Teleperformance at the UK National Contact Centre Awards

I recently wrote on the blog about Hilary Stewart from Teleperformance who works for our client Vodafone. She was being considered for an award at the UK Contact Centre Awards.

I’ve just recently been informed that Hilary has made it to the final shortlist for the Contact Centre Manager of the Year award – the winner will be announced at the grand award ceremony in London on May 15th.

This is fantastic news for Hilary and her team and of course for Teleperformance UK in general.

I know I mentioned this when we found out that Hilary was in the running, but I want to emphasise how important this award really is and to congratulate Hilary once again.

Our clients know that we work really hard for them, but for members of our team to be in the final shortlist as contact centre manager of the year really demonstrates the quality of our people.

It’s wonderful enough to be on the final shortlist, but I’m hoping that Hilary will win on May 15th and I’m sure many of the team here at Teleperformance UK will agree with me!

Vodafone F1 racing car


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Data privacy concerns need to be weighed up responsibly

Over the past few years, drones have been in the news for various reasons. Of course, there has been an increase in the use of military drones that can attack targets remotely, but there is also the far safer Amazon drones designed to deliver your online shopping by dropping it directly at your house.

The Amazon project remains unproven, but a recent acquisition by Google has shown that drones really can be big business in the civilian world.

Without disclosing any financial details, Google has acquired Titan Aerospace. Titan’s vehicles could be considered to be remote-controlled drones, but they are closer to satellites as they can fly at extremely high altitude – about 20km up – and can fly continuously for up to five years.

Google has said that their intention is to improve Internet access in remote locations using Titan technology, an intention reminiscent of their earlier intention to provide Internet access to remote regions using hot-air balloons.

These intentions are worthy. Nobody could criticise Google for attempting to increase digital inclusion in remote regions, but Google is a private company with shares traded on the stock market. If they are involved in a nascent business before it is obvious how they might make any money then the likelihood is that they believe a new market can be created.

This too is not a problem. Innovations such as the railways and air travel all got going because of people exploring new possibilities, rather than waiting for a government to provide all the answers, but in an age where our data is becoming more valuable than ever, shouldn’t people be a little more wary of just how they are connecting to the Internet?

Our personal data is only going to get more valuable in the future – it’s worth thinking about this when we consider how businesses may operate in the future.



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UK travels firms exploring better customer service

A new report from where they questioned senior travel professionals about their industry shows that in over 80% of responses, the industry leaders believe that improved customer service and more productive staff are the main areas of focus for them this year.

This particular research was led by a desire to see if the executives understood the benefits they could achieve from unified comms. That is a subject for someone else, though clearly an improved communications infrastructure could work towards improving the productivity of the employees.

However, what I find interesting is that 4 out of 5 of these executives believe that customer service improvements are the future for their business.

Travel is an industry that spans many different types of business from hotels to guides to airlines to tour operators. But in general, one quick look at a review service such as Tripadvisor shows that customer service is an area that needs improvement in many of these businesses.

It would be too sweeping a statement to declare that every travel business could improve their revenues just by focusing on customer service, but if most executives already believe that this is something they should be exploring then it is clear that the management believe there will be benefits in doing so.

And if over 80% of travel industry leaders now believe that customer service is a key strategic priority then do leaders in other industries see it the same way?

Hotel California


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Is T-Mobile leading the way in listening to customers?

The CEO of T-Mobile US, John Legere, has promised to shake up the entire telco industry with a series of recent blog posts highlighting a new deal for his customers.

This quote from one of his blogs last week shows how agressive he is prepared to be in setting out T-Mobile as a different kind of phone company – an ‘un-carrier’ as he puts it:

“It’s been fascinating to watch the big, fat old-guard carriers stumble as they try to respond and slow the change we are driving into this industry,” he wrote. “I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe as they try to present themselves as anything other than the merciless greedy utilities they are.”

He is openly calling his competition merciless and greedy. That’s probably how most people would refer to all telcos, but he is trying to change some standard industry practices that really could lead to a better deal for all consumers.

A good example is data use. T-Mobile has announced a new $40 package that includes a 500MB data allowance. Typically if customers broke their data limit then data would either just stop working or be charged at a very high per-mb rate.

T-Mobile is now just throttling back the speeds clients can use on their phones if they have exceeded the limit. This still allows them to access the Internet, just not as fast as they might need to when playing a video or some other data-hungry activity.

It’s about time the phone companies listened to their customers and reacted – with this news from T-Mobile it sounds like at least one of them is.

T-Mobile Inmusic Festival: The Flaming Lips


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Is Twitter really the least effective channel for #custserv?

Econsultancy featured an article recently that explored new research suggesting that Twitter is the least effective customer service channel in the UK.

The research found that companies do respond to tweets, and some respond very quickly indeed, but it is not necessarily the best way to resolve a problem. The research suggests that even though email is slower and a less public method of communication, it does lead to a quicker resolution.

Of course there are conflicting studies all over the Internet about this subject and the eConsultancy article does point to some that have very conflicting results showing that surveys are often hard to rely on – it is real behaviour rather than survey answers that should the basis of decision-making.

But regardless of the speed of answering customers on various channels, the article seems to ignore one important point, that customers using any channel expect an answer on the same channel. If you Tweet a question, you don’t expect an email response.

This is important and worth remembering when planning a multichannel strategy because it helps with your resource planning across the multiple channels that can be used – social, blogs, forums. They are all places where customers might expect a response in addition to the more traditional call or email.

What are your observations on social customer service? Is it getting better or worse in your own experience? Leave a comment on the blog here or tweet me on @juliagibbs1

Twitter escultura de arena


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British customers don’t believe that the omnichannel is working

Marketing Week focused on customer service last week as one of their trending topics, in particular why and how customers will switch brands because of poor service. New research published in Accenture’s Global Consumer Pulse suggests that 53% of consumers will switch brand if they are not happy with the service they receive – across all industries.

You can read more in the Marketing Week feature here, which also includes some nice graphical summaries of the data, but the figure that shocked me most when reading the results was that about omnichannel service – or the lack of it really existing.

Only 4% of British consumers believe that brands are connecting their various customer support channels together well. That’s the worst sentiment in the entire world, except for Japan where only 2% of consumers think that brands are doing a good job.

The message from consumers is clear, they expect better service whatever channel they use to get in touch and if they are calling for help a few hours after emailing, they expect your agents to know that there was an email.

Getting omnichannel service right is going to be tough for many brands, but with 96% of British consumers thinking that brands do a terrible job at this, imagine the opportunties for your company if you are doing it well. There is scope here for a great customer service team to actually be driving sales and promoting the brand.

Have you seen any British brands doing omnichannel customer support really well and did it make you more likely to buy from them again? Leave a comment here or tweet me on @matt_sims1.

Customer Service Think Tank hosted by Dell


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Will Oculus Rift change the social web forever?

Facebook has been on something of a spending spree recently. Not content with their $1bn purchase of photo sharing app they recently spent $19bn on the messaging service WhatsApp and, even more recently, $2bn on the Virtual Reality firm Oculus – make of the Rift virtual reality hardware system.

Messaging and photos are easier to understand, even though the prices sound outrageous for companies that are essentially not making any money, but why buy a virtual reality company?

Well there could just be something to it. The Oculus Rift might look strange – watching someone using it is like looking at a person with a plastic box on his or her head – but everyone who uses it raves about the immersive experience.

The Rift allows the user to be immersed into an artificial world – if you turn your head then your view changes. To date it has been seen mainly as a tool for immersive video gaming, but with Facebook involved there could be a new direction ahead.

I can imagine that users of social networks will eventually expect them to be immersive. Chatting with friends will feel more like you are there with your friend, not typing text to each other. In fact, what we now think of as a news feed may eventually become a floating stream of photos and information in the air all around you – you can just watch it and physically pull out a photo that looks interesting.

And beyond the social experience, there are already brands like Tesco that have experimented with the recreation of their stores inside virtual tools like the Rift.

It could be that virtual reality will eventually allow us to be in two places at the same time, at work, with friends, checking news, going shopping, and all without ever leaving home.

Oculus Intel


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