Fiona Campbell

Fiona Campbell

Fiona Campbell, Head of Marketing at Ascensos

Recent posts by Fiona Campbell

3 min read

Helping brands & their customers stay in love

By Fiona Campbell on 14-Feb-2020 16:12:02

Love is certainly in the air at Ascensos today. There’s been a flurry of love notes exchanged among teammates delivered by a couple of nominated colleague cupids and a sea of people wearing the colour of love as far as our eyes can see. Kudos to our Marketing Team who most definitely nailed todays’ love theme in honour of the great hallmark celebration that is Valentines Day.

But dare I say that we are in fact switched onto the love vibes all year round here at Ascensos. As engagement experts, our goal is to help brands and their customers stay in love. It’s something that we’re extremely passionate about. All day, every day.

valpic

As every retailer is fully aware, for consumers the next best thing is always a mere click away, making brand loyalty a battlefield for any business that doesn’t take their customers’ expectations seriously, or make their customer experience a priority.

So, because we’re good at it (but mainly since it’s Valentine’s Day), we’ve been mulling over our ‘Top 6 Romance Rules’ essential to ‘keep that special spark’ alive between a brand and their customers.

Romance Rule #1: Speak the same love language.

Simply put, if you want your customers to love your brand, you need to keep it real. Brand loyalty has everything to do with how consumers perceive your brand, whether it be through marketing activity, reputation or service. Consumers want to believe in brands that represent something true and authentic – and that requires consistency and trust. For our frontline Customer Service Advisors, every interaction matters as they are empowered to play their part in delivering your brand story, adopting your brands’ tone of voice and understanding your product offering inside out, to ensure long lasting relationships with your customers.

Romance Rule #2: Maintain high standards.

Setting the right standards in customer service is crucial for performance. It gives frontline Customer Service Advisors something to aim for, an incentive to improve. But using the right combination of metrics as a measurement of success is key to that continual improvement. Be that speed of response, first-contact resolution, Customer Effort Score (CES) or Net Promoter Score (NPS). The essential questions are; was the customers problem resolved efficiently? Did they leave happy?  Are they still in love?

Romance Rule #3: Listen with the intent to understand.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. To successfully build a rapport with customers, be that over the phone, via email, live chat or on social media, demonstrating empathy and understanding is an extremely important factor when it comes to providing a great service experience.

Whether customers call about a problem or complaint, our job is to make them feel heard, respected and understood. Acknowledging customer concerns with empathy and understanding is essential to good communication and great service. Imagine yourself in that customer’s shoes and make their problems your own. Would you do anything different to meet their expectations?

Romance Rule #4: Ask questions.

Ask the right questions and then use the data to build more in-depth customer profiles. Translating customer data into insight will keep your brand relevant and make a huge difference in the way you relate to your customers, the products you recommend and/or the solutions you provide.

Customers expect a personalised experience full of personality, attention, respect, and appreciation. Being smart with data will help to strengthen their connection with your brand, making your customers feel valued. And customers love brands more when they feel loved.

Romance Rule #5: Make it memorable.

It is essential that we establish connections that are so special and memorable that a customer desires to keep coming back for more. So, keep delighting them. Reduce customer effort and don’t leave them waiting, deal with difficult conversations upfront and always follow-up. Make the customer journey as seamless as possible and give them a reason to stay.

A warm, personal service is always a fantastic reminder of why they fell in love. Make them feel as special as new customers. Retention is just as important as acquisition.

Romance Rule #6: Practice self-care.

Happy people keep people happy, which is vital when it comes to caring for the needs of customers. For many brands their frontline colleagues can be one of the biggest untapped resources when creating a great customer experience.

The space where you work and the people that surround you play a key role in ensuring you love what you do. At Ascensos, we’ve always placed a real emphasis on the employee experience, to create an enjoyable environment and culture of fun and inclusion for all our colleagues. It’s certainly working today!

Customers leave a brand because of a bad or an indifferent experience. Needs are not met. Relevance is lost. Values no longer align. And trust is broken.

All brands must rise to the occasion to stay on top, but sometimes endless love requires some expertise and a little TLC.

discover-a-fresh-approach-to-customer-service-outsourcing-with-ascensos

If you’re looking for a fresh approach to customer service outsourcing, get in touch and let’s talk or email us at partnership@ascensos.com.

Topics: customer expectations customer service
3 min read

CX with a human touch, retail, RPA & Alexa

By Fiona Campbell on 05-Feb-2020 13:37:11

On December 6, John Devlin, CEO of Europe’s leading customer service outsourcing partner Ascensos, discussed retaining the human element of customer experience (CX) in the face of so many emerging technologies.

John talks with Mark Hilary of the CX Files from his office in Romania, about the ability for robotic process automation (RPA) to reduce repetitive tasks and the impact of voice technology, particularly within the smart-connected home environment where Amazon Echo and voice assistant Alexa may change all our shopping habits, paving the way for more complex integration of biometrics to streamline customer experience programs.


Voice technology, says John, is finally getting its day as the technology has advanced enough not to frustrate customers”. It will change shopping habits and become so empathetic to the customer journey to the point where the AI-enabled systems can suggest the next best product in order to drive future sales.

5G too will be a game-changer as it powers the connection and integration of emerging technologies and leads to a more seamless and instantaneous customer experience.

The CX CEO says, the key to choosing the right technology to augment customer service is identifying and “measuring differentiating value,” rather than choosing technology, “for tech’s sake.”

He also believes we shouldn’t “forget about the value of human interaction,” and that maximum customer impact is obtained by a person, whether face to face or over the phone, when customers see them as “having gone the extra mile.”

The key for Ascensos and John in delivering the best-in-class customer experience is blending technology and augmenting it with highly skilled, highly engaged colleagues to provide a real “wow” factor for customers. By investing in RPA to simplify processes, benefits are evident for both contact centre colleagues and our customers. For advisors, having RPA technology underpinning their actions, will ultimately make life easier, freeing up time for them to focus on complex resolution and great customer outcomes. For our customers, reducing effort is where the real gains are to be made.

Evolve or die on CX


John says brands who are not evolving today are dying as 24/7 omnichannel customer service becomes an expectation. Consumers are crying out for brands they can believe in, brands that are honest, authentic, responsible and demonstrate high integrity. As we go into the next decade, he is adamant that trust and transparency will be fundamental to building real brand value.

For Ascensos, a lot of time is spent supporting clients in the retail space to build their customer charter and the solutions that hang from that before delivering the customer interaction that comes as a result. Today, customer service metrics, says John, should not measure calls in contact centres but instead customer happiness and delight. Thus, making the after-contact NPS survey redundant, as true customer sentiment can be easily obtained from social media listening, and this is already happening – if brands would just listen.

Managing that data to draw powerful, meaningful insights will come down to how retailers are deploying RPA and AI to help measure the right behaviours and how these technologies are then used to gain insight into what matters to all brands – the level of customer happiness and loyalty.



 “The goal for CX going into the next decade should be on creating brand value that nurtures customers into fans. As only then, as brand advocates will customers willingly pay more for a product”.

John Devlin, CEO Ascensos



Further expansion is on the horizon in 2020 for Ascensos contact centres. And as with any truly entrepreneurial business, the momentum is high, as plans are underway to expand their proposition both in the UK and Central and Eastern Europe. The emergence of these technologies has undoubtedly had a massive part to play in future growth plans for John and his team, as they continue to widen the net on the core services that they offer today.

About this podcast:

CX Files features your host, writer and analyst Mark Hillary, speaking each week to leading analysts, thinkers, and practitioners focused on managing the Customer Experience (CX). In each episode Mark and his guests explore the future of CX, the important trends, and what customers really expect from brands today. For more on Mark Hilary's podcasts visit the CX Files.

discover-a-fresh-approach-to-customer-service-outsourcing-with-ascensos

If you're in need of a fresh approach to your customer service outsourcing, let’s talk. Arrange a call with our Consultants or email us at partnership@ascensos.com.

Topics: emerging technology
8 min read

Emerging technology is accelerating. But who's driving your CX?

By Fiona Campbell on 05-Feb-2020 13:22:44

2020 kicked off with CES in Las Vegas which highlighted the increasing emphasis on empowered technology to engage customers. 

 

As the pace of digital transformation accelerates, digitalisation and particularly emerging technologies are fundamentally changing how customers interact with retail brands, and with it the vast implications and opportunities it will present for the customer experience, profitability, and growth.

 

Retaining a competitive advantage by delivering excellent customer service is becoming increasingly challenging for retail businesses striving to be on the forward edge of delivering the customer experience expected by today’s savvy consumer.

 

The impact of 5G, AI, IoT and Voice Search on the retail customer experience

 

In-store retail technology is evolving even from today’s mobile POS terminals. Interactive displays, QR codes, and real-time marketing delivery via iBeacons on instore Wi-Fi networks are core to brand engagement and sales efficiency. Consumers are beginning to see autonomous smart shopping carts and intelligent mirrors that display product information, like at JD owned 7Fresh in China. Nike and Amazon Go’s mobile checkouts now extend across the US, Specsavers launched its live imaging tool for comparing frames in the UK, while Sephora’s virtual artist and makeover services are available at its connected stores in France.

 

JD.com-7Fresh-intelligent-mirror

📷 7Fresh supermarkets in China feature intelligent mirrors displaying nutritional value and product information /JD.com

 

It’s not just physical retail that is integrating these advances in technology. Online retail must also deliver an equally compelling experience and any associated customer service channel must also remain at the cutting edge. After all, as per PwC, one in three customers will not return after a single poor customer service experience and this figure rises to as much as 92% after more than one bad experience.

 

1-in-3-customers-will not return 800x430

 

5G – instantaneous rich communication and enabling IoT


The next 18–24 months, will see the global implementation of 5G wireless networks. Downloads will become a thousand times faster and there will be much lower latency providing brands with enriched engagement opportunities with customers. 5G will effectively enable the age of the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) as consumers will be more connected than ever before; mobile devices will become like high-powered PCs and voice and text communication will always be instantaneous.

 

5G also presents opportunities for customer experience management improvements and innovation. The enabling of faster data collection, particularly when combined with AI, will result in real-time product and service personalisation quickly becoming a matter of course – subsequently driving customer expectations of brand engagement to new levels.

 

Online customer engagement will inevitably become more responsive, yet become as personal as physical face-to-face interaction, with improvements in the delivery of live web chat and video customer service communications.

 

Co-browsing will also become more accessible, where customer service advisors view and interact with consumer devices in real-time, to guide shoppers and perform tasks on their behalf. With 5G we can expect to see an upward trend, as Forbes report that customer service co-browsing experiences lead to customer satisfaction rates more than six points higher than average.

 

 

Voice Search – fast, accurate response and 24/7 voice assistance

Voice Search is starting to replace text search, but it also means a consumer who asks a detailed question rather than entering two- or three-word search terms expects a better response.

 

ComScore predicts half of all searches will be voice-activated in 2020. Though these searches might be directed at Siri, Cortana, or Alexa at first, the expectation and technology will open up new opportunities for retailers to enable a response to voice searches using voice assistants and bots. Especially within e-commerce websites.

 

alexa-cortana-listening-800x430 📷 Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is an intelligent voice recognition and natural language understanding service /Amazon

 

Brands will need to improve their content to ensure a voice assistant presents their site and products ahead of others. And voice advances will mean that shoppers can add items to their baskets on the move as they find the answers to basic enquiries. 

 

Chatbots will be available and used in real-time and on mobile and when combined with AI’s data gathering and learned response, will get better and better. Chatbots and virtual assistants will become so data powered and advanced, understanding buying behaviour so comprehensively, that they will be used to upsell and cross-sell to great effect. That said, expert humans still need to be available to implement, manage and support these systems.

 


An outsourcing partnership to confidently guide you through your digital journey.

 

For retailers, evolving the customer experience to become a seamless and truly insight-driven journey calls for a partnership with customer engagement experts, who are trusted technology specialists already at the cusp of technological advancement, with their finger on the pulse.

 



“Empowered by technology, the hyperconnected consumer is redefining value. The traditional measures
of cost, choice, and convenience are still relevant, but now control and experience are also important.”

World Economic Forum, Future of Retail.

 


 

5G brings huge opportunity, but it also presents significant risk which demands robust security controls around online interactions. Calling for todays' customer service outsourcers to be experts in handling and protecting data, GDPR and cybersecurity as well as being data specialists with the ability to process and translate this data into actionable insights. 

 

Customer service outsourcers benefit from the economies of scale of implementing emerging technologies throughout every aspect of the customer journey, creating cost-saving opportunities in time, investment, and resources for their retail partners. Such customer service outsourcers are strategically positioned to drive innovation on behalf of their clients, with the shared goal of creating industry-leading retail customer experiences.

 

And the opportunities don’t end there. 

 

With emerging technologies replacing time-consuming simple question and answer responses and data gathering processes, human customer service advisors need to be more capable than ever before. As they will become the first point of human call for challenging complex disputes or for technical product problem resolution. This growing need for engagement specialists who deal with lower volumes but with higher expertise, will become vital and outsourcing the customer experience is one way to quickly take advantage of expert teams without the hassle of recruiting and training them.

 

And now with chatbots picking up a high percentage of basic customer enquiries, these expert customer service advisors, empowered by data and technology will gain the bandwidth to focus on upselling and cross-selling. So not only can outsourcing partners and their highly skilled workforce produce cost savings, but they can also become an added source of revenue generation.

 

Outsourcing the customer experience leaves retailers free to concentrate on product delivery, development, and in-store operations, and with the right customer service outsourcing partner they can capitalise on the opportunity to architect a new technology-fueled, retail customer experience.

 

discover-a-fresh-approach-to-customer-service-outsourcing-with-ascensos

 

If you're in need of a fresh approach to your customer service outsourcing, let’s talk. Arrange a call with our Consultants or email us at partnership@ascensos.com.

Topics: customer experience emerging technology customer service outsourcing