Today draws Customer Service Week to an end. It's been an enjoyable period at CCA with an abundance of member engagement, in celebration of fantastic individuals across the spectrum of public and private sectors alike.
This week also saw the anniversary of World Sight Day and celebrated the incredible achievement of Joshua Silver who invented incredibly inexpensive 'DIY' glasses which can be self adjusted to suit individual prescriptions. Joshua's vision is to distribute a billion lenses to those in need by 2020.
The beauty of this intervention is that a simple innovation, discovered at Oxford University, has transformed the lives of so many, including millions of schoolchildren who would otherwise be disadvantaged and unlikely to realise their potential.
In the business world it is often difficult to identify and act on a similarly big scale, with the certainty of a positive impact. Sometimes it appears that things are just too big and complex to risk. Customer service, when viewed as a single 'big beast' arguably fits into this category and the act of turning the tiller even a few degrees risks a scale of change which is simply too high to contemplate.
And yet change is our only certainty; and its drivers are more often found outside the enterprise in the form of consumers and future employees, whose needs are being informed by sweeping technological, and societal changes.
Just this week there have been two separate studies reported, predicting a different future of work for employees. In Sweden there has been a challenge to the traditional 8 hour working day with studies showing that a six hour day is much more productive. The quid pro quo is however a ban on any extra curricular activity including personal calls, home shopping deliveries at the office, Facebook and other social media platforms. The argument is that this focus leads to a better work/life balance where leisure time is just that.
Research released by a business consultancy Fast Future, argues that today's schools should be preparing children for working to the age of 100 and driving Uber taxis to make ends meet. In this case the boundaries of work and leisure are blurred and in fact become irrelevant.
CEO Rohit Talwar, reported that as businesses become more automated there will be fewer jobs and many of the old 'occupations' will be filled with robots. He sights research suggesting that between 30 and 80 per cent of the jobs that exist today will disappear in the next ten to twenty years.
"On the one hand we'll be living longer,' he said. "On the other hand we're not sure how people are going to earn the money to buy the goods and services that will largely be produced by smart software and robots ... Will it be right to assume that everyone will still have a job?
"Or will it be natural for 50 per cent of the population to not be working ... If they do have a job all the way through their career, that means they'll be working potentially up to the age of 100.
And they "... might well have 40 jobs in that period in ten different careers", he added.
Some of these changes have been covered in this year's CCA scenario testing, conducted with our Industry Council Leadership Forum and the Future Foundation. What is becoming clear is that organisations must take a view as to what kind of culture and employee strategy suits THEIR plans for customer service; and these will differ. What won't differ however is the degree to which consumers will compare and contrast services from each company they come into contact with; and choose accordingly.
This week we have highlighted the fantastic dedication shown by CCA judges, lending their vast skills and experience to provide valuable peer review as to 'what good looks like' in the final round of judging for the Excellence Awards
Shining a light on success has uncovered the degree to which people actually make the difference, and the importance of recognising and showcasing those who have a passion and pride for 'Raising the Bar'.
Whatever we think about the world of work, perhaps we can identify with one or both of these contrasting perspectives.
"Chose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
No bees, no honey, no work, no money!