The Impact of Automation on Today’s Customer Service Roles
New research from CCA, the professional body for customer service, in partnership with Gobeyond Partners, states that organisations need to change the way they work in order to deliver the best possible customer service in the technology-driven environment of the future.
The research uncovered that:
- Less than one third of organisations surveyed feel well-equipped to meet future digital capabilities: 69% of those surveyed stated that their biggest challenge is addressing evolving and changing skills requirements
- 83% of execs think that problem-solving skills will be the most important for the future agent
- 68% of execs said that agents need to be equipped to show empathy and have emotional intelligence in order to deal with a wide range of demographics today and in the future
- Only 57% of agents feel they are rewarded fairly for the job they do
The current economic climate in the UK is uncertain. What the future holds is difficult to predict; however, anticipating future trends and planning ahead is what will set organisations apart and highlight those leading the pack when it comes to customer service.
Over the last 18 months, CCA has conducted surveys involving over 800 customer service professionals from different sectors on the future of work in customer service. The new report, entitled The Future of Work and Automation in CX, indicates that there is a growing need for a hybrid workforce. Agent interactions of the future have a higher likelihood of being emotive and have higher value to both the organisation and its customers. For this to evolve in a business context, agents themselves are required to change. There is a growing emphasis on agents being able to react to challenging interactions and come up with a creative solution.
The research, which surveyed 800+ senior customer service executives, first-line managers and advisors, found that the main areas for focus will be:
- An ageing population and changing expectations
- Building trust in a technology-driven world
- Career progression and reward in an evolving workplace culture
- Flexible working and the changing role of frontline agents
CCA CEO Anne Marie Forsyth commented, “In an uncertain political and economic climate, with so much change taking place around digital and automation, we all need to take the chance to step back and re-calibrate our views on the future of work. What we think we know about working practices in the CX sector can easily prove to be outdated as a new generation joins the workforce and we leave behind traditional ideas about the ways in which people want to work.”
Forsyth continues, “This research highlights the issues senior executives need to consider when looking to attract new talent and improve the quality of the service they provide. The workforce of the future is dynamic, fresh and bold and we can all take much from the unique insights offered here by the frontline in this report.”
Mark Palmer, CEO at Gobeyond Partners, said: “We often see organisations thinking technology first, rather than customer-first, driven by the need to reduce costs in customer operations. The immediate future is not (as the media landscape might suggest) technology replacing humans, but rather the two augmenting each other and working collaboratively to provide the best possible service to customers. Those organisations which will be the most successful will need to look at automation through a more human lens, or what we call HX. HX is all about putting human experience at the heart of everything: taking an end-to-end view of the customer journey, leveraging digital technologies to augment human interactions, and engaging colleagues on this journey.”
The full report can be accessed through the CCA website.