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Mobile Learnings for 2021 to Increase Customer Loyalty

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By Pinder Takhar​, Director of Marketing, mGage

2020 was a significant year for business messaging as we saw an upward trend in its usage. It quickly became an indispensable communication channel for brands to stay connected with their customers, keeping them engaged, informed and updated.

Along with an increase in two-way messaging, more businesses started to deploy mobile chat services and automation in line with consumer demands. It proved vital for enterprises to send key and relevant messages to their audience, enabling them to provide a better customer experience during the pandemic.

Taking our learnings from both business communications and consumer behaviours, we found that there were three significant areas of change that are likely to stick in 2021 and something all organisations need to think about.

  • People shopping online (no surprise here)
  • More cost-conscious consumers
  • Digital product discovery

Thinking about the changes, it raises the question what should brands consider in 2021?

  1. Being multi-channel

We know that the use of mobile messaging for one-way and two-way interaction has increased, however there are many more channels out there like Rich Messaging (RCS), WhatsApp for Business and Apple Business Chat, that brands can adopt to make themselves more available to their customers. Allowing consumers to easily reach them or engage in a two-way dialogue, its increasingly important to be where your customers are. According to Edelman, 65 percent of consumers will base their future purchasing decisions on the ways in which a brand communicates with them at this current time. This highlights that customer needs and requirements are more important than ever before.

  1. Use mobile messaging for customer service

Consumers are looking for convenient ways to engage with brands, as 69 percent[i] of consumers prefer communicating with brands over text messaging rather than traditional phone calls. Many businesses have had to adjust over the last year and adopt mobile chat services, however this is an area that is still largely underutilized for customer support. Enabling mobile messaging channels presents various routes for consumers to effortlessly connect with brands: whether it is to receive product support, request information or to resolve an issue. It empowers mobile users to easily initiate a conversation with businesses and provides a customer first approach.

  1. Consumer reach – best time to send messages

It is important to highlight that people’s routines have changed significantly and they are not the same as they were a year ago. Working patterns have changed considerably, flexible hours are more of a norm, socializing has shifted online and many of us are no longer commuting. Before the pandemic, the best times to engage were typical commuting hours and lunch times. However, recent research has shown that there are now spikes around 9am, after lunch between 2-6pm, with engagement then seeming to decrease until the following day. So, it’s important for businesses to review data and try different times if you have not already done so.

  1. Convenience and transparency

Make it simpler for your customers to engage with you, to navigate and find information. With services such as click and collect provide customers with clear instructions, as to where they can collect this from. Set expectations, if there will be delays, be open and honest and make it effortless to change appointments or delivery times. Customers today expect fast and timely responses to their enquiries and a delayed response can often be the basis for a negative review or cancelled service. A report from Forrester Research found that 63 percent of customers will leave a company after just one poor experience and almost two-thirds will wait no more than two minutes for assistance.

To learn more about the emerging new technologies and use cases for mobile messaging, watch our webinar recording to pick up some key insights.

Watch Recording

To find out more information about mGage’s Mobile Messaging solution please contact us.

[i] consumers-prefer-communicating-brands-over-text

Customer experience management market to hit $21.8bn

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The global customer experience management market is projected to reach revenue of $21.86 billion by 2027, equivalent to a CAGR of 13%.

That’s according to data from Fortune Business Insights, which cites the heightened importance of enhancing customer experience (CX) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report asserts that with millions of people worldwide confined to their homes, brands are aggressively looking for avenues to maintain visibility among their customers and cater to their changing needs.

The unusual circumstances created by the coronavirus have forced companies to engage customers in a more meaningful way. For example, the cable provider Comcast deepened its customer experience management by developing short, topical videos powered by an interactive experience for its Xfinity cable service during the pandemic.

In China, a restaurant chain started delivering ingredients for meals usually enjoyed in communal settings at people’s doorsteps, ensuring no physical contact and strengthening its relationship with loyal customers. The variety of novel ideas triggered amid the COVID-19 pandemic enabled the market to register an impressive CAGR of 11.7% in 2020.

According to the report, the value of the market was estimated to be $8.29 billion in 2019.

Furthermore, the report says the proliferation of smartphones, mobile applications, and other smart devices has triggered a massive digitization trend among businesses. Enhancing CEM through virtual platforms and online portals has become one of the core strategies adopted by companies to foster long-lasting relationships with their customers.

However, with private customer information being available online in most cases, the threat of data breaches has escalated in recent years. Hackers are targeting digital platforms to extract critical data and sell them on the black market. For example, in April 2020, over 500,000 accounts on the teleconferencing platform Zoom were breached and then sold on the dark web by cyber-criminals.

Similarly, in India in January 2020, Unacademy, the popular online education platform, experienced a massive data breach, exposing more than 20 million accounts containing customer information related to email addresses, payment history, passwords, and usernames. The constant exposure of delicate information to cyber-attacks may inhibit the customer experience management market growth.

In 2019, the North America market size stood at $2.81 billion, and the region is expected to lead the market during the forecast period due to the speedy digital transformation of businesses in the region. CXM companies across the US and Canada are actively adopting and deploying customer experience management solutions powered by advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Thus, the market in North America is foreseen to progress at an incredible pace.

Asia Pacific is strengthening its hold on the customer experience management market share as a result of the broadening presence of AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) among enterprises in India and China. In Europe, on the other hand, the increasing number of call centers is expected to propel the regional market.

Video chat for customer services sees 89% growth in UK

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Consumer preferences for the use of video calling in a customer service setting have increased by 89% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s according to data from Webhelp, which polled over six thousand consumers across the UK, France and Germany – prior to the pandemic, only 19% of British consumers had used video-calling in a customer service setting; however, since COVID-19, that number has grown substantially.

The research highlighted that 36% of consumers are now using video to interact with brands; either the same amount or more, since the pandemic started. And when asked whether they would use video calls to contact businesses after the pandemic had subsided, 34% of consumers revealed they would likely use it the same, if not more.

Other key findings from the Webhelp research, conducted by OnePoll, include:

  • Social networking and speaking to family were the most commonly adopted use cases for video-calling, both pre and post COVID-19.
  • Customers were more likely to want to use video when dealing with insurance claims, accessing hardware and technical support and when entering into high value sales and mortgage conversations.
  • 25% of British consumers said they would switch to a different brand if that brand offered video chat as an additional channel for sales and customer service.
  • Citizens between 25-34 years old, and people who have used video chat when contacting organizations, are more likely to express a preference for this channel.
  • 24% of UK consumers expect they will keep using video as much as they do now, whilst 10% predict that they will actually use it more after the pandemic.

Vincent Tachet, Group CIO of Webhelp, said: “As we go into 2021, consumer behaviours are understandably continuing to change dramatically as a direct result of the pandemic. Alongside improvements in technology, this is making video chat more accessible for consumers and more successful for brands, if used in the right context. Video chat makes full use of the capabilities of the technology devices now available to consumers and agents. The interaction itself can take many forms.

“For example, customers can share their cameras to help identify technical issues, or agents can co-browse with the user to show product features or benefits. This can help reduce overall contact time and therefore cost-to-serve or increase the opportunity for sales conversion and additional revenue – whilst also helping take the experience to the next level for brands.

“Even if it is not going to be appropriate for every customer interaction, we are seeing great success in high value sales, insurance claims, and during complex or critical customer service conversations. Similarly, for our clients who are looking for new and innovative ways to market their services, video has provided some real added value and set them apart from their competitors.”

eBOOK: Social Media Trends 2021 Global Report

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2020 has been dominated by COVID-19, forcing many brands to change the way they communicate with their customers. Social media has provided opportunities to connect with audiences in a new way, reshaping the relationship between brands and consumers. This is likely to continue in 2021 and beyond.

This free report from Talkwalker delves into the social media trends that are predicted to dominate 2021, helping you to build a robust social media strategy for the year ahead.

Download the e-book to:

  • Discover the top 10 social media trends in 2021
  • Get expert opinions on how these trends will develop over the next 12 months
  • See examples of the trends in action
  • Learn how to increase engagement with your audience
  • Get tips on how to drive your social strategy forward in 2021

To download the e-book for free, click here.

WHITE PAPER: How to launch a call deflection strategy

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Download the RingCentral white paper on how to launch a call deflection strategy.

Improve your customer experience and streamline your contact centre activity by deflecting calls to digital channels.

Learn more about call deflection best practices:

  • The difference between call deflection vs call avoidance
  • When and where to implement call deflection
  • Key elements to consider for strategic success
  • What channels to deflect calls to

Contact & customer service centres: 2020 buying trends revealed

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Agent Coaching & Monitoring, Artificial Intelligence and Call Centre Technology top the list of solutions the UK’s leading contact centre and customer services professionals are sourcing in 2020.

The findings have been revealed in the lead up to the Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit which takes place on April 27th & 28th at the Radisson Blu, London Stansted.

Delegates registering to attend the event have been asked which areas they needed to invest in during 2020 and beyond.

A significant 60% are looking to invest in Agent Coaching & Monitoring, with 58% sourcing AI solutions.

Just behind were Call Centre Technology (49%), Staff Incentives & Motivation (46%), Web Self Service/Web Chat (42%) and Call Handling (40%).

% of delegates at the Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit sourcing certain products & solutions (Top 10):

Agent Coaching & Monitoring – 60%
Artificial Intelligence – 58%
Call Centre Technology – 50%
Staff Incentives & Motivation – 46%
Web Self Service/Web Chat – 42%
Call Handling – 40%
Multi-Channel Comms/Integration – 40%
Training & Development – 40%
Staff Wellbeing – 38%
IVR – 36%

To find out more about the Contact Centre & Customer Services Summit, visit https://contactcentresummit.co.uk.

UK boards must take more responsibility for customer experience – Research

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Customer experience is largely perceived as a strategic issue and one that should be driven at board level, with measurement of CX varying wildly within key industry verticals.

That’s according to research conducted by Gobeyond Partners, which surveyed over 450 managers and above across retail and wholesale, financial services and banking, private healthcare, and insurance, finding that 86% of UK businesses are currently measuring customer experience and that 81% of respondents believe customer experience to be a strategic issue which requires more senior level accountability.

It says the results highlight a clear need for senior executives to be knowledgeable about customer experience, and importantly, measure it across the entire customer journey. The results revealed that 36% of organisations surveyed only measure customer experience at specific touchpoints, and not across the entire customer journey, whilst 12% of UK businesses are still not measuring customer experience at all.

Rather it was those companies who do indeed measure customer experience across the entire customer journey (50%) who were found to be 1.4 times more likely to report revenue increases over the last 12 months, than those that don’t.

Other key findings  include:

  • Of those who agreed customer experience should be driven at board level, only 37% strongly agreed that their company utilises customer feedback to improve service design and delivery;
  • 86% of retail respondents agreed that customer experience should be driven at board level and was the most likely industry to see customer experience as a strategic issue. This was followed closely by 85% of insurance respondents, 77% in banking, 72% in private healthcare and 85% insurance;
  • 12% of UK businesses are not measuring customer experience at all;
  • 11% of businesses said they had no senior manager with accountability for customer experience

Mark Palmer, CEO of Gobeyond Partners, said: “We were pleased to see that our recent survey findings validate the work we have been doing with our clients; namely that customer experience is a human issue which should be addressed strategically and prioritised by the board.

“We regularly recommend looking at the end-to-end customer journey through a more human lens. Our findings clearly highlight that introducing the human touch – at all levels of the journey – can radically transform the way you deliver service. For organisations to win in the race for customer loyalty and stronger profitability, they will need to successfully marry great technology and innovation with a major focus on what this means for customers and employees in the transformation journey. Taking this ‘human lens’ will differentiate the quality of solutions offered, drive greater efficiency in getting there and will better engage their people on the change journey.”

Millennials and Gen Zs ‘driving digital-first customer experience’

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The third annual 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark has detailed how understanding younger generations’ use of and expectations around next-generation solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) and digital channels are fundamental to building exceptional, best-in-class customer experiences.

As Millennials and Generation Z become dominant consumer groups, with Generation Z purchasing already reaching an estimated $100 billion according to research conducted by Barkley, their comfort level and familiarity with multiple digital channels including social messaging and chatbots means organizations, no matter their size, must provide digital-first omnichannel experiences to meet consumer expectations and effectively compete in the experience economy.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Almost 60% of Generation Z and Millennials have used private social messaging for customer service. In contrast, 38% of Gen X, 19% of Baby Boomers and 16% of Silent Generation have done so.The majority of Generation Z and Millennials also want companies to allow them to interact with customer service using private social messaging apps (72% and 69%, respectively).
  • Consumers are using AI more and feeling more positive about chatbots over time.Half of all consumers have used AI for any purpose (50%), compared to 2018 (45%). This can be attributed to a significant increase in the use of an automated assistant/chatbot online (34%, up from 25% in 2018). Generation Z and Millennials are more likely to agree that chatbots make it easier and quicker for their issues to get resolved, and are also the most likely of all generations to have used all forms of AI for any purpose, as well as for customer service.
  • Half of consumers who start with AI are transferred to a live agent, and age is a significant factor when it comes to AI and the importance of the human touch. While chatbot usage and performance are improving – and preferences and attitudes are changing – most consumers want to be informed if they are using a chatbot (92%) and 91% of all consumers prefer a live agent. However, this preference follows a downward trend generationally: 98% of the Silent Generation, 96% of Baby Boomers, 91% of Generation X, 86% of Millennials and 83% of Generation Z say they prefer a live agent.
  • Seamless digital-first omnichannel experiences are vital to positive customer experiences.Most consumers (93%) want seamless omnichannel experiences, and yet they are increasingly giving companies a poor rating on seamlessly switching between channels – 73% give companies a poor rating, up from 67% in 2018. This is especially important for meeting and exceeding the expectations of Millennials and Generation Z, who are the most likely to have experienced omnichannel customer service (16% and 21%, respectively).

“Understanding the nuances of what consumers expect, and how they actually engage with brands via a myriad of digital channels, and integrating these in-demand channels seamlessly to deliver digital-first omnichannel experiences, is key to sustainable growth,” said Paul Jarman, NICE inContact CEO. “The NICE inContact CX Benchmark looks beyond education around demographic customer service trends and gets to the root of what makes new channel options attractive. Millennials and Generation Z are bellwethers of what consumers expect and are increasingly likely to recommend a company on social media based on personal experiences – the influence they wield is tremendous.”

Click here to read the full report.

80% of business leaders say Robotic Process Automation improves customer service

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NICE has revealed insights from a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting that shows the connection between improved customer service and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

The findings indicated that 80 percent of business leaders surveyed felt RPA is important in making customer service teams more efficient.

RPA is not only a key component of a broader digital transformation, but 88 percent of respondents also consider it a cost mitigation strategy, while 72 percent reported looking at RPA as an enabler of customer self-service in emerging channels.

NICE asserts the findings testify to the strategic importance of embracing technologies that drive true and full digital transformations for enterprises while empowering employees to improve performance and automating increasing levels of processes at varied complexities.

This survey-based research study highlights the rapid growth of the RPA market and indicates that deployments are still the tip of the iceberg, stating: “According to Forrester’s research, RPA’s growth will continue, with global spending on RPA services in 2019 set to exceed $5 billion – and $12 billion by 2023.”

The research brings to light that 78 percent of business leaders are willing to leverage digital workers or robots for routine tasks while human contact center agents take on more strategic roles. Additionally, almost half (49 percent) of employees surveyed said RPA has removed all or some of the mundane tasks and helped them focus better on their work. These statistics indicate that RPA technology increase employee engagement and enable improved levels of customer service delivery, thus boosting brand differentiation in today’s customer experience-driven era.

Additionally, the study also noted that 47 percent of employee respondents stated they sometimes or often forget a step in the process. This directly ties into 41 percent of managers and employees reporting that the reduction of manual errors is one of the top three impacts of RPA on the employee’s job. Both these findings indicate RPA also improves service quality.

Barry Cooper, President, NICE Enterprise Product Group, said: “We welcome the insights from Forrester’s research which validate the market movements towards intelligent Robotic Desktop Automation solutions that sit at the heart of an organization’s digital transformation. NICE’s vision of bringing automation to the people is more relevant than ever to this dynamic high growth market. We look forward to expanding our partnership with organizations that want to empower their employees and drive their business to new heights of customer satisfaction and efficiency.”

British businesses battle sophisticated security threats with old tools and misplaced spend

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Only a quarter (25%) of business leaders across EMEA are confident in their current cybersecurity practices.

That’s according to a study commissioned by VMware in partnership with Forbes Insights, which shows UK businesses are trapped in a routine of spending without adequately assessing the needs of their organisation.

Three quarters (78%) of business and IT security leaders believe the cybersecurity solutions their organisation is working with are outdated, despite 40% having acquired new tools over the past year to address potential threats.

Seventy four percent, meanwhile, reveal plans to invest even more in detecting and identifying attacks in the next three years, despite having a multitude of products already installed – a quarter (26%) of businesses currently have 26 or more products across their enterprises for this. 

The apparent hope of UK businesses to spend their way out of security crises is coupled with a significant security skills gap: just 16% of UK respondents state extreme confidence in the readiness of their organisation to address emerging security challenges, with only 14% extremely confident in the readiness of their people and talent.

The report concludes that, despite British businesses shoring up their defences against an evolving threat landscape, the complexity surrounding multiple cybersecurity solutions is making it harder for organisations to respond, urgently adapt or improve their strategies. In fact, a third (34%) of IT security leaders state it can take up to an entire week to address an issue. 

Ian Jenkins, Director, Networking and Security UK & Ireland, VMware, said: “Businesses across the UK and beyond continue to follow the same IT security paths, and yet expect to see different results. Yet we now live in a world of greater complexity, with more and more intricate interactions, more connected devices and sensors, dispersed workers and the cloud, all of which have created an exponentially larger attack surface. Investment in traditional security solutions continues to be dwarfed by the economic repercussions of breaches.”

The lack of confidence highlighted in this study sits within a chasm forming between business leaders and security teams. In the UK, only a quarter (24%) of IT teams consider C-suite executives in their organisation to be ‘highly collaborative’ when it comes to cybersecurity. Across EMEA, meanwhile, only 27% of executives and only 16% of IT security practitioners say they are collaborating in a significant way to address cybersecurity issues.

Jenkins added: “Modern-day security requires a fundamental shift away from prevailing preventative solutions that try to prevent breaches at all costs. British businesses must invest in solutions that make security intrinsic to everything – the application, the network, essentially everything that connects and carries data. Breaches are inevitable, but how fast and how effectively you can mitigate that threat and protect the continuity of operations is what matters. Combining this approach with aculture of security awareness and collaboration across all departments is crucial to driving cyber best practice forward, and helping enterprises in the UK and across EMEA stay one step ahead in the world of sophisticated cybercrime.”