Monthly Archives

January 2018

local government funding gap

Bridging the local government funding gap

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Rising costs, demands and expectations on a shrinking budget:

How to achieve more with less with customer journey mapping

local government funding gap

State of Affairs:

Austerity measures and the uncertainty surrounding the UK economy amidst the chaos of Brexit, has reduced government funding to county councils. This, combined with the ever-increasing demand on services from an ever-increasing population, means budgets are tight and efficiency gain is high on the agenda. Furthermore, the current customer service bar has been set high by the likes of Amazon and John Lewis and citizen and government expectations now reflect this. It is clearly then a difficult task delivering to this level of expectation whilst staying within budget and cutting costs where required. The key to achieving this balance lies with the citizen.


How to do it right

Hackney Council is a prime example of a council, which has found that balance. In a recent Mori survey 70% were satisfied or very satisfied with how the Council was doing things. Hackney Council did this by listening to the voice of their customer, their citizens. Regular surveys and feedback helped them to put in place a strategy led by two major principles: getting it right first time and moving services online.


These two principles played a major part in Hackney’s high citizen satisfaction score, but have furthermore resulted in huge efficiency gains. “The average cost to the Council of a face-to-face transaction is £14, and it’s £5 per phone call. This compares to just 17p if that transaction is carried out online.” Reducing repeat calls and unnecessary information requests drastically reduced use of expensive human resource. Thanks to listening to their customers, Hackney council was able to identify their citizens biggest pain points and then resolve them.


Where customer journey mapping comes in

Customer journey mapping, goes far beyond surveys and feedback in terms of the level of detail and sheer actionable insight. By mapping the citizen’s entire journey with a council, it is possible to identify each journey step and painpoint in a highly granular manner. Such diagnosis can help determine exactly where investment will have the biggest positive effect on customer satisfaction. It can also help identify where cuts may have the least impact. It’s a powerful tool to map the gaps between customer expectation and current satisfaction and thereby identify where the efficiency gain will deliver the greatest return. CGA’s Heartbeat® journey-mapping tool uses quantitative, qualitative and emotive analysis from the perspective of the customer. This information is crucial to calculate the gaps between citizen expectation and current delivery at each individual journey step and interaction. Identify and prioritise where investment should be added and taken away for maximum effect on efficiency and satisfaction. The heartbeat methodology can be used to interrogate different segmentation models and can be used internally and externally to build customer charters. To learn more about efficiency gain  and citizen satisfaction, sign up for our next webinar.


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Online Grocery Retailing

“What’s for dinner tonight?” The challenges and opportunities in grocery retailing

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Online Grocery Retailing

Customer Confidence:

The post Christmas retail results and reports were perhaps not surprising for British food retailers. Customers are unsure of their short-term future in the face of substantial uncertainty, and were canny about how and when they spent their Christmas cash.

The good news for most retailers was that food continues to deliver stable growth. The question remains as to how to deliver against rapidly shifting expectations and buying patterns. Buying online continues to grow as more people grow accustomed to the convenience of home delivery, and are prepared to pay a premium for that benefit.


Behaviours and expectations:

Equally remarkable in how customer behaviour is changing rapidly was the news from Amazon that Echo and their digital assistant Alexa was one of their fastest selling electronic products in the run up to Christmas. We assume that novelty and perhaps Alexa’s corny jokes are still the primary motivators at this early stage of adoption. But the way that artificial intelligence is now finding its way into our lives and kitchens opens up all kinds of future opportunities to deliver customer value.


“What’s for dinner tonight Alexa?”


We wonder how quickly that opportunity will be matched with the data that our retailers already master on our historical buying habits, and be exploited to delight us by removing the chore of figuring out what to eat, how to eat healthily, and how to take the effort out of conventional buying and shopping.



Needless to say, the retail choice for customers has never been greater or more competitive. We have the choice of cut-price discounters, mainstream generalists, or indeed the luxury of delegating the chore entirely and paying someone else to do the do the cooking for us! We observe how some millennials are happy to pay a significant premium to Deliveroo or Uber Eats to satisfy their desire for wanting it and having it now!


Business Model Evolution:

Recent announcements from both Sainsbury & Tesco in the refocusing of capabilities and resources are perhaps representative of just the beginning in what may become a dramatic shift in business models “to ensure our business remains competitive and set up for the future” (Tesco press release 22nd January, 2018).

Just as High Street banks are adjusting their focus to digital self help, so the question in traditional retail will be the pace of change to take account of rapidly changing customer footfall and expectations.


Big data versus changing customer expectations

British grocery retailers have become expert at gathering data through loyalty programmes, and probably understand our eating habits and preferences better than we know ourselves. The question for consideration is whether that big data can be harnessed in such a way to push the boundaries in artificial intelligence to the benefit of customers with innovative propositions.  At CGA we are absolutely convinced that customer expectations will continue to evolve rapidly. This insight gap is not yet delivered by big data and it needs a solution to future proof retail brands.


Future proofing:

There are already many new propositions being tested to push the boundaries in the search for the frictionless customer solution, Sainsbury’s Chop Chop service, and Amazon Go (check-out free store) to name but two.

At least we can all agree that “business as usual” is not a viable position or strategy in British grocery retailing.

At CGA we believe that starting with the customer is a powerful way to first understand what matters most from their perspective. Armed with that insight, figuring out where to focus, and what to invest in becomes a lot easier.

Join us in our upcoming webinar on future proofing the retail experience.

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“Customers must be at the heart of everything we do in the rail industry”

“Customers must be at the heart of everything we do in the rail industry”

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CGA is delighted to be awarded the next phase of a strategic project by the Rail Delivery Group to put the customer at the heart of decision making.

“Customers must be at the heart of everything we do in the rail industry”

Having mapped the end-to-end customer journey in 2016 using CGA’s Heartbeat® methodology, the Rail Delivery Group is now seeking to measure industry performance in service quality and more “experiential” measures.

Jacqueline Starr, Managing Director Customer Directorate, said:

“Our long-term plan to change and improve services commits us to improving customer satisfaction to remain the top-rated major railway in Europe. Supplementing our existing performance measurement data with insights focusing on customers’ experiences will give us the ability to analyse a more complete view of overall performance from the customer perspective. This invaluable insight will enable us to deliver a better experience for our customers.”

CGA will develop a proof of concept methodology and reporting tool which will combine existing insights gathered by Transport Focus and the Train Operating Companies with new, more experiential metrics. The proof of concept, run in cooperation with Great Western Railway, is scheduled to deliver first insights within the next 4 months.

About CGA:

CGA has become renowned for its dedication to the customer agenda. It has led the way in creating value through transforming customer journeys into compelling and commercial experiences, bringing many companies closer to their customers and improving results. CGA has significant experience of supporting the rail sector both in strategic projects in UK and Europe, as well as successful tactical support of rail franchise bids.

CGA is typically engaged on national and international Customer Experience improvement and transformation programmes, receiving endorsements for creativity, insight and fresh thinking.  Our proprietary journey mapping solution Heartbeat® helps to bring the customer to life, showing immediate pain points in real-time and identifying where future intervention will offer greatest value. It can transform your customers’ behaviour into your biggest asset.

It’s critical to understand the implications of not becoming customer centric and the direct impact this is likely to have on future growth and efficiency strategies.  The future arrives faster than we think….

About the Rail Delivery Group:

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) brings together the companies that run Britain’s railway to enable a better railway for customers, communities, the economy and our people.

All the passenger and freight rail companies are members of the RDG, as well as Network Rail and HS2 (see the full list of our licensed and associate members). RDG also recently formed a partnership with the Rail Supply Group.

We provide services and support to enable our members to succeed in transforming and delivering a successful railway. We also provide support and give a voice to freight and passenger operators, as well as delivering important national ticketing, information and reservation services for passengers and staff on behalf of member companies.

Rail is fundamental to the country’s prosperity. After enormous growth, Britain’s railway is increasingly important in connecting workers to jobs, businesses to markets, and people to their families and friends.

In a landmark coming together, rail companies recently launched ‘In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity’, a single, long-term plan to secure £85bn of additional economic growth from a combination of public and private investment to change and improve the railway. In the plan, rail companies commit to delivering more for customers, communities, the economy and our people.

To support the Plan, the RDG’s day to day work is organised into four priorities:

Improving the customer experience – modernising ticketing and improving information

Improving performance today – focusing on punctuality, safety and value for money

Improving performance tomorrow – by planning for the future and training the next generation

Reforming the industry – so our team is as good as it can be

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