9 May 2019

KPMG Nunwood report 2018: The insights advantage

At Synergy we’ve always believed in the power of insight. We’re huge advocates of digging deep on the inside, in order to make real and tangible changes on the outside.

So we were delighted to read the 2018 Customer Experience Excellence report by KPMG Nunwood, which focuses on connecting insight to action.

If you haven’t read these reports before, do! They’re a fascinating look at the state of customer experience (CX) in the UK, bringing together the very best brands, case studies and strategy. In 2018 the research drew upon the experience of over 1,400 brands across 14 different markets, so plenty of inspiration and learnings to take away with you.

The 2018 report highlights that leading companies are the ones where research, data and analytics drive customer-centric decision-making across the entire business.

Not got time to read the whole report? Read on for our best bits:


1. Using data – really using it, not getting stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ – is key to exemplar CX and long-term growth, especially as we enter into the challenging years ahead post-Brexit

Want to make sure your insights are truly game-changing? Ensure they have 8 key attributes: 

  • Clear link to goals and strategy
  • Business context – how and why does it matter
  • Be as simple as possible
  • Be relevant to a specific stakeholder
  • Tell a new (and compelling) story
  • Be clear
  • Be real-time – using tech
  • Be scalable and automated


2. 70% of senior stakeholders are dissatisfied with the performance of their insights teams

This is often due to the way insights are presented to the business. They are too often purely descriptive in nature – “this is what customers are saying” – rather than prescriptive “this is what we need to do”, predictive “this is what will happen as a consequence”, or economic “this is the implication on turnover/retention/cross-selling opportunities”.

Making this turn will elevate insights and data within the organisation. Marks and Spencer has a bold vision – that every decision in the future will be supported by analytics and customer insight. In 2017 they interviewed one customer every 5 seconds and used the insight gained to improve their products, proposition and messaging. And don’t forget their data science transformation announced last year, promising to turn more than 1000 M&S employees into data scientists, trained in data analytics.


3. According to KPMG, 2018 saw empathy as one of the most improved of their Six Pillars of CX Excellence

Brands like Metro Bank, Nationwide and Co-op Insurance are actively seeking to improve their customers’ experience by investing in training and communications that encourage colleagues to focus on the needs and feelings of the customer at every single interaction. Craig Donaldson, CEO of Metro Bank said that this starts with recruitment, echoing a view that a lot of our clients are shifting to at the moment – ‘Hire for attitude, train for skills’:

“I can’t teach people empathy. You’ve got it or you haven’t. So for me it starts with recruiting the right people who fit the culture, give them the right training, get them comfortable in what they’re doing and let them be themselves. Let them serve and look after customers the right way, by being who they are.”

This has real results. For Co-op Insurance, focusing on emotional resonance of colleagues led to a reduction in time spent dealing with questions by 70%, and complaints reduced by 80%.


4. Measurement, measurement, measurement

We launched our measurement framework in 2018, giving clients a simple tool to get really meaningful results from internal communications and engagement data. The Nunwood report backs up our thinking that it’s measurement which ignites growth – “If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve.” There are useful frameworks outlined in the report for measuring CX, innovation and insights. And do take a look here to read our point of view on measurement.


5. Data and insight doesn’t just play out online 

It’s about “creating customer fulfilment by leveraging technology and physical integration”. Metro Bank lead the way here with their ‘M Welcome’ – a predictive queuing system in branches. The system works out how quickly the customer will be served, how long their interaction will take, and who is the best colleague to fulfil their need. They can tell customers how long they will need to wait in the queue to within a minute. The next step is to put this technology into the customer app – so their interaction time will be predicted before they’ve even entered the branch!


6. Henry Ford said that “if there’s one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get to the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

Ford Motor Company follow this mantra today – seen best in their Third Age Suit. This is a way of helping their design engineers (most of whom are under 40) understand the needs of ageing drivers.

It’s an outfit that adds about 30 years to the wearer’s age by stiffening knees, elbows, ankles and wrists, adding material to the waist to affect the ability to sit comfortably and reducing the sense of touch with gloves. They also wear yellow scratched goggles and headphones to simulate cataracts and hearing loss. This has impacted the overall comfort of their cars, specifically seat belts, glare and reachability and readability of controls.


7. Livit, one of the largest restaurant design firms in the world, have a test restaurant in Stockholm to demonstrate concepts to clients 

Using data inputs like people’s mobile phones (without even being connected to WiFi), local city events, weather data plus millions of transactions and customer surveys, they use a ‘test and learn’ approach to better understand customer behaviour. These insights have included:

  • Changing the volume and playlist can pay the bills: turning the volume up during peak hours increased turnover and turning it down during non-peak hours encouraged lingering. What determines peak hours? The amount of active mobile phones in the store.
  • Artificial scents will influence decision-making. Fresh basil smells boosted sales earlier in the week when people are traditionally less likely to buy pizza!


We’ve got lots more thinking on influencing behaviour, thanks to our Behavioural Science specialism – we’ve even got a really handy checklist to weave behavioural science principles into everyday life at your organisation. Just let us know if you’d like to chat to us more about it. 


That’s it – our best bits from 2018’s report. You can check out the 2017 report here, which focuses on giving customers a truly connected experience and the 2016 report here – which was all about creating positive and memorable moments for customers.

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