Also in the news this week - 24 March 2017

Is anyone there?

The vast majority (87%) of UK consumers say they are more inclined to do business with companies that offer a real person to talk to at the right stage of their customer journey. This is a key finding of research into the effective of customer service automation by Yonder Digital Group. Chris Robinson of Yonder Digital Group said: "However [consumers] choose to get in touch with a company they also expect that the answer to their question, or the resolution to their complaint, is dealt with quickly and effectively and technology alone cannot always do that."

UK SMEs missing out on billions of liquid cash flow

A new report from Siemens Financial Services says that slow and late invoice payments mean small businesses in the UK are missing out on liquid cash flow worth some £250 billion. The study finds that a typical SME spends 130 hours a year chasing outstanding invoices. Businesses with an annual turnover of under £1m wait on average 72 days for invoices to be paid, compared to 54 days for larger businesses. The problem is being compounded by increasingly common 90-day payment terms demanded by larger organisations.

Could drones encourage highway robbery?

ParcelHero has warned that a new generation of cyber-highwaymen, using scrambling and jamming equipment, could potentially steal over £1 billion of items every year as drones, droids and driverless vans begin to deliver goods. David Jinks, ParcelHero's head of consumer research, said: "Autonomous deliveries are already happening. Amazon drones have delivered parcels in Cambridgeshire, droids have carried food and goods in London, and driverless vans are operating in Greenwich. But as technology takes over, a new generation of cyber-criminals will be bent on stealing from these automated machines."

British workers can't resist using their smartphones at work

Three-quarters of Brits admit to using their smartphones at work and the average worker spends as many as 120 hours a year on their phone, according to a new poll by Laptops Direct. Half (52%) of those surveyed admit to answering messages via Whatsapp and Facebook and 38% regularly check their social media accounts. However, 44% report that their workplace allows reasonable use of smartphones anyway.

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