The companies from last year’s UK Business Awards know this best and that’s why we should try and understand their initiatives and the roles they play in adapting to change.
Since the inception of the business, from antiquity to today, trends have been changing the face of organisations. The very concept of business is based on the perception customers have towards particular companies.
In business, customer perception is everything, and as the perception helps to shape the role of a company or industry, so do those companies and industries further establish it by adapting to those expectations.
However, we’re seeing a shift in business trends and evolution in general. As technology evolves, and as our ability to stay connected gets better, these expectations and perceptions are starting to become uniform across the board.
Customer experience isn’t so niche specific as it used to be, it is now rather a set of rules that more and more industries are starting to adapt to, instead of conforming to their ‘own’.
Furthermore, topics such as customer success and customer value are also becoming prevalent topics of conversation, with companies in industries that have never experienced the need for such services, now having to come up with ways to adapt to them and provide a higher level of interest towards the customer.
It could be said that business trends are now directly linked with social trends and that through higher levels of connectivity, businesses are doing all that’s in their power to reach more customers while maintaining a clean record and reputation in regards to great customer service.
In order to understand this better, we’re going to cover some of the initiatives from last year’s UK Business Awards. These winners, from various categories, have displayed a great deal of initiative towards changing business trends and have been able to adapt to trends that aren’t only affecting UK business, but business all over the world.
Starting off with…
After 11 years in the industry, SGN developed into one of the UK’s leading utility companies, holding the UK’s No.1 place for customer satisfaction in the gas distribution industry. With 74,000km of pipes and over 3,800 employees, SGN delivers heat and energy to over 5.9 million homes across the country.
Knowing full well that in their industry, customer service is paramount, they strived to achieve even better customer service by applying internal company procedures that boost customer centricity.
This called for a complete internal overhaul of the way employees handle customer service and business in general, so SGN created a new employee mentality that strives for perfection and encourages competition within the company, called the 10/10 ethos.
By incorporating praise and fostering pride within the company, SGN was able to implement the 10/10 initiative and bring passion to the workplace. This initiative now guides behaviour within the company and rewards individuals for excelling in all aspects of work.
SGN is an example of how important internal structures are for the adoption of customer centric principles.
With higher expectations from customers in regards to levels of service, it is important that all companies shift to a more customer centric internal structure, like SGN, in order to encourage customer-loving mentalities across all organisational levels.
With a legacy of over 320 years, Barclays Bank is a British leader in the banking and finance industry that has a rich history in banking firsts, such as the first ATM machine, first credit card and first female branch manager.
Continuing in a similar fashion, this High Street Bank, which specialises in retail, wholesale and investment banking, has once again managed to shock the foundations of the industry through a customer centric innovation.
By carefully analysing the difficulties their customers faced when banking over the phone, Barclays found the need for a revolutionary approach once again.
They decided to launch a voice security system as an enhancement to the customer verification journey that would also help combat fraud through the use of biometric technology.
The simple concept was anything but simple to integrate into the entire business however, Barclays’ ability to swiftly overcome challenges and go through the entire process smoothly is truly fascinating.
The implementation of voice security was an initiative that was developed through the hard work of Barclays’ own programing team which ensured that the new service was ready and fit for purpose before being launched to the customer base.
Barclays displayed a great deal of foresight in regards to increasing customer need for convenience. Their new voice security system helped make the verification process simpler by implementing customer voice prints which would, similarly to a fingerprint, authenticate the caller and allow them to access their account without breaking up the customer journey.
This development was a great way to show customers a high level of care while also providing an offer with a great competitive advantage in the banking sector.
As a leader in the UK telecommunications industry, O2 has always exceled in customer centricity by basing their products around the needs and wants of their customer base.
However, in order to stay competitive, O2 recognised the need for an even more customer-centric company culture that would reinforce the brand’s reputation as a customer caring company.
This was achieved in 2016, when O2 decided to create a business directorate that helped put the customer squarely at the centre of the organisation in all aspect of company culture.
They introduced a Head of Business Customer Experience in their leadership team along with a dedicated customer experience team with increased resources and a customer experience board which included stakeholders from sales, marketing and operations. This ensured that a customer-centric attitude could be represented across the entire business.
Furthermore, O2 invested heavily into the research of root causes behind customer problems through a multi-functional team that reviews customer journeys and customer calls. They also placed a heavy emphasis on staff training with hundreds of staff being trained in Six-Sigma techniques. Six-Sigma is a technique used in manufacturing that helps improve the quality of the product by methodically identifying and removing the causes of defects during production.
O2 also empowered their customer experience agents to focus more on the customer satisfaction index (CSI) while encouraging them to fix customer issues in one call.
Similarly to SGN, O2 recognised the need for a strong customer-centric internal structure, which only shows how important such a step is.
Adapting to consumer trends is a matter of foresight and one’s own ability to see their organisation in the new environment. Once that’s established, it becomes much easier to recognise what initiatives are needed to get there.
Now is also a great time to look at other companies like the ones here to establish the path one should take when moving towards better customer service, in-tune with customer trends.
This is due to the fact that most trends are uniform across all industries and sectors, and as such, it is a good idea to gather as much information from others as possible in order to see how other companies have achieved these changes.
Most of the time, the same approach can be implemented elsewhere since both market and consumer trends are becoming more and more similar across the board.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CX
With all market trends shifting towards a heavier focus on customer success and overall CX, business owners should stay vigilant and able to implement new methods to take their business to that new level of customer experience.
Studying the developments of award winning companies is a great way to gain insight and knowledge into the subject while also getting to see practical implementations of practices which help make businesses more appealing to customers and more suitable to arising trends.
So if you’re interested to learn more about the topic and get exclusive access to award winning companies from industries where CX truly matters, then we recommend our latest Free Download from the Complaint Handling Awards.
You can grab your copy by following this link – Top Attitudes in Complaint Handling where you can get insightful access to the minds of award winning companies from the 2016 CHA and an interesting perspective on the developing CX trends, absolutely free.