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Premier CX

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.

How can working from home impact your customers?

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Many employees across the country are now working from home, and have been for some time. Transitioning from office to home on the face of it seems like a straight forward task of moving hardware when in fact what we’ve learnt over the passed year is that- one of the biggest mistake’s companies have made is thinking that is actually this straight forward.

Here’s some helpful tips to optimise your home working..

  • Communication

The biggest challenge companies have faced during the pandemic is optimising and directing the flow of information. No longer can you pop over to someone’s desk, organise a quick meeting or even overhearing some cross chatter which may be pertinent to you.

Take Notes: In a situation where people may not be online but would benefit from the information, take notes, write down updates in clear documents so that you can send/e-mail or pass over to whoever takes on the next shift.

Be Present: During meetings of chatter in the office, it’s easy to drift from one conversation to another whilst working.

  • Transparency

Having a clear understanding of workflow when changes occur is vital, again this is a lot easier in an office when you’re 2 feet away from each other but understanding a clear and efficient workflow is key to taking care of your customers.

The On Call Rota System by Ctalk allows you to create templates and rotas which are simple and easy to use. The rota can be changed when needed and send out notifications to your employees to remind them of work patterns.

  • Taking care of yourself

At first, working from home appeared to give more freedom and autonomy, however it can leave some feeling isolated from their peers. Regular exercise, communication and proactiveness can help and so can looking out for your colleagues. A quick call or message can do wonders for many and keep the flow of communication working.


Kirsty Ferguson Premier CX

Q&A: Five minutes with… Kirsty Ferguson, Premier CX

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In a new regular feature, we talk to some of the leading suppliers to the call centre & customer services industry about trends, challenges and top Netflix shows.

First up is Kirsty Ferguson, Executive Assistant to the Director of Sales at Premier CX…

Tell us about your company, products and services…

Premier CX is an independent creative agency that improves the way clients across the globe interact with their customers. Specialising in contact centre touchpoints, we consult and create a great customer experience, whether that is over the phone, via video, or written communications.

What have been the biggest challenges the call centre & customer service industry has faced over the past 12 months?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen in the last 12 months is the rising volume of internal transfers which still seem to be a big issue for the industry. Even with cloud technology and a robust caller experience strategy, internal transfers are often still one of the costliest challenges to overcome.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

The biggest opportunity by far is personalisation of the customer experience. Targeted messaging and Dynamic IVR is something we will see a lot more of in 2018. The level of personalisation and first resolution success rate it offers without any agent input, will see contact centres strive to use this increasingly more.

What is the biggest priority for the centre & customer service industry in 2018?

In 2018 the biggest priority for the industry must be personalisation. Companies who can’t offer this and don’t personalise across their touchpoints will get left behind. Elements of this technology is available, no matter what the budget, but making sure it is used in the right way and for that specific organisation is what will help retain customers and cut costs.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2018?

With the rise in self-serve, apps, AI and, social and video FAQs, I think the focus this year will be on how contact centres can integrate all of these channels, seamlessly.

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

Technology wise I think Co Browsing will have its day in 2018. Increasingly cloud platform providers are including Co Browsing functionality and its use is on the way up in large organisations and is now more accessible to the SME market too.

In 2020 we’ll all be talking about…?

“Do you remember that time when our customers had to scroll through pages and pages of block text to get the answer they wanted on the FAQ Page of our website?” By 2020 let’s hope these pages are long gone! I think we will also be talking about caller prediction having a 99.9 % success rate, and across all channels!

Which person in, or associated with, the centre & customer service industry would you most like to meet?

Martin Hill-Wilson (Customer Engagement Strategist, Brainfood). He is so engaging when presenting! He is also passionate about customer engagement and thinks creatively on how to get buy in from all stakeholders at all levels.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the centre & customer service sector?

There is actual customer service ‘ping pong’ still!  About 10 years ago I worked in a call centre in the Customer Care team (by team I mean myself and one other!) and between Risk, Billing, and Customer Service there was ‘caller ping pong’. A game played daily to see who got the call with the highest number of bats between departments. We all knew this wasn’t a good thing and it was costly, yet unavoidable because the call centre was so siloed. I didn’t think in a million years that this would still be an issue in today’s contact centres. With the technology and customer centric cultures companies instil today, I had assumed it had long gone. Apparently not.

You go to the bar at the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

A large Rose Wine Spritzer.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

I’m lucky that I get to meet people who are so passionate about customer experience you can literally see it in their faces and hear it in their voices. I try and capture that and take it away with me every time I meet someone like that, because that is the money can’t buy sort of stuff that you know will take a customer to the next level with the consultancy we do at Premier CX.

And what’s the most challenging?

As well as meeting energetic, enthusiastic leaders, I also get to meet people who I lovingly refer to as the ‘Encarta Influencers’ – the people who have been put into influencer roles due to their long-standing company experience but whose ideas are akin to Encarta. A rigid encyclopaedia full of old facts that are still relevant, but need drastically updating. This is challenging because they are set in ways that don’t match what is happening in todays industry and may have dated views on Customer Service, KPI’s etc.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

You may not have control over a situation, but you do have control over your reaction. (There’s a meme in there somewhere, I think!)

Peaky Blinders or The Crown?

The Crown, obviously.

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 g.buckland@forumevents.co.uk.

Alternatively, visit www.contactcentresummit.co.uk.