CEO Blog

Size matters

Anne Marie Forsyth, CEO, CCA

Despite trying to break the habit of mobile overuse, this blog is being written on my iPhone.
I recall 20 years ago many people, including myself, vehemently arguing that the small screen size would deter major use of mobiles for online activity. Well perhaps it is just as well that I didn’t become a futurologist when we consider today’s world where a mobile is no longer actually a phone, but an extension of one’s life. Losing it has become my biggest fear, much more so than a wallet or keys. 
Yesterday was one of those ‘and another thing’ moan days; you know the kind when a few things go wrong amidst a hectic schedule, and before you know it, you are in full scale rant to friends and family. On reflection my woes are hardly serious, and in looking around at world events, pathetic things to be complaining about. Each involved booking flights and, as usual, involved my trusted mobile; in truth I rarely use another device.
My first woe was my BA app seemed to have forgotten who I am, so when booking the usual London trip, I had to input everything including logging in etc - when did I last use a password?  And of course, a lack of spectacles resulted in several attempts at the credit card long number (note to Santander black on black isn’t good for middle aged customers!) By the time I had navigated all this unfamiliar territory, which normally takes seconds, the prices had gone up - another moan. Impatience takes over - so a direct message tweet ‘app not working is there an issue’ to which I got a nice response saying, yes indeed but will be fixed soon.
A similar situation booking weekend flights to the Western Isles. This time the screen size didn’t allow me to notice that inclusion of a landline was mandatory before booking could be complete. Three calls later and a vigilant representative spotted this. It was a technical issue which was being sorted, and guess what, by the time I had conquered the booking process the prices had gone up - another growl!
So, mission accomplished but a few moans - on reflection should I really expect to book flights in seconds on my mobile whenever I choose? Wouldn’t it be better to be seated and take it a bit more seriously, meaning fewer errors and less chance of things going wrong? The problem is we have been indulged with so many opportunities to do everything with a quick click, that when things go wrong there are so many things to comment on and share.
I can remember an age when many things I do now in jig time used to be a serious activity, but if you are a millennial you have no such memory, further raising expectations. This of course is a real conundrum for organisations of all types. By providing clever, fantastic services, we are becoming less able to do things; with sat nav we forget learning directions or map reading, with apps we forget passwords, and with online books we forget the title of what we are reading. 
And so, in fact we are becoming needier than ever, which is why many organisations in the CCA network are vexed with a worrying lack of ROI in alternative channels, which were supposed to stop customers calling them. Think of my pesky calls about the online form for my Western Isles flights, all because I was booking on my mobile and it simply wasn’t as good as a bigger device, or my rhetoric message to BA just because I wanted to tell them their app wasn’t working - I’m sure they already knew but still needed to answer me.
Most companies I speak to about their customer strategy are familiar with ‘the extra lane on the motorway’ phenomenon, and there is a dawning realisation that until technology applications, not forgetting universally reliable Wi-Fi are optimal, there is a debate to be had as to how much support is the right amount to match your brand ambition. 
Different sectors have different experiences. The mobile providers seem to have more success in reducing call volumes than the banks do, some of this is due to regulation. For many organisations however, the social climate of vulnerability and uncertainty requires a new thinking about the extent to which your brand is a socially responsible organisation rather than simply ticking the corporate social responsibility box. Much of this is evident in brand advertising across all sectors and provides an interesting backdrop to the question about your service in relation to the overall financial strategy, whether growth or cost reduction.
The CCA agenda is packed full through 2019 from the renowned Centres of Excellence visits, Futures Thought Leadership Forums, webinars and Summer and Annual Conventions offering the latest thinking, case studies and networking right through to December so please do make the most of the opportunities – even booking on your phone if that’s your preference!
In the meantime, I’ve decided to have a mobile free Saturday - I’ll let you know how I get on! Have a great weekend!

About The Author

Anne Marie Forsyth, CEO, CCA

Anne Marie Forsyth is the UK’s foremost recognised customer service expert. In two decades of leading CCA, she has developed the organisation into an influential outward-looking and futures-focused organisation with a highly-regarded independent research unit at the heart of its operations. CCA has developed a unique repository of almost 20 years’ worth of data, industry insight, analysis and research. She is a highly accomplished media commentator, in demand as an international speaker, and represented the UK in negotiations to create an EU-wide customer care standard. She created and chaired CCA’s UK Industry Council Leadership Forum, an influential group of strategists and experts which leads CCA’s research agenda. More than 45 leading organisations from all sectors of the economy form CCA Industry Council and account for c30% of the overall service activity in the UK. The group’s objective is to inspire and innovate a change in approach to ensure the customer is placed at the heart of the enterprise. CCA has a growing international agenda with new partners measuring themselves against CCA Global Standard©, which is the recognized benchmark in the UK. A graduate of Strathclyde University, Anne Marie began her career in Chartered Accountancy with Coopers & Lybrand and also had a successful marketing career for US multinationals, Johnson and Johnson, and in Europe, Phillips TMC.

Recent posts

May 2019

The End of May 24/05/2019
We're only human 17/05/2019
Wow - what a week! 10/05/2019

April 2019

Bubble Talk 26/04/2019
Human endurance 19/04/2019

March 2019

February 2019

Size matters 08/02/2019
Wise Counsel 01/02/2019

January 2019

Dizzy heights 25/01/2019
Return to sender 18/01/2019
It's a real effort 11/01/2019

December 2018

Dear Santa 21/12/2018

November 2018

Deal or no deal 30/11/2018
A change of view 23/11/2018
Oh what a night! 16/11/2018