When Was Your Last Great Experience as a Customer?

When was the last time you interacted with a brand and came away from the experience feeling really good – as if they really understood you and appreciated you as a customer? Unfortunately, for many people this is a difficult question as it is easier to remember all those difficult customer service encounters than to remember the good experiences.

Teleperformance is one of the world leaders in helping others to improve their customer service, so we recently asked 69,000 people in eight countries for their views on how they feel as customers. The results showed that an average of only 44.5 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with their most recent customer service experience.

At the same time, the survey also revealed that the percentage of happy and loyal customers exponentially increases after a positive experience. A 33 per cent improvement in the perception of a brand can be achieved by ensuring that customers go way happy and satisfied after a customer service interaction.

These figures are enormously important – for us as customers, but also for the brands that are trying to improve the way that they offer customer service.

There is a traditional view of business, particularly in retail, that the company sits at the centre of the relationship with customers coming in and out of orbit – like satellites orbiting a star. The reality is that it is the customers who are at the centre of any relationship with brands. The brands circle each customer, coming into a close orbit as the relationship improves.

Our survey showed clearly that Generation X and Y, born after 1965, are leading the adoption of online and social media channels through smart-device use, integrating them not only into their daily interactions with brands and businesses, but also into their life expectations, including those underpinning customer experience.

Technology is essentially changing expectations, not merely facilitating them. Forrester analyst Thomas Husson says: “Customers have experienced a mind shift. Technologies packed into mobile devices enable people not only to instantly consume, but also create and maintain control in their everyday lives.”

These words are important. Think back a decade and it was always the brand who defined how a customer relationship could take place. Physical stores were open at defined hours, customer service could be emailed on a specific address, a free phone number could be used to get help… the brand created the pathway to service. This has entirely changed, with the customer now defining how and when service should be offered.

If a customer reviews your restaurant on Tripadvisor it’s now expected that you will provide some feedback on that channel. If a customer tweets a rail company to ask why a train is delayed, they expect a rapid response on Twitter. If a customer leaves a long Facebook message to a retailer asking why they did not have a product in stock, the retailer needs to answer on Facebook.

This move to customers using multiple channels at all times has been supported further by the prevalence of smart phones. Internet access from almost anywhere is easy today and the culture of engagement has been accelerated because of this. But our survey revealed that there could be trouble ahead – even though 68 per cent of companies think that managing mobile customers is important, only 25 per cent have a strategy in place to manage this.

We now live in a world dominated by information 24/7. Big Data and the Internet of Things are changing our jobs, our homes, and how we interact with companies. Yet the customer does not want to be aware of the complexity of getting it right. They just want the company they are speaking with to respond in a way that helps them – no matter the channel used.

Great service is still great service regardless of how it is delivered.

Orbit

 

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ICS: Customer Experience In The Relationship Economy

The Teleperformance UK team is attending the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) annual conference next week, which is always a great one-day focus on the latest customer experience trends. In preparation for the conference I took a quick look at the agenda, which has the broad headline of ‘connected strategies for a relationship economy.’

I saw that Darrell Sansom, Managing Director, AXA Insurance is speaking on ‘How to realise a positive return on customer service investment.’ This is always a hot topic because the way that customer service is integrated into companies today has changed so much – a view emphasised by that overall headline for the conference.

It has always been hard for companies to accept the cost of their customer service team. For years many industries worked hard at measures such as cross-selling and up-selling to try mitigating the cost of providing customer service.

But today these ideas seem dated. The customer service team has become the window onto many brands, either replacing or working alongside many other departments such as marketing, sales, and public relations. It is how many customers see the company and their only way of engaging with the brand.

Think about how you learned of a new type of soft drink or a new pair of trainers endorse by an athlete you support. This awareness is likely to have come about from online engagement and interactions rather than traditional TV or newspaper advertising.

We are entering a new era where the customer service team does not just offer a way to follow up with a brand after the purchase of their products. In the relationship economy I expect to be building a relationship with my favourite brands before, during, and after any purchases and this completely changes the way that customer service investment needs to be measured.

It’s a shame that I have to travel next week so I’m going to miss Darrell’s talk, but at least my team will be there. Insurance really is an industry where customer relationships and loyalty to an insurer can be directly affected by the way the customer engagement is managed.

Are you planning to be at the ICS event next week? Do check out the Teleperformance stand and say hello to the team or just tweet me on @matt_sims1.

ICS-9755

 

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Customer Experience Happens While You Are Busy Making Other Plans

Think of a brand, an organisation, commercial or private. Then think of the customers who collectively form the value pool – growth and profit – for these businesses.

We visualise the multiplicity of customer journeys and the infrastructure needed to support these, and facilitate customer’s desired outcomes as a symbiotic relationship between consumer and corporation, individual and entity.

And yet, rather than that traditional model of customers orbiting a business, moving in and out of its sphere of influence, there is a “Galileo moment” coming when it will be recognised that the reverse is true. It is the customer who remains fixed in space and time, and it is companies that move in and out of the value orbit of the consumer.

This disruptive aspect to the life of an empowered, mobile and increasingly vocal customer base demands that today’s chief executive and board of directors consider the experience of customers at every touchpoint to gain insight that turns loyal customers in an increasingly virtual world into advocates, while reacting quickly to new channel evolutions to retain market share, and discover and nurture new sources of revenue.

In our recent annual World Wide Customer Experience Survey[1] , we asked 69,000 participants in eight countries to rate their most recent customer service experience. The result showed an average of only 44.5 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience. At the same time, the survey also revealed the percentage of happy and loyal customers exponentially increases after a positive experience, indicating on average a 33 percentage points improvement was possible in the overall perception of a brand.

Because customers now decide how they want to interact with a company and not the other way around, they expect to have access to information at any time. 4G-enabled mobile smart devices have changed everything. We are “instant gratification junkies”, says Anthony Macciola, chief technology officer of software business KOFAX[2]. “We want complaints and issues addressed immediately.”

Our survey showed clearly that Gen X and Gen Y, born after 1965, are leading the adoption of online and social media channels through smart-device use, integrating them not only into their daily interactions with brands and businesses, but also into their life expectations, including those underpinning customer experience.

Technology is essentially changing expectations, not merely facilitating them. Forrester analyst Thomas Husson says: “Customers have experienced a mind shift. Technologies packed into mobile devices enable people not only to instantly consume, but also create and maintain control in their everyday lives.”[3]

This perpetuates a challenge for the near-future highlighted by the International Customer Management Institute in a survey of contact center professionals. This identified that, while 68 per cent of companies think offering mobile customer service improves the customer experience, only 25 per cent have a mobile customer contact strategy in place.

Forrester surveyed customers as part of its study of Customer Experience (Forrester’s CXi).[4] The results show how much customers value an exceptional customer experience and how their future behaviour is likely to be impacted by their perception of a company’s ability to provide a better overall customer experience compared to industry peers.

Customer experience is fundamental to the future of consumer-corporate models. Today we support 50 per cent of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2014[5]. These are businesses that have put in place strategies including outsourcing in its various models that help ensure they are prepared for the future and the many potential benefits an ‘always on’ connected customer landscape will bring.

In a world of big data and endless touchpoints, all customers truly want is an experience with a brand or organisation that says “we know who you are…” to which the customer can respond “…and I believe you”. This is the Galileo moment.

  1. World Wide Multichannel CX Survey
  2. Smarter CX for Smart Device Users
  3. Smarter CX for Smart Device Users
  4. The Business Impact of Customer Experience
  5. http://www.teleperformance.com

LEGO Galileo, Juno & Jupiter

 

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Thursday night’s forecast is sub-zero – with an emotional bite

‘Fortitude’ appears to have been a massive hit for Sky Vision – the international distribution arm of Sky. And I’m not surprised, Ive been parked on the settee watching this new series with relish, and it really does come across as a professional, cinematic production of the highest quality.

From the opening chill of the ice tentacle graphics to the unsettling score of the aptly surnamed Ben Frost, it features some of the World’s finest actors, Michael Gambon is terrific and Richard Dormer gives it that ‘small town sheriff’ menace so brilliantly portrayed in First Blood. I am already hooked and guess what – it totally reinforces my loyalty to the Sky service.

Speaking with a relative this weekend who didn’t have Sky and hadn’t seen the first two episodes I was even more ‘Skyvocate’ than usual – and I needed to suppress a little bit of one-upmanship in my conversation.

I have blogged already about the power of Sports, but now Sky has moved to another level and is investing in content that will surely reach a much wider audience. Rights have been sold across Europe and US, so through investing in its own content, Sky is creating additional, and no doubt profitable revenue streams.

It will be interesting to see if BT moves more into this direction as it develops its Quad offering. BT Sports was a great start, but they need to compete across the full range of their customer segments – so being able to develop and sell or at least offer access to high quality non-sports programming will continue to be key. It will not always be cost-effective to create content, hence the deals that Netflix, and the Premier League have struck to make their content available to Vodafone and Virgin Media, but if you can find the right balance and produce top quality shows, then Sky is showing that this is a highly effective strategy.

How long before others join the production race with new dramas being created for and distributed by the likes of BT, Vodafone, and Virgin Media? Great news for us as customers – the more quality programming that is available – the better.

By the way don’t ring me on Thursday night after 8pm!

Fortitude,,,,,

 

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Premier League Rights Are Vital For Telcos

I have blogged regularly on the impact of content on the telco and broadband sector. I believe that quality content is fast becoming more important than the network, which consumers are starting to see as a commodity.

Of all the various types of content, sport is one of the most important. In fact the success of Sky TV over the past couple of decades can primarily be attributed to their use of great sports content, such as the Premier League.

The Premier League has become an area of focus for several networks in recent years though. BT joined the market and now Discovery Communications (owned by Virgin Media) is entering the auction for Premier League rights.

Live sport drives a strong demand for network services so this proliferation of companies interested in the Premier League rights can only be expected, but it might not be good for the end customer.

When the 2012 auction topped £3bn (after BT entered the market) many commentators talked about how it could not possibly go higher. The expectation is that the latest auction will be worth around £4.4bn – a 45% increase since last time.

The networks are all engaged in an arms race to win customers and they can see that live sports content is one of the best ways to keep customers loyal, but if the rights auctions keep on increasing at this pace then monthly subscriptions must surely also go up too. at a time when the market is seeing more competition based on content, consumers might be more prepared to shop around for their TV and Internet service.

How important is the Premier League to you when choosing an Internet or telecoms provider? Leave a comment here or tweet me on @simondillsworth

Jack Wilshere and Alex Song

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Are you using a smart energy meter?

Despite the collapsing global oil price, energy prices in the home are not dropping very quickly. Customers still need to be careful about the energy they use and smart meters are a good way to keep tabs on the energy being used.

In most cases, the smart meter can be located anywhere in your home. It doesn’t need to be hidden away in a garage or basement like the old traditional meter. This means that the customer can easily check energy use on a daily basis – or as often as they want to take a look at the meter.

Because a smart meter reports energy use in real-time, it also allows the customer to learn more about their own behaviour. What are the appliances that drain the most energy? What kinds of heating work best? The customer can literally see the effect of different types of energy use on the meter immediately.

A smart meter will completely replace the existing meter inside customer homes and because it can be automatically read, once customers have one then they can wave goodbye to estimated bills. It is estimated that by 2020 around 26 million UK homes will be using smart meters, with a plan to install at least 50 million meters eventually.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that customers could save around £6 billion in the next 20 years, just through the use of smart meters. This is great for the customers, but also has a dramatic effect on the amount of energy being used and wasted – therefore having a significant effect on the global environment.

Has your home or business already been converted? Have you noticed a change in the use of energy because of the smart meter or a reduction in your bills? Leave a comment here or get in touch with me on my LinkedIn.

Smart Meter

 

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Customer Loyalty Will Be Created By Engagement

I recently found a Forbes article from last year that described how engagement will be the future source of customer loyalty. This was back in March 2014 and when talking of ‘the future’ you probably don’t expect it to arrive within a few months, but I would argue that as we are now entering 2015 it is already accepted that engaging with customers is the most powerful way to create trust in your brand. This is no longer the future.

Engagement is also good for your bottom line. There is a strong correlation between companies that actively engage well with their customers and increased revenue and profit.

As Forbes said in the feature from March 2014:

“Engaged customers trust your brand, advocate for you, and buy a greater breadth and depth of your products without as much price-sensitivity. They recognise that their strategies and your strategies are aligned. The engaged customers of one large technology company I talked to generate 33 percent greater revenue. And they are 4 percent more loyal and represent 12 percent greater share of wallet than transactional customers.”

These changes are taking place because the way that brands interact with customers has changed dramatically in the past few years. It is no longer the function of a ‘customer service’ department to be the sole owner of any contact between a brand and the customer.

Customers now want to talk to brands before a purchase, as the purchase is being made, and after purchase. They might be asking questions about how best to use a product, or engaging with a brand in a way that encourages additional purchases – a supermarket publishing recipes for example.

The nature of the customer relationship with brands has changed and communication is now a basic expectation. Engaging in communication with customers that makes them feel valued and excited about the brand certainly drives spending and retention, which is exactly what the old loyalty card systems used to do.

So are the days of the loyalty card numbered? I’m going to explore this in more detail in a future blog, but please feel free to leave your opinion in a comment or tweet me on @matt_sims1.

new currency

 

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