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Customer Service

BT to add 500 jobs to meet customer service targets…

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British Telecom (BT) has declared it will add a further 500 frontline customer service positions to its
bases across the UK and Ireland.

Due to the continuing growth of the company’s BT Consumer division, contact centres in Doncaster,
Accrington, Swansea and Warrington are expected to benefit the most, and the new roles are in addition to the previously-announced target of 1,000 UK and Ireland customer service jobs by the end of March 2017.

Expanding the customer service teams will also help with BT’s commitment to answer 90 per cent of its customers’ calls in the UK and Ireland by the same date.

Libby Barr, managing director of customer care at BT Consumer, said: “We are proud to be creating these new jobs in the UK and Ireland. BT is completely changing the way we serve our customers in order to boost our service levels.

“We are going to answer 90 per cent of our customers’ calls in the UK and Ireland by the end of March, and we have been taking on great people to fill full time jobs working for BT. In fact, we will be recruiting for an extra 500 positons, which will be a dramatic increase in what we said we’d do.”

BT’s existing employees can earn a £500 bonus under a ‘Refer a Friend’ scheme if their friend’s application is successful and they complete the first six months of the role.

Manpower agency staff will also have the chance to convert their role into a permanent position with BT.

Register now for Customer Service of the Year…

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Customer Service of the Year is now open for 2018 entries! Head over to to see what the awards can offer you, including a detailed research report, personalised debriefs, and a true understanding of how your customers really feel about you. Plus, there’s an exclusive discount for Call Centre & Customer Service Summit attendees.


Contact Bob ( and quote code CCS!

Noble’s RTSA endorsed by permanent tsb to improve contact centre performance…

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Noble Systems’ Real-Time Speech Analytics (RTSA) has been adopted by the Irish banking chain, permanent tsb, in a bid to enhance all contact centre controls and further improve its customer service offering.

Noble’s Composer RTSA claims to ‘listen’ to all agent interactions and assigns an individual virtual coaching partner to provide agent feedback when needed.

Using a library of ‘user-defined phrases’, the system monitors all calls and triggers an alert when a phrase is detected or not detected on both sides of the conversation, based on the conditions defined for the campaign.

Alerts can be sent to managers via the Noble Harmony web manager interface, as well as agents using the Noble Composer agent desktop.

Alan Murphy, head of Collections at permanent tsb said: “At permanent tsb, we take customer service very seriously and we have invested heavily in technology that will support our agents to provide exceptional service and support to our clients.

“One of the key reasons we purchased Composer RTSA from Noble Systems was to complement our existing Noble technology, allowing us to identify areas of the scripted conversation not going to plan for our agents  and to proactively notify them during the call. With Composer RTSA, we can listen out for key phrases to ensure that 100 per cent of calls are in compliance and that any customer or agent issues are flagged in real time, rather than after the event”.

Colin Chave, general manager at Noble Systems EMEA added: “We are delighted that permanent tsb have invested in Composer RTSA, and we are looking forward to seeing them quickly realise their return on investment and at the same time improve their customer journey and increase agent satisfaction.

Learn more about Composer RTSA here

Inisoft: Happy Agents = Happy Customers…

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Now more than ever, people are the most important asset in the contact centre. Technology has advanced to the point that most simple issues can be resolved digitally, without an employee’s involvement. However, this means that when a customer does need to speak with an agent, issues are highly complex, and customers are often more frustrated than ever. 

Download the Aberdeen Group’s report on “Agent Desktop Optimization: Three Strategies to Maximize Agent Productivity and Customer Experience” which highlights the importance of an agent desktop optimisation programme and how this not only empowers a contact centre agent but also the organisation. 

To download the Aberdeen Report, click here

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Banking and financial services top UK customer satisfaction league…

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The banking and financial services sectors have the best levels of customer service satisfaction in the UK, according to statistics from Bright’s first ever ‘Industry Satisfaction Survey’ as part of its latest Customer Experience Report.

Based on insights gathered from more than 1.5 million post-transaction surveys in 2016, the fourth annual report considered key elements of the customer journey to make its final conclusions, including: call handler knowledge, average response time, query resolution, agent handling skill, and customer after care.

Banking was rated as best sector in the UK when it came to general customer satisfaction with 91 per cent stating they are happy with the level of service they receive; closely followed by the financial services sector at 89 per cent.

Mats Rennstam, managing director at Bright UK said: “Only a few years ago, the findings of this research would have been unthinkable. It has taken a huge amount of effort for the banking and financial services industries to turn the tide of public opinion that was so viciverous in its criticism post-2007.

“However, with the links between quality customer service and profits becoming increasingly clear, both sectors have done much to convince customers that they not only understand and care about them, but are actually doing something about it.”

Besides financial, the utility sector was rated third when it came to general customer satisfaction (87 per cent). Retail and media followed with 86 per cent and 81 per cent respectively, as well as housing (77 per cent), transport and travel (72 per cent) and the public sector coming in last with 71 per cent.

Rennstam added: “There is no silver bullet solution for achieving a world-class customer experience. However, there are things that can be done in customer service departments that do not require a lot of time or monetary investment.

“The fact is that today, most customer feedback is available verbatim via voice of the customer recordings that are fed back to staff and managers, which is having a much greater impact than traditional stats and charts, if analysed and monitored in the right way.”


Download a copy of the report here

Guest Blog, Heather Richards: The ‘crystal ball’ of customer service…

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If the US election result tells us anything, it’s that the ability to predict results is neither easy nor guaranteed. Any pollster or political commentator can now tell you that there’s a world of difference between what someone says and what they actually mean. It’s something that centre agents instinctively know to be true; customers can ask the same question in thousands of ways, sometimes skirting around the subject or simply not having the technical terms they need to address it.

Deciphering what the customer wants and resolving the query efficiently and effectively is compounded by the pressures of accessing the right information against a backdrop of having to handle an increasingly diverse range of issues, which could potentially affect almost every aspect of a customer’s experience with a business. As larger businesses use consolidated contact centres that support multiple products and services, heavier burdens fall on a fewer number of agents who, in most cases, have difficulty finding the information appropriate for each enquiry. 

Despite the best efforts – and investments – in CRM over the years, it can still make a centre agent or customer service rep feel like what they really need is a crystal ball if they’re ever going to reach customer satisfaction.

Sadly, no crystal ball exists. So to be successful in consistently delivering outstanding customer experience, contact centres need provide instant access to information by supporting the complete customer journey. In essence, giving agents the tools. 

In any customer interaction, the agent is essentially being asked to follow a three-step process:  

  1. Understand the intent and context of the inquiry to eliminate time consuming research and get to the answer quicker.
  2. Anticipate the answers needed and predict what the customer might ask next.
  3. Learn from the conversation to improve future interactions, giving better customer service and less admin. 

The certainty and consistency in customer service interactions, reducing , and satisfaction on both sides. Gartner’s ‘Knowledge Management Will Transform CRM Customer Service‘ report supports this, noting that “the use of tools such as semantic search engines tied to well-curated knowledge repositories can accelerate time to answer queries by 80 per cent” and increase customer satisfaction by 12 per cent. 

Transversal has worked with some of the largest and most customer-service focused and busiest organisations in the UK, from John Lewis to Mothercare, to the BBC, RAC and more. Transversal’s Prescience platform works in much the same way as the human mind works, to understand, then predict, and finally improve customer interactions by continually learning and improving knowledge as it goes.

Armed with CRM data and case detail, Prescience work by anticipating what agents need from the moment they begin entering text into a service request form, or by contextually understanding information in a chat or email response. Bringing in elements of artificial intelligence and cognitive knowledge management, the platform begins to process what people are asking before they have even finished their sentence. This simple but intuitive function eliminates unnecessary research, increases knowledge usage, and naturally reduces the effort for everyday agent tasks.

Independent  research has found this leads to a 28 per cent increase in customer service rep productivity and reduces call times by 40 per cent. 

But customers usually ask more than one question. It uses ‘smart links’ to mimic a person’s train of thought to identify what they are likely to ask next, enabling the agent to provide a better service and increasing first contact closures by 18 per cent, according to the same research.  


Heather Richards, CEO, joined Transversal in 2001 and has been instrumental in the company’s growth from a Cambridge technology start-up into the successful business it is today. Heather holds BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Westminster College in the US, and an M.Phil. in European Literature from the University of Cambridge.

Industry Spotlight: New original research produced by Kura and the CCA…

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Service executives are challenged on a daily basis with improving their customer service offerings. Through new, original research, Kura and the CCA asked the critical questions to understand where businesses are positioned today and their ambitions for the future.  
Our infographic displays some of the key highlights from this research. Interestingly, one in five respondents believe that their customer service advisors do not receive the correct level of training to sufficiently service customers during complex interactions. Moreover, 75% state multi-channel capabilities are an essential requirement for their organisation to succeed in the future.

Download our infographic and check out these highlights here 

Looking for a new call centre event to attend? You need the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit…

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With the next Call Centre & Customer Services Summit taking place on April 24 & 25 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted, we thought we’d give you a few reasons to book your place at the event nice and early.

Put simply, if you’re looking for a new and informative call centre and customer service focused industry event, you’ve found it.

First and foremost, the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit provides a platform for highly-targeted one-to-one meetings between industry professionals and trusted suppliers. But it also comes with a full programme of educational seminars, allowing all attendees to increase their industry knowledge and develop their skill sets while on site…

Plus, there’s full hospitality throughout, including lunches, drinks reception and an evening gala dinner, offering copious networking opportunities to build new business relationships.

But we think the enduring success of the event is best summed up by visitors who have attended previously:

“We found the Summit to be an excellent investment of our time; a pleasant and productive way to meet new customers.”

Netcall Telecom Ltd

“Fantastic event! Well organised; definitely will attend future ones.”


“Excellent Summit with genuine buyers and senior people seeing what is new for forthcoming projects; no time wasters.”


“Fully packed event with lots of food for thought. Well organised and facilitated; great event to make new connections.”

Boots UK Ltd

“Another great bunch of interested, potential customers, ready for follow-up meetings.”

Premier CX

So there you have it. More bespoke than a conference and more focused than an expo, the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit is the only event you need to attend in 2017.

The next Call Centre & Customer Services Summit takes place on April 24 & 25, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted.

For more information or to book your place, call Gayle Buckland on 01992 374063 or email

Alternatively, visit

Online billing making customers ‘disengaged’ with service providers…

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New consumer research has revealed that one in three customers are ‘disengaged’ with businesses due to the growing use of online billing.

Surveying 1,000 UK households, Echo Managed Services suggests online billing is potentially placing businesses and service providers at risk of losing touch with their customers. The outsourced centre does acknowledge the benefits to online billing, with 70 per cent of respondents preferring digital communication, and a third stating that online is the only method they use to receive bills. However, its increased prevalence has made some people ‘detached’ from what they are paying for everyday services…

  • 27 per cent of customers claim bills are the only method of communication they have with their service provider;
  • More than one in 10 state that online billing has made them less aware of what they pay each billing period;
  • 17 per cent only notice the bill amount if it is higher than they had expected;
  • Only one third of those surveyed said they read every bill in full.

Nigel Baker, managing director at Echo Managed Services said: “It’s clear that a large proportion of customers favour online billing, however this mustn’t become a reason for businesses to lose that all-important contact with their customers. As more and more customers switch to online billing, service providers must find opportunities to engage with them so that they’re not at risk of becoming invisible.”

Furthermore, the research also found that not everyone is happy with the level of communication they receive from their service providers:

  • 27 per cent would like to receive pre bill alerts to warn them of higher than usual bills;
  • One in 10 would prefer more regular contact;
  • Only nine per cent said they had received such useful alerts from their providers in the past.

Access ‘The Secrets of Better Billing’ here

TDBC to apply 8×8’s cloud-based telephony system…

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Taunton Deane Borough Council (TDBC) will introduce cloud-based technology provided by 8×8 from early December in a bid to improve the council’s staff productivity and service offering for its 140,000 local residents.  

The roll-out will give staff members access to advanced telephony features including intelligent call routing for residents to be directed to the most appropriately skilled agent first time. The new cloud system will also improve internal communications, and, as 8×8’s communications systems are based completely in the cloud, TDBC can quickly increase and decrease the number of staff working, based on demand.  

Fiona Kirkham, ICT and information manager at Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council said: “We’re always looking at how we can innovate and improve our systems to help residents in Taunton and the surrounding area. It’s important for us to use cutting edge technology to make sure we are as efficient as possible and ensure local residents receive the best possible support. The 8×8 team is really supportive, working quickly and efficiently so that we can meet our very tight launch deadlines.” 

TDBC needed a provider that could quickly replace its existing legacy system to open an additional site in early December, before rolling out to further sites early next year. In addition, 8×8’s full compliance with PCI DSS standards and acquiring accreditation under the UK government’s ‘Cyber Essentials’ scheme gave TDBC the peace of mind that its system was secure.