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Customer experience

GUEST BLOG: IT and marketers working together will improve CX

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For years, marketers have talked—and written—extensively about the disconnect between marketing and IT. Who should own email lists and sensitive data?

Who should have access to the website CMS? Who should decide which marketing automation platforms to install? These are just a few of the questions that have plagued the marketing/IT debate.

In 2019 however, this debate finally feels like it’s come to a close. According to new research from Episerver, 93 percent of marketers now have the ability to directly edit their company’s website, while 80 percent expect to have complete ownership over their brand’s web presence within the next two years.

Instead of seeing this as a ‘land grab’ from IT, however, 62 percent of marketers say they are simply working collaboratively with their IT departments in order to reduce silos and ensure the best customer experiences. While this is great news for customers, the problem of marketing silos has not gone away for good. Instead, a new debate has started to rage—this time between marketers and the new wave of customer experience (CX) professionals…

This article originally appeared on Digital Marketing Briefing – Click here to continue reading…

Data is not enough for better customer experiences: Use workflows to channel it where it’s needed

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By Geoff Land, MD, Infinity CCS

A few weeks ago, we looked at how important it is to develop a ‘Single Customer View’ of your data if you are to deliver a great customer experience. We saw how the arrival of GDPR gives companies an opportunity to catalogue their data to create such a view. But once you’ve done that, exactly how do you use that data to improve customer experience? The answer is to get it into agents’ hands exactly at the moment during each interaction that they need it…

Failure to let data flow is behind most bad customer experiences

There are many ways to design great customer experiences, but most of them have one thing in common: efficiency. It is the efficient flow of information from customer to company, and company to customer, that ultimately makes for a happy customer.

Whether a customer is querying a bill, placing an order, cancelling an order, setting up a payment method, reporting a problem, or chasing a delivery, what they want is their issue dealt with quickly, ideally in a single, short interaction.

Customers find it frustrating when they get transferred between departments, need a call back, or have to wait on hold. The reasons these things happen are nearly always due to complex internal processes that even well-trained agents find difficult to follow; data siloes between different departments; and agents having to log in to and use multiple IT systems to access information or data input forms.

Having a “Single Customer View” of your data streamlines the process by eliminating all your data siloes. It essentially allows an agent or system to access in one place all the information about a given customer (at least, all that is relevant to their own role and appropriate for their security level).

But even if all that data is now sitting in a single system or knowledge base, it still doesn’t streamline interactions very much if agents still have to access multiple other interfaces to actually get things done.

What’s needed is an interface that pulls everything together – data, processes, and systems – into a single view for the agent.

Agents need the right tools as well as the right data

In recent studies, such as Dimension Data’s Benchmarking Report, companies say they are struggling to deliver exceptional customer experience for a number of reasons including limited technology budgets, complex internal processes, lack of multichannel, insufficient or incomplete customer data, and overly complicated IT systems.

To deliver what customers want it is important that the appropriate technology system, business process, and customer transaction data are all immediately available to an agent (or automated system) at the right time during a customer interaction.

Most processes can be broken down into simple steps, which means that with the right software agents can be guided through these steps one at a time in a flexible manner. Instead of logging in to multiple systems all the information and input screens the agent needs are presented to them in a single user interface.

This type of robust workflow results in faster, more accurate customer interactions, less hold time, fewer call backs, and no need to transfer customers between different teams (unless your internal structure demands it – and if it does you should consider changing that where possible).

In our experience companies deploying workflow solutions in their contact centres on average see a 20% boost in productivity. Which is why we’re even seeing this type of technology deployed in emergency command centres (i.e. 999 and 911 centres) where just improving call response by seconds can make the difference between life and death.

Behind the scenes is where all the magic happens

The above benefits can be applied to any channel and with little capital investment as no existing hardware or software needs to be replaced. This is because there is no need to integrate existing systems and data sources with each other. They can all continue operating just as they do now, in their own siloes.

Instead, everything gets integrated into the agent desktop via the workflow using APIs (Application Program Interfaces). This vastly simplifies the process of integrating multiple systems because they don’t have to ‘talk’ to one another, just to the workflow.

Let’s say a customer has called in (or is using webchat, or Messenger, it doesn’t matter) to change their address and query a previous payment. Rather than having to access different software applications to perform these tasks, the agent first runs a workflow which includes an interface they can use to input the new address. It also shows the old address and other information they need to confirm the customer’s identity.

Next the agent opens another workflow they can use to search through the customer’s past transactions. While these all really sit in another database on another IT system (or several) they are brought together in a single view in the workflow. The agent can search for the appropriate transaction, pull up further information about it, and launch further workflows if they need to make a change, add a note, or escalate the query.

The workflow software acts as a central point of control, allowing data to be drawn into it from multiple siloes and systems, and for the agent to input data back into those systems. If all that existing data has been catalogued to provide the “Single Customer View” then the meta-tags that pull it all together can be used by the workflow to find and associate pieces of data more effectively.

For more information on how to create a Single Customer View download Infinity CCS’s e-Guide here:

GUEST BLOG: How to deliver great customer experiences without the hype, politics or drama

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By Synthetix

2018 is not quite half way and already this year has many of us concerned about what the future might hold, with the UK’s Brexit date less than a year away. The volatile political events during 2016 has set the scene, ‘dominoing’ into 2018. And many UK businesses are operating in ‘limbo’ – not wanting to make any drastic changes to processes, staff or technologies –  waiting to see the what impact and lead up to Brexit might have on the future of their business.

Another dominating topic in 2018 is AI. Like political ructions, new technology can create fear, uncertainty, and doubt, until we understand it better. But unlike politics, were we can choose who we support, or whether to cast or vote or not, we are parading inescapably into a new generation of digitally enabled customer experiences and there is no turning back.

Waiting to invest in new customer engagement technology, could put you well behind the curve to compete within the digital future.

Fake News

Some leading organisations are already masters in this new world, already using AI to great effect or are actively planning for it. But most organisations still find it difficult to imagine how AI with its hype and science fiction drama can bridge the gaps between a customer’s diverse interaction points to help improve their journey and experience with services and answers they need.

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you understand that consistently satisfying customer service is increasingly important as customer expectations are adapting and growing just as rapidly as the channels and technology consumers are now empowered to engage with.

Being open to new paths of communication, such as Virtual Agent technology, can up the personalisation and customer engagement stakes. Unlike the uncertain outcome of the UK general election and its repercussions, Virtual Agents, when deployed correctly, with a set of specific goals, can generate leads, increase sales, and grow a business in a big way, and this is only the beginning. However, just because Virtual Agents are part of the hottest topic of 2018, this does not necessarily mean it will be the right fit for everyone.


Self-service has become the long-term solution to meeting customer expectations. In a global report, ‘The Self-service Economy’, 70% of consumers expect a self-service option for handling commercial questions and complaints. And millennials especially expect companies to keep improving their levels of service, expecting everything to be just a click away – their social relationships, their retail relationships, even their banking and insurance relationships.

This isn’t a manifesto to try to convince you to invest in Virtual Agent technology, but rather to highlight how it can align with wider business objectives.

These free guides offer practical advice about investing in AI powered bots amongst other contact centre technology and how best to utilise these channels to deliver optimum return on investment.

Pole To Win

GUEST BLOG: Integrated CX and QA – Drive engagement through uniting teams

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Increasing productivity, efficiency and customer retention by aligning QA and CX teams in a multilingual, multidisciplinary environment, by By Pole To Win

Beginning as two separate entities, Quality Assurance (QA) and Customer Experience (CX) historically existed independently in software development and support services, but as customer engagement and retention have become increasingly important, companies have strived to maintain the engagement of their user bases.

When both services are required, operating a CX and QA team under the same roof, or integrating an outsourced CX team with your internal QA, can provide benefits that would be unattainable without cross-team integration. QA teams are the knowledge powerhouse for post- and pre-release problems, workarounds and usability advice for software products. Harnessing such benefits produces a more informed, reactive and efficient CX team, complementing the ongoing hard work that goes into understanding and adopting the client’s culture, regardless of product.

The feedback loops that integrated CX and QA teams create are symbiotic, providing various benefits to both teams. There is no-one better to inform your CX Agents about processes, limitations and known issues than your own QA team. With more hours of experience than it would be possible for others to have, QA teams can be the guiding light to help keep your response times fast and your customer interactions helpful and effective. Well-informed CX Agents reduce costs and add value with superior customer interactions and faster ticket processing.

This knowledge sharing is not just a cross-team benefit but also cross-language. Technical issues unique to, or reported in, one language within the user base can be translated by CX, conveyed to QA, and subsequently applied across all versions. Similarly, linguistic content or formatting issues in the user interface of one language may provide an early warning for other languages. This multilingual, multidirectional information flow, when managed well, is a formidable reservoir of knowledge that provides unparalleled efficiency across your services.

With a more informed and erudite CX team, customer reported issues become far more valuable. CX Agents can use that shared QA knowledge, backed up by dedicated training, to help support customers and report to QA in a manner far more efficient, exact and useful to the QA team. Information fed back to QA from customers can also improve testing, allowing QA to focus on popular areas of the application or on aspects and sections where most issues are encountered. This feedback loop adds value to both teams, reducing time spent investigating issues by QA and reducing length and number of tickets to CX: Agents and Testers can be constantly learning from each other, while creating a project-wide knowledge bank that benefits stakeholders at every level.

This in-depth understanding doesn’t stop with the integrated teams. Informed Agents can create informed customers. More accurate and knowledgeable responses from CX can help create a user base that shares this knowledge amongst users through online forums and social media, decreasing ticket counts and increasing customer engagement. Greater satisfaction in CX responses is a direct user benefit, increasing trust from customers who are provided a fast, informed, and efficient service.

Increases in efficiency and productivity across teams can of course be measured. Integration provides an opportunity to align common KPIs between QA and CX. Both services value productivity, quality, and client satisfaction, and by integrating these measurements, invaluable insight is gathered into how your services perform as a whole, rather than as isolated units.

Pole To Win is an experienced global partner offering standalone or integrated QA and CX services to provide all-round support to development teams, applications, and their communities. With a heritage in the highly competitive interactive entertainment industry, PTW now brings this experience in fast-paced, changeable markets to clients and their products in many innovative industries worldwide.


INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: A Team Manager’s Perspective – Their response on new advisor research

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Kura has just released the latest blog from one of its Team Managers, describing the role of the advisor and what they believe organisations need to do to improve the role for the advisor and in effect, how this will improve customer experience.

This blog is in response to the latest CCA research sponsored by Kura and Inisoft.

The study put questions directly to over 580 front-end advisors to understand their passions, challenges and constraints within their role – it made for fascinating reading.

To check out this blog, please click here, or for further information on this study, please click here.


Complex customer issues number one challenge for contact centre employees

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While customer experience continues to be the top priority for businesses, a new report reveals that 56 per cent of contact centre employees cite complex customer problems as their top challenge. And 60 per cent admit their company has left them ill-equipped to handle these problems, leaving agents stressed and unengaged.

The report, The Health of the Contact Centre: Agent Well-Being in a Customer-Centric Era, was commissioned by Calabrio, a provider of customer engagement and analytics software. It surveyed more than 1,000 contact centre employees in the UK and US to uncover the health of today’s contact centres, including agent confidence in the ability to be successful in their jobs, the challenges they face and how technology will dictate the future of the contact centre.

Empowering contact centre employees is more critical than ever as 32 per cent of respondents believe that customer problems will only become increasingly difficult over the next two years, and 45 percent worry customers will expect even more from companies.

The well-being of contact centre employees continues to decline and, if not addressed, it can ultimately affect their ability to deliver the desired customer experience. A quarter (25 per cent) of respondents say they feel stressed multiple times a week, and more than half (52 per cent) agree that their company isn’t doing enough to prevent teams from feeling burned out.

Kris McKenzie, EMEA General Manager at Calabrio said: “Brands are battling it out to deliver the right customer experience to get ahead of the competition and drive market share. What is clear, however, is if they do not rethink the contact centre strategy, they’re putting the entire customer experience at risk.

“As a cornerstone of the customer experience, brands need to implement the right technology in their contact centre but more importantly they need to focus on the people. In doing so, contact centre staff become empowered to quickly make informed decisions and deliver on the experience that customers have come to expect.”

Download the full report 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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Shop Direct launches WhatsApp-style service platform…

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Shop Direct has applied a conversational user interface (CUI) technology to its service offering by launching ‘Very Assistant’ for customers to find answers to their questions in a WhatsApp–style chat environment.  

The owner of,, and has initially made the automated platform available via the iOS app, and claims the technology makes the user journey even simpler for customer service questions, allowing people to easily interact with representatives in a format that they are adept at using on a day-to-day basis. 

Developed in-house by Shop Direct’s multi-award-winning eCommerce team, Very Assistant works by asking the app user if they need any help. The customer is then presented with a sequence of questions and multiple action options, which the customer taps within the chat environment. The customer’s answers enable the platform to instantly serve up the information they are looking for. 

Jonathan Wall, eCommerce director at Shop Direct said: “This fully native platform is squarely focused on what our customers need. It’s delivered through our app because that’s where they want to have questions answered. It’s also the best place for us to collect feedback and constantly improve Very Assistant. 

“We think this new technology will simplify our user journey, improve satisfaction, and help to boost efficiency in our customer service operation. It’s also the first step towards ‘natural language’, AI-driven CUI – which is something we’re hugely excited about.” 

Customers can use Very Assistant to make a payment on their account, check their payment dates, track an order, confirm that recent payments have been processed and request a reminder of their account number. 

Technology designed with your customers in mind…

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Seamless customer engagement begins and lasts with Netcall. Whether you are looking to refresh or replace your contact centre telephony or join up legacy systems and processes, we can work with you to enhance and personalise customer experience.

Netcall’s integrated customer experience (CX) platform seamlessly manages interactions from start to finish. Create a positive customer experience at every touch point to help retain customers, encourage repeat purchases and promote peer recommendations, whilst enjoying lower operating costs.

Supporting you to improve the customer journey. Get in touch find out more.




t: 0330 333 6100

Guest Blog, Steve Ball: The 8 things millennials really want from customer service

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Struggling to understand what makes your millennial customers tick? Here’s what they really want from your contact centre.

It can sometimes be difficult to understand what constitutes a great customer experience for the millennial generation. We know about their lofty expectations, their habitual use of technology and their willingness to vote with their feet if a brand disappoints them. But what really drives them, and what do they really want from customer service?

A lot of brands still seem to lack the answers to these questions. According to Aspect research from last month, some 42 per cent of millennials would rather clean a toilet than reach out to a contact centre – an increase of ten percentage points on 2015’s figure.

Millennials are clearly unhappy with the current state of customer service, and it won’t be long before this translates into lost business for brands that fail to accommodate their expectations.

So what is it that millennials really want from customer service? At Aspect, we’ve come up with a list of requirements – the “now consumer” expectations – that we think shed light on the matter. These are as follows:

1. Know me

Millennials want their interactions with brands to be not just convenient, but personal. This could be as simple as not having to repeat themselves when switching from one channel to another, such as a web chat conversation to a phone call, or being able to pick up on an incomplete transaction at a later date via whatever method makes sense at the time.

2. Make it mobile

A simple one: millennials expect customer service to be accessible via mobile. According to Ofcom, nine in ten Britons between the ages of 16 and 24 own smartphones, and 61 per cent describe themselves as “hooked” on their handsets. Mobile has become a more common means of getting online than the laptop, making it an important touchpoint for brand interactions.

3. Let me do it

Millennials have an appetite for self-service, too. According to our 2015 research, almost three in four consumers (73 per cent) believe they should have the ability to solve most product and service issues on their own. Reaching out to an agent should be a last resort.

4. Make it social

Millennials are fluent in social media, and expect brands to be the same. They also like to use Facebook, Twitter et al to vent when something doesn’t go their way. It’s vital that brands are able to assist and guide customers via these channels, and to do so at the time it matters most.

5. Fit into my life

One of the consequences of the rise in mobile, self-service and social media-based customer service is that millennials no longer want to suffer lengthy call queues or phone a contact centre at a particular time of day to solve a simple problem. Convenience is key – if a solution can’t be accessed at any time via any channel that counts against the brand’s customer experience.

6. Save me time

Speed is equally important. Millennials don’t want to repeat themselves or sit through a long-winded process on the phone that would be quicker to complete with a self-service or co-browsing solution.

7. Make me smarter

Millennials like their brand interactions to be empowering. Rather than just solve simple problems, a contact centre should be able to furnish customers with information that will improve their experience of the brand’s services in the long run. In turn, these customers will be able to use their newfound knowledge to support and empower their peers.

8. Help me discover

Along the same lines, a contact centre should be able to create value for customers outside of their immediate wants and needs. So, for example, it could deliver personalised advice and recommendations to an individual based on its knowledge of their purchases, queries and pain-points. This step, along with the one above, will turn millennials into committed brand advocates who discuss their positive experiences with peers and in social media.


Learn about customer experience solutions from Aspect

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