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Could the 22% of CX Professional Leaders please stand up?

There are some fascinating numbers in the State of Customer Experience 2018: The Five Habits of Highly Effective CX Professionals, produced by Engage (www.engagecustomer.com) and Confirmit (www.engagecustomer.com) – and lots else, it’s a really useful document, full of great insight, research and ideas. However, I’m somehow unconvinced by its categorisation of 22% of “CX professionals” as Leaders.

Let me explain.

Firstly, I have a bit of a problem with the ‘professionalisation’ of customer experience. Of course there are particular tools, techniques and insights which are vital to improving customer experience, but fundamentally listening to customers doesn’t require the reserved membership or the equivalent of a medieval Guild. Practically anyone can do it and everyone in the organisation should be encouraged to contribute. Some of the best insights will be from the employees who spend all day dealing with customers in the field, on the shop-floor and in the contact centre.

Secondly, the ‘Leader’ category described in the State of Customer Experience 2018 is restricted to those respondents who could see “significant increase in budget in the next 12 months (9 or 10 on a 0-10 scale)”. Sorry, but I just don’t buy this! I’m not naive and I understand that in modern, complex organisations investment in the right techniques and technologies are needed as well as a – simple sounding; hard to achieve – willingness to try and understand what the customer wants. But empire and budget-building are no guarantee of anything. Surely better an unfunded and authentic customer orientation than a vast programme of journey mapping, C-SAT, CES, CX and NPS scoring that goes nowhere (and we’ve all seen just those sort of programmes in action)?

Fundamentally, achieving a great customer experience is very hard work for a variety of reasons. Although being given a bigger budget might be a great help (and presumably at least shows you’ve got some of the necessary support from the Board level) of itself it won’t achieve a thing – except make your search for those elusive sources of evidence of the (undoubted) relationship between customer experience and business performance even more urgent!

So, if – despite my reservations – you aspire to be a leading “CX Professional” but have little or no budget, then don’t despair! Here’s a list of 7 things you can do with no budget, except maybe the cost of a few train fares:

1. Set out on a road trip and talk to colleagues (and your suppliers’ and business partners’ employees) who are in contact with customers
2. Go online and take some customer journeys – make some calls, start a chat, follow the Contact Us directions and see what happens
3. Identify some real customers (at random or on the basis of feedback or complaints), make contact, tell them what you’re doing and ask to talk to them
4. Go the contact centre and listen to calls, read emails and chats and write some notes
5. Find out what groups within your organisation are developing new propositions, contact channels, offers and find out if they have a ‘customer representative’ on board. If they haven’t, find one. Quick!
6. Make a first draft of your CX priorities and changes
7. And be prepared to adjust it as you go – your organisation isn’t static and neither are your customers



December’s Regulation Hub Update for the DMA’s Contact Centre Council

December’s round-up of Regulation and Compliance news for UK contact centres.

This month’s headlines include…

  • Individual company directors, as well as the corporate entities, will now be liable for PECR fines of up to £500,000
  • The Incredible shrinking TPS: 12% smaller already this year & counting
  • PCI DSS Guidelines for Phone Payments have been released – and it’s bad news for contact centres relying on ‘pause & resume’ techniques to take themselves ‘out of scope’
  • Only 5 days left to share your views on a new Code of Practice for Direct Marketing with the ICO
  • The ICO has fined two companies a total of £250,000 for making unsolicited marketing calls to numbers on the TPS – and fined a third firm £200,000 for sending over 14 million texts in breach of the PECR rules
  • The Fundraising Regulator is to start ‘naming and shaming’ charities under investigation from 2019
  • 118 Directory Enquiries providers’ prices have been capped by Ofcom

And hidden away in the Update, a small Christmas Competition!

DMA CC Council – Compliance Regulation Hub Update December 2018-ilovepdf-compressed

Let’s make metering smart again!

That’s the progress that has been made against the target for rolling out second generation smart meters (“SMETS2”) as highlighted in a damming NAO report this morning (www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/23/smart-meters-rollout-labelled-a-fiasco-as-consumers-face-extra-500m-bill). The report goes on to say that as result of a series of failures in the roll-out programme the government’s 2020 completion target is “in tatters” and consumers will be faced with additional costs – added to their energy bills – of over £500m.

The technical and logistical problems of installing equipment in 30 million homes and business premises are obviously immense (even without the functionality problems many disgruntled consumers have experienced), but there’s a customer engagement challenge, too. No consumers are obliged to have smart meters installed, but the energy companies and installers are under government and regulator (Ofgem) pressure to meet targets.
User research indicates there are direct, financial benefits to the use of smart meters, especially the second generation variety, but the industry clearly hasn’t done all it can to persuade consumers of those benefits. Public awareness of smart metering is incredibly high (98% according to Smart Energy GB www.smartenergygb.org), but spontaneous consumer demand is low.
This suggests that old fashioned direct interaction and proactive contact have a vital part to play – be that face-to-face, via digital channels or voice. Whatever the customer engagement mix, contact centres will be crucial.
Energy supply and metering are esoteric areas, but customer engagement shouldn’t be.
Maybe energy suppliers and their partners should start by having a chat to my friends at the Contact Centre Panel www.contactcentrepanel.com

November’s Regulation Hub Update for the DMA’s Contact Centre Council

DMACCCouncil-Compliance RegulationHubUpdate-November2018-ilovepdf-compressed

A summary of everything that’s happening in the world of regulation and compliance for UK contact centres – enforcement, fines, guidance, consultations and rumours from the ICO, Ofcom, the PSA, central government, PCI Security Standards Council, the Fundraising Regulator, the Direct Marketing Association and more…

GDPR The Day After Tomorrow

GDPR: So, nobody died, but…

I’m writing this on 24th May 2018. The day after the new Data Protection Act received its Royal Assent and the day before the day we’ve all been waiting for, GDPR implementation day, 25th May.

Don’t 24 weeks fly by when you’re having GDPR fun?

This week I was intending to provide another bite-sized piece of advice to help you on your way to becoming GDPR compliant, especially from a customer experience perspective. However, as the nation has been floundering under a growing tsunami of last-minute ‘re-permission’ or ‘re-consent’ emails from companies, charities, arts and community organisations for the past few days, I can’t avoid looking at that phenomenon.

Read more …

Will the GDPR make me a millionaire?

The implementation date for the GDPR is only a week away. If you have been following this series of weekly ‘Just One Thing This Week’ blogs then we hope you’re fairly well prepared – or at least know what you still need to work on.

Anyway, give yourself a minor diversion and read about my Cunning Plan…

I’ve been doing some sums.

The Office for National Statistics (www.ons.gov.uk) reckons there are c.47,000 UK enterprises that employ 50 or more people. Let’s use that as a very rough proxy for the number of UK firms engaging in some sort of formal marketing and customer management/experience activities.
Read more …

Just One Thing Week 22

GDPR week #22 – It’s for life, not just 25th May

We looked at what you need to do help your frontline teams get prepared the GDPR and new Data Protection Act a few weeks ago (www.linkedin.com/pulse/week-19-gdpr-customer-experience-frontline-part-1-steve-sullivan/). So, by now you will ideally have agreed on an approach and the content you will use to inform and up-skill those teams – the public face of your organisation’s customer experience.

This may have entailed addressing issues around

  • how you acquire, process and retain personal data, or
  • how to recognise and fulfil customers’ data rights

Read more …

Just One Thing Week 21

Week #21. Going Dutch – a GDPR Sanity Check

If you have followed this series of weekly ‘GDPR and the new Data Protection Act (DPA) for Customer Experience people’ since they started then you could probably do with a break. And maybe a bit of a sanity check? We have said before that the GDPR and new DPA needn’t be cataclysmic or devastating – for most organisations at least. But maybe it’s all still needlessly complicated? So, how could we tell?

Well, in my experience if you want to get a sense of clarity about an issue, then ask someone from the Netherlands.

Although it may sometimes sound a little brutal to British ears, a Dutch man or woman will invariably give a simple, direct assessment of a situation. So, when Donna Dodsworth of our friends at the Contact Centre Panel forwarded us an article by Julien Spronck and Meryem Sabotic-Deniz of the Dutch arm of accountants BDO (looking at the food sector, but that’s not especially relevant) we were intrigued to see what they thought about the GDPR.
Read more …

Just One Thing Week 20

GDPR Week#20: Where in the world is that data?

Let me ask you a question.

As champion of your organisation’s customer experience and (for now, at least) the person responsible for ensuring you comply with the GDPR and new Data Protection Act, are you sending prospect and customers’ personal data outside of Europe solely to circumvent the laws on data protection?

No, of course not! I think.

But if any of your technology partners or services transfer, save or process personal data outside of the EU or EEA (European Economic Area), then you need to be clear about the legal basis on which you are doing this. And if you have intra-company transfers of personal data outside of the EEA and your organisation doesn’t have Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs www.ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/binding-corporate-rules/) in place – which is unlikely as BCRs are tricky and expensive to establish – the same stipulations apply.
Read more …

Just One Thing Week 19

Week #19 – GDPR & the customer experience frontline (part 1)

Whether you have just started your preparations for the GDPR and the forthcoming new Data Protection Act or you feel it’s all sorted, you need to ensure your most important stakeholders – your frontline staff – are prepared. Your customer facing teams mark where your customer experience ambitions are either realised or frustrated. Whether dealing with customers face-to-face in store or in the field, or remotely in a contact centre, they are the face of your organisation. As such they will be the first port of call for customers looking to exercise their new and enhanced rights.
Read more …

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