What a few months, outside of the movies, I don’t think the majority of us could have ever planned or thought the country would be in lockdown, or in the grip of pandemic as we are.
On the whole, we have coped admirably well, everyone is trying to be upbeat, positive, kinder, more helpful, but the future is likely to look and be very different to the past, especially across the customer, employee and contact landscape.
As we look beyond lockdown and a gradual return to work, of sorts, what sort of change are we likely to see in the world of customer led organisations, customer experience, employee engagement and contact centres:
There has been a lot of talk about the increased use of remote working during this crisis, with uplifts in morale and productivity being experienced by many. From the conversations we are having this will certainly feature in the future of customer service and contact centres.
Challenge: It takes a different type of person to effectively work from home, uplifts and efficiencies, productivity might not be as easy to find in more ‘normal times’. The lock down has also shown that many would not want an option to work from home on an ongoing, continuous basis, regulation, health and safety and technology will also play a significant part in our ability to develop and benefit successfully in this area.
Opportunity: Flexible working options will no doubt benefit organisations moving forwards, as well as a previously underutilised, untapped talent pool of semi-retired, or part-time workers, could now be considered for more flexible, or home working opportunities, who previously might not have been a consideration for a full-time office position. This opens a world of opportunity when we look at attracting and developing a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
A new type of leader
Organisations will no doubt be reflecting and rethinking their current structures; is there a need for as many leaders, or indeed a different type of leader as we move past the current crisis, how can we best serve our business, customer and employees? Do our leaders and managers have the EQ required to survive and thrive post crisis?
Challenge: Our future leaders and managers will need to have as much if not more EQ (Emotional Intelligence), as they do IQ, their ability to read others signals and react appropriately has already caught out some, almost previously untouchable characters and business, the effects of which are still to be felt.
Opportunity: Emotional Intelligence can be learned and improved in all of us, it makes us better leaders, better people, leading more motivated, likely empowered employees, who in turn, will also be influenced to be more self-aware and interested in their own self development. These changes, done well, could have a far reaching impact on our customer experience, employee engagement and be truly transformative to our organsiations.
Despite talking about digitalisation, the omni-channel, AI, automation, for some years now, the crisis has exposed many a business, their technology, tools and contingency plans.
Challenge: Has the technology developed or, been tested to the level needed? If we look at remote working for instance, a change in management for these workers includes an ability to identify when intervention is required for coaching and or guidance, can AI step in to recognise and deliver coaching and training requirements per call on a daily and ongoing basis to the levels required?
Opportunity: If we can obtain a balance of remote recruitment, onboarding, training and self-development with a mix of automation, digital, AI and human interactions, it opens up a world of opportunity, with a more empowered workforce, needing less performance management, less management, offering more efficiencies, productivity and an improved CX or, service proposition.
Protection of our vulnerable employees
Beyond lockdown, those considered more vulnerable to the virus will need more protection in the workforce. How can we as employers ensure a safe and working environment for all.
Challenge: Existing working contracts and structures, process, technology and automation, much of which has been swiftly mobilised in a short period of time will need improvements and large-scale transformation for the future, with teams all of a sudden split between office and home, flexible working, how will we continue to manage and engage this changing workforce?
Opportunity: Rotational shift patterns and more flexible working patterns, offer us an opportunity to reduce the size of offices some of us currently need, a better work life balance, adaptable workforce and a rethink of the scope and use of technology beyond our usual thinking, with significant shifts in the development and opportunities available to our employees.
Lots to think about….
What do you think about each of the above, or do you have another idea or opportunity for the new customer and contact landscape? Please do comment or get in touch with your thoughts.