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Consumers want more self-service options

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81 percent of consumers say they want more self-service options yet only 15 percent of consumers expressed a high level of satisfaction with the tools provided to them today whereas businesses believe 53 percent of consumers are very satisfied with their self-service.

That’s according to the NICE 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report, which highlights significant gaps between company and consumer perceptions of current digital- and self-service channels.

This despite 95 percent of companies reporting a major increase in self-service requests in 2021, indicating a rapid growth in consumer demand for greater speed and convenience.

The 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report was designed to compare the perspectives of businesses and consumers regarding self-service and digital channels, drawing on responses from 1320 respondents in the United States and the United Kingdom.

NICE noted that consumer expectations are increasing as digital and self-service channels proliferate and evolve, which has led to companies searching for insights into customer experience and brand loyalty. The NICE report is intended to meet that need, revealing potential blind spots among service providers and helping them improve their digital and self-service options. For example, although 36 percent of consumers say they would like to see companies make their self-service smarter, less than 11 percent of businesses are making that a priority.

More generally, the NICE report indicates that 95 percent of consumers place great importance on customer service which impacts brand loyalty. Online self-service and easy access to their preferred channels are two of the top customer service factors in their decision regarding brand loyalty. The majority of consumers (57%) surveyed said they would abandon a brand after one or two negative digital customer service interactions, yet most businesses tend to underestimate how quickly that could happen. Nonetheless, the survey does show that companies recognize the importance of current digital channels to consumers and are attempting to improve their availability. In 2022, the top digital channels companies are planning to expand significantly are chat (47%), website access (44%), and search options (42%).

Paul Jarman, NICE CXone CEO, said, “Avoiding friction is the key factor today in shaping opinions and differentiating between brands consumers love and those they feel are not worth their time. We undertook the 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience Report in order to provide companies with the consumer’s viewpoint and to help them set priorities that drive frictionless experiences. While focusing on digital-first interactions, our report underscores the importance of both agent-assisted and self-service channels, with businesses primarily wanting the ability to choose whichever option they prefer at any given time. This confirms the need for CXi–Customer Experience Interactions–a new approach that focuses on the end-to-end digital customer journey, requiring a complete customer experience platform that only NICE CXone offers.”

You can download a copy of the report is available here.

UK businesses experience up to five security incidents each year

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Attackers are seizing on vulnerabilities in hybrid working environments, creating more work – and also larger budgets – for security teams, despite organisations accelerating digital transformation projects.

The latest State of Security Report from Infblox, which surveyed 100 UK respondents in IT and cybersecurity roles in the UK as part of its global sample, discovered that the recent surge in remote work has changed the corporate landscape significantly.

In fact 64% of UK organisations have accelerated digital transformation projects in order to support remote workers since 2020. This is higher than the global (52%) average.  

  As part of this shift just under half (49%) of organisations have increased customer portal support for remote engagement and 43% have added resources to their networks and data basis. Given that over a third (34%) have close their physical offices for good, this investment may prove to be a strong strategic move.  

Cybersecurity still causing headaches   

An increased digital footprint inevitably brings increased digital risk and the reality of a hybrid workforce is causing headaches for IT teams and business leaders. The data reveals that the loss of direct security controls and network visibility has half (50%) of UK companies more concerned about data leakage than anything else. Almost as many (45%) are worried remote worker connections will come under attack.    

It appears that organisations have good reason to worry, given the report found that 61% experienced up to five security incidents in the last year. However, there is some good news: 66% report that these incidents did not result in a breach. This may be because 73% were able to detect and respond to a security incident within 24 hours.   

Of the 44% reporting a breach, insecure WiFi access (47%) was the biggest cause. The data also suggests that UK workers are continuing to fall for phishing scams. In fact 4 in 5 (82%) breaches reported in the last 12 months were caused by this attack method. Phishing usually signals the need for or failure of employee and customer security awareness training that require technological backstops  

Defense in depth   

Infoblox’s report discovered that the majority of organisations are investing heavily in security tools to protect their hybrid environments. In fact, 59% of respondents saw bigger budgets in 2021 and 64% anticipate an increase in 2022.   

Many are turning to defense-in-depth strategies, using everything from data encryption and network security to cloud access security brokers and threat intelligence services to defend their expanded attack surface. As part of this, almost half of organisations (47%) are relying on DNS (Domain Name System) to block back traffic.    

“The pandemic shutdowns over the past two years have reshaped how companies around the world operate,” said Anthony James, VP of Product Marketing at Infoblox. “Cloud-first networks and corresponding security controls went from nice-to-have features to business mainstays as organisations sent office workers to work from home. To address the spike in cyberattacks, security teams are turning to DNS security and zero trust models like SASE for a more proactive approach to protecting corporate data and remote devices.”  

The full report is available for download here.  

Technology ‘increases employee inclusion’ in hybrid work

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In a world where 60% of employees say a hybrid work model is their ideal work arrangement, only three in ten (30%) strongly agree that their organisation provides them with the necessary technology to collaborate equally and inclusively from anywhere.

That’s according to Jabra’s 2022 edition of the Hybrid Ways of Working Global Report, carried out amongst 2,800 knowledge workers across six countries worldwide to understand the employee sentiments and motivations in this hybrid working era.

The future of work is virtual-first. With hundreds of millions of people collaborating on Teams, Zoom, and other unified communications platforms every day, these digital environments are the new standard for how we connect to one another. In fact, many employees have only ever met some of their colleagues on these platforms. Because of this, it is critical that leaders do all they can to get the most out of the virtual workspace, so employees can create more human and authentic relationships with their colleagues.

Professional audio technology impacts meeting inclusivity

Jabra’s research found that users of professional audio devices reported feeling more included in virtual meetings than those using either consumer audio devices or the microphones and speakers built into their laptops. In fact, users of professional headsets globally were 11% less likely to feel left out of the conversation in virtual meetings than consumer device or built-in audio users. Similarly, professional headset users were 14% less likely to report not being able to hear what’s being said in the meeting than built-in users and 12% less likely than consumer device users.

At present, only 29% of workers are using professional audio devices. As 87% of all meetings are either fully virtual or hybrid, with only 13% happening fully in person, it’s crucial that employees are able to make the most of them with purpose-built technologies. A lack of proper technology may make relationship-building in these virtual environments more tenuous and difficult than it needs to be.

Organisations that prioritise meeting equity have higher hybrid meeting engagement

Since the start of the pandemic and alongside the rise of hybrid work, the term “meeting equity” has entered the discussion to explore how organisations can create equitable virtual environments. In a traditional meeting room, every meeting participant has a place at the table and has equal opportunity to contribute to the meeting. However, a hybrid meeting setting consists of both physical and virtual meeting participants, so true meeting equity becomes harder to achieve.

Luckily, the research finds that organisations that take active steps towards achieving greater meeting equity are likely to increase engagement in hybrid meetings. In fact, 48% of hybrid workers say that their organisation priorities meeting equity, resulting in 53% saying they’re just as engaged in hybrid meetings as face-to-face meetings. This is compared to only 34% of full-time in-office workers who say that their level of engagement in hybrid meetings matches that of face-to-face meetings; amongst in-office workers, 32% feel their organisation prioritises meeting equity. Leaders need to take decisive steps to address meeting equity, regardless of the primary type of work model their organisation practices.

Video increases inclusion and productivity in virtual environments

Roughly half of all employees (49%) consider their office to be their laptop, headset, and wherever they can get a strong internet connection. But the research found a key location-agnostic way to impact an employees’ wellbeing and productivity levels: video. Sixty-two percent of employees say they feel more included and present in meetings when everyone attending has their camera turned on.

Similarly, 53% feel they can collaborate more productively on video calls than on audio-only calls. This is likely why 68% of employees say that standardised professional video cameras would help everyone participate equally in hybrid meetings. Moving forward, leaders have an urgent need to look into the best technology to inclusively connect all employees and business partners no matter where they’re working. This will be an essential part of achieving greater meeting equity and succeeding in the hybrid future.

Holger Reisinger, SVP at Jabra, said: “The way we work has changed forever and the current state of knowledge work requires access to digital platforms and technologies to be successful. As such, leaders need to prioritise the employee experience and ensure that they can thrive in virtual meetings regardless of location. It starts with identifying technologies that will enable both in-office and remote employees to collaborate on an equal playing field, so employees can seamlessly move between these places without feeling left out, unheard, or distracted. Only then will employees truly be able to work a flexible arrangement on their own terms and have a stronger emotional connection to both their digital and physical workspace.”

To download a copy of the full research report, visit: https://www.jabra.co.uk/hybridwork/2022

A third of workers think their jobs are at risk from automation

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New research has found that one in three (37%) employees consider their current job to be at risk from automation and digital transformation.

HR software provider CIPHR has compiled a list of the occupations that are the most and least likely to be replaced by technology or machines, based on the results of a survey of more than 1,000 UK workers: www.ciphr.com/jobs-at-risk-from-automation.

Survey respondents were asked to rate the likelihood that their own occupation could become automated in the future, due to advances in smart technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and robotics.

Around a third of women (33%) and over two-fifths (43%) of men consider it likely or very likely that automation could replace their jobs. While over half (54%) of those aged 18-to-24-years-old, compared to around a quarter (27%) of over-45s, believe that their job might not exist one day.

Just because an occupation could become fully automated, however, doesn’t mean it necessarily will. A more widely accepted view is that many roles will adapt and evolve and that new roles will be created, as even more work tasks and business processes – particularly those that are more routine or repetitive – can be done efficiently by machines.

To find out how closely people’s perceptions of automation match the reality – or, rather, the likelihood – of what’s to come, CIPHR compared its survey results with a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on the probability of automation in England.

The findings show a distinct difference, for almost all occupations included in the study, between what workers think is likely to happen to their current jobs and what ONS researchers predict will happen to those jobs.

In many cases, people vastly underestimated or overestimated the likelihood of their occupation becoming automated. This disparity suggests a significant misconception about which jobs (and which tasks within them) are susceptible to automation, with many employees unaware and potentially unprepared for the changes that may lie ahead in their working lives.

Kitchen and catering assistants, cleaners, and sales and retail assistants – some of the occupations with the largest number of workers in the UK – are among the occupations to be given a ‘probability of automation’ score of over 60% in the ONS report (ie 60% or more of those jobs are at risk from automation). The people working in those roles, however, are more conservative in their estimations – rating the likelihood of their job being replaced by automation as 42%, 17% and 43% respectively.

On the opposite end of the scale, many of the jobs assessed as ‘low risk’ of automation (with a ‘probability of automation’ score of under 30%) in the ONS report, such as nurses (25%), IT directors (25%) and accountants (26%), aren’t necessarily considered so by the people doing those jobs (who rate the likelihood of automation as 32%, 55% and 64% respectively).

The perception gap (between the ONS’ probability of automation vs survey respondents’ opinions on whether their job is at risk from future automation) varies significantly by job type. On average, people working in non-desk-based, more labour-intensive roles are more likely than their desk-based counterparts to underestimate the impact of automation on their occupation in the future (69% compared to 49%). While half of workers in desk-based jobs overestimate the likelihood of their occupation becoming automated.

Similarly, a greater proportion of people working in jobs that pay over £40,000 a year are more likely to overestimate the likelihood of their occupation becoming automated than those earning under £31,285 – the UK’s average median annual salary for full-time employees (76% compared to 29%).

Yet, the majority of occupations with the highest probability of automation, according to ONS analysis, are among the lowest paid. Over 90% of the occupations in CIPHR’s study that have an ONS ‘probability of automation’ score of 50% or more pay under the UK average wage. Most (66%) also have a predominately female workforce.

Occupations most likely to underestimate their risk from automation include:

Occupation Probability of automation, according to ONS analysis Likelihood of job becoming automated (according to people doing the job)
Fork-lift truck drivers 64% 0%
Large goods vehicle drivers 62% 0%
Postal workers, mail sorters, messengers, and couriers 61% 0%
Medical secretaries 56% 0%
Cleaners and domestics 68% 17%

 

Occupations most likely to overestimate their risk from automation include:

Occupation Probability of automation, according to ONS analysis Likelihood of job becoming automated (according to people doing the job)
Financial institution managers and directors (including bank manager and insurance manager) 30% 100%
IT specialist managers (including data centre manager, IT support manager and service delivery manager) 24% 71%
Production managers and directors in manufacturing 30% 75%
Records clerks and assistants 56% 100%
Chartered and certified accountants 26% 64%

Occupations with the smallest difference (1% or less) between the two sets of results (CIPHR’s survey and the ONS’ report) include human resource managers and directors (29% of this occupational group think their job is likely to be replaced by technology or machines), IT user support technicians (27%), programmers and software development professionals (27%), restaurant and catering establishment managers and proprietors (38%), and bookkeepers, payroll managers and wages clerks (55%).

DOWNLOAD: The UK Contact Centre Decision-Makers’ Guide 2022

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The UK Contact Centre Decision-Makers’ Guide 2022 is a deep dive into the largest and most comprehensive study of the UK contact centre industry.

This report reflects a full comprehensive facts and hard data about every aspect of UK customer experience management, technology, and strategy, this report will arm you with the best tips to transform your contact centre and prepare it for the future. It identifies seven of the major pain points and issues that affect the contact centre industry and presents specific solutions that you can use to solve these challenges.

With sections on:

– Improving quality and performance,

– Maximising efficiency and agent optimisation,

– Digital, cloud, and the customer of the future,

– Outbound and proactivity,

– The customer experience,

– HR and agent management,

– And, strategic directions.

Click Here To Download

74% of brands think they’re providing good or excellent personalised experiences – consumers disagree

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Research has revealed a trust gap between UK brands and consumers – while 74% of companies state they do personalisation well, less than half of consumers (42%) agree.

Despite this, both parties agree that personalisation is key to increasing brand loyalty, with UK customers spending 43% more on their products when engagement is personalised. And while 70% of them believe that personalisation increases brand loyalty, 83% of consumers hold this view globally.

That’s according to to Twilio’s third annual State of Customer Engagement Report, which reflects findings from a survey of 3,450 business leaders and 4,500 consumers across 12 countries, including the UK.

With tech giants like Amazon and Netflix setting the benchmark for personalisation, customers now expect brands to deliver accurate, tailored customer services and experiences.

According to the survey, 70% of UK consumers believe that having personalised interactions with brands increases their chances of going back to that brand for a product or service, building positive relationships and increasing brand loyalty. This is even higher on a global level, with 83% of consumers agreeing that personalisation improves customer relationships with a brand.

Companies are in agreement on the importance of personalisation in their customer engagement strategy, as this translates into increased spend. Brands report that UK consumers spend 43% more on their products when interactions are personalised. For companies in the retail and eCommerce industry, personalisation is even more critical, with 91% of these companies rating personalisation as ‘extremely’ important for their customer engagement strategies.

Although consumers and brands agree on the importance of personalisation, consumers have a distrust of the way that brands are using their personal data. The survey reveals a trust gap: while 97% of UK businesses believe that their customers trust them to protect their data privacy, only two in five UK consumers (39%) have faith that these businesses will do so.

The results reveal that lack of transparency is the main reason customers have trouble trusting brands with their data. Findings suggest that 39% of UK consumers believe companies aren’t clear about how organisations use their data, and 40% don’t believe that businesses use only first-party consented data in their personalisation. Building strong relationships with customers, using personalisation, therefore requires businesses to address trust issues around data handling to add reassurance.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Brands need to become less reliant on third-party data. Significantly, 82% of UK companies have complete or substantial dependence on third-party data and would therefore be negatively impacted by losing access to it. With brands facing a cookieless future, first-party data will become more important to help them to understand and accommodate their customers with engagement strategies that meet expectations and needs.
  • Businesses already recognise the importance of first party data. In fact, 96% of UK companies agreed that first party customer data insights lead to a better customer experience, with nearly half (47%) strongly agreeing.
  • Companies also understand the potential value of compliantly using customer data well. Data shows that nearly all UK businesses (97%) agree that fully owning and using customer data will be their biggest growth lever over the next three years.

You can read the full report here.

REPORT DOWNLOAD: The FCA’s new Consumer Duty

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The number of customers turning to social media platforms to express their grievances reportedly tripled between 2017 and 2020

It is vital that organisations expand their use of social media channels to deliver a more effective customer experience. However, with the FCA’s new Consumer Duty regulation replacing Treating Customers Fairly, there is now an even more pressing need for UK insurers to review and improve their customer service processes and delivery.

In Davies’ latest report, The FCA’s new Consumer Duty: Unpacking the role of unstructured consumer feedback in next-gen supervisory data, Davies partnered with DataEQ to explore the implications this new regulation will have on insurers. To test the relevance of social media data in the context of market conduct reporting, Davies and DataEQ categorised social media conversation and complaints about 20 UK insurers according to the four identified outcomes in the Consumer Duty.

Download the report to find out what these businesses should be doing to avoid hefty fines from the regulator and put customer needs at the heart of their products and services.

Click Here To Download

Decoding the metaverse for digital transformation leaders

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The metaverse, a virtual world where users share experiences and interact in real-time within simulated scenarios, can reshape how companies and customers engage with products and services. However, concerns exist as new technologies necessitate hi-tech strategies and ways to establish confidence, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kiran Raj, Principal Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, said: “Digital behemoths like Meta and startups are tapping into the metaverse with technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), digital twins, blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI). At the same time, IT services vendors like Accenture and Infosys are developing tools to help enterprises enter the metaverse.”

Abhishek Paul Choudhury, Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, added: “As the metaverse is maturing quickly, this is a crucial time for digital transformation leaders to act. It can be adopted for several use cases to make business operations more personalized, improve customer engagement and increase revenues.”

GlobalData’s Innovation Explorer database highlights tech-driven innovations that are shaping the metaverse to become a reality.

Customer experience

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) unveiled MetaHealth, the world’s first metaverse customer satisfaction service center to address customer requirements in a three-dimensional (3D) space. The VR-powered service displays customers’ real faces instead of avatars and allows them to communicate with a real employee, who can handle associated questions, services, and duties.

Engineering and design

Boeing collaborated with Microsoft to leverage the metaverse to strengthen its engineering and prevent manufacturing flaws in the design and development of aircraft. It aims to unite the design, production, and operations of airline services under a single, digital manufacturing system. Boeing will equip its mechanics with Microsoft HoloLens smart wearables for better visualization of aircraft designs and parts.

Event management

US-based live event sports company B2Digital partnered with Colombia-based digital content creator Metaskins Studios to distribute its multiple B2 Fighting Series (B2FS) in browser-based platform Decentraland. Capitalizing on Metaskins’ capability to develop web 3.0 content, B2Digital aims to make B2FS one of the first combat sports brands to offer live virtual events in the metaverse.

Sales and marketing

Gucci sold a limited-edition Dionysus bag for 350,000 Robux, online game platform Roblox’s virtual currency ($4,115).  The bag was offered as part of the ‘Gucci Garden Experience,’ a partnership between Roblox and Gucci. The event was organized in the Roblox platform to catch the attention of the targeted Gen-Z demographic.

Training and development

US-based Talespin created a spatial technology platform for workplace training to improve talent development and skill mobility. It uses immersive technologies such as AR and VR to transform training environments and assist individuals in learning new skills and measuring skill capabilities. The startup’s end-users include learning content creators, learning platforms, AR & VR hardware partners, and enterprises.

Workforce Collaboration

Meta has launched the Horizon Workrooms app to offer employees virtual office space for team collaboration. The virtual meetings are accessible via laptop through video call or by using Quest 2 headsets. It gives a personalized feeling as the user can interact with employee avatars and perform office activities such as taking down notes, file sharing, and chatting in a virtual space, intended for effective team collaboration.

Choudhury concluded: “As the metaverse continues to evolve, several enterprise use cases will emerge. Digital transformation leaders, who can assess the impact of the metaverse beyond gaming trends, will be able to tap into the opportunities generated by this virtual world. However, challenges such as potential cybercrimes, safety, and data privacy concerns, slow development of underlying technologies remain in the metaverse particularly due to lack of standardization.”

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.

Consumers blame banks, retailers and social media for ‘scamdemic’

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Consumers think banks, retailers and mobile operators need to do more to protect them and their personal information from fraudsters.

That’s according to research conducted by Callsign, which says trust in these organisations is eroding fast because consumers say they are drowning in scam messages from fraudsters spoofing brand names daily.

The problem has become so pervasive that consumers don’t trust the technology, processes designed to protect them from fraudsters, and confirm identities with many adamant that users must prove beyond doubt who they are when logging in to use a platform, and that there should be an online identity system to quell the surge of scams.

Stuart Dobbie, SVP, Innovation at Callsign, said: “Our data demonstrates that consumer trust in our digital world has vanished and – rightly or wrongly brands – are being blamed. Yet the sense is that little is being actually done to purposely re-establish digital trust through complete and accurate digital identities.”

The survey of global consumers revealed that over a third (35%) of UK consumers say their trust in businesses such as banks, retailers, mobile network operators and delivery companies, has decreased due to persistent scams spoofing brand names. With UK consumers (44%) asking mobile network operators to do more to stop scammers using their platforms, and over a third (37%) asking the same of banks.

People claim to have received scams through email (76%), SMS (66%), phone (58%), messaging apps (15%) and social media (12%) in the last year. But two fifths (40%) of UK consumers don’t know where or who to report a scam message to, or simply get too many to bother (36%). Almost two thirds (60%) of UK consumers don’t trust organisations to keep their data safe; 44% of UK scam victims react with suspicion wanting to know where fraudsters got their details.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that consumers are calling on businesses to do more to keep them safe and when it comes to stopping fraud and scammers, consumers know what action they want organisations to take. More than a third (38%) of UK consumers think users should have to prove who they are when logging into a platform.

Dobbie added: “With consumers feeling the brunt of perceived inaction by organisations, it’s no surprise that they are asking for more protection. If we continue to be unable to know and trust that the person is who they say they are online, large parts of our society will stop working. Digital Trust is about the confidence we have in the technology, processes and people to secure our digital world. Digital Trust is underpinned by digital identities, and the fact that scams are running wild proves that our digital identities are well and truly broken.”