2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. Yet is has also been a period of opportunities to fuel innovation and turn over strategies in a matter of days or weeks rather than setting monthly or annual plans. According to Precisely, almost 90% of organisations have updated their Customer Experience (CX) strategies in response to the pandemic.
Shifting to new models in real time require a foundation: business agility. In an increasingly hyper-connected world, consumers are demanding 24/7 multi-channel support and greater intimacy with brands. Trust, visibility, and immediacy are predicted to be key in a touchless environment.
Integrating flexibility into your overall CX strategies will enable your business to keep up with the pace of change. In 2021, we envision Contact Centres will continue to evolve into true Experience Hubs as greater methods of contact will be embraced to match fast-changing consumer behaviours and new technologies.
Understanding trends help companies anticipate. What can you do today to lead the CX transformation in 2021 and beyond?
Investing in a cloud-based omnichannel solution will allow your business to expand the channels of contact and respond in real time. Today, contact centres need to handle much more than phone calls. Customers seek support via messaging, self-serve, social media, email, app, etc.
You need to be ready to address customer issues and concerns quickly and in their preferred channel, to create better experiences and in turn, happier customers.
Social distancing has contributed to a much wider adoption of Digital as the channel of choice across all generations. Forrester predicts there will be a 40% increase in digital customer service interactions in 2021.
To accommodate this demand, brands will add more and invest in new channels as they become popular. For instance, with emerging “smart tech” devices and the Internet of things (IoT), users no longer require a hand-held device to ask for support.
This year and more than ever, digital will occupy a pivotal role in the customer experience.
AI and Machine Learning is evolving rapidly. Chatbots, virtual assistants, interactive voice response (IVR) or natural language processing (NPS) have proved to drive efficiencies by automating simpler contact centre tasks that were previously managed manually by an agent.
Automation aims to successfully handle some of those interactions through intelligent algorithms without interference of a human, leading not only to cost and time efficiencies, but also enhanced customer satisfaction through speedy case resolution. According to an Uberall study, 80% of people who interacted with a chatbot had an excellent experience.
By implementing intelligent IVR solutions, CPM have seen up to 36% of consumers successfully completing the end-to-end CX process through self-serve. Thereby allowing live agents to handle the more complex queries, while AI supports transactional cases.
Understanding human and virtual agents are co-workers rather than competitors is crucial to make the most out of CX technology. The potential opportunities of Machine learning are exponential with some till unknown, and so the importance of harnessing digital and human contact strategies will be key in the coming years.
Work-From-Home is here to stay, and companies should learn to manage decentralised teams. This can be a challenge when engaging employees, but it offers a positive side: flexibility.
Empowering agents with the ability to influence their working hours and environment can translate into lower agent turnover, higher productivity, and greater employee loyalty. Additionally, companies can maximise talent pool and access key languages in high demand while reducing costs.
Furthermore, remote working models offer contact centres scheduling flexibility and reater availability of agents to tap into during seasonal and unexpected peak demands.. This dynamic resourcing approach works extremely well in times of crisis management such as the peak customer service demand in industries like travel during the Covid-19 situation.
Resource optimisation is also achieved through the combination of human and digital forces. Robotic means must be managed together with human agents, as one integrated workforce. CPM achieved 50% headcount efficiencies for one client by blending complementary teams and introducing automation.
Today, an increasing number of companies are employing Customer Analytics to better understand their clients and to capitalise on that information. With increasing actionable data-rich technology, reporting and analytics are expected to be a true competitive advantage in 2021.
Knowing what influences consumers, how they feel, and what they think help brands fill in the gap and play to generate the maximum impact and ultimately convert consumers to purchase. Real time reporting speeds up that process by driving actionable insight and in turn, continuous improvement in the end users experience.
CPM is investing in a wide variety of business intelligence tools including emotional recognition, sentiment analysis, speech analytics, and predictive analytics, which enable data-driven personalisation. By understanding each consumer, we can deliver tailored services whichprovide added value and connect at a true emotional level.
Data-driven personalization can also reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50% (Adweek) while improving the quality of the customer experience. According to Forrester , 25% of brands expect to achieve statistically significant advances in CX quality in 2021.
Parallel to workforce optimisation, Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) is rising as a decisive CX trend in 2021. A Frost & Sullivan study on WEM found that 89% of companies improving contact centre engagement will significantly enhance the quality of customer experience.
By implementing tools that motivate, recognize, and engage employees, your company can nurture your workforce to become highly effective, knowledgeable, and committed. This includes learning and development, collaborative software, well-being initiatives and a strong company culture.
Moreover, as remote working becomes more mainstream, a greater emphasis on belonging is needed. Fostering this unifying force is the groundwork of diversity and inclusion policies that will boost a shared sense of purpose and therefore higher engagement.
Delivering an exceptional customer experience becomes the end goal for any brand, but a positive or negative brand experience comes from the interactions your customers have with your employees. Happy and engaged agents create better experiences, which ultimately leads to more satisfied and loyal customers.
Customer Experience is a crucial differentiator in today’s business and will continue shaping the competitive landscape in 2021. Customer expectations are skyrocketing and each interaction matters. How are you responding to that?
At CPM we are already helping our clients transition from customer service into experience hub. We are experts in designing optimal customer engagement strategies for developing and fostering relationships between brands and customers.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to transform CX trends into real competitive advantage and best-in-class CX.
Our latest Expert Speak comes from Pierpaolo Bertocco, CPM Italy, on omnichannel retail and e-commmerce.
During the Italian event IT’S ALL RETAIL, organized by Brainz, which brought together the main Retail, GDO and Fashion players to talk about challenges and market opportunities, Pierpaolo Bertocco outlined CPM’s point of view on sales in an increasingly phygital context and stressed the relevance of identifying promptly online sales threats and having access to a flow of steadily updated insights on sales.
How are sales changing in an increasingly phygital context?
The increase in online sales due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic is plain to see.
Over a couple of months we saw what would normally happen in a few years (5 according to a recent report by IBM). The impact was on the switch between physical and online sales on one hand, and on the driver of the transformation on the other. To explain; until a few months ago digital sales were driven by technology and companies. The Big players (Amazon, Alibaba, etc) first, followed by sector companies, have made available e-commerce and delivery platforms and services, anticipating a latent need for most consumers, except perhaps the big cities and the youngest generations. With the pandemic the consumer is more and more the decision maker, he is the hare or rather the conductor.
An orchestra conductor who has made the smartphone his baton, directing his purchasing decisions based on ratings, reviews and, of course, the availability of product information.
According to a study by the Politecnico of Milan University and the research institute Nielsen, 58% of individuals that bought online had not done so before. Furthermore, 83% of these stated that they would continue to buy online even post-Covid. The percentage of online buyers goes up to 80% if we consider the European data of Detail’s study done in partnership with Kantar. We all know that e-commerce has seen a significant increase in sales, especially in the first weeks of the lockdown – 81% more than in 2019, according to data reported by Nielsen – this trend is confirmed: IBM stated that purchases in department stores will decrease by 60% at the end of the year, while e-commerce would grow by around 20%. Additionally, 80% of shoppers consult their smartphones on purchases they’re about to make in a physical store.
What we see at CPM, not only in Italy but through comparison between the countries we in which we operate internationally, is that the near future represents a great challenge for the CEOs of every sector and even more so for Sales Directors. In the coming months they will find themselves having to understand how to manage a strong change in the weight of purchase channels, and consequently in the distribution chain, and particularly of their mindset and their digital skills. And, of course, omnichannel. This is a race with no finish line.
The pandemic has accelerated the transition from retail to e-commerce: making sure that your products are visible on the channels of online retailers has become even more crucial. What can be done?
Common practices for physical retail, such as monitoring and developing stock levels, product availability, consumer information, and last but not least, sales and competitors’ audit, have moved massively on-line, for the reasons mentioned before. Those brands that use retailers (primarily Amazon but also other e-commerce retailers), rather than their own platforms, often have to – it seems a nonsense – check by hand, maybe sample by sample, what happens to their online offer.
The product search landscape is changing and being visible in Google is no longer enough. Retailers have become complex search engines using algorithms to rank products on the digital shelf. Furthermore, retailers are willing to have (and display) the largest selection of products. Within this context, imagine a product, perhaps food specifically for intolerances with the wrong description, or a fake brand product sold by third parties, or trivially indexed on the parameters of size and characteristics (a smart tv for example) which therefore does not appear in the search by potential shoppers. This is easy to image. However, it’s not as easy to image the potential loss of business, especially if the consumer tastes the product offline and then buys it online, maybe even while they are in the store.
There are some platforms that support online product management on all aspects mentioned above and Detail is the partner that CPM uses to maximize product visibility, monitor sales and, ultimately, help to push online sales. “Polite” spyders work at night when there is less traffic, adapting to the time zones of each country, without disturbance, and returning daily the point of the situation allowing the leadership to remedy or make informed decisions.
An example? On average, even before the pandemic, 40% of online products were categorized incorrectly3 or sold out, resulting in a reduction in potential sales. And it’s not hard to imagine how this data has potentially increased with the pressure to which online retailers were subjected during the lockdown and in the following months.
In the end, only with a constantly updated analytical insights framework can you identify lost sales opportunities and act as quickly as possible to turn them into profit.
This free guide helps you choose the right solution for your business.
Using technology to monitor your products’ visibility online allows you to discover lost sales opportunities like never before: recurring sold-out issues, misrepresentations of your products, disappearance of hero products, SDA issues, and other lost sales opportunities.
However, with these type of solutions still being quite new, we understand you may have a lot of questions. What should you look out for when choosing such a solution? That and more is what we’re answering in this free guide.
This guide gives you insights into:
We also hope to inspire you with the countless opportunities that come with monitoring online product visibility.
To download the guide click here to visit our partner website
Are you a consumer brand looking to increase online sales? Then this guide is for you. In our KPI guide, we explain which 6 KPI’s successful global consumer brands are using and why.
Download our free guide if you’re looking to:
To download the guide click here to visit our partner website
Discover the most important parameters of e-commerce auditing and get practical advice on how to monitor your product visibility in online re-seller channels.
Download the guide to get insights on:
To download the guide click here to visit our partner website
“Our end of year Expert Speak comes from Mark Ridler, CFO at CPM who captures the essence of Procurement. Mark trained and qualified in paper clip counting too many years ago to remember and since then has held various CFO and FD roles in the entertainment, marketing and communication industries. Most recently he has held positions at the centre within WPP and Omnicom negotiating local, regional and global client contracts focusing on terms and conditions and remuneration models specific to the clients’ engagement requirements. Mark is currently group CFO at CPM, Omnicom’s largest and best in class field sales and contact centre business’’.
Oh yep, it’s that time of year again.
From an outsider’s perspective, the yearly assault of increasingly-glossy Christmas adverts must surely paint a picture of an industry on the rise. After all, with that many celebrities shoved into a 60-second spot, how can marketing budgets be anything but bulging?
The truth is, overspending during the festive season isn’t a bad habit reserved for overzealous gift givers. Self-indulgent clients and self-congratulatory agencies can also be tempted to sprinkle a little magic during the cold dark days of December. The problem is, what happens for the other eleven months of the year?
After 10 years of austerity, it shouldn’t be surprising that marketing directors are increasingly unwilling to cut agencies a decent slice of a dwindling pie. And without a decent slice of the pie, it also shouldn’t be surprising that agencies are struggling to meet client expectations (which incidentally, never seem to dwindle).
But before you start placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of procurement, think again. A multitude of factors are at play here, and there are as many victims of budget decimation as there are villains. Every shareholder, CEO, CFO, consultant, and creditor has had a say in the matter. Add that to a volatile macroeconomic environment straining under the weight of red tape and legislation, and it soon becomes obvious that absolutely nobody has escaped unharmed, and that absolutely everybody is trying to do more for less.
Given the fact we’ve had over a decade to improve the situation, you’d think some progress would have been made. But in fact, the client-agency relationship seems to have remained paralysed, despite the clear paradigm shifts taking place in the background. Digital marketing has subsumed traditional advertising, fintech companies have broken apart established services industries, and big data has finally proved its capability to provide real-time, intelligent and predictive insights.
Yet these profound changes in the economic, commercial and product landscape seem to have had a disproportionately low effect on our business model. Agencies are not doing more for less, nor are they appearing ‘smarter’ to their clients. Relationships have not been forged based on trust and mutuality, interactions have failed to be open and transparent, and agencies have yet to become an indispensable part of the client DNA.
So how can we overcome this persisting desire to hold the agency relationship at arm’s length, and how can we start more effectively meeting client expectations?
Payment by Results seemed like a possibility, but to date it has failed to yield dividends for either party. And why would it? As a client, you want to see real value for what you pay for. That means if you pay a colossal day rate for a £500k creative director, you don’t expect to pay an additional bonus if he or she achieves the results their substantial salary would predict. As an agency, you don’t want to take the chance of achieving the same results with a far less experienced and inexpensive hire, since you can’t risk anything beyond the margin. Basically, everyone’s hands are tied, and neither party wants to stomach the unpredictability of the outcome. In summary: nice idea, but it’s never going to happen.
So what could happen?
Firstly, agencies could stop pining for that illusive 20% they are sure clients are hiding up their sleeves, and start acknowledging the reality of the situation. CFOs hand down budgets based on predicted business performance, and smart agencies should concentrate on ensuring that procurement doesn’t reduce that figure further. Basic logic.
Secondly, agencies could stop pretending they are experts at everything, and start collaborating with partners or appropriate third parties when the project requires it. A little bravery and honesty can go a long way here: the goal of the channel neutral agency is not to constantly showcase their excellence in all areas, but to help the marketing team achieve high quality and cost-effectiveness across the full scope of work. A win-win.
Thirdly, agencies could add in some nice to haves. Clients may not be hiding an extra 20% up their sleeves, but it never hurts to show them a few tempting possibilities that a more generous budget would allow. Worse-case scenario, these go straight into the procurement bin. A more optimistic scenario is that they decide to include some of these elements, but here comes the golden rule: if you add something in, don’t take something out that you’ll end up having to deliver for free anyway. Admittedly, this can be a hard conversation to engineer, but if you’re not brave and honest enough to have it, be prepared to wave goodbye to that agency margin.
Fourthly, agencies could spend far more time planning and preparing the ‘agreed’ scope of work and the inevitable procurement conversation. After all, a little work now can avoid a whole lot of pain later on. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that each and every line won’t be scrutinised by procurement: if you don’t have detailed and justified answers to their queries, that’s trust and transparency straight out the door. Put yourself in their shoes and crunch the figures – just how many hours, days or third party costs are truly needed to deliver the project? Why are there 30 days of account manager time down rather than 26 or 27? Be ready and willing to explain exactly what elements of the delivery will suffer if they cut out a cost: if they know the consequences, then they also must assume the risk.
Lastly, agencies could act savvier when it comes to ‘free’ work. It’s an unescapable part of the model, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be shared and celebrated. Create precise logs of what the client has received in the past, and what they can expect to receive moving forward. It’s a safe bet that the value of these complimentary services far exceeds that magical 20% both parties have been searching for. Now that’s a good measure for a good relationship.
Our latest Expert Speak comes from Lorraine Butler, MD at CPM Ireland on ‘Outsource Employee Benefits – Opportunity Cost or Loss?
Why do brands outsource their sales functions? For sure a significant reason is the flexibility, scalability, agility & expertise that outsource companies such as CPM can offer. However, for many brands, cost savings is also a significant driver and often the primary reason organisations look to outsource their sales functions. ‘Sales outsourcing is expected to be cheaper than the fully loaded cost of employing salespeople’ – Wikipedia’s opening answer as to Why Organisations outsource their Sales functions. In many client driven commercial models, costs associated with employee benefits such as health care, pension, maternity leave are often minimised or eliminated. With economic prosperity experienced by most markets across the developed world, comes a war for talent which gets tougher each quarter. Brands partnering with outsource agencies have a decision to make – is the cost of minimising employee benefits costing brand growth in the longer term?
Organisations today have an understandable focus on diversity in the workplace; gender, demographic & ethnic balance. Such movements are admirable and, in many cases, very much needed to create an enriched workplace and a platform for sustainable organisational growth. However, such movements also come with a price – literally. Gender quota’s see a strive for increased levels of females in certain disciplines. Salary levels and often more importantly benefit packages determine the levels of female interest in roles. Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trend Survey shows that the No. 1 influencing factor in females applying for roles is the level of family related benefits included in the package. Family benefits such as maternity leave & healthcare are seen as ‘a given’ in an employee market place, yet many organisations haven’t recognised or allowed for the costs of such benefits in outsource budgets. Unless this changes, making progress with gender balance in the workplace will not happen as quickly as the general market expects. And outsource partnerships risk becoming tactical in nature with a vicious talent cycle hindering brand growth.
Competition amongst outsource agencies, coupled with procurement teams expertly focusing on costs doesn’t help this cause. However, outsourcing leaders need to take steps in changing the conversation with customers. Unless it is accepted that there is joint commercial accountability to drive diversity & calibre in the workplace by both brands and outsourcers, brands will never realise the value of a diverse workplace that they could and should. And Wikipedia’s answer to why organisations outsource will never move from Cost to Growth.
CPM collaborated bringing its expertise on ‘Delivering Enterprise Agility in the experience economy’. Fiona Whelan, Managing Director of CPM International Contact Centres, discusses the importance of harnessing digital and human contact strategies to deliver multi-lingual, omni-channel solutions. Particularly, as increasingly hyper-connected consumers are demanding both seamless experiences and greater intimacy with brands.
Check out the infographic below for some fast facts on CPM and our Customer Experience expertise.
For more details, you can read the full report here: https://www.cpm-int.com/icc/cpm-enterprise-agility-report
How to “WOW” the best Sales Talent?
We’re facing challenging times with an expanding economy resulting in a very tight labour market. The number of vacancies is growing in all sectors and recruiters in the Netherlands indicate that 46% of those vacancies are difficult to fill.
The increasing pressure in the labour market demands a different attitude from employers. Whereas in the past candidates had to promote themselves, now, it’s us as employers that must present ourselves as attractively as possible. Candidates have many options to choose from so how can we seduce them to CPM?
We cannot linger in the past; we must be creative in finding new ways of recruiting and work hard on our Employer Branding. Starting with our recruitment model; we have not only doubled the number of FTEs; we have drastically changed our approach. Placing a job vacancy on a job board, leaning back and waiting is no longer enough.
Attract the very best sales talent
We want to be known in the market as the employer where you can embark on a great sales career. As part of our recruitment strategy we have a very clear mission within our Employer Branding strategy:
Creating the WOW-factor to attract the very best sales talent. We now think from the candidate’s perspective and centralise the process around them.
SEE: Introduce them to CPM
This already starts when people have never even heard of CPM. We use social targeting to increase our brand awareness. We have differentiated this for 4 different target groups, all with its own personality. In this way we can approach different target groups in their own tone of voice and with various visuals, thoughtfully selected for each specified group.
With this approach we create different contact moments in the candidate journey, so talent is already unconsciously introduced to CPM, even before they actively start looking for a new challenge.
THINK: Potential talent is considering a career at CPM
The next step is seducing potential employees to click on our vacancies and encourage them to apply. This means we need to follow future talent online and create various touch-points within the candidate’s journey by re-targeting. Collecting data and acting on it, is key in this process. In this stage the communication is more specified on what we have to offer: our vacancies and the brands we work for.
DO: Conversion to application
When potential candidates apply for a vacancy our recruitment team oversees this WOW-experience. We make sure candidates are getting the most personal and friendly application process possible. We surprise them with extra tips & tricks, calls and personalised messages to keep them involved.
During the job interview they will experience a slightly different approach than the old school interview. For example: speed dates with the client. They are always shown around our creative office to feed the WOW-factor and inspire them. During the whole application process, we make sure we always follow-up, even if a candidate is rejected.
CARE: Challenge & Inspire
When a new talent becomes an employee, we invest in building exceptional long-lasting relationships. We must challenge them, create an environment where they can develop themselves and where they can grow their careers. We deliver what we have promised, being authentic and creating fun moments. When employees are genuinely satisfied with their jobs they will share their experiences with friends & family. We do everything we can to retain our employees offering on-going training, development and support and encouraging employees to apply for new opportunities within our organisation.
When employees eventually leave CPM, we are incredibly proud that we have helped them grow and developed new skills, so they are ready for the next step in their career.
Every step in the candidate and employer journey is equally important for our Employer Branding. We must follow our mission to continuously create the WOW-factor in order to attract the very best sales talent and retain them.
Contact us for more information on our services or joining the CPM team
I was fortunate to be at the Omnicom University last month in Boston. It was my fourth time there and like every-time it has left me with some thought provoking lessons that will go a long way in my personal and professional life.
I always transcript my key learnings in simple one liners and keep referring to them often. I will share some with you today but before I do that I am going to share the most important learning that I saw and observed during this visit.
On the inaugural day of our program we were welcomed by Janet Riccio, the Dean of Omnicom University. I don’t know her very well but have met her in my earlier visits. I was surprised to see that she arrived in the class in a small scooter and looked very frail. I learnt was that last year she was detected with ALS and has been fighting her battle. She made fun about it while delivering her inaugural address and took her seat in the back of the class. She was there everyday, filling the class with her sunshine like energy and in-fact closed the class with an inspiring note. The class gave her a standing ovation thanked her for what she was doing for the Omnicom University.
One week after I returned we got the news that she passed away. It was a news which was difficult for lot of us to believe as it was only a week ago that she was driving around at Babson on her bright yellow scooter – holding court in the courtyard and in the classroom – engaged, vibrant, funny and charismatic as ever.
I have always been amazed at the zeal in people to make anything possible but this is the closest example in recent times. In spite of her diagnosis last year, she kept her sense of humour, her passion for life and her endless support to the Omnicom University.
Her light, her kindness, her wisdom, wit and grace, will stay with us always.
As a tribute to her I would like to leave you all with some key takeaways of mine from the Omnicom University this year. Hope we are able to imbibe some of them and honour her memory.
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