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Howard Williams is marketing director at Parker Software, a UK software house specialising in business process automation and live chat software. Howard leads Parker Software’s global customer team, with a firm focus on the consumer, their experience, and how it can be continually improved.

The Communication Canyon: Why Are UK Businesses Falling Short Of Customer Expectations?

It’s become a stereotype that we Brits enjoy two things: queuing and complaining. As a joke, this stereotype is humorous but harmless. Except UK businesses seem to be taking the stereotype as fact – forcing their customers into queues just to complain, or to reach out at all. Customers aren’t getting the communication options they prefer, and their expectations for service speed and accessibility are not being met. This creates an ongoing queue-complaint loop that, contrary to cast, customers don’t typically enjoy. Worse still, like a modern-day Fawlty Towers, UK businesses almost farcically overrate their own communication. 80% of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service… only 8% of their customers agree. Let’s investigate the communication canyon between c...

Chatbots: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Chatbots are over 50 years old, but the technology is still evolving. Despite recent advancements, the history of chatbots hasn’t been all plain sailing. The history of chatbot technology begins in 1966, when Joseph Weizenbaum created an early natural language processing computer program, Eliza. The program was designed to mimic human conversations by matching user prompts to pre-scripted responses. Since Eliza’s creation, technologists have experimented with the creation of several different chatbot programs and software applications. Only in recent years are we beginning to see chatbot technology used in everyday applications — think Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. While some could argue that these intelligent, voice activated assistants are not truly chatbots, thes...