Dominating the news this week was the announcement from Nick Clegg that the coalition will pledge to prioritise mental health care in the NHS, investing some £180m to ensure patients have improved access to services. 

A new survey by insurer Friends Life also issued this week revealed that huge numbers of UK workers are reluctant to disclose suffering from any mental health conditions to their employers for fear of it affecting their job.  From a survey of more than 2,000 people, it found that over 50% of all workers believe being open about a common mental health problem would damage their career prospects. (See link here)

More than 1m people work in customer contact in the UK, many handling emotional and challenging interactions.  Coupled with the maths around the number of customers with mental health issues dealing with employees with potential mental health problems1, there are real challenges to be faced. As organisations strive to become more effective to meet the demands of today's ever competitive climate, they must ensure that they are mindful of the need to balance their offering with an understanding of the challenges facing colleagues and customers alike.

We had an extremely insightful presentation from mbna at our recent Industry Council Thought Leadership Forum on the work they are doing to support vulnerable customers.  They have an established team to support these customers and have been working with a number of external agencies to ensure they are offering the best possible service.  In addition, they have specific policies to care for colleagues and see a very clear duty of care as an employer to ensure they have the support they need.

Following 18 months of consultation with industry, the launch of CCA Global Standard V6 is imminent.  One of its aims is to support organisations with establishing good practice in dealing with both vulnerable colleagues, and of course vulnerable customers.  Version 6 is recognised as the definitive benchmark and accredited organisations can be proud of their achievements in balancing the needs of the customer with that of process and organisational objectives for growth and profitability.

Version 6 is a synthesis of all the learnings from the last 20 years since discussions began with industry at large to create a common goal of continuous improvement.  The most challenging and progressive Standard to date, it is a key differentiator for businesses who truly want to drive transformation in their organistion.  

Organisations as diverse as Macmillan Cancer Support, Tesco, National Savings & Investment, UCAS, Orbit Housing, mbna and NHS 24 all currently work to CCA Global Standard. They commit themselves to annual assessments and critically applying the principles in every interaction, every day demonstrating to colleagues and customers a clear dedication to continual improvement. 

At last year’s CCA Convention, broadcaster and journalist Nicky Campbell asked delegates, “Why isn’t everyone doing CCA Standard?” 

Picking up the baton on Standard for this year’s event, Liz Barclay, expert consumer journalist and broadcaster recently commented at an event in Dublin discussing V6, “Contact centres pursuing excellence must be prepared to align with the standards which serve their industry and their brand, auditing their own performance, proactively identifying frictions and inconsistencies and fixing them.”

Liz will be discussing this further with delegates on 25 November when chairing a Masterclass on CCA Global Standard Version 6 in Edinburgh. For further information click here.

*Figures suggest that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.  (Source: