Author:Fran Fish

What’s Next: Customer Experience 2020 Event

Unify Communications are hosting an exclusive workshop exploring how you can drive outstanding, insight-led customer experiences and empower key decision makers to deliver measurable ROI. 

We’ll be joining experts from Unify, Zendesk and NICE inContact, hosting discussions around the customer experience best practices that go into improving the relationships between the organisation and the customer.

I’ll be sharing how to avoid ‘Failure demand’, benchmark where you are on your CX journey, and establish core priorities and quick wins for the next 12 months.

When: Wednesday 25th March 2020, 10 – 4

Where: The Fountain Room, Zendesk, 30 Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, London W2 6LA

The event is now sold out.
Click here to join the waiting list.

We come in peace, with knowledge and insight

Introducing Mazaru Insights® : Blending behavioural science and AI to analyse your content and comms and help you find ways to boost satisfaction, increase sales and reduce service contact.

This digital wise monkey can analyse how you talk to customers across any touch point. We can analyse effort, confidence, rapport, readability, sentiment, tone, jargon and the basics (spelling, punctuation and grammar). And benchmark you against other organisations.

Driven by Mazaru, powered by Humanotics, Mazaru Insights® can help you supercharge your content and comms, to get good outcomes for you and your customers.

Out of This World CX Workshop

Unify Communications are hosting an exclusive Out of This World CX workshop this Thursday, exploring how you can deliver great omnichannel customer service without compromising on quality or incurring huge costs.

We’ll be joining experts from Unify, Zendesk and NICE inContact for a day packed with discussion around the three key areas you should consider when thinking about transformation: digital strategy, organisation and culture, and technology & tools.

I’ll be sharing how leading brands push up customer satisfaction scores, get more sales and wisely cut down on frustrating, service contact. 

When: Thursday 17th October 2019, 11:00 – 17:00

Where: Upstairs @ Carousel, London

The event is free to attend and there are a few spaces left.
Click here to register.

15 Top Tips to Deliver the Ultimate Customer Experience – Mazaru and Unify in Partnership

We’re excited to announce our partnership with Unify Communications

Mazaru will form part of Unify’s solution set – adding our conversation design, tone of voice and soft skills expertise, to Unify’s next generation contact centre technology solutions. Or in other words, we’ll be helping Unify’s customers get more from their hosted technology set-ups, and wisely reducing customer contact, increasing sales and increasing satisfaction in the process. 

To give you an insight into Unify’s thinking, here are 15 Top Tips To Deliver the Ultimate Customer Experience, from Russ Attwood – Unify’s Founder and Business Development Director:

1.     Put your customers’ needs first

Look, your customers are demanding. They don’t want to wait around to talk to you, and they certainly don’t expect to be limited on how they can contact you. They want flexibility and omnichannel availability. It’s up to you to meet those needs. 

Your customers need to be able to choose a preferred communication channel – and switch between channels – at will. Your agents must therefore be able to pivot channels, seamlessly.

 2.     Context is Key

Don’t make your customers reiterate their problems. They don’t want to keep re-hashing their issues/asking the same questions. Think about the quality of experience and ensure your agents have full interaction history – giving them the context they need to respond to situations in the most empathetic and effective way.

 3.     Make Your Agents’ Lives Easier

Typically, agents are wasting 14% of their time looking for information about the customer they’re serving. Often, this is because the on-premise contact centre solution for the voice element requires individual, disconnected user interfaces for each of the additional channels. Nightmare, right? 

When their tools are disconnected, agents, customers and contact centre managers all suffer. It’s inefficient and hard to find the context needed for interactions.

 4.     Enable a Unified Experience

How can you integrate all of your critical tools? Automatic call distributor (ACD), computer telephony integration (CTI), and interactive voice response (IVR) should all be available in one solution. 

Make them natively connect to your CRM system, helpdesk tickets, call script generators and other systems. Your satisfaction scores will stay low unless you can empower your agents and enable the right processes through your technology.

 5.     Track What’s Happening

We get it. It’s hard to track interactions and agent performance. Your contact centre is collecting massive amounts of data every time you engage with a customer. Accessing a unified view of what’s happening is tough, but ultimately essential if you want to decrease attrition rates, improve agent performance, influence business outcomes and create positive customer experiences. 

Think about integrating your technology to enable near-time data refresh, real-time reporting and historical data. Seek out solutions that can offer you incredibly accurate information around real-time queue events and agent status.

 6.     Share the Wealth

Share the contact centre data you collect with your other tools (like those used to track case duration). Generate a wider view of areas for improvement, agent growth and operational efficiency by running reports showing your contact centre data alongside other important data.

 7.     Quality is Key

Typically, the contact centre is the main point of contact with your organisation for your customers. That’s why it’s so critical to monitor and improve your agent performance. It’s easy for us to say, but how do you actually do this? It’s nearly impossible using spreadsheets or legacy platforms.

 8.     Capture the Agent & Customer Experience Across the Contact Centre

Supervisors need to monitor, evaluate, and improve the quality of the customer experience by documenting customer interactions and accurately evaluating agent activity. Ensuring agents adhere to internal policies and procedures to deliver the best possible experiences is essential.

Integrating quality management (or Workforce Optimisation/WFO) into your contact centre solution can help you to unlock insights into customer responses to automated support and agent-assisted services. You’re free to make informed process changes, train your agents more effectively and deliver real-time feedback.

 9.     Don’t Fear Automation!

Automating the tedious processes wherever possible leaves you free to spend less time on routine tasks and more time delivering the better customer experience. 

Tools like an intelligent routing system can send your customers to the right agents equipped with the right resources. Implementing intelligent routing could improve first-call resolution rates, reduce the number of times customers are transferred and decrease the time both agents and customers spend on the phone to resolve the issue.

10.  Can You Use Chatbots?

Increase the efficiency of interactions without tying up your agents. Handing initial discussions to an automated bot could help your business to collect and pass along information about customers and issues to a live agent. Getting a bot to help with simple tasks like resetting passwords would help your agents spend their time and energy where it’s needed most.

11.  What About AI?

By incorporating AI, you could arm your agents with real-time insights to help them make smarter decisions. Listen to conversations between agents and customers and “whisper” suggestions to agents based on keywords noticed.

12.  Make It Simple to Scale

Virtualized contact centres can achieve a 92% saving versus a premise-based model, according to a report from Datamonitor. Whether you need to scale up for seasonality or down because you are driving customers toward self-service options, ensure your needs are supported. Help your workforce to work anywhere, anytime, and offer 24/7/365 service cost-effectively, by moving to a cloud-based solution.

13.  Empower Your Agents to Collaborate

Encourage your agents to work together, even when based in different locations, by enabling a distributed, virtual workforce in the cloud.  Deliver exceptional customer experience with a cohesive team.

14.  Deliver on Your Vision

While your people and processes are undeniably an essential part of the formula, the technology you use to enable them is critical to your ability to deliver a great customer experience. By giving your agents the right tools, you can keep them productive and efficient, resulting in higher retention rates and business growth.

15.  Keep Things Simple

Ultimately, your customer experience needs to be simple. The world’s most passionate, customer-focused brands achieve better interactions, deeper insights and more meaningful outcomes with cloud contact centre solutions.

Connect and Inspire using your Tone of Voice

Watch our Tone Maven, Janina Heron’s TED talk on how to connect and inspire using your tone of voice. 

Janina leads the ‘empowering front line teams’ part of our Service Communication Programmes. She really knows her stuff when it comes to the use of tone of voice and language in everyday customer service interactions, and has achieved some fantastic results and good outcomes for many of our customers.

In this talk, Janina shares tips on how to improve your tone, and why it’s so important.

As part of our Service Communication Programmes, we give tone of voice training to advisors, coaches, trainers and managers, and develop quality scorecards, to help embed skills and improve customer satisfaction scores and deliver real business results.

Engage Customer 2017 – We’ve made the awards shortlist!

If you’re going to the Engage Customer Summit – Mon 13th Nov, London – drop in and see us on stand 8. You can also catch Katie’s talk “The 5 Service Communication Habits that Drive Success” in Hall 4.

Please also keep your fingers crossed for the awards do. We’re jointly nominated with Nectar for the programme of work we completed — covering everything from online FAQ answers to webchat responses and training to quality score cards — boosting their CSat scores by 12%!

A big rise is in CSat is always great news, but did the programme provide bang for Nectar’s buck? James Moir, Managing Director at Nectar certainly thinks so: 

“Hard ROI for behavioural change initiatives can be difficult to achieve. The results for this programme speak for themselves. It’s one of the most effective things we’ve done to increase our key CSat measure.” 

You can find out more about our work with Nectar in our video and case study. 

If you’d like to know more about our improvement programmes for online answers to FAQs, webchat, social media, voice (or any other media for that matter) just drop me a line.

And fingers crossed!

15 Different things we do

Our purpose is To Make Great Service Happen. Anywhere.

To achieve this, we have to have many things; a capable, talented and engaging team, a relentless drive to get quality and results, brilliant ways of working and a friendly & collaborative approach. A sharp pencil (to tackle super tight budgets) also helps.

How we apply these things, varies from client to client. But to keep things short and sweet, here are 15 things we’ve done for clients over the past year, that we could also do for you:

  1. Contact deflection and avoidance: This is – frankly – our sweet spot. Our re-designed emails, letters, phone messages and digital content have consistently driven contact rates down at levels ranging from 5% through to 82%.

  2. Service design: For some clients we’ve been working ‘wider’ than simple rewrites or training staff. We now work on holistic customer journeys considering the overall set-up, to design the best service across all channels.

  3. Trained offshore agents: Our last training sessions for teams based in Mumbai and Bangalore pushed one client’s customer satisfaction scores up by a whopping 9%.

  4. Consumer research: Working with ICM and YouGov, to date we’ve polled over 20,000 consumers to get their views on bills, letters, emails, webchat, voices and even the use of emojis in communication.

  5. Global, multi-language programmes: A recent project involved translating 300,000 words and recording and delivering over 100,000 voice prompts, in 31 languages, in an 8 week timeframe. We made 3 errors. Which we corrected in 24 hours.

  6. FCA compliance: We’ve designed letters and emails that met all compliance criteria and helped to maintain our clients’ current levels of consumer renewals. Talking of which…

  7. Retained and grown revenue: Testing of one our new letters showed renewal rates could not only be maintained, but would increase! When each 1% means £262K in revenue, we know this particular client comfortably exceeded their ROI.

  8. Social messaging, live chat and AI: As contact centre comms specialists, we’re moving with the times.  Increasingly looking at effective and impactful ways to run webchat and social messaging services……with a dabble in chatbots’ tone too.

  9. Created and tested IVR experiences: Cutting transfers, improving FCR and making things easy for callers are our usual goals. One project in May included super-fast deadlines; the client’s experience was live within 2 weeks of engaging us. 

  10. Tone of voice strategy: In some cases, we’ve created a whole new TOV from scratch. In others, we’ve taken existing guidelines and distilled them into something much more actionable (ultimately more practical) for customer service.

  11. Knowledge management: We’ve created knowledge articles, content, intranets and scripts, having mapped out reasons for contact and conversational content guidelines. 

  12. QA frameworks: We’ve adapted and evolved QA monitoring frameworks to expand on process and compliance monitoring, and help teams support agents on soft skills, like rapport-building, empathy, FCR and next contact avoidance. 

  13. Complaints handling: We’ve improved complaints handling in calls, chat, emails and F2F conversations. At our public workshops, we’ve also shared our research in what consumers want to see in complaints resolutions and comms.

  14. Letters, emails and webforms: Improving service quality, tone and reduced contact can be done with better templates and modules to answer queries, first time. For one client our work will underpin £0.5m+ communications that go out every year. 

  15. Video: Corporate videos, interviews, launch videos, self-service videos – we’ve collaborated with clients to storyboard, produce and deliver video for use on youtube, intranets and at events.

Complaints: what customers really want (and how you can give it to them)

I met James two years ago when I first heard about Resolver. We thought it’d be interesting to get his thoughts on the current state of UK complaints handling. Here’s what consumers are telling him about the problems they face, the service saints and sinners as well as what you can do to make things better.

About Resolver
Resolver’s goal is to help consumers get results by making complaining quick and straightforward. It’s independent, free and focused on improving consumer rights and satisfaction. This year it’ll help customers make around 1 million complaints to both public and private sector organisations.

Resolver also helps organisations that want to improve their complaint handling. It lists companies from House of Fraser to Travelodge as clients and later this year will begin handling all UK parking ticket complaints. Started just four years ago, Resolver’s been so successful that it’s now associated with Martin Lewis and Money Saving Expert.

Complaints satisfaction benchmark
When customers make a complaint using Resolver they’re carefully profiled. Clients can then use this information to better understand what’s most likely to make a customer happy when resolving their complaint. After a complaint has been handled Resolver also measures customer satisfaction. This is used by clients to compare how satisfied their customers are with others in the same sector:

Complaints Top 3 Bottom 3 Graphic

Top and bottom 3 organisations for complaints handling satisfaction. Source: Resolver satisfaction index March 2016.

If you’d like to find out where you are in Resolver’s complaints satisfaction index just drop us a line.

Top customer frustrations
Research shows that for every complaint voiced there are two that go unspoken because customers actually fear making a complaint. James says the main problems customers have with their complaints — and the reason why so many remain unspoken and continue to cause discontent — are:

1. It takes too long to resolve them
2. They take too much effort
3. They’re not handled effectively

5 things that’ll improve your complaints handling
When it comes to what you can do to improve, here’s what James suggests:

Make it quick and easy — a lot of unhappy customers don’t bother complaining because they fear the process. Make it easy for your customers to complain. And if they do, handle them quickly, effectively and keep the number of ’touches’ to a minimum.

Recognise the value — organisations can see complaints as costs, or lost customers that can’t be retained. But customers that have had their complaints resolved successfully remain loyal for longer and become advocates that are more likely to tell others. Also you won’t have to risk a social media sensationdamaging your hard earned reputation.

Let customers complain how they want — All interactions must be documented but let customers complain how they want to, whether that’s by phone, email or social media. And, try to find out how they’d like you to get back to them.

Let advisors make decisions — Cost fears mean that some organisations want a manager involved even if an offer of recompense is small. This can slow the process down and means that advisors armed with all the information they need to make decisions can’t do so.

Communicate better — Set customers’ expectations by letting them know their rights, what the complaints process is and how long it’ll take. Acknowledge every customer complaint or response and when you do speak or write to them be clear, concise and empathetic.

UK Calling, what you need to know about the new changes to business numbers

You probably know that on the 1st of July, Ofcom’s new rules for call charges to some numbers will be introduced. The new move – UK Calling – is designed to make it easier for consumers to understand call charges and take away some of their concerns. It’s a problem we’ve previously highlighted in the research we did with ICM. 

UK Calling will do two things:

1. It will make 0800 and 0808 numbers free to call from all landlines and mobiles. They’re already free to call from landlines, but some mobile providers charge.

2. It will mean that charges for calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers will have to be clearly stated in a specific way (more on this later).

What we think

Changes to the 0800 and 0808 numbers are good to see. Previously our research showed:

• 40% of consumers lacked confidence in their understanding of charges to 0800 numbers from landlines. 

• This rose sharply to 70% in terms of consumers’ understanding of call charges from mobiles.

• 0800 was the number most consumers felt least concerned about. Around 30% said that they’d be concerned or very concerned about it – the lowest of all the numbers surveyed.

Making 0800 and 0808 free to call from mobiles should reduce this concern further and make it the clear number of choice for organisations who want to make sure their number isn’t a barrier to service and sales.

If you use 084 / 087 / 09 / 118 numbers you’ll need to publish call charges everywhere that consumers are likely to see them. 

When it comes to letting your customers know how much they’ll be charged you’ll need to state this in a particular way as well stating that there’s:

1. An access charge – a charge that their landline or mobile provider will make.

2. A service charge – the amount that you will charge for calling that number.

We also suggest that you think about publishing your charges as the opening message on your IVR so customers hear it when they call.

You can find out more about the requirements and what you’ll need to do in the For Business section of UK Calling’s website. 

Keep in mind that 65% to 80% of consumers said they’d be concerned about calling 084 / 087 / 09 numbers – these were the numbers with some of the highest levels of concern. A concerted UK wide effort to clarify call charges for these numbers may help to reduce this concern. But because the charging regime still isn’t that simple it may lead to yet more confusion and concern. Only time will tell.

When we carried out our research perhaps the most worrying discovery was that consumers were as concerned about calling 03 numbers as they were 084 ones. UK Calling may alter how consumers feel about 084 numbers but it may not do anything to allay concerns about 03 numbers that many organisations adopted because of the Consumer Rights Directive that was introduced last year.

UK Calling applies to all sectors. But if you’re a financial services company…

This year the FCA began its consultation on what numbers should be used for financial services. Their requirements are likely to be along the same lines as those introduced for the majority of other businesses last year – something we’ve written about previously. We got in touch with the FCA this week to find out when their requirements will be published and come into force. So far they’ve said that the requirements will probably become public sometime over the summer and we’ll let you know more about this when they do.

What should you do about UK Calling? 

Here’s a quick recap of what you should be looking at:

1. Publishing 084 / 087 / 09 / 118 number charges. If you use these numbers you’ll need to inform consumers about your charges from the 1st July (in the recommended way).

2. Consider a move away from 084 / 087 / 09 numbers. Over the past two years these numbers have come in for a lot of public criticism from both consumer groups and the press. Whether clarifying call charges will help the image of these only time will tell. But as we discussed in our previous blog on the subject now might be a good time to look at alternatives such as freephone, 03 and geographic (01/02) numbers. This may be particularly relevant if you’re a financial services company.

3. Make it clear what the charges are for all the numbers you publish. Hopefully UK Calling will boost consumers’ understanding of call charges for 084 / 087 / 09 / 118 numbers. But if you use freephone, 03 or geographic numbers don’t forget to continue to make it clear what the call charges are as well. And make sure that your callers know that it’s a good thing for them. In the short term there could be a risk that UK Calling may make callers suspicious of other numbers.

Say hello to Musicline

We all love music. We listen to it just about everywhere: at home on the radio, in the car, on the go on smart phones, at work on our PCs, at concerts, festivals . . . the list goes on. In fact, a recent UK survey found that the average person now listens to music for about 4 hours a day. That’s about 13 years of the average lifetime!

Not surprisingly our liking for music is something that the service industry has picked up too. Cue hearing it in garages, shopping centres, restaurants, tube stations and even on phone lines.

All of which leads me neatly onto the subject of MUSICLINE who, I’m really happy to be able to say, have just joined us.

MUSICLINE has been providing ‘original artist’ music (that’s well-known music by popular performers to you and me) for use on phone lines for 25 years. They’re very well respected within the industry (25 years stands as testament to that) and work with companies with many sites such as News International, to those with large contact centres including EE.

After a short introduction we’re now successfully looking after their services and customers. We’ll also be looking into how best to develop the service over the coming months.

Now that MUSICLINE have joined us we’re also the only company in the UK licensed by PPL (who collect royalties on behalf of performing artists) to create bespoke compilations of well-known original artist music. And, combine original artist music with messages.

Famously Nietzche once said that ‘Life without music would be a mistake’. Given consumers’ liking for it I’d say that service without music would be a mistake too. But, you need to be careful to choose tracks that suit your particular situation. As the notable Music Pyschologist, Dr Adrian North, says: “No music is better than wrong music”.

If you want to find out more about what music can do for you get in touch. We’ll make sure that you’re making the most of music and that your life with music isn’t a mistake.