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Oranges and Candles Light the Way - Help bring hope to vulnerable children in Merseyside this Christmas

CHURCHES throughout Merseyside are holding a series of Christingle celebrations, with a focus on bringing hope and a sense of community to some of the UK's most vulnerable children.

A number of services are being held throughout December and beyond. These events are open to all, aiming to raise crucial funds for children and young people facing severe challenges, including abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The Christingle services offer a unique festive experience, where participants decorate oranges with:- red ribbon, cocktail sticks, sweets, and candles each element symbolising a different part of the Christian story. This tradition, with over fifty years of history, invites people of all ages to join in, light a candle, and enjoy the communal warmth of this special occasion.

These events, which attract thousands each year, are key in supporting the vital work of The Children's Society in aiding the nation's most at risk children.

Mark Russell CEO at The Children's Society shared his enthusiasm for the numerous Christingle events across Merseyside and the wider UK. He said:- "Christingle is an essential part of our annual calendar, and it is wonderful to see so many happenings across Merseyside. Every year these events help us be there for the vulnerable children we support and we're truly grateful to everyone who attends. These celebrations in Merseyside are more than festive gatherings; they are critical in making it possible for us to continue with our vital work and transform the lives of even more children in need of our help."

Some of the Christingles still to be held in Merseyside include services at:-

Date Time Venue Address Postcode
10/12/2023 16:00 St Hilda's Church Stuart Avenue, Hunts cross, Liverpool L25 0NN
10/12/2023 18:30 The Mount hangout 3 Princess Avenue, Windle Hurst, Merseyside WA10 6NJ
10/12/2023 14:30 All Saints Parish Church Church Road, Rainford, Merseyside WA11 8HE
10/12/2023 16:30 All Saints Parish Church Church Road, Rainford, Merseyside WA11 8HE
24/12/2023 10:30 All Saints Parish Church Thomas Lane, Knotty Ash, Liverpool L14 5NR
24/12/2023 15:00 St Johns Church Knotty Ash Forefield Lane, Crosby, Merseyside L23 9TQ
24/12/2023 10:00 All Saints with St Frideswyde Church Road, Hale Village, Merseyside L24 4AX
24/12/2023 15:00 St Marys Church Green Lane, Formby, Merseyside L37 7DL
24/12/2023 16:00 St Peters Church 2 St Peters Road, Birkdale, Merseyside PR8 4BY
31/12/2023 10:30 St Peters Church Church Road, Woolton, Liverpool L25 5JF

To find out about local Christingles near you visit :- ChildrensSociety.Org.UK.

New Research Reveals Brits Prefer Traditional Phone Calls to Emails for Customer Support

FROM phone calls and email to web chats and social media, it's harder for businesses to know which channels to prioritise for customers. Now, new research from the leading technology based provider of communications services across Europe, Gamma Communications, suggests that voice calls should be a priority for businesses despite the increasing number of digital communication options.

According to the new research, 38% of Brits say direct phone calls are their preferred method of communication with businesses over other channels such as:- emails, web chats, social media and video calls. A further 69% of consumers are likely to contact via phone call 1st before trying other methods when seeking assistance from a business.

With the vast majority (91%) considering it important to be able to easily call a business customer service line when they need assistance, phone calls evidently have a significant impact on the customer experience. To further underscore this, 80% of consumers say they would continue shopping with an SME that offers superior customer service over the phone, suggesting impact on customer loyalty as well.

Chris Wade, Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Gamma Communications commented on the findings:- "When customers need support, it's evident that businesses must understand exactly how their customers want to communicate. Even in today's increasingly digital world, human connection is vital. Telephone calls have withstood the test of time for being 1 of the best ways to achieve that interpersonal bond. All businesses can use this to harness the, sometimes underrated, value of telephone calls to offer quality customer service and retain customers. Whether you're a tradesman or a financial advisor, your voice has the power to yield customer loyalty."

In the finance industry alone, evidence is clear on just how important customer support accessibility is to British consumers. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported finance firms had 1.8M open complaints (a 5% increase from 2022) in the 1st half of 2023 showing that customers will always, and increasingly, need business support. It's how fast and easy they receive that support that leaves a lasting impression which can make or break a business's reputation.

The research suggests the value of voice calls can be attributed to human connection. 46% of Brits (46%) value phone calls because they feel better understood when communicating verbally. The same number (46%) find phone calls quicker and easier to use, while 45% believe that the support and customer service they receive over the phone is of higher quality in comparison to other contact methods.

Similarly, the biggest frustrations Brits face when contacting customer support are automated responses or the inability to:- speak with a human (49%), being subjected to long hold times (47%) and having no phone number to call or the phone number being hard to find (31%).

Gamma Communication's research shows the ability to voice call a business is a necessity for customers and this is also seen across the UK Regions, upon further breakdown of the data:-

52% of customers in the East of England value phone calls with businesses as they feel better understood when speaking over the phone.

48% of Yorkshire customers value phone calls as they believe they are more likely to get an issue resolved faster over the phone.

48% of South Western customers value phone calls with businesses because it's more personal than digital or automated messaging.

Let us know your thoughts on this news topic... Email our Newsroom at:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com or send us a message on:- Mastodon, Facebook, or Twitter.

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