Meet the 2023 Engage Awards Winners
Find out how the 2023 winners impressed our judges this year.
Last night, we held our annual Engage Awards, celebrating the innovative customer engagement strategies of companies from all over the globe. Our glittering Awards Ceremony took place at The Brewery in London, where the British comedian Hugh Dennis delighted the audience and announced the 2023 winners.
Find out which companies received an award this year and what they did to impress our judges below.
THE SUCCESS STORIES OF THE 2023 WINNERS
- BEST BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY – FRED. OLSEN CRUISE LINES
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines won the Best Business Transformation Strategy for reinventing their position in the cruise industry following COVID. While they had more returning guests than any other line post-pandemic, they found it challenging to attract new customers. For this reason, they set out to gain a clearer understanding of what mattered most to their existing and potential customers and to meet the needs of those who found that other cruise experiences had failed. To do this, they carried out a customer insight project that shaped their business transformation strategy for 2022/2023 and beyond.
The result? The creation of a distinct guest profile that encompasses everything Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines stands for: The Enthusiast. According to their awards entry, The Enthusiast “loves smaller ships, seeks out native wildlife, looks for enriching experiences, is passionate about art and literature, wants attentive and personal service, enjoys a sense of occasion and is intelligent, curious and friendly”. Knowing this, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines worked on improving its offering, tailoring its onboard and onshore experiences to this profile.
- BEST CUSTOMER AND EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMME – PHOENIX GROUP
Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, earned the Best Customer and Employee Engagement Programme award for enabling its people to respond to the needs of consumers displaying vulnerability characteristics. Noting that cost-of-living pressures have increased the number of vulnerable customers, Phoenix Group re-launched an enhanced training package.
This Vulnerable Customer Training package consisted of 4 key components: their award-winning Vulnerable Customer E-Learning, a 6-hour in-person workshop, their Listening Wheel E-Learning (created alongside Samaritans), and their comprehensive online resources.
Furthermore, Phoenix Group adopted the below three-pronged training approach to address the ‘empathy gap’:
- Behavioural: Phoenix Group worked with behavioural science specialists to help colleagues understand behavioural bias.
- Physical: They used simulation glasses that limit sight, gloves that limit movement and simulate arthritis/stroke aftereffects, a colour blindness simulator, a shaking app replicating Parkinson’s and a hearing impairment exercise that enabled them to design with accessibility in mind.
- Virtual Reality: This put employees in a vulnerable customer conversation.
- BEST CUSTOMER CENTRIC STRATEGY – NATIONAL GRID
National Grid received the Best Customer Centric Strategy award for its largest-ever stakeholder engagement exercise. At the turn of the year, they worked with Ofgem to agree on a business plan influenced by more than 25,000 stakeholder views.
However, instead of giving their stakeholders a predetermined list of suggested actions, National Grid gave them ‘a blank sheet of paper, the framework [they] were working within and asked them for suggestions before refining these into actions’.
Their suggestions subsequently established the four key outcomes that formed the core of National Grid’s plan: vulnerability, affordability, sustainability, and connectability.
- BEST CUSTOMER CONTACT TRANSFORMATION – BEAUTY PIE
Beauty Pie won the Best Customer Contact Transformation award for overcoming challenges such as delayed response times and agent burnout by implementing automation for chat and email. To do so, they used external data and knowledge from attending conferences and networking with others who have already adopted automation as a tool.
Once Beauty Pie automated its chat and email, they were able to respond to customers immediately and reduce waiting time from up to 2 working days. As a result, they recorded increased CSAT scores, resolution rates and morale. Expanding on this, they enabled agents to focus on higher-value tasks, simultaneously reducing burnout and boosting performance.
- BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM – UK POWER NETWORKS
UK Power Networks received the Best Customer Service Team award for having the fastest complaints resolutions in the industry and a leading customer satisfaction rate. In their awards entry, the winners revealed that their staff are not scripted and are empowered to be flexible based on the needs of each customer. For example, they can support clients by offering them a hotel room for the night, a hot meal, or a simple text update.
Going beyond what is expected, one of UK Power Networks’ team members used their lunch break and money to purchase an action figure for a child with autism. The agent had done so after receiving a call from a customer they had arranged a hotel for, saying their child was in agony because they had forgotten their action figure at home.
- BEST USE OF CUSTOMER INSIGHT – WHITBREAD AND IPSOS
Whitbread, leading hospitality business and owner of Premier Inn, won the Best Use of Customer Insight award after working with Ipsos, market research and consulting firm, on their transformative Room of the Future project.
As part of this project, Whitbread sought to bring the voice of the customer into their room design approach, blending new and existing data sets and conducting wide-reaching research activities. In their award entry, Whitbread shared that while many companies talk about ‘getting the customer into the room’, their Room of the Future project literally did so.
“It is the first time that customers (guests) have been involved in shaping the design of Premier Inn rooms,” they revealed.
- BEST USE OF INNOVATION IN CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT – UTILITA ENERGY
Utilita Energy was awarded the Best Use of Innovation in Customer Engagement award for creating a seamless self-service experience that addressed the problems of prepay customers. According to the award winners, those who prepay for their energy tend to have 17 times more touch points with their supplier each year compared to those who pay by direct debit. So, with 90% of their clients being prepay customers, Utilita Energy turned to automation.
Noting that PAYG customers generally contact their suppliers to arrange an install, address top-up issues, move credit from one meter to another, change supplier or move house, Utilita Energy invested in automating its service to enable customers to handle these enquiries online. In doing so, they created a ‘seamless self-service experience that is premium to paying by direct debit’.
- BEST USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT – NATWEST
NatWest won the Best Use of Technology in Customer Engagement award for creating a one-bank messaging capability, providing a central hub for all operational messaging to pass through. This allowed the bank to enhance their customer experience, tailoring how customers receive messages (via their preferred channel and using real-time decisioning).
Taking this further, NatWest introduced an Act Now and Payment alert, resulting in a significant reduction of fraud. More specifically, customers now receive notifications straight to their mobile phone, informing them that they are entering their overdraft or making a payment. This ensures that they act immediately, as opposed to hours or days later, when they read their emails.
- BEST USE OF VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER – BELRON INTERNATIONAL
Belron International earned the Best Use of Voice of the Customer award for adopting a new VOC platform and framework. Although Belron had a world class NPS, they decided not to focus solely on this customer satisfaction measure and to cover all sources of feedback instead. In other words, they looked at unsolicited feedback (including reviews and social media posts) and signed a new global contract to gain access to new feedback and analytics tools.
“Having a world class NPS has been a double-edged sword in that because it was good, there was no action plan. This new global design has got everyone excited, from the board to the technicians on the ground. Getting more real time feedback is key and will truly allow us to get into the shoes of the customer,” the award winners wrote.
Considering that the Engage Awards received a record-breaking number of entries this year, we would like to extend our congratulations to the award winners once more!
Over the coming weeks, we will be conducting interviews with the 2023 winners and sharing their success stories.
Those interested in entering the 2024 Engage Awards can do so from January 22nd.
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