancy.

This online self-assessment should take just 5 minutes to complete. Our system will then generate a bespoke report for you which we can walk through. You can also share this invitation with other contacts within your business to complete the assessment and we will correlate the results.

Your report will show anonymously benchmarked results, an assessment of your strengths and also a specific action plan to show you the fastest path to an optimised position.

Just click here to complete your self-assessment and receive your report today!

WHITE PAPER: Video in the contact center – How to future-proof your CX

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By Vonage

Putting your customers first by serving them on their channel of choice can be challenging and complex for both your business and agents. Adding video to the mix can take that to the next level.

Adrian Swinscoe, best-selling author and Forbes contributor, outlines these challenges and provides industry-specific use cases in his new whitepaper: Video in the Contact Center – How to Future-Proof Your CX.

Download to read how video can take your CX into the future.


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VeriCall is a 100% UK-based call centre that has not only won several awards for delivering exactly the kind of Customer Care that their customers require and deserve but also one that seeks to constantly evolve and improve its offering.

One example is the unique Payments in Social Media solution that allows team members to take totally secure PCI Compliant payments across all social media channels meaning that all business can be conducted on the customer’s platform of choice. Staying consistent throughout the process alleviates a huge source of frustration for the customer and making the process simpler makes doing business simpler too!

VeriCall has assembled a top quality group of ‘Customer Champions’ so that, no matter what business they are representing, their clients know that valued customers always receive the highest  possible standard of service across a wide range of platforms. VeriCall serves businesses through voice, SMS, email, live chat and social media so that no vital conversation is left unresolved – 24/7 and all year round.

The clients that have so far made use of VeriCall’s services are varied across a number of different sectors. They are able to handle enquires on topics including directory enquiries pay TV, financial advisors, travel & tourism, catering, service desk, telecoms, medical insurance and  housing repairs to just name a few! This shows the incredible range that the team is able to handle.

Whatever your industry or contact centre requirements VeriCall can help YOU so why not see why they have just been voted best Contact Center in the recent 2021 Contact Center World Awards by contacting us via our website on www.vericallsolutions.com or direct to VeriCall’s CEO adam.taylor@vericallsolutions.com.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: 8×8 Frontdesk for receptionists

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By EveryCloud

8×8 Frontdesk is a tailored experience that delivers efficiency and productivity for receptionists and operators handling high call volumes. Providing personalised call handling, tailored user experience and a software-based solution means businesses can easily automate a flexible solution that eliminates the need for costly multi-vendor solutions.

Integrating with your wider 8×8 XCaaS integrated communications solution, 8×8 Frontdesk allows you to extend the receptionist role to any user at any time[1] by using the 8×8 Work for Desktop application and without the need for any additional deployment software. Make use of a UI specifically tailored for Receptionists and combine with Presence Sync for Microsoft Teams to allow your 8×8 users to view presence status of all Teams users at any time.

Take a look at this video to see how Frontdesk could enhance the receptionist role within your business.

[1] Users require an X Series X4 licence to be able to take over the receptionist role.

Using personalisation to support your vulnerable customers

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This article was originally published in The Good CX Guide, an e-book on the topic of caller experience best practice. To download the guide, packed with practical advice for contact centre professionals, please click here. 

A personalised caller experience allows customers to interact with you in a way that suits them, that allows them to feel unique and special, in a way that’s specific to their needs. This is even more important when those needs are more complex. Considering your more vulnerable callers, how are their needs met? Are they afforded the same opportunity and treatment as all your callers, or are they met with a more dedicated approach appropriate to their specific need?

Ofcom’s ‘Guide to Treating Vulnerable Customers Fairly’ says: “We want vulnerable people to receive a high level of customer care to help them to manage their communications services effectively”. The rules to support this came into place in October 2018 making fair treatment of vulnerable customers a legal requirement, and failure comes with a hefty price tag (Ofcom 2019) costing some businesses millions of pounds.

When you consider improving your customer service for vulnerable or priority callers, it’s important to show that you’ve considered their additional needs, and that you recognise them as the individuals that they are. It’s important to give the customer the feeling that they’re in control, almost as if you’ve built your business around them. After all: “You can tell the customer they’re always right, but it’s so much better to show them they are.” (Playvox, 2020).

While most callers encounter a generalised approach when reaching out via your telephony channel; offering a more personalised experience could take away the potential frustration that some of your more vulnerable callers may currently experience. By showing your callers that you understand their needs and by taking their reason for calling into account, you can make the world of difference.

For instance, a caller who uses hearing aids might appreciate a different approach to their queueing experience, whether that means adjusting the volume or simplifying the music, or even by offering them the choice to have a different queueing journey. This shows that their specific needs are being considered. By prioritising callers who have more complex needs to dedicated teams you can reduce the callers’ time in queue and allow the right teams to deal with the right queries, in the right way.

Remember, personalisation is a “powerful way to communicate empathically with your customers to tailor your business to their particular needs.” (Optimizely, 2020). By building a caller experience strategy that identifies your customers’ preferences, you can create targeted experiences that better meet their needs from the start, and this is true for all of your customers. Along with the 14.1 million disabled people in the UK, additional requirements could come from short or long-term mental health problems, changes in personal circumstances, bereavement, not to mention the effects of recent events.

The act of creating personalised caller experiences, at first, might seem quite complex, and in the wake of tightened privacy laws (i.e. the GDPR) it’s even more difficult to know the legalities of positively personalising your customers’ experiences. This is a challenging climate, contact centre managers are dealing with a huge task – how to meet all of their consumers’ needs; how to correctly manage personal data and create content, and personalised solutions in real time. Ofcom suggests the following steps as a starting point:

  • establishing and publishing policies;
  • treating vulnerable customers fairly;
  • recording information;
  • monitoring performance;
  • staff training.

This approach is also suggested in a report by Gloria Omale from the Gartner Group around the concept of personalising customer experience. She suggests that organisations should ‘refocus’ on first-party data – information the business has collected directly from their audience. This information is readily available to you in your CRM, and while linking this to API lookups in your existing telephony infrastructure may seem impossible, solutions do exist that don’t require prohibitive investment.

Live streaming services that can automatically route callers through a dedicated queue targeted to individuals, coupled with the ability to update messaging and music, live…are powerful tools.

Investing in dynamic, cloud-based technology can open a world of personalisation, allowing you to break free of static IVRs and offer a personalised experience automatically, right from the start of the customer journey.

By utilising your first-party data coupled with affordable queue personalisation, you can encourage repeat callers to deflect to other avenues of contact, like app or web-based services whilst supporting callers who you know struggle with these.

Real-time updates for individual callers give you the power to make them aware of an issue in a particular location, such as service outages in specific areas, or delays caused by accidents or road works.

By using your data effectively, you’ll be playing relevant messaging to only the affected callers. This will not only reduce frustration but increase positive abandonment at the same time. You’ll be better at meeting the needs of all your callers, avoid big fines and save costs in the short and long term. Not to mention the add on benefit of increasing customer retention. After all, “where personalisation used to be a nice option for marketing, today it is a requirement for creating a positive customer experience. By micro-segmenting customers, providing them with highly relevant content, using omnichannel data, and leveraging AI, businesses can create a positive, personalised journey for their customers.” (Clark, S 2020).

N.B. This article was originally published in The Good CX Guide, an e-book on the topic of caller experience best practice.  To download the guide, packed with practical advice for contact centre professionals, please click here. 

The author of this article is Tom King & Liz Ross.