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A financial services firm recently experienced a 39% response rate to a direct mail campaign. An incredible result from a channel which typically generates less than 5% from its calls to action.

That was a great result for the finance firm, but also a useful reminder that – irrespective of the communication channel – proactive contacts with customers can be (mutually) valuable and effective, if the targeting and proposition are right.

Easier said than done, but worth aiming for!


An interesting stat from Orange this week via this Universal Queue infographic from Netcall:
73% of adults aged 18-24 say that “valuing my time” is the most important thing in providing good customer service.
A timely reminder that #customer experience 101 factors like being prompt and knowledgeable when engaging with customers are universally valued, irrespective of the demographic.

What’s happening to the UK’s ‘Middle Tier’ Outsourced Contact Centres?

The ‘middle-tier’ of the UK outsourced contact centre space is potentially precarious, squeezed between smaller niche providers and the global BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) firms. For many clients the ‘middle-tier’ offers a more flexible, focused delivery model than larger rivals, with the added reassurance of direct relationships with their suppliers’ leadership teams.

However, outsourcing can be hard business, typified by low margins and demanding clients. Today these challenges are compounded by increased customer and technology demands, which outsourcers need to be able to anticipate and meet in order to succeed.

The last 12 months has seen significant changes in the mid-market space – consolidation, business failure and new investments – which we reviewed in the infographic, below.

Download here: Middle-Tier Contact Centre Consolidation – Feb 2019

If you’re a current or potential client of a middle-tier provider and want to work through the implications of these changes – or you’re in the middle-tier and trying to decide where to head next – drop us a line hello@channeldoctors.co.uk

February’s Regulation Hub Update from the DMA’s Contact Centre Council

Each month Channel Doctors’ Steve Sullivan prepares a summary of all the news contact centre and customer experience professionals need on regulation and compliance for the Direct Marketing Association (www.dma.org.uk)’s Contact Centre Council.

February’s headlines include:

  • Renewable energy firm sanctioned – but not fined – by the ICO for making 800,000 un-consented calls to consumers on the TPS
  • Accident claims contact centre fined £80,000 for calling TPS numbers
  • Two rogue marketing firms’ directors banned for 6 & 4 years by the Insolvency Service

Download here:  DMA CC Council – Compliance Regulation Hub Update February 2019



3,739,229 or 20% – that’s the net reduction in total phone numbers registered with the UK Telephone Preference Service between January and December 2018.

This wasn’t due to a sudden surge in enthusiasm for receiving sales and marketing calls, but rather because TPS – and its masters at the Information Commissioner’s Office – finally started cleansing the data, stripping out redundant and reassigned numbers.

So, life has become a little easier for marketeers and contact centres which need to screen their phone prospect data against the TPS – while the TPS’ long term future remains unclear (especially as the proposed ePrivacy Regulation seems as far away as ever…)


A major UK news media brand found that its rates of Subscriber first term uplift (i.e. Retention) rose between 6-8% on average for those receiving Welcome Calls, when compared to those who did not.

Not just a compelling example of how proactive contact can make a commercially significant difference to organisations and their customer engagement – but also that ‘digital’ customers aren’t necessarily tied to just one communication channel.

January’s Regulation Hub Update from the DMA’s Contact Centre Council

All the news contact centre and customer experience professionals need on regulation and compliance, prepared by Channel Doctors’ Steve Sullivan for the Direct Marketing Association (www.dma.org.uk)’s Contact Centre Council.

This month’s headlines:

  • Ban on Pensions cold calling introduced
  • Google fined €50m by French data protection regulator
  • Telephone Preference Service file size reduced by nearly 4 million numbers through 2018
  • Fundraising Preference Service falls flat

Click Here: DMA CC Council – Compliance Regulation Hub Update January 2019

100% Compliant

It’s depressing #BlueMonday today, we’re told. So cheer yourself up with this hilarious bit of research from the DMA.

44% of respondents to the DMA’s latest data privacy survey from the tech and telecommunications sector claim to be “100% GDPR compliant”.


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



6 Weeks

Apparently, every Facebook coder receives 6 WEEKS of data privacy training!

Really. That’s what I thought.

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