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February’s Monthly Compliance Newsletter

Compliance is good for you! In small doses. Read up on the compliance and regulation changes that matter to you & your business.

This month’s headlines:

Marketers’ nervousness about the ICO’s draft Direct Marketing Code of Practice grows 

(And is the 3rd party data market doomed?)

The UK’s freedom of data exchange with the EU should be fine after the Brexit transition period. Unless it’s not…

The Post Office‘s accessibility services’ billing failings result in a £175,000 Ofcom fine

Ovo fined £9m for customer billing and transparency errors

ASA slams Ryanair for ‘green-washing’ – and shows a confused approach to the F*** word

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Number of the Week: Outbound Calling Down 49%

Outbound calling has fallen by 49% since 2004. The proportion of outbound calling activity in UK contact centres has dropped from 33.7% to 17.2%.
That’s another arresting research finding in Contact Babel‘s UK Contact Centres 2020 report.

So, is outbound calling inevitably doomed – or condemned to an increasingly low value and often non-compliant offshore future? Not necessarily.
But for proactive outbound contact to work you will need to make sure you have relevant, timely reasons to connect with the right people at the right time (and not necessarily just via the voice channel).

Far from impossible, but the days of “throwing mud at the wall and seeing what sticks” are long gone. Contact centres need to continue to raise their games.

#data #marketing #proposition #ominichannel #engagement #contactcentres

Number of the week: Black Friday <50% Offer Next Day

On #BlackFriday, last year, less than 50% of ecommerce retailers offered next day deliveries – as opposed to greater than 80% offering a next day option on normal trading days. (this is one of 5 key research findings in an IMRG and Magento, an Adobe Company white paper ‘5 Things We Learnt From Black Friday 2019’ .


So, is this a disappointing example of brands diluting their customer experience in favour of a margin-reducing sales frenzy, or just sensible pragmatism?
What do you think?
Personally, I’d say it’s pragmatism. Retailers don’t control the delivery carrier networks and we all know those networks are severely stressed by November and the Black Friday period and often at breaking point in the run-up to Christmas. Nearly every customer-facing business is part of a complex infrastructure of suppliers and at times it makes sense to go with the flow. Added to which, the majority of discount-driven purchases over Black Friday are less likely to be focused on speed of receipt than size of savings.
However, its not clear from the IMRG & Magento research if Amazon also restricted its next day delivery options over Black Friday….

BA + M&S = Peanuts


Take two great brands, add poor training and a failure to empower the front-line and this is what you get

Or how what looks like a great idea in the board room can translate into a dire customer experience if you don’t empower your employees

I’ve made a few flights for work, recently. Flying gives lots of opportunities for those of us interested in customer experience to see how it works out in a complex and often stressful environment.

Not so long ago I flew to Italy with BA on a flight which was delayed for 2 hours because of a technical fault. Unfortunately for BA this delay happened when – due to bad weather – there have been a number of other flight cancellations. So, on the flight I found myself surrounded by a rather disgruntled-looking group of fellow passengers. The man sat to my left was a true business frequent flyer, who flew both short and long haul a number of times each month. In my experience airports and aeroplanes aren’t great places for spontaneous conversation. However as we waited for the safely announcement my fellow passenger shared with me his frustration with BA, its aged fleet, poor reliability and budget airline-style charging for food on short haul flights.

It wasn’t long before he asked a steward what food and drink we would be offered as the flight was now 2 hours late, which he said the Civil Aviation Authority required. The steward – presumably following his BA training – wasn’t willing to accept that the flight was over 2 hours late (it was!) or that BA was liable to provide us passengers with food and drink*. The disgruntled passenger disputed this and pointed out that there had been repeated announcement on board explaining BA’s relationship with Marks and Spencer’s, which meant that passengers could buy some M&S sandwiches or snacks for lunch.

He said that he thought the other passengers would be like to know that they should be offered free refreshments, too. This immediately triggered the steward, who – adopting something of the tone of a 19th century official reading the Riot Act to some unruly locals – announced that if the passenger was going to cause a disruption he would be asked to leave the flight. This was a totally inappropriate and disproportionate response, which naturally resulted in a still more frustrated passenger. The steward then explained in exasperation “It’s not our food, it’s Marks and Spencer’s!”.

There’s a fascinating discussion to be had about whether IAG has chronically under-invested in BA, resulting in an aged, unreliable fleet. And whether its problems have been compounded by joining a ‘race to the bottom’, by aping the budget airlines’ proposition – but without their low cost base to match. However, that’s a conversation for another day.

What most struck me is this. BA doesn’t directly control or deliver so many aspects of their customers’ overall experience, e.g. not ticket booking [if not done directly], travel to and parking at the airport, the airport itself, check in and security, etc. BA has made a strategic decision to partner with another great British brand to provide food and drink, but seemingly has decided that doing so means that even the control of a tokenistic prawn sandwich is now beyond BA’s influence.

On top of that, BA’s customer service training for its front-line cabin crew – who deliver the only person-to-person contact most customers will have with the BA brand – seems to encompass

  1. a massive lack of empowerment, allied to
  2. an aggressively applied policy of threats to quieten restive passengers.

BA’s website describes cabin crew as “ambassadors for the British Airways brand”. That’s a fine aspiration, but as long as its staff don’t have the authority to offer delayed passengers a cup of tea and a sarnie it’s rather hollow. BA aren’t alone in having a far better idea of the cost of a sandwich than the lifetime value of a customer – and the importance of maintaining relationship and loyalty at points of service failure. But when BA’s influence over its customers’ experience is often so slight, this is major failing.

And when the steward returned to my disgruntled fellow passenger 10 minutes later and consolatory offered him a miniature pack of peanuts (unfortunately I don’t know whether they were M&S peanuts) for free, I’m sure you can imagine his reaction…

*I did some research after the flight and sent BA an email querying if my fellow passenger was right and why no complementary food and drink was offered – which just resulted in a reply that was masterpiece in platitudinously avoiding answering the question. I couldn’t be bothered to follow up – just like a normal customer, who wasn’t going to write a blog post about their disappointing experience

When this article was posted on LinkedIn it provoked some spirited – and frustrated – responses too…

Number of the Week: 31%

31% of UK contact centres are planning to implement Artificial Intelligence tools in 2020. That’s just one of the fascinating research findings in Contact Babel‘s UK Contact Centres 2020 report: https://lnkd.in/gu5dNvn

Of course AI has great potential in helping both consumers and brands – even if a lot of what is now described as AI is far from it. However, as the ICO’s current consultation paper “Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Protection” makes clear, any organisation using big data algorithms and analytics to influence its customers’ experience and outcomes must be able to explain how.

When it comes to contact centres sourcing smart new tech from vendors that could be quite a challenge.

Are 31% of UK contact centres up to it? hashtag#AIhashtag#contactcentreshashtag#compliance

January’s Monthly Compliance Newsletter

Start 2020 as you mean to go on, by having a crash course in compliance & regulation news for people in #Sales, #Marketing & #Customerexperience.

This month’s headlines:

Finally, the ICO’s released it’s draft Direct Marketing Code of Practice for consultation – and it really does need a close read

Keen on using AI, but can’t explain how it works? The ICO says you need to be able to!

Data can be breached through cardboard storage boxes and shop tills, not just in the cloud 

“Told you so” chorus PCI solution vendors after the ICO quotes its own guidance

How identifying & verifying customers in your contact centre may be about to get even more tricky

The ASA returns to the vexed issue of (banned) gender stereotyping. Do you and your advertising agency understand the confusing rules?

Download it here:

and subscribe for free and receive the Newsletter in your inbox every month http://eepurl.com/gqxzw5


December’s Monthly Compliance Newsletter

All I want for Christmas is… a pithy summary of compliance news? Not top of your list maybe, but like sprouts it’ll do you good. Read on!

This month’s headlines:

  • Nationwide sanctioned by the CMA for not talking about PPI enough
  • Are SARs a pain in the **** for your business? The ICO wants to know
  • The PSA‘s new rules put the squeeze on premium rate scammers
  • How to turn a £80,000 ICO fine into a £90,000 fine in one easy move
  • Deliveroo and Wowcher are misleading (but not sexist) and KFC are just being rude, rules the ASA

Download it here:

and subscribe for free and receive the Newsletter in your inbox every month http://eepurl.com/gqxzw5

We’ve done a podcast!

Last week, The Hidden Edge‘s Laura McHarrie of The Hidden Edge and Nigel Davey of SME Needs invited me to join them on one of their Sound Business Advice podcasts. We chatted about customer engagement, behavioural insights, new technology, data and how to treat it…

November’s Monthly Compliance Newsletter

Daniel Defoe said death and taxes are certain – and so are regulation and compliance. But they’re not always clear or obvious. Let’s try and help…

This month’s headlines:

  The ‘tracksuit tycoon’ calls foulon Nike & Adidas

The ICO looks to seize dodgy marketers’ assets

  Two nuisance call directors banned for 6 years

  The Fundraising Preference Serviceisn’t preferred by many people, it seems

•  Deliveroo can’t deliver to space – official

  Is DRTV the retro-marketing salvation for marketers with GDPR-diminished databases?

  Tread carefully when setting up Google Ads warns the ASA

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October’s Monthly Compliance Newsletter

Here’s our October Compliance Newsletter, packed with the regulation and compliance news customer-focused professionals need to know (without the boring bits).

This month’s headlines:

  • Is the ICO crowd-sourcing cookie compliance?
  • CMA takes on Salesforce
  • Home improvements firm fined £150,000 for calling TPS numbers
  • Research shows marketers’ data privacy understanding getting worse
  • RNLIditches its consent-only fundraising stance
  • Burger King‘s milkshake tweet upsets the ASA

Download your copy here:

or subscribe for free and receive the Newsletter in your inbox (nearly) every month http://eepurl.com/gqxzw5


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