This week saw the 40th anniversary of the first call from a mobile phone made by Martin Cooper in 1973 whilst he was General Manager at Motorola.
Four decades on, the global telecoms industry is now worth around £800bn – much of the growth as we know, is now with smart-phones which accounts for between 50-60% of all mobile devices in use in the UK alone. Who could have imagined 40 years ago that we would now be carrying out so many ‘everyday’ tasks, across so many different channels, on a device we carry in our pockets when the initial invention was to allow us to ‘walk and talk’.
A quote from Martin Cooper truly resonates with our industry. We should all take a moment to consider what this means for our own businesses:
"People want to talk to other people - not a house, or an office, or a car. Given a choice, people will demand the freedom to communicate wherever they are, unfettered by the infamous copper wire. It is that freedom we sought to vividly demonstrate in 1973," said Martin Cooper.
This ‘freedom’ allows us each and every day to contact organisations across multiple channels and multiple devices. This ‘freedom’ also results in an extremely challenging environment for us to respond to customer enquiries.
With mobile predicted to totally replace the PC in the future, CCA are working this year to get an understanding of what the future might look like. We’ve been working with Kcom for two years now on ‘The Future of Customer Service’ and this project is running for a third year but with an added focus on particular sectors so expect some very interesting results towards the end of the year.
Who knows how we might be communicating in 40 years time.........
It’s been another exciting week consulting with key members of our network to finalise the focus for CCA’s research agenda for 2013.
An early meeting in the week with the Professor for Marketing at University of Strathclyde got the intellectual juices flowing where we were discussing the inseparable elements of service and brand.
HMS Belfast offered a great backdrop for Kcom’s Customer Advisory Board meeting which had some really thought-provoking speakers considering some of the key issues in our market-place. This event was quickly followed by CCA’s first Industry Council executive dinner of 2013 where we were discussing ‘The Future of Customer Service’. Supported by research completed at the end of 2012 (in association with Kcom), the discussion was very wide-reaching as we contemplated the future of the High Street and the role contact centres could play to support its future regeneration.
Whilst the World Economic Forum continued in Davos, CCA Industry Council Leadership Forum met to agree on the major issues to be addressed in our market for 2013. A fantastic, stimulating discussion with presentations from Tesco on their homeworking initiative and IBM focusing on the critical technology issues for 2013. The day ended with an outstanding presentation from Dr Carsten Sorensen, LSE (and CCA Special Adviser) on ‘The Future of Work’ helped to really focus what CCA’s agenda for 2013 should be. Watch this space in the coming weeks for the outputs!
Melanie Howard, Chair of the Futures Foundation, led CCA Industry Council's Future Workforce session this week hosted by Serco in London with senior reps from 20 leading brands. What became very obvious is just how difficult it is to escape from the 'rabbits in the headlights' reality of today's huge operational challenges, and instead open our minds to visualise a different future. We got there however; ably assisted by some terrific techniques and now have four really exciting scenarios to motivate delegates on Day 1 at CCA Convention on 6 November in Glasgow.
The event was preceded the evening before by a fabulous dinner at Malmaison in London, supported by Platinum Sponsor Partner Verint, and I can't resist sharing an interesting wee experience which dispells a myth about young people and customer service skills...
Our waitress for the group of 20 was called Amy who provided a great service with a smile all evening to the entire group. At the end of the evening she approached me with a few envelopes. Amy had been listening to the discussion around changing consumer expectations and she herself loved customer service. Would I mind asking if any of the organisations would like to receive her CV? Needless to say everyone did!
I am really looking forward to seeing the first results coming through from our recent research project with KANA on ‘Smart Service – Will the contact centre remain the cornerstone of your customer service offering?’
Our Customer Experience Council members have been selected to see a preview of the results, and discuss the initial findings at our forthcoming Executive Dinner that will take place in Leeds on Tuesday, 4 September. And I am absolutely delighted to have Steven Thurlow, Head of Global Product Strategy and the team from KANA as our hosts for the evening - I very much looking forward to the discussion.
We have had input from a wide-range of member organisations in both public and private sectors, as well as a number of executive interviews with industry leaders and experts from organisations such as Virgin Money, Royal Mail, BT, Yodel, Standard Life and HMRC.
The final results and report will be launched at CCA Convention in Glasgow on 6 & 7 November 2012. If you’d like to know more about the research or the event, please get in touch.
With the pace of change in relation to today's customers, new technologies and business planning, is it possible to predict with any sort of certainty what our businesses may look like in 5-10 years time?
Over the past 8 months we have been working closely with our Industry Council to understand what the future might hold for our people, our customers, and our businesses overall. Through a series of consumer polls, interviews with leading figure-heads and opinion and comment from within the CCA membership, we are best placed to produce a plausible description of what might happen and provide some inspiration on how to manage some of the uncertainty we face today.
I am really looking forward to meeting with Industry Council again in September where we will begin to shape some future scenarios which will be used to inform CCA Convention 2012 attendees of this work. We will invite comment and input from the audience and this interactive session will really help us to shape and conclude this exciting piece of work. Be sure to contact the team at CCA if you would like to know more.
What a roller coaster of emotions we have experienced this week for all of us who have been glued to the Olympics! To see so many great athletes and competitors striving for world-class performance is a sight to behold.
In customer contact, CCA were delighted to recognise achievement this week with the announcement of the shortlist for CCA Excellence Awards 2012. Each year we are overwhelmed by the effort, enthusiasm and quality of each and every award submission – making the job of our judging panel more difficult each time. However the judging panel has worked extremely hard over the last few weeks and has been tremendously impressed by the very talented people and contact centres committed to providing excellent service.
We are equally delighted to announce that Sitel, KNOWHOW (Dixons Retail plc) and Cambridge County Council have recently been awarded CCA Global Standard© for the first time, joining a distinguished and growing group of more than 300 centres on a journey of continual improvement.
We look forward to presenting to all of our winners and achievers at CCA Convention & Gala Dinner in Glasgow on 6 & 7 November.
After years of waiting, the official opening of the London Olympics 2012 is upon us. Years of planning, organisation and, I’m sure, lots of blood, sweat and tears have come together for what promises to be a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience. With no second chances available, and the eyes of the world watching, it’s not only the athletes who will be under scrutiny – the spectator experience will need to be world-class, as like all other organisations, there is no hiding place in our social media-savvy planet!
For CCA we wait with baited breath to hear first-hand from Alex Nisbett, from Spectator Experience, London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics at our 18th Annual Convention in Glasgow on 6 & 7 November. Delivering the ultimate customer experience for the Olympic Games is an immense challenge. How can you prepare for this? How can you plan for not knowing what might go wrong? How can other organisations learn from this experience to transform their everyday interactions with customers, to deliver the ‘ultimate customer experience’ time and again, each and every day.
Good luck to all involved and can’t wait to hear more.
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