In preparation for the next chapter of our Disruptor Series, looking at the Generational factors within CX, Anne Marie Forsyth, Chief Executive, CCA Global shares her thoughts on the challenges brought by the shifting populations.

Taking the industry as a whole, what are the main issues that will impact front line service?

Customer experience is a broad challenge. The number one issue in this industry is handling vulnerable people. This is massive, especially as we’re in an uncertain, stagnated climate.

As a result of this, on the front-line, we are likely to find more emotionally difficult complaints. It will become essential to train people carefully, so that these situations can be handled with appropriate sensitivity.

Another issue that is likely to have a substantial impact is generational difference – for example:

A brand may have a longstanding workforce, that finds it challenging to adapt to new technology, or a young workforce without all the necessary life experience to deal with difficult calls.

Companies may be dealing with various contrasting perspectives. It’s a very mixed issue.

How will these challenges influence developing technology (like AI and Automation) and what are the likely blockers to overcome?

For most companies we work with, voice is a large part of the customer experience offer, but there is a drive to reduce the reliance on this channel. Over the last few years, the industry has seen a race to become more digital.

As companies are shifting to automation, we are finding that more and more of these emotional issues are surfacing. As an upshot, some brands are having to reconsider their plans and slow the pace of change.

Also, while there is a tremendous wealth of IT and multitasking knowledge amongst younger workers, in particular, realising that value within a call centre environment is not always easy. Frustrations can develop, since we can’t be as freeform as people might like in this environment.

Finding the right balance to utilise this new skill base – while managing expectations – will be crucial.

Are there any other generational factors which could create pitfalls or opportunities?

As the generational shift progresses, managing service reaction times will gain greater importance, as will understanding how to measure progress around the customer journey.

Related to this, is an increasing appetite for instant feedback from those delivering the service. Younger generations, in particular, expect this. To them, the notion of a biannual review may seem odd.

This younger generation also wants that personal touch. Our research has shown that it’s a bit of a myth that young people are found online only. This will be evident in the growth of store-based experiences.

There are age-related challenges within the CX workforce

Photo Credit: Anthony Brolin/Unsplash

Final thoughts on what the future holds, any trends or themes that you feel will gain traction?

Over the last six months, there has also been a growing trend of slowing down the pace of change and putting more energy into the people agenda. I think the uncertain climate is driving some of that. It may be transitional, but I’m noticing this across numerous forums, while seeing people development rising up the agenda. There is increasing talk about how to make the workforce more effective and an increasing appreciation of ‘kindness’.

Over the next few years I think we will see a focus on understanding emotion, especially when using voice for customer service. There is a huge need for this. It’s important to remember that, when it comes to voice or automation, it’s not one or the other. Both are needed.

In case you haven’t registered yet, sign up to receive fresh insights and invitations to exec events with our Webhelp Disruptor Series campaign, and check out our latest Whitepaper on ‘Emotion’ here