During this week everyone has been waxing lyrical about the TV programme 'Gary: Tank Commander’s Leader’s Interviews' and so last night I binged on some catch up. I have to say I haven't laughed so much in a long time, so if you haven't seen it here's the link

Each of the contenders for the position of Scottish First Minister in the forthcoming and imminent election was subjected to an inimitable and highly personal interview by Gary unearthing a wealth of truths as they entered into the spirit of fun, being caught off guard. Questions such as 'Donald Trump dingy or deal with?’; 'Scotland is famed for its ‘bams’- how are you going to appeal to them?'; 'What is your worst policy and why?’; were some of the more mild! 

Gary's responses included, 'I'm more baffled than ever - your an enigma wrapped up in a jigsaw!' 

Stark contrast indeed to the stage set series of leader interviews on the main TV channels conducted by esteemed political interviewers with the obligatory balanced audience panels, terse questions, few smiles; and the ongoing fear of uttering a stray word lest a slaughtering in the 24/7 media. 

I suspect from what I've heard that Gary created more engagement, and certainly more enjoyment for the population at large. I would even tentatively suggest that he may have boosted voting participation? So is it possible to inject some raw authentic human emotion into other aspects of our engagement with organisations we deal with regularly? 

One of the most common complaints we hear from consumers is that organisations have become faceless, robotic institutions with little flexibility to accommodate a frustrated population; who are in turn content to self serve, but occasionally and for some frequently, really need skilled and empathetic human handholding when situations demand. 

From an organisational perspective the excuses are security and regulation and given the recent shocking statistics about cyber crime this is understandable. Mortgage providers are having to 'de-skill' experienced advisors who have had decades of experience in advising customers lest they fall foul of the regulation forbidding advice; customers will interpret this as unhelpful, and organisations may well be tempted to offer self serve screening to remove that risk. 

Every CCA event with our growing network addresses the critical issues surrounding the urgent need to segment customer service teams; really get to grips with who's who and who is good at doing what. Perhaps the CCA future scenario predicting associates, armed with trip advisor style ratings from millions of customers proving their prowess in handling complaints, vulnerable customers, sales, distressed callers, angry implacable customers etc, is closer to reality than we think as technology can, and will handle the mundane, removing the need for one size fits all 'good on the phone' specifications. 

As we transition the new world of segmented services, greater consideration is required as to how we innovate human service, to ensure that we don't end up with the detached and lonely offering so despised by many. We know but perhaps don't fully acknowledge a demographic time bomb of increasingly ageing consumers with a vastly disproportionate control over wealth, not to mention worrying statistics alerting us to the fact that 25% of the population has a mental health problem. 

Let's not forget our sense of humour, which can work wonders in defusing a fraught situation when applied by a skilled individual with the sense to be funny or not to be depending on the question. 

And finally back to those people issues; applying any of this successfully really depends on knowing, really knowing, your people and what they are capable of. Just because someone has a job description label doesn't mean they don't have a wealth of other talents vital to the success of your organisation, particular fresh young minds during transition to a mobile digital world.  

Ok, this is totally gratuitous lookalike photo of my beloved Ted but it certainly gets the message across!