im_004426.jpg

2020: the year of the employee?

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

Workplaces are changing rapidly – often without us even noticing. And now that the first wave of digital disruption has already passed, employees are demanding more sophisticated experiences from the companies they work for. This means that, as businesses, we have a choice: change, or get left behind. One way of ensuring that we move with the times is to listen to the changing expectations of employees as we move towards the next big milestone: 2020.

That’s all very well, but how can we approach this change beyond digital whilst still keeping employees on side? To investigate the shifting digital scene, Infomentum carried out a survey with over 1000 office workers to try and gauge the reality behind employee expectations.

So, what do the employees of 2020 actually want?

The skiver vs. the flexible worker

Right now, 41% of employees want to work from home. But 62% of bosses won’t let this happen. Are these flexible workers skiving, or the people of the future? Who’s right in this situation: the employee or the employer? With the number of workers demanding flexible hours set to rise, the answers are not so straightforward.

Whilst there are fears that out-of-office work may lead to lower productivity, it actually appears that the reverse is true. By adopting cloud document management systems your business can promise better collaboration between departments, and greater flexibility throughout the workforce. Working from home need no longer be a hindrance, but perhaps your greatest asset. Because, let’s face it, the organisations that are agile enough to let their employees work remotely will see the greatest benefits, both physically and technologically. Our previous report into Generation C, the connected generation, illustrates these benefits – exploring why fewer distractions, and less stressful environments lead to happier employees and greater company success.

Have you upgraded?

It’s time to listen to the 91% of employees who believe that their employer will no longer be competitive by 2020. Yes, this might seem like just another scare story. But, guess what: the world has already changed and those non-upgraders are being left behind in the wake of this digital boom.

We’re now looking beyond digital for the workplaces of 2020. Employees want their organisations to harness the flexible working technologies available in order to boost business success. And, there will be merit behind this. Once tasks become increasingly automated, employees will be able to devote more time to strategic thinking and generating new ideas.

The secret success of Gen C employees

In 2020, the employers who embrace the forward looking attitudes of Gen C will be the most successful; it is these members of the ‘connected generation’ that are driving the pace of change. Their hardworking and increasingly flexible mind-sets will be your greatest asset – perhaps not such a secret, but still a truth easily forgotten. Attempts to enforce top-down controls will merely limit workforce motivation and who wants that? So, instead, it is time to listen to the demands of the 2020 workforce.

So there you have it: a snapshot of the changing expectations of your 2020 employees. Want to pinpoint the specific areas that will work for you as we all move beyond digital? We thought as much. Read more in the full report: ‘Beyond Digital: what’s next for businesses in 2020?’.

2020: what are your customers expecting?

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

77% of users claim they leave a site immediately if they experience any difficulty. It’s a shocking stat. One that perfectly illustrates the need for business to continually improve and innovate to keep up with progressive consumer demands.

But I hear what you’re thinking. We've heard this before, but how do we know where consumers will go next? The truth is, nobody knows what 2020 holds. To gain insight into what the market is expecting, Infomentum carried out a survey with over 1000 office workers to look into their opinions, behaviours and expectations for 2020 as both a customer and an employee.

We’re all Generation C

In case you hadn't noticed, age demographics are over. In the age of Generation C, the connected generation, it’s all about linking people through their shared behaviour, interests and expectations. Back in 2014, when we carried out research into Gen C, 54% of respondents identified themselves as part of the connected generation. With the internet embedded in every area of our lives and digital technology booming fast, the Gen C demographic will only continue to grow.

So much, in fact, that the research predicts that by 2020, Generation C will be the dominant psychographic amongst both customers and the workforce. What are Gen C expecting from you?

Buying into 2020

In 2020, it’s not going to be enough that your website is mobile ready; mobile will mean more than just a smartphone. With hyper-connected consumers who are always on the move, they’ll expect an overhaul of the whole buying process.

The 2020 sales Your customers expect an overhaul of the buying process

With the rapid pace of technology advancements it’s not unfeasible that this type of sale could become a reality.

What does it mean for businesses?

We’ll come back to your website because, let’s face it, if your website isn't ready now then it’s time to start working quickly or risk being left behind in the digital boom. It’s not about jumping straight into the 2020 sale by buying into all of the latest technology with no roadmap. Businesses need a solid strategy, a vision and a set of goals to achieve this. Armed with this, you can assess the state of play in your business currently, identifying gaps between where you are now and where you want to be. Then, and only then, is it time to look at technology.

Read more on how you can prepare your business for 2020 in the full report: ‘Beyond Digital: what’s next for businesses in 2020?’.

Omnichannel: the key to retail success?

Author: Infomentum

Author: Vikram Setia

No industry has seen the effects of digital disruption hit hard quite as publicly as the retail sector.

Shock headlines detail the decline of footfall, with indignant images of boarded up stores and empty high streets. Pre-Christmas forecasts preached that the most successful holiday retailers would be those offering the optimum online shopping experience.

But aside from the scare-mongering surrounding physical stores, the key focus for retailers has remained steadfastly the same; how to offer the best customer experience? There are key challenges the industry can address today to keep up with changing consumer demand.

Business Mistelligence?

You have key decisions to make – from your store strategy, to new growth areas and how to engage online for loyalty – and you need to make an informed decision. You turn to your data to inform your decision, right? That’s not the case for many retailers who are struggling to gain insights from the masses of data available to them. Taking control of your data and having the power to display it in ways which are easily digestible allows you to turn your big data into rich data – information that has the power of context.

Lack of loyalty

We all have more information at our fingertips than was even imaginable 20 years ago. Great for consumers, who are more empowered than ever before. But for retailers, this makes for a fickle customer. Customer loyalty is at an all-time low, with their demands constantly increasing. Retailers offering added value to their customers above and beyond their competitors can take share from anyone who falls short.

The bricks-and-mortar story

It’s true that physical stores are seeing a downturn in the number of customers they serve – but there is no doubt the shop has a place for many retailers. Giving customers the maximum amount of convenience is key in our fast-paced, digital world. Retailers who are able to use digital technology to enhance the instore experience, and give the customer the impression that physical and digital have merged, are onto a compelling experience which will be hard to beat.

Much of this comes down to offering something the customer really wants. The consistent theme is the omnichannel experience.

The omnichannel enigma

You know the story as both a retailer and a consumer yourself; customers expect the same experience, no matter the channel. Now, more than ever, there is a plethora of channels for a customer to contact and interact with your brand. Retailers that can offer a holistic experience across every touchpoint of the customer’s journey will have the advantage.

The key is in removing silos. If each department and each employee has access to the same customer information, it will have a hugely positive reflection on the customer’s experience.

It’s time to stop the shock headlines and look at the challenges for the opportunities that they present. By addressing these challenges today, retailers can set themselves up for success tomorrow. Why now? Because today, your customer is demanding. Tomorrow, they will expect even more.

Subscribe to the Infomentum blog for updates on the impending launch of our latest research report which takes a look at how businesses need to prepare for 2020.

Search is your online sales assistant

Author: Infomentum

Author: Natalia Bazanova

Whether you have physical shops or not, your website is considered another shopfront, and customers will treat it that way. If you can't find something in a shop, you ask a sales assistant. But what about if you can’t find something on a businesses website? There's often no online shop assistant to ask for help. That's where your customers will turn to a powerful search function to find out what they need from you.

But what if your search function doesn’t return relevant results? Well, in short, your customers will go elsewhere. Most likely, straight to your competition.

Oracle’s WebCenter Sites gives the simplicity and flexibility to manage complex, yet visually attractive, responsive websites. By combining WebCenter Sites with the power of Solr open-source search engine, we are able to deliver fast and information rich websites for our customers.

The additional functionality that Solr brings to Sites is the ability to offer the ‘Google’ style search that customers of today have become so accustomed to.

Using the Solr integration, we are able to enhance our customer’s web search results with various filters and facets, enabling web users to more easily drill down to the most relevant areas to them. It allows multi-lingual support; a bonus for a global website like BAE Systems which is hosted in many languages worldwide.

The Prince's Trust's online course search The Prince's Trust's online course search

Solr’s geo-spatial search qualities also allow search results to incorporate location data. For The Prince’s Trust, this means their website is able to display relevant courses to website users depending on where in the UK they are based.

Surprisingly, many modern websites still cannot accommodate spelling mistakes, a basic expectation of many website users. Solr search engine makes spelling suggestions, as well as fuzzy matches, whereby the search function will offer suggestions such as ‘did you mean this…?’ to find the most relevant content quickly, even if there is no exact match for the keywords used.

Any changes to page content are immediately reflected in search results and the relevancy
of the result documents. This enables marketing teams to make updates without website users seeing any disconnect in the search results. They are able to dynamically build filters and facets.

The importance of search can often be overlooked when creating a website. Remember – if your website is your storefront, then search can be your sales assistant. Both The Prince’s Trust and BAE Systems are benefiting from this enriched search functionality; and so are their customers.

Are you keeping pace? Three trends to address now.

Author: Infomentum

Author: Leigh Hopwood

How many blogs have you read that start with ‘the world is changing’? Guess what, the world has changed. Scientists in the States believe that we are currently going through a technology revolution that will have the same impact on our planet as the industrial revolution. And they think robots will become commonplace sooner than you think!

That’s all very well, but what is going on now that we need to be responding to in the coming months – if we aren’t already?!

1) Consumerisation

Maybe over used, but customers are driving change. Their expectations are growing. And organisations all over the world are putting their customers first – even Ryanair has realised the benefits of looking after customers. More than ever we need to be listening to customers. Of course, customers are people, like you and me. These days they are more informed than ever before, enabling them to be more opinionated, more creative and more demanding.

So if your customers are frustrated because they find it difficult to do business with you, they will not remain loyal. They will not just move on, but they will tell their friends… publicly, via Facebook and Twitter. What are you doing to meet the needs of your customers?

2) Multi-channel

Who invented the damn smart phone? Ok, so I love it really, but they have changed human behaviour. When you get on the tube, many commuters have their eyes glued to a screen. I’m even favouring putting my children in front of the TV than have them spend hours on a tablet.

The point is, the power and flexibility that mobility brings to people is immense. From being informed, communicating with friends and colleagues, to finding information quickly and conducting processes and transactions on the move.

For organisations looking to find or retain their competitive advantage, you need to be providing a dynamic, integrated and customer experience that is the same across all channels.

3) Cloud

The ‘Cloud’ has been around for a long time. However, now it is robust and more reliable. Ok, so you might hesitate to put your business critical applications on it – but customers and employees expect you to deliver services via the cloud.

The good news is that you don’t have to act like a Harrier Jump Jet and head straight for the cloud. You can take a more phased approach and migrate over time based on customer or employee needs, end of life support for technology, legacy replacement or change of requirements.

Taking a more hybrid approach enables you to take advantage of the best of both worlds, and gives you the opportunity to digitally transform business processes by simply adding a digital interface to your legacy systems.

Whatever your key IT projects are for 2016, I suspect many of them will hang on one of these key trends. And if they don’t – and you haven’t addressed the above yet – then it’s time to start planning your projects for the year ahead.

Generation C: Are You Meeting Their Needs?

Author: Infomentum

Author: Leigh Hopwood

Doing nothing is like going backwards.

Surprise, we’ve changed.  Yes, you and I. We text our friends and family, we socialise on Facebook, network through LinkedIn and get the latest news about train delays through Twitter. We spend more time than ever with our faces glued to a screen, in a variety of sizes.

In 2012 you’d see headlines like ‘social media is dead’. It was deemed a fad. But finally the realisation has hit that the digital business is here to stay.  And we’re only now seeing the term ‘digital disruption’ being bandied around. The digital phenomenon has been here for years – its businesses that have been slow to adapt.

So who's in the driving seat?

Have you heard of Gen C? Gen C, or Generation C, is the connected generation. Unlike Generation X, Generation Y and the Millennials, Generation C is defined by its behaviour – not their age. They use devices, apps and web sites to interact with friends, family and companies. They use these approaches to go about their daily business.

According to infoMENTUM's research report, 81% of Generation C consumers shop online, 87.5% use online banking, and 86% use social networking to connect with friends. As employees, 75% of Generation C people value the freedom to be creative, 55% value using their own technology and 73% value flexible working. Unfortunately, 60% of businesses have IT systems that are only ever updated occasionally.

It’s this connected generation that are driving the adoption of digital technology both by the consumer and employees.

What has this got to do with the contact centre?

Oh, so much.  Where shall I start? First, your people.

Whether you like it or not, your people are increasingly becoming tech savvy.  That means that they are using functionality in their home life that they expect to get access to at work. It’s not just about having the latest devices, it’s about having systems and processes in place that take full advantage of the streamlined approaches that can be achieved with digital technology.

From being able to connect with an expert or accurate/up-to-date information seamlessly to help a customer, to being able to access their HR data from home to monitor their own performance, your employees now know that not only can processes be completed more efficiently, but they can probably tell you how to achieve it.

Now let’s take a look at your customers. Whether you are in B2B or B2C, your customer has high expectations in how you might sell to them, and in your customer service.  It’s no longer acceptable to only interact via the phone with FAQ’s on your website aimed at reducing call volumes.

Customer profiling is so important to ensure that you are delivering the right service, at the right time, through the right channel to satisfy your customers. Understanding why your customers are getting in touch, and how they prefer to communicate is crucial.

Integrating the right digital technology into your contact centre processes, and working with your people to enable them to use them effectively, will give you a huge wave of benefit. Your people will be happier working with the latest functionality and having the right tools to do their job well, and your customers will be happy because they can do business with you much easier.

And if everyone is happy, then your profits will rise. Happy days!

What happens if you do nothing?

That’s not an option. Gone are the days of sitting and waiting for technology to settle down. You can no longer wait to see what the next big thing is. If you don’t respond and invest now, you might as well throw the towel in. Expect to make mistakes, expect to have to change course and expect the unexpected. That’s life.

Leigh's post originally appeared on callcentre.co.uk

Putting Your Users in the Driving Seat

Author: Infomentum

Research shows that a personalised web experience can increase click through rates by up to 300%. But how do you go about creating end-user driven navigation and search that works?

Life would be dull if everyone thought the same. Dull, but it sure would make web design simple.

If everyone's brains worked in the same way, you could create a fixed navigation for your site (public website, customer portal or intranet), confident in the knowledge that everyone would navigate around it in exactly the same way. But, back in the real world, of course they don't.

While it might seem intuitive to you for certain content and information to appear in a certain location, it might be the last place your customers expect to find it. But then you can't create a different site for everyone. Or can you?

End of the road for fixed navigation

Most sites use fixed navigation – a linear and supposedly logical way to find your way around. But this assumes that everyone's logic is the same. Which of course, it's not – as anyone who's ever watched an episode of The X Factor can attest.

So while fixed or perpetual navigation has often been seen as best practice, this doesn’t mean there are not even better alternatives. Today, it’s altogether possible to make the way content is presented dependant on the user journey – reorganising and re-emphasising relevant content in reaction to what the user does.

Understanding your customers

While this kind of user-driven (also referred to as ‘guided’) navigation and search is ideal, it's not always easy to achieve. For a start, if you want a site that responds to your users’ preferences, you'll first need to understand those preferences. And you can't do that unless they are registered with you and have a preferences-driven profile.

What you can do, however, is capture their behaviour as they move through the site and let the system decide what to render and when. But to do this you need to tag and classify all of your content using a strong classification mechanism. And ontology can help you achieve exactly that.

Ontology – the basics

Ontology is an advanced classification mechanism which defines how various entities in a hierarchy can be related or grouped. But unlike traditional taxonomy – the simple, hierarchical way most sites structure content – ontology is more about the semantic relationships between entities and hence the content.

For example, with tree-structured taxonomy you'd see something like this: Home > Products > Gifts > Chocolate. But with ontology the content would be tagged based on its semantic relationship (eg it would understand that chocolate is a gift, but it's also food).

To make this work for your site, you start by building relationships in your ontology and then continue to enhance the results by capturing your users’ behaviour, letting the system learn as it goes. That way, you'll end up with all of your content tagged by relationships, in ways you may well have never predicted.

Learning from Amazon and co

This approach shouldn't just stop at the first click or search result. If you keep adding to your users’ preferences at each level of the site, you will create a rich, personalised experience from start to finish. And the best part is that you can learn from users’ behaviour and enhance your ontology to gain deep insights into your own information relationships.

Take Amazon as the perfect example. You start by searching for a camera. Immediately, the results are filtered based on what Amazon has previously captured about your preferences. Then as the search filter becomes richer (eg as you filter by megapixel, brand and price) even then the products you see are related to your previous behaviour. Meaning you get to what you're looking for faster and you're clicking 'Add to basket' before you know it. Amazon can then go on to recommend more products that other buyers purchased.

Power to the customer

Why bother giving your users this much control over what they see and how they interact with your site? Simple. The more a site is personalised, the better the user experience and the more likely a user is to engage with it on a deep level. Whether that means buying from you or coming back to your site time and time again. Some sites using this approach have seen a massive 40% increase in their page views.

The more control a user has, and the more they drive the contextual search for content, the more you can learn about them. Which in turn means a better user experience for all your visitors.

And that's one bit of logic everyone can agree on.

Communicating with Generation C Consumers

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

Generation C is the connected generation – they are digital natives who are constantly communicating, computerised, community-orientated and always clicking.

As the connected generation, it’s not surprising that Generation C spend much of their time online; they shop (88%), bank (87%), visit forums (57%) and stream TV (68%) regularly.

Not only are Gen C carrying out all of these activities and more online, they’re using a multitude of devices. They want to access this online information whenever and wherever they want, whether that’s from a desk or anywhere out and about.

Gen C expect websites to be responsive to the device they are using, fast loading and they want to ability to carry out self-service tasks online.

But Gen C are frustrated online. Why?

According to our research, a staggering 98.5% of Generation C stated that they are dissatisfied by the features of websites. Their five worst rated features were:

  1. Slow loading pages (66.2%)Generation C are frustrated online
  2. Pop ups (57.8%)
  3. Advertisements (30%)
  4. Broken links (26.9%)
  5. Auto-playing videos (25.7%)

This has a big impact on Generation C, who see the internet as a completely immersive part of their lives. They are less patient online than their non-Gen C counterparts, having become so accustomed to super-fast broadband and 3G/4G connections. Poor websites will immediately put Gen C consumers off.

They’re social

Social media sites feature heavily in Gen C’s online connections. We found that 86% of Generation C are using social media sites to interact with family and friends, and their immediate circle aren’t the only ones influencing their behaviour. Due to their desire to collaborate, Generation C are also the most likely consumers to reach out to their peers across the world through forums and social sites such as Twitter, where they can communicate with other Gen C’ers outside of their immediate circle who they would not otherwise come across.

And it’s not just interacting with peers that draws Gen C to social media; they expect to be able to engage with companies online too. 75.5% of Generation C survey respondents listed ‘being able to contact a company easily through different channels’ as important to them. It’s obvious that Generation C value interactivity highly and appreciate a two-way dialogue with brands rather than being bombarded with sales messages.

With so many online interactions happening every day, can you afford for your website not to engage Generation C? Download the full report, ‘Generating Success with Generation C’, to read more about how Gen C behave online and how to appeal to them.

Who are Generation C?

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

In our study conducted by Censuswide, 1002 desk-based office workers were quizzed on their attitudes to websites, technology and the workplace. Over half of the respondents to the survey were defined as Generation C. But just how are we defining them?

According the Brian Solis, a digital analyst, anthropologist and futurist:

This is the dawn of Generation C, where “C” represents a connected society based on iGeneration C; the Connected Generation nterests and behaviour. Gen C is not an age group, it’s a lifestyle. While social networks are the fabric of online relationships, it is how technology affects everyday activity. What’s most important for you to understand is that Gen C is different.

They put the “me” in social media. They’re always on. They rely on the shared experiences of strangers to guide their actions. And, they know that other Gen C’ers rely upon their shared experiences to find resolution.”

Generation C are not defined by their age, unlike Generation X, Y, Millenials and Baby Boomers. Instead, we describe Generation C as a ‘psychographic group’, who are defined by their behaviour, values, attitudes and digital lifestyle.

Gen C are always connected, computerised and clicking. They are social media savvy, with 86% using social networking sites to interact with friends, family and peers.

Not surprisingly, Gen C will own an abundance devices including tablets, laptops, smartphones and smart TVs. But it’s not just the fact that Gen C own these devices – they’ll quickly become bored of them too, with almost 80% admitting they’ll buy a new gadget even if there is nothing wrong with the old model. This desire to stay on top of the latest digital trends defines Generation C.

And with all of these devices, the connected generation are of course constantly online. The survey showed that the majority of Gen C stream TV online, use cloud storage solutions, use instant messenger and also shop, bank and visit forums to collaborative with their peers.

What does all of this mean for businesses? How can you engage Generation C as your customer and your employee? Stay tuned to our blog in the coming weeks, or download the full report ‘Generating Success with Generation C’ here.

Follow infoMENTUM on Twitter