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GUEST COMMENT Get ready for the World Cup 2014

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Guy Tweedale, senior vice president sales, EMEA at outsourced customer care specialist Sitel, shares his top 10 predictions for how World Cup 2014 will impact customer service.

As we see major brands such as Nike and Adidas unveil their marketing campaigns ahead of the June World Cup tournament, it is clear they are pinning their hopes on a World Cup driven sales boost across Europe.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi have both launched their global campaigns to reinforce their ties to football ahead of the tournament. FIFA sponsor Coke launched a digital film, One world one game, in what it claims is the largest marketing programme in the history of the company.

So as brands take their battles for sales to this year’s World Cup what trends will we see?

Clever strategies

2014 sees the World Cup taking place in Brazil and it’s certainly gearing up to put mobile at centre stage. The number of mobile internet users is forecast to grow by 35% in 2014. My first prediction is we will see clever customer contact strategies emerge as brands try to engage their customers. For example using competitions, promotions or interactive games. Mobile provides tremendous opportunities for brands to add value and extend their brand right into people’s hands.

Technological opportunities

Today’s proliferation of technology will be used to give fans a totally unique and immersive experience. Air fresheners are already jumping on the bandwagon by offering consumers a literal sense of smell of another country to create the whole match experience. The World Cup is a huge marketing opportunity for brands, which will need to navigate the opportunities and challenges presented by technology and smart-appliances.

Social media

Social video will amplify TV spend and demand TV budgets with more focus on social and digital campaigns as they interact with today’s mobile consumers. Record mobile viewership is expected with sales of tablets and smartphones soaring as 64 games are packed into 32 days. And with the growth of 4G, more and more people will be watching goals and highlights on the move.

Value of a view

Brands will question the value of a ‘view’. After the US, Brazil is Facebook’s second-largest market and also provides YouTube with its second greatest number of unique visits. There is no doubt this provides marketers with the opportunity to make a great impact. However it’s not just about Facebook and YouTube now. We are seeing more and more brands successfully engage consumers in their own environments using the web.

Brands boost online

Brands will increase their online presence. In June 2012, the UK Summer Olympics helped drive 1.47 billion people to conduct 173 billion searches equating to 117 searches for each person.

Shopping comparison

Retailers that use shopping comparison sites such as Shopzilla, Kelkoo and Price Runner will increase bidding for products that they expect will be popular. This will ensure that their products feature well and will increase the chances of conversion.

Economic boost

There will be a great boost to the economy as sales increase for large screen TVs, sofas, fridges and trade will improve for pubs, bars and takeaways. On-line shopping will increase and those with omni-channel strategies will encourage not only more sales but loyalty too. Web-chat and sales chat will grow too as people last minute shop or experience issues with their purchases. The World Cup is a huge opportunity for brands hoping to make it big in Brazil too.

Delivery to the fore

Quick delivery times will be prominent in promotions and on websites to promote call to action for consumers e.g. order by a certain date to ensure delivery in time for the World Cup.

Customer service boost

Retailers will ramp up their customer service offering to support customer/technical support for products that need some sort of installation/tech support such as TVs, PCs, laptop, tablets, broadband. As early resolution will be important as those experiencing problems will be at their most vocal.

Sick days

A recent Yume survey found that 16% intended to call in sick to work during the event specifically to watch the matches. There will be an increase in employees calling in sick after key games especially if England progresses.

Of course, with opportunities come challenges, and the FIFA World Cup presents many. The ad buys and global sponsorship packages with strong calls to action will see huge surges in customer contact, from all channels; calls, social media, web-chat and emails. The winners will be those who have organised their contact centres to cope with this demand, and add value too.

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