The Future of Work in Contact Centres

The Future of Work in Contact Centres was this years theme and a topical subject for the annual CCMA UK National Contact Centre Conference, which was once again held at the fabulous British Library.


This event is always an informative, content packed conference and a highlight of the calendar and if you didn’t know already, totally free to CCMA members.

Ann-Marie opened the conference and introduced our first speaker Professor Moira Clark from the Henley Business School with ‘Customer Experience and the Ageing Workforce’.  Moira outlined the challenges in customer management for 2019;

People – employee engagement, quality and skills.

Culture – customer centricity and the ability to adapt to change

Customers – turning feedback into realistic actions

Technology, Finance, Resources and Regulation were also listed.

Moira advised business needs to realign its expectations regarding the makeup of its workforce, and how it serves its customers.  Our workforce, customers and population are ageing rapidly; by 2031 50% of the UK population will be over 50 and by 2050, 33% will be over 60 across mature economies.  In addition, those being born now are expected to live to 110.

This will have a significant impact on the ability to recruit, secure and retain the right skills and the workplace will have to adapt to the changes in how we learn, how we act, how we think.  In addition, we need to think about how we serve this ageing population, considering larger print, better lighting, ease and patience!

‘Thinking is to humans as swimming is to cats.  We can do it if we have to but we’ll do anything to avoid it’  Kahneman, 2012

Andrew Hall from Odigo talked about ‘Meeting the emotional needs of customers and agents’.  How can we treat our employees and customers differently as there are a world of personalities, each with emotions, where 95% of our purchasing decisions are made in our subconscious mind.

National Contact Centre Conference Odig Face to Face a world of personalities and emotions

Andrew also highlighted the differential across the generational workforce with regards to important factors for employment; whereas good health and benefits were important to the baby boomers, salary rules for the Millennials and Gen Z.  An ability to pursue passions and job security are also important for these demographics.

Claire Smith from Moneypenny, a business we have enjoyed hearing from before, shared how a focus on culture helped reduce churn, sickness, drive growth and increased productivity.

‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch and everything else for dinner’, Peter Druker.

Declan Doyle, Poly addressed ‘making remote work’, where the transition to cloud, AI and robotics, all help the remote agent.  When an average support agent requires  up to 8 programs to do their job, and the most successful companies have an average of 6.7 interaction channels, efficiencies from AI and analytics are critical.

However, in an empathy economy, voice has become the priority line, with 70% of respondents from a Frost and Sullivan (2018) survey with Plantronics saying Voice calls had increased!

So can intensive voice environments thrive in a remote working environment?  Considering ‘Bricks (environment), Bytes (technology) and Behaviours (educations), smarter working can deliver significant benefits for employee, employer and customer.

Helen Wilson from Ipsos Mori was next, now Ipsos Mori are always a firm favourite of ours, in a world of fake news and sensational headlines, their insight and knowledge of global thinking and trends, is always a leveller, restoring faith and calm.

Helen talked about Trust.  When more than 80% find it hard to know who or what to trust due to contradictory information, 60% said trusting in brands is more important than ever.

Although trust seems to be on the decline, for many institutions this change happened some time ago with countries including Britain actually showing rising levels of trust in other people.    Where trust is low for Bankers, Politicians and Government Ministers, our trust in experts is high with Scientists, Doctors and Teachers topping the list.

Understanding how trust matters and what drives it for our customers is good for business, although this differs from sector to sector and country to country.

Hayley Diggens and David Geffan from NICE showed us how Gamification, helps drive performance, engagement and motivation in our employees.  If you didn’t already know 40% annual turnover costs £2.5 million for every 1,000 employees.

Steven Bell from Verint shared their 2019 research to help humans and technology work hand in hand to achieve rising expectations and Sabio took us through the CCMA benchmark and index report which will compare contact centre performance across 20 core metrics.

Sabio CCMA benchmark what are the 20 metics National Contact Centre Conference

The above does not go half way to include everything, we could go on and on.  Thank you to Ann-Marie and her team and all the speakers for another super event.






About Douglas Jackson Executive Search and Recruitment Consultants

Douglas Jackson are an Executive Search and Independent Recruitment Consultancy offering professional executive recruitment and managerial appointments on a permanent and fixed term contract basis. We work with customer and experience focussed organisations, who want to develop, or, improve their operation, sales, strategy, service, experience, or success. We recruit for Chief Customer Officer, Director, Head of Department, Manager and skilled strategists for; Customer Service, Customer Experience, Customer Contact, Resource Planning, Operations, Strategy, Insight, Analytics, Sales, Success, CRM, Data, Programmes, Transformation, Continuous Improvement, and Contact Centre. We work in partnership with our customers across the UK and internationally, many of whom are FTSE 100, blue-chip brands but also challenger, fintech and start-up organisations, to design, develop, deliver and manage your Customer strategy. Revolutionise your Recruitment and Retention of New Hires. Douglas Jackson Search takes the guesswork out of your hiring. Sourcing Exceptional Talent….Define your Customer Strategy. Lead your Operations. Design your Customer Experience. Direct your Digital and Customer Contact. Transform your functions. Develop your Customer Insight. Manage your Data/CRM, Deliver your Sales and Customer Success. Differentiate your business and brand.
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