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The Connected Customer Revolution: UK National Contact Centre Conference 2017 - Douglas Jackson Limited - Blog

The Connected Customer Revolution: UK National Contact Centre Conference 2017

8th November 2017 and the UK National Contact Centre Conference from the CCMA, held at the British Library knowledge centre.

The event, free to members was sold out with a capacity crowd of over 250 in attendance.

One particular highlight of the day, was right before the start of the conference.  After taking my seat in the auditorium I introduced myself to my neighbours, on my right, two representatives from Lovehoney, Britain’s biggest online sex toy retailer, recently  awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.  On my left, a representative from LV=.   Another hugely successful business brand, multiple award winner and one of the largest insurers in the UK with a DEFAQTO 5* rating and recently awarded Which? Insurance provider of the year 2017.    As I introduced both parties to one another, Paul from LV= said to Matt from Lovehoney, “yes, we are more green hearts as opposed to love eggs”.

In addition to Paul’s whitty observation in the differences of brands, this interaction did showcase the diversity of organisations in attendance.  It goes to show how far-reaching this event is.  Whether you are a Utility, Insurer, Retailer, Telco, Housing Association, or Public Sector body, great value and learnings can be taken from the content rich agenda from industry leading speakers, case studies and networking.

Ann-Marie Stagg, Chief Executive of the CCMA opened the conference, sponsored by Genesys, introducing the subject of ‘The Connected Customer Revolution: How to stay engaged with (and meet) the needs of the connected customer.’

First up was Ben Page, Chief Executive of Market Researcher Ipsos Mori with ‘The state of Britain in 2017 – consumers, citizens and crazy people’;   As we all know with recent surprises across our political landscape; Donald Trump, Brexit etc, predicting trends can be tricky, however there were some mega trends to consider for the future;

Technological Change  - Uneven Economic Growth – Climate Change and Sustainability – Population Change -  Political Change and Multi Polarity – Globalisation and Migration.

Some key takeout’s for me:

  • People with a positive mental attitude about ageing, live on average 7 years longer irrespective of wealth or social backgrounds. Men with friends outside of work, also live longer!
  • Japan has already stopped giving out silver sake cups to those reaching 100, as the number of centenarians rise year on year.
  • Optimism varies greatly across markets, individuals in Indonesia and Peru are much more positive about their future than those in London, or New York.
  • We now manage to spend on average 24 hours per week on our devices.
  • Our ability to think is being ruined by our use of devices as they battle for our attention.
  • The rise of tradition; as we become more unsure of our future, we look to our past traditions and values. For 81% tradition matters; we love the Queen, the Army and the NHS (2 out of 3 of us would pay more tax for a better NHS).
  • Millennials are more worried about technological progress destroying our lives than other demographics (53%).
  • 40% would rather be living in the 1970’s
  • 66% want a simpler life as we strive to get back control as life becomes more complex.
  • Although we are becoming increasingly intolerant of poor service, 40 million problems are not acted on, as consumers stay silent and don’t complain.

For brands and employers in general, there is lots of change and uncertainty.  Overall people want to feel good about Britain and good about themselves.  If we can build on these desires, we can be successful in both our employee and customer offerings.

Ben’s presentation was jam-packed full of statistics and interesting facts, I couldn’t get enough of it and took pages of notes, so apologies for any inaccuracies in my commentary, they will be mine alone!   There is a report online for those interested om learning more on the subject of Millennial Myths and Realities which can be found here.

Next up Rachel Clacher, Owner and Founder of Moneypenny, a leading answering service provider, who are regularly listed in the Top 5 of the Best Companies to Work For. “Putting people first – the importance of being human”.

I almost felt a bit sorry for Rachel, pitched straight after Ben the next speaker could have struggled, I needn’t have worried.  Rachel told story of the inception, development and growth of her and brother Ed’s business.  With an initial £10k investment, born out of a necessity in Ed’s business, lack of a viable market offering and using their own experience of being a customer and employee, they set about founding and growing a business with a strong set of vision and values.

Without any contact centre experience, or, knowledge Rachel and team have built a business which serves over 10,000 business customers and employs over 500 FTE in a purpose built contact centre based in Wrexham.

They believe in having fabulous relationships with all clients and employees, in fact, Moneypenny are happy to ‘resign’ a client if they don’t feel they are working in partnership with the business


  • Moneypenny develops its people from within, recruiting for attitude not just aptitude.
  • Wear other peoples’ shoes to get a clear perspective of what they want to achieve
  • They think big but act small – They asked each of their employees two simple questions: Give me one thing that will make life better for you and one thing that will make life better for their customers.
  • Challenges Convention – given they were such a people focussed business, why did they need a HR department? They no longer have one.
  • Investing in and celebrating wellness with free breakfasts, fruit baskets and incentives for a lack of sick days, the business achieved 1000 more days worked.

On the subject of robotics; “Let all the robots deal with the boring ****!”.  People tend not the be very good robots, after all, we need to be continuously told what, or not what to do.

Moneypenny don’t have many rules;  They employ grown ups and allow them to be grown up’s, they decide what to wear and when to take their breaks etc.  Moneypenny management take performance and potential and remove interference.

Achieving 20% growth year on year with a fabulous team around them, Moneypenny you had me at hello!  A great presentation from a people focussed business.

Professor Moira Clark from the Henley Business School followed: “Is Easy the new difficult?”

Moira also opened with the current uncertain times but what if you could have gone back 10 years, what would we have done differently?  “invest in bitcoin” was one response from the crowd.

The subject of happiness came up, with research showing that by the age of 35 we now start to become less content with our lot.  Are we are becoming a nation of grumpy old men and women?

Aging again came up as a major consideration, 30% of the population in Japan are now over 60 and 50% of the UK population will be over 50 by 2031.  Thought provoking stuff.

The changes in behaviour for the Connected Customer: Spending a significant amount on their devices, 2hrs 40 mins a day, slightly less than the earlier 24 hours per week but where do we find this extra time?  Because of this, the connected customer wants immediacy, (typically a response within half an hour).  We also expect a rich interaction and full transparency; to know how business spend their profits, treat their employees etc.

We want a proactive service, where the customer helps create the experience/product service with customisation and personalisation.

Is it easy to be a customer?

Moira went on to talk about ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ from Daniel Kahneman;

‘Thinking is to humans as swimming is to cats.  We can do it if we have too, but we’ll do anything to avoid it’

Apparently when we think more, we need 40% more calories.  On autopilot we can be processing 11 million pieces of information a second, however this autopilot status also sees us jump to conclusions, which can be unhelpful and with more emotional responses.  Thinking requires more effort but allows reflection and consideration.

However, be warned, asking your customers to think too much can lead to decision fatigue!:

When a retailer presented 42 types of Jam, 60% of customers stopped to look with only 3% purchasing at a value of £18.

When they presented 3 types or Jam 40% stopped to look, with 30% purchasing at a value of £120.

Making things easy is pretty difficult, we need to develop good customer insight.  Companies are great at collecting data, terrible at producing insight and even worse at actioning it.

Should Marketing and Insight teams be part of the contact centre, or at least work within it?

NPS as a measurement tool is ok, but it needs explaining and it doesn’t tell us if we are easy to do business with, or to work for. Do not measure effort, measure ease, it is either easy or it is not. If not why?  Then analyse this feedback and close the loop by responding to the customer.

The golden rules for closing the loop on customer easy and feedback; Make the interaction authentic, relevant, in the moment and low effort.   To do this you have to map the customer journey but the key is collaboration.

Moira ended with an example from Disney’s Magic Band, a $1bn dollar project to drive out friction points across the Disney experience, working in coordination with MyMagic+ you can see more in this video here. Moira left us with the thought:

“If you don’t make life easier for your customers, your customers will make their lives easier” and you will no longer be part of the conversation.

Event sponsors Genesys invited Atom Bank to take their slot and give us a view into ‘Delivering Digital Brilliance’ hearing how the UK’s first digital bank is building its customer experience.

Michael Sherwood, Head of Customer Experience and Helen Wilson, Head of Customer Service, took us through the journey of this Durham based, low cost, no branch challenger brand and fintech, recently named by LinkedIn as one of UK’s top 25 start-ups.

As an Atom customer, you can register in less than 10 minutes using their digital app and or platform. Atom took the decision to avoid an IVR, accepting that customers who were calling them already had a problem, so it was all about accessibility.  However, Helen is also focussed on keeping the size of the Customer Service team as small as possible, removing failure demand wherever possible across the business.

Mike was bought in to develop the Voice of the Customer, how they could capture the right insight and then how this was fed back; Userzoom, Appbot, Conduent and Genesys were just some of the tools used to achieve this.

The focus is to measure what matters, getting real-time feedback, with emotion mapping and actual comments allowing root cause identification, followed by action.

A customer panel records and tests customer interactions whilst in their own homes and has led to over 100 app changes and developments in 12 months!

After Lunch Ed Creasey of NICE introduced a panel debate on The Rise of the Robots -and how it is driving the customer revolution.

Ed asked, with 89% of companies competing on customer experience, why do our employees spend 80% of their time on dull and unfulfilling tasks?

Forgetting AI for the moment, Robotics removes mundane and repetitive tasks using automated processes.  this can be done with assisted front office interactions, or non assisted back office.

5% of interactions can be fully automated and 30% partially automated (McKinseys).

Ed was then joined on stage with representatives from HMRC, Cap Gemini and NICE Robotics to discuss some key questions:

What opportunities do robots give us?

What challenges do robotics bring?

Where to start with robots?

One of the key pieces of advice from all on the panel; do not start with the most complicated difficult problem.

  • Look for ease, simple, high level transactions.  Start small but do it well.  
  • Don’t think about robotics removing headcount, consider the productivity and performance uplifts by having 10% more staff.
  • Robots are not free labour, they require planning and significant work to start automating well.
  • Engage your employees, share positive robotics news and information to drive out the fear they can bring.

Next up, John Callachan, Managing Director at DDC outsourcing with David Rowlands, Contact Centre Sales Director UK & EMEA at 8×8 Global Solutions.  supported by 8×8 John took us through the development of their multi channel, multi site operations in an industry case study ‘Sharing the secrets of modern customer engagement’

Jason Pillay, Guest Experience Manager at Premier Inn offered a bright, positive and humorous overview of ‘Premier Service Guaranteed’ using digital customer service to wow guests.  Jason shared his 5 building blocks for a successful digital team.

Speed of answer is still a major digital requirement. 15 minutes is now acceptable as opposed to 30-45 minutes in the past.

“Don’t be afraid to stand your ground and be brave on digital”, Jason said. You don’t have to give them the world, if you are already offering a good service.

Use Digital interactions and insight to wow your customers.

With Twitter opening up to 240 characters, potential Whatsapp interactions for B2C in the future, interactive focus groups and bots/automation digital, how customers use the various channels is continuing to change and business needs to do the same.

If you like to be kept awake at night by a good horror story then the next session is definitely for you; Sandra Peaston, Assistant Director for Insight at CIFAS and Nikolay Gaubitch from Pindrop on ‘Protecting the connected customer’ - Contact Centre fraud techniques unmasked.

With 325,000 cases of fraud recorded by CIFAS last year, Identity fraud is rising.  Fraudsters are utilising different methods and channels for fraud all the time and the age of victims is falling as we share more of our information socially and online.

Fraudsters are also targeting information we would not necessarily protect so fiercely,  as they look to socially engineer information which then allows them to commit further fraud, such as opening false bank accounts to launder money.  The fraudster is also using call centres to gather more of this information about the customers they are targeting.

Nikolay from Pindrop led with ‘No contact centre does not have fraud’ and a shocking statistic that 86p is the average fraud loss for every call handled in a call centre!

Fraudsters are using multiple calls, sometimes 3-5  interactions, targeting a certain account to obtain the information they need to carry out a fraudulent act.

Prolific fraudsters identified by Pindrop’s audio intelligence biometric engine such as Mr & Mrs Smith and Teen Vader are using voice altering software, or pretending to be both male and female callers and are making significant amounts of calls, 160 calls a week to target 13 customer accounts.  Fascinating but scary stuff!

Last up, it was over to Suzi Caesar, Head of Customer Service at The Daily Mail Group. Suzi presented the case study ‘Turning your customers into your employees’ - a new model for the Digital age.   

Suzi and team have launched a service where their most loyal digital customers were invited to provide help and information to other, or new subscribers, earning money and rewards as they go. An interesting concept, which takes onlin forums and communities to a new level, no doubt one to watch.

Phew….that is it! This event was certainly jam-packed full of content and one of the longest posts I have had the pleasure to write (and I left out a good few pages of notes).  For those of you who are members of the CCMA but were not able to make it, copies of all the presentations are available if you get in touch with the CCMA directly.

Thank you to Ann-Marie, her team and of course, all the speakers and attendees I met on the day, it was a great day.   We look forward to seeing you next year!

Michelle Ansell is a Managing Partner at Douglas Jackson, partnering with customer and experience focused organisations, many of which are global brands, FTSE 100, or award-winning organisations, to identify, attract and hire talented, experienced professionals, who will help differentiate your business and brand, lead, develop and engage your people.


Publish Date: November 13, 2017 5:00 AM

2020 Buyers Guide Artificial Intelligence

Acqueon Technologies Inc.

Acqueon's AI-driven conversational engagement software enables sales, marketing and service organizations to engage in emotionally connected dialogs with customers via their channel of choice for significantly improved results. The Acqueon suite adds multichannel campaign management, contact center analytics, desktop, and CRM connectors for your contact center software of choice, including Amazon Connect, Cisco, Nice inContact, and Twilio. Acqueon conversational engagement software leverages the Acqueon IQ platform to aggregate data from the various applications, assemble rich customer contexts, and drive next-best-action using powerful statistical and predictive models.
PH: +1 888-946-6878


Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.
PH: +1 (512) 333 4634

Balto Software Inc

Real-time call guidance and post call data analytics
Balto Software is a provider of real-time intelligent call support and coaching. Our software solution leverages artificial intelligence to listen to both sides of a call and deliver mission-critical information and feedback to sales representatives immediately. Our solution is fully customizable and our current customers include sales teams and customer service groups in sectors ranging from debt collections to healthcare and home improvement.


Daisee builds technology that empowers people to solve problems by making interactions simple and smart so they can have a more significant impact, be more productive and be better at what they do. We believe incremental improvements carry huge potency and provide exponentially greater change for the better.

Genesys customers can now automate risk and quality management using Daisee’s speech and sentiment analytics and remediation workflow software. Daisee helps improve customer experience, ensure regulatory compliance, identify missed commercial opportunities & training requirements as well as provide valuable insights back to the business directly from the frontline – the true voice-of-...
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PH: +61404697151

eGain Corporation

Automate the routine and boring and augment the interesting with eGain AI (Artificial Intelligence). eGain is a pioneer in AI for contact center customer service and customer engagement and has developed cutting-edge technology as also best practices and proven use-cases over the last two decades. eGain’s patented Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) technology, called Guided Help, is a simple but powerful AI technology used to find answers to customer issues, and for process guidance and decision making. Along with Knowledge and Analytics, Artificial Intelligence forms the core of the eGain Customer Engagement Hub platform and its omnichannel and digital-first capability.


Scale up your business using Convy AI, the artificial intelligence that acts like a human helping enterprises to better interact with their clients and agents to be focused on the value added transactions.
Convy.AI is used to support, entertain and simplify the experience of million of customers every month.
Convy.AI understand natural language (but supports also button based UIs), simply integrate many front end (chat, email, whatsapp, IVR, Alexa, google home, ...) and it's zero code admin interface enables everybody to manage conversations.


ExecVision is a conversation intelligence platform built to drive human behavior change which positively impacts individual, team, and organization performance. The software ingests, transcribes, and analyzes conversations to provide actionable insights for coaching, upskilling, and more informed decision making. Sales, QA, customer success and support teams use ExecVision to create a consistent experience across the customer journey.


Most customer-facing interfaces make it the end user’s job to figure out how to navigate and find their way to where they need to be. This is true of websites and mobile apps as much as it of touch-tone IVRs. The interface is usually designed for the most generic of uses; and because making changes is expensive and time-consuming, these interfaces tend to be inflexible with regards to evolving times, use cases or user needs.

AI can help create user interfaces that are adaptable and personalized. Advances in Conversational AI make it possible to interact with the user in natural language. Many IVRs are being re-configured to work this way and businesses are also introducing text-based cha...
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Automate up to 70% of messaging conversations on your website, SMS, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp and more. LivePerson has a complete solution to create, manage, and optimize bots for businesses of all sizes.

Mediatel Data Srl

Contact Center Solution AI-Driven
Mediatel Research and Development team developed Artificial Intelligence Engine, part of the Contact Center platform, suitable for vocal interactions using Natural Language Processing modules and digital interactions, used in chat sessions, for chat bots, email management for email dispatching or text messages.
PH: +40 722 744 417

MFE International

Oracle Digital Assistant
The next generation state-of-the-art text and voice AI Chatbot . No coding required.
Reduce call volumes by 30-60%. Reduce waiting times


Analysis that empowers your business
Get actionable insights from all your customer interactions


Trendzact AI On-Demand
Trendzact provides on-demand data science Insights team who will solve the AI resource dilemma. Our Insights team will apply machine learning models into your business processes and build functionality such as natural language processing and service level agreement (“SLA”) diagnostics into your CRM solution. Use AI for aftercall documenation, agent sentiment analysis, proactive agent guidance and anomaly detection with real-time alerts
PH: 3854343250


virtualQ’s AI-based, enterprise solutions
virtualQ GmbH designs and develops enterprise software that enables companies to control incoming calls to its service centers 24/7 without waiting times. We offer an intuitive virtual assistant platform that reduces waiting times on the phone, provides information to callers, answers recurring customer inquiries, collect customer satisfaction surveys, and display a data dashboard to track performance. We employ artificial intelligence to provide intelligent call-backs, appointments, FAQ bots, voice IVR, virtual assistants, high call volume management, and more! All of our products and services are quick add-on solutions for companies who want to take advantage of AI.
PH: +49 176 5683 8890


VOZIQ Predictive Customer Retention Solution
VOZIQ is the only cloud-based predictive retention solution that is powered by 10+ targeted machine learning models to enable recurring revenue businesses to predict customers who are at-risk of cancellation and prevent the cancellation by driving large-scale actions through contact center customer care, marketing and field channels.

With pre-built AI/ML models using both structured and unstructured data, risk driver libraries and multiple deployment options, VOZIQ’s solution significantly cuts time-to-value in industries such as home security and automation, pest control, home warranty, deregulated/retail energy providers, telecom, and insurance.
PH: +1 (888) 427-2328

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