Tag Archives: customer service

Vero HR Wins Clutch Global and Clutch Champion Awards 2024

Peterborough, 29 May 2024 Vero HR, the HR outsourcing and consulting provider, has been recognised as a 2024 Spring Global Award winner for HR services on Clutch, the leading global marketplace of B2B service providers, along with being lauded a 2024 Spring Clutch Champion.

The Clutch Global and Clutch Champion Awards showcase the very best in the B2B services industry worldwide.

Honourees of the Global Award are selected based on their industry expertise and ‘ability to deliver’ scores that are calculated using customer feedback from thousands of reviews published on the Clutch platform.

Vero HR’s primary focus is on providing exceptional service, and receiving this award is a testament to the excellent client work and service Vero HR has delivered this year as highlighted through the voice of their clients in their reviews.

The Clutch Champion Award is presented to the top 10% of Clutch Global winners, a designation that recognises business service providers across the world for their industry expertise and ability to deliver exceptional results compared to other companies in their line of service.

This award recognizes Vero HR as a top-rated leader in the HR services space based on its clients’ satisfaction and high-quality service ratings – of which it currently boasts an overall review rating of 5/5 across 13 individual customer reviews.

“I’m thrilled that Vero HR has been awarded the Clutch Global Award, but to also be named a Clutch Champion and sit within the top 10% of Global winners due to our high service ratings is the cherry on top. This recognition demonstrates our team’s dedication to providing top HR and client service every day, and a huge thank you goes out to our clients who have taken the time to provide such sterling reviews,” Vero HR Founder and CEO, Mike Kealey, commented.

“It is a joy to witness the incredible success of leading companies worldwide on our platform, and an even greater joy to recognise these companies as Clutch Global winners. Their dedication to delivering next-level services to clients has not only bolstered their own success but empowered numerous clients to thrive as well,” said Sonny Ganguly, Clutch CEO. “We are also delighted to present the Clutch Champion Award for the second year, celebrating both new and returning achievers for their outstanding performance. These honourees represent the top companies on our platform, consistently exceeding client expectations and receiving an abundance of positive feedback from their clients.”

This recognition follows a successful 2023 awards season for Vero HR, winning the Customer Service Award at the Peterborough Telegraph Business Awards, Silver Award for Service Excellence at the SME Cambridgeshire Business Awards, and being a finalist at the Personnel Today Awards for Large HR Consultancy of the Year.

About Vero HR

Vero HR is a HR solutions and outsourcing provider with over 20 years of experience. Working with businesses of all sizes and sectors, Vero HR offers expert advice, services, and technology tailored to transform and help organisations work more efficiently in all aspects of HR – supporting clients across the UK, Europe, and internationally.


ArrowXL Appoints New Chief Operating Officer

ArrowXL, the UK’s largest and longest established 2-person home delivery specialist, has appointed Luke Barton as its new Chief Operating Officer. Luke will begin his new role and join the Exec Board effective from 1st Jan 2023.

Luke has worked for ArrowXL since 2015 in a number of management roles including Operations Support, Warehousing and HR. Most recently he has been the General Manager for Worcester and then Regional Operations Manager for the South, where he was responsible for both Worcester and Enfield Operations. In his new role he will be responsible for ensuring that the company’s operations are fully able to support the company’s continuing growth and support its strong customer base.

Charlie Shiels CEO at ArrowXL added: “Our decision to promote from within is testament to the strength of our team and our commitment to developing our people. Over the past few years Luke has proven to have an innate ability to make significant improvements at pace and drives high standards, all whilst demonstrating strong and supportive leadership and core ethical values. On behalf of the Executive Board and the Shareholders, we would like to congratulate him on this appointment – are very much looking forward to working with him on the future strategic plans for ArrowXL.”

Commenting on his appointment, Luke said: “Our industry is facing extremely challenging times and it is vital that we as a business are able to adapt and develop to ensure that we can continue to expand our portfolio and deliver a best-in-class customer experience for our clients. In my new role I am committed to delivering this and continuing to develop our exceptional colleagues to ensure we have the best people in the market.”

UK leading customer service outsourcer to create North East jobs following new contract win

Kura, a leading customer service outsourcing business, will create new roles in the North East following its appointment by Leeds Building Society, the fifth largest building society in the UK, which provides a range of mortgages and savings accounts.

From February 2023, Kura will provide insourced customer services based at the Leeds Building Society office in Cobalt Business Park, Newcastle.

Brian Bannatyne, Chief Executive at Kura, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Leeds Building Society using our financial sector experience to deliver first class services to its customers. At Kura we do things differently from our competitors, and our unique culture and approach to developing people were a key differentiator in our selection as a partner.

“We know that our people in the North East will deliver outstanding CX results for Leeds Building Society and strengthen its service to customers.”

For more than 15 years, Kura’s advisors have provided inbound and outbound call handling services to several businesses operating in the financial services industry. This appointment further cements Kura’s reputation for delivering excellent CX support within the sector.

Kelly Shippen, Head of Contact Centre customer division at Leeds Building Society, commented: “Finding the right partner who cared as much about its people and its customers as we do was a big ask, yet Kura demonstrated how its ethos aligns so well to our ways of working. The behaviours we expect from our colleagues at Leeds Building Society are very similar to Kura’s and the open, and transparent way the Kura team engaged with us made it a relationship I was excited to begin.

“It’s clear that Kura has great recruitment, training, and development programmes and this gives us confidence that they’ll look after the Society’s customers to the highest standards.”

The first intake of recruitment will take place on 6th February 2023. Those interested in applying for the new positions can visit the Kura careers page here: https://www.wearekura.com/careers/

Intradiem Appoints Haresh Gangwani as Managing Director, UK

Intradiem, the leading provider of intelligent automation solutions for contact centre and back-office teams, announces that Haresh Gangwani has assumed the role of Managing Director, UK, in addition to his current role as EVP of Global Alliances.

As Managing Director, Haresh assumes overall responsibility for Intradiem’s UK sales and business development operations. He will also continue to lead Intradiem’s global alliances strategy, building partnerships and enabling new partners’ implementations of Intradiem solutions.

Intradiem has expanded its UK footprint in the past year by building an R&D hub and adding sales and marketing resources to the market. David Marshall and Matt Rumins will continue to lead the company’s sales, marketing, and customer success functions internationally.

“Haresh has played a key role in developing Intradiem’s global alliances strategy and our growing presence in the UK,” said Matt McConnell, CEO of Intradiem. “His new role as Managing Director confirms our commitment to the UK market at the highest level.”

“Intradiem’s intelligent automation technology has helped U.S.-based contact centres increase their productivity and efficiency while also improving the agent and end-customer experiences,” said Haresh Gangwani. “I’m thrilled with this opportunity to extend that same high level of quality and commitment to contact centres in the UK and beyond.”

Before joining Intradiem in 2019, Haresh was co-founder and CEO of Bolstra, a SaaS-based customer engagement management platform provider. Previously he held VP roles in Product Strategy, Business Development and Strategic Alliances at Aprimo. Haresh earned an MBA and a BS in Computer Information Systems from the University of Indianapolis.

Survey reveals consumer expectations heightened as a result of inflationary price hikes

A survey of over 2,000 working age adults has revealed that the perceived standard of UK customer service is slipping in the wake of record inflation.

Close to half (41%) of the respondents questioned by People 1st International said that the standard of customer service they had received in the last 12-18 months had worsened.

A further 37% were ambivalent towards the standard of customer service on offer, suggesting that ‘skimpflation’ – a phenomenon whereby inflationary pressures and squeezed profit margins force firms to cut corners – is beginning to creep in.

Disinterested staff and chatbots replacing human interactions were amongst the most commonly cited complaints of respondents who thought that the standard of customer service offered by firms is in decline.

On the flipside, when quizzed about what they value most when it comes to customer service, well trained, knowledgeable and happy staff ranked head and shoulders above the rest, with 68% of respondents singling out high quality staff interactions as their number 1 must have.

In light of the forecast that UK inflation will soar to a 50-year high by the end of January next year, cost savings will no doubt be weighing heavily on many businesses’ minds, however, according to Jane Rexworthy, Executive Director at People 1st International, businesses need to consider their customer’s preferences first before making cutbacks.

“Entering the autumn/winter trading period, consumer-facing businesses are confronted with various economic headwinds, the likes of which we haven’t seen for decades.

“For that reason, businesses may well be forced to make stark decisions about where to rein in spending and what needs to be ringfenced.

“In times of recession, training and development budgets are often the target of cost-cutting, but failing to invest in your people can be damaging to business finances in the long-run.” continues Jane.

“Our survey is clear what UK consumers value the most: well trained, knowledgeable and happy staff. With that in mind, I urge consumer facing businesses to continue to invest in their people and carefully consider the impact of any potential cutbacks on the customer experience.”

The finding that 40% of respondents expect higher prices to be reflected in the level of service they receive underlines the importance of maintaining customer service standards adds Jane.

“With real household incomes falling, consumers look set to become more and more discerning, and the businesses best placed to thrive will be those that offer customers the greatest bang for their buck.”

“Businesses’ will therefore need to offer best in class customer service before convincing consumers to part with their hard-earned cash.”

Despite the squeeze on disposable incomes, 43% of respondents agreed that they were willing to pay more for goods and services if they received a high level of customer service, compared to 22% that would not.

Further responding to the results of the survey Jane Rexworthy said that there is a clear incentive for businesses to maintain and even enhance customer service standards despite challenging macro-economic circumstances.

“As consumers cut back, competition hots up, meaning that businesses will need work harder to attract customers.”

“Offering high quality customer service sets businesses apart, meaning that well-trained staff remains a key tool in a business’ arsenal.”

“Consequently, those that continue invest in their people will fare better than their rivals in the coming months, as confirmed by this survey.”

In addition to quality of customer interactions, speedy responses to questions and queries (54%) ranked similarly highly among respondents as a hallmark of winning customer experiences. Free gifts and the opportunity to provide feedback were viewed as comparatively less important by consumers, favoured by 37% and 16% of respondents respectively.

Beyond providing an acid test for customer expectations against the backdrop of inflationary pressures, the survey is a clarion call for businesses to pay more attention to how they cater for and interact with diverse groups, such as the LGBTQ community and those with disabilities.

42% of respondents said they would spend more with a business if it provided an accessible and inclusive service. A further 48% stated that they would not return to a business if it didn’t provide an accessible and inclusive service, whilst 58% of respondents said they would recommend a business to family and friends if their customer service accessible and inclusive.

Virgin Atlantic airline has one of the slowest response times to calls, say researchers

Virgin Atlantic is the second worst UK airline in terms of responding to customer service calls according to new research – with a wait time of over an hour and half in order to get through to a representative. The only airline that fared worse was Qatar Airways who failed to even answer the call!

The research comes from customer service brand CallCare, who looked at which airlines and airports had the slowest customer service responses following months of travel chaos and cancelled flights.

According to the Office of National Statistics, 20.8 billion of UK residents travelled abroad in 2020, yet since the world has started opening up their borders again after the start of the pandemic, this number is expected to be higher this year as more people book their first holidays after 2 years of not being able to travel.

However, recent headlines have shown thousands of people have missed out on holidays due to the shortage of airport and airline staff or faced chaos such as long delays, last minute cancellations and lost luggage.

Which is why CallCare we’re keen to look at how easy it was for consumers to get in touch with the customer service teams at both the airline and the airport.


Who’s got the slowest pick up-rate on the phone calls?

According to Airlines UK, there are 13 airlines in the UK to choose from, but when it comes to responding to customer’s phone calls, would-be travellers may want to avoid Qatar airways who didn’t even answer CallCare’s call.

Virgin Atlantic came in fourth worst place at 100 minutes followed by Qantas at 73 minutes. UK favourites Jet2 and EasyJet followed at 50 minutes, and 27 minutes respectively.

When it came to airports, the worst five options were all tied for last place as CallCare was unable to get through to them during their research. These were Belfast International, Glasgow Edinburgh, Bristol, and Birmingham airport.


Are emails a better option?

Email fared no better for customers unfortunately as all of the airlines reviewed either had no email publicly listed or only gave a classic automated response suggesting alternative ways to get in touch.

Customers can see some success from emailing the airports instead, however according to CallCare’s research only if you’re looking to contact Luton, Bristol, or Belfast International as these were the only ones that have a contact email publicly listed and responded.


Should you try social media?

CallCare focused solely on the top two social media channels which were Facebook and Twitter during their research.

Out of 10 airlines, they only received the response from five on Twitter and four from facebook, the rest gave automated responses or none at all.

The three airlines which gave the slowest responses from social media were TUI who took a whole three days, Emirates at just over 21 hours, and Virgin Atlantic at just over an hour to respond.

The airports were much more hit and miss when it came to interaction on social media, with only two giving responses on Twitter which were Gatwick at two minutes and Heathrow at five minutes, the rest resulted in automated responses or no options to send a message.

Facebook gained the most responses, however at a significantly slower pace. The three airports for slowest responses on social media were Bristol airport at just over six hours, and Gatwick at 38 minutes, the other airports offered either no contact option or no response at all such as, Belfast International, Stansted, and Manchester airport.


How does Live Chat differ from all the rest?

Only two airlines responded on live chat which were Easyjet and British Airways,  whereas Qantas gave no response and the other airlines didn’t offer live chat as an option.

The five main airports who offered no live chat at all were Belfast International, Glasgow airport, Edinburgh, Bristol, and Birmingham airport.

Overall, out of all the methods of communication in trying to get through to customer support, using live chat to get through to a representative for both airlines and airports seem to have the slowest response times.

But the airline and airport that took the crown at the number one spot in our ranking for having the fastest customer service was Emirates airline and Gatwick airport.

What enterprise brands can learn from start-ups about agility and personalisation

From clothing and accessories to tech and homeware, you’ve probably purchased an item from a start-up over the past few years – whether it be a digitally native brand, or an individual selling to a global audience from their living room. Thanks to a variety of SaaS solutions and market platforms taking the stress and price away from building a bespoke digital sales platform, start-ups and their success have taken a huge leap forward. In fact, 770,000 new businesses were established in 2020 around the UK, a 30% jump compared to 2019.

The success of start-ups have come from their ability to offer flexible, personalised, and seamless experiences for customers – something that enterprise brands strive for but can fall short on due to their larger, more complex operations. With disposable incomes stretched and consumers being more conscious of their spending than ever before, larger brands need to learn from the agility and mindset of these smaller players to keep customers coming back even with an increasingly competitive retail landscape.

Here are three learnings enterprise brands can take from start-ups to bring back the ‘human touch’ within their own organisations, whilst remaining flexible against future demands.

‘Instagrammable’ packaging

With global eCommerce sales forecast to grow by 50% over the next four years, the pressure is on for big brands to recreate the rush of excitement you get when buying products in-store. This is something start-ups are already 10 steps ahead on.

Unboxing videos, for example, have grown from an internet fad to a powerful eCommerce marketing tool. As a staple of YouTube and TikTok, this unboxing phenomenon makes it plain that people’s first moments with a new online purchase are a heightened experience. A positive customer unboxing experience can help your brand tell its story – the inclusion of inserts, proper product presentation and free samples are just a few ways brands can accomplish this. This is something that start-ups know well and are investing effort into nailing. A plain box with bubble wrap will no longer cut it for customers seeking a personalised experience.

One idea that enterprise brands can adopt is a QR (quick response) code included with an online order delivery – the first hands-on experience with the item and brand the customer will experience. With the recent reliance on QR codes during the pandemic as a “touchless” way to exchange information, anyone with a smartphone knows how to engage with the code when they see it. Balancing boxes that include enough incentivisation without giving the whole story away and encouraging customers to want to discover more is the ideal ratio, with driving customers back to your main website being the primary goal.

First-class customer service

When dealing with a start-up you are often communicating with someone who has ‘skin in the game’ and is invested in the success of the business. They are motivated to give you great customer service and because of the size of their operation, they will likely have all the answers and information at their fingertips to deal with any queries you might have.

Unfortunately, customers have received a more personalised approach through start-ups, and their standards are ever-increasing. Customer care should therefore be at the forefront of building any successful brand. A top priority for larger retailers and brands should be responding to customer feedback, queries and needs. Enterprise brands can ensure they are doing this effectively by making sure they put in place an effective customer service team, look to adopt the latest time-saving technologies including chatbots and SMS services, and make use of automated processes to provide more efficient and personalised care.

Social media management should also be considered, especially in the case of celebrity-owned and celebrity-endorsed brands. Unhappy customers will often go directly to a celebrity’s social media page to make a complaint. To ensure that issues are promptly resolved, brands must effectively track mentions across all platforms, be responsive to complaints and provide the appropriate aftercare to customers. These techniques should act as a seamless extension of the brand and will ensure that a company is catering to an individual’s needs.

The finer details

The third and final area of learning for enterprise brands should be around customisation and personalisation. The agility shown by start-ups means they are well equipped to personalise your product and brand experience to you and your needs. From engraving, embroidery, and monogramming to labelling, embossing and gift bundling, consumers are increasingly looking for these value-added services from brands of all sizes.

Another layer of this is ownership of the packaging process for the consumer. As trends around sustainability continue to grow, given the option, most consumers would rather have simpler, recycled packaging in an effort to be more environmentally conscious, and reduce waste.

In an era where authenticity is of the highest value, placing ‘the human touch’ as the key component of the eCommerce experience, enables brands to adjust to the constant changes in demands from consumers. With a variety of different outsourcing solutions available to retailers, it needn’t be prohibitive, costly or time-consuming to implement. Larger brands have the opportunity to keep up with growing customer expectations that start-ups are meeting and exceeding, whilst taking strides ahead and setting their own.

Spain’s new customer service legislations should be a wake-up call for UK utilities companies, says Quadient

Last week, it emerged that the Spanish government has approved a draft bill to transform customer service standards for companies. The legislation would set a three-minute limit for companies to attend to customers’ phone calls, and give consumers the right to speak with a person, not a chatbot. The bill would particularly impact utilities providers, who will have to respond to all client complaints within two hours. 

While UK companies might be inclined to think the new legislation isn’t relevant to them, this is far from the case, according to customer communications expert Quadient. Andrew Stevens, Industry Principal at Quadient, argues, “Spain’s move to dramatically improve customer services and experience is rightly generating international headlines. Even if the UK Government doesn’t follow suit, utilities companies need to take note.”

As Stevens identifies, customer experience is more important now than ever. “In the midst of the cost of living crisis, consumers will be desperate to get hold of their suppliers to query or lower bills. Companies need to step up to the plate and give customers the information they need in prompt fashion.”

Quadient’s recent Freedom of Information request to the Information Commissioner’s Office highlights that utilities companies are doing worse than ever when it comes to customer service. The data shows that the utilities sector was one of the worst offenders for spam calls and texts last year, with complaints more than doubling.

Stevens describes, “Calls, texts and chatbots all have their place in customer experience management, but the Spanish proposal drills home the importance of thinking about which channel will be the most useful in which situation, and how to make the chosen channel accessible.” 

Stevens continues, “With so many people struggling right now, the last thing consumers want is to have their time wasted, or to be bombarded with irrelevant questions. Instead, companies should be prioritising getting answers to questions as quickly as possible.” 

White paper addresses contact centre best practices in the wake of PCI DSS 4.0 rollout

PCI Pal has released a comprehensive white paper with Servadus, and Verizon Business Group, Professional Services, mapping the contact centre landscape over the past few years and taking a look ahead as the industry moves to adopt new payment security standards.

The white paper, Keep Calm and Simplify: Contact Centre Best Practices in the Era of PCI DSS 4.0, also looks at best practices and emerging technologies that will shape the payment security industry.

In 2018, PCI Pal and Verizon published their first joint piece, Keep Calm and Descope, looking at the benefits of descoping organisational infrastructure to minimise the requirements of PCI DSS. While the message within the original white paper still stands today, the impacts of a global pandemic, the ever-changing threat landscape, and the significant update to the standards themselves have prompted this further collaboration.

According to the white paper, the key challenges faced by contact centres heavily revolve around increased call traffic combined with the introduction of remote work during the pandemic, the rise in digital fraud and the tight labour market. In addition to the significant amends to the standards, the introduction of PCI DSS 4.0 significantly raises the payments security bar for all organisations accepting credit card payments.

“PCI DSS 4.0 is a much more robust set of standards compared to those we have seen in the past,” said Geoff Forsyth, CISO at PCI Pal. “This industry is constantly adapting to new challenges and increased threat levels, which is why there is a need for solutions that do the same. It’s been a pleasure working with our partner Verizon once again on a joint piece to explore the ever-evolving needs of the industry and what is necessary to keep consumers’ data and information secure.”

“These new standards coupled with dependable solutions, like the ones PCI Pal offers, will keep security tight without negatively impacting the customer experience,” said Ciske van Oosten, Head of Global Business Intelligence at Verizon.

To access the white paper, visit: https://www.pcipal.com/knowledge-centre/resource/keep-calm-and-simplify-contact-centre-best-practices-in-the-era-of-pci-dss-4-0/.

New research: digital self-service now more popular than calling customer service

60% of UK household water and energy customers prefer not to call customer service if they can use online tools to solve their problems, according to Macro 4 research

Crawley, UK, March 22, 2022 – Most consumers are ready to swap customer service calls for digital self-service in the wake of their experience during the pandemic, according to new survey findings released by Macro 4. The research, which examines UK consumer attitudes to household energy and water suppliers, suggests that 61 per cent of customers have become more comfortable interacting with companies digitally since the pandemic, on websites, apps and other online channels. And 60 per cent would now prefer not to call a live customer service person at all if they can solve their issues themselves using online resources.

When asked what aspects of service are important in a household energy or water supplier, 72 per cent of the 1,000–plus survey respondents said they now want utilities to provide online resources that make it easy to resolve their questions themselves rather than having to use the phone. 93 per cent said it was important[1] that they are able to contact their supplier in whatever way they prefer – such as by phone, email, social media, text or messaging apps. And 93 per cent stressed the importance of getting a quick response whether they call or make contact digitally.

Macro 4, a division of UNICOM® Global that helps enterprises accelerate digital transformation, commissioned two separate surveys of over 1,000 household utility bill payers in the UK. The results are published in a report, ‘Giving UK Utility Customers A Voice’.

Jim Allum, Director, Commercial and Technical at Macro 4, said: “During COVID-19 restrictions, we all got used to doing more things digitally. And for many people that would have included resorting to online self-service since most contact centers at the time were experiencing significant delays due to soaring call volumes. What’s interesting is that the habit has stuck. The majority of people are now happy to use self-service instead of speaking to a customer service person on the phone – especially for simple queries. One positive of helping customers to do more for themselves is that it frees up hard-pressed contact center agents to handle more complex queries by phone, chat or email, and this is where companies can add real value. And it should also mean shorter wait times for those people who do need to speak by phone.”

Questions related to bills and charges often trigger calls to the contact center and this was one of the specific gripes identified by the research. 31 per cent of energy customers and 26 per cent of water customers in the survey sample want their current suppliers’ bills to be easier to understand[2]. And 73 per cent regularly check their energy and water bills for mistakes[3].

Allum said, “Self-service can play an important role by providing reassurance and clarity surrounding bills and how they are calculated. For example, if customers are given self-service access to detailed historical information, as well as basic analysis facilities to compare their own billing and usage rates over time, they can rule out any anomalies for themselves.”

Further underlining consumers’ growing preference for digital resources and interaction, nearly two thirds of the customers questioned in the survey believe it’s more convenient to view all of their household bills online rather than on paper.

Allum added, “Ditching paper altogether is not yet an option, however, since nearly a third of the people we asked still want paper bills. This research highlights the importance of building flexibility into your communication systems so that you can personalize your service to meet the needs of different customers. It’s all about delivering a consistently great experience across every communication channel.”

Macro 4’s report ‘Giving UK Utility Customers A Voice’ can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/Utilitysurvey.

[1] ‘Very important’ and ‘Somewhat important’ options combined

[2] Survey of 1,193 utility bill payers (18+) between 19.01.2022 – 21.01.2022

[3] Survey of 1,312 utility bill payers (18+) between 08.02.2022 – 10.02.2022