Broken Records and the Generation Game
Even the most ardent anti-monarchists could hardly fail to be impressed with the Queen’s dignified achievement of becoming the longest serving monarch in history on Wednesday. In a scene more befitting her ancestor Victoria she chose to travel in a steam train marking the opening of the new Borders railway. Of course the journey would not have been possible without the massive digital infrastructure which powers today's rail travel.
At almost 90 years of age she has witnessed change over 4 or 5 generations, reigning throughout twelve Prime Ministers and seven Popes. Her attitude to change was summed up by some wise words; change is a constant; change management is now a well defined discipline; and our future is dependent on the degree to which we welcome and embrace change.
Undoubtedly today's generation has discarded the deference which marked society until the First World War, and where service was a given determined by one’s standing (or not) in the pecking order.
Today's working population will soon welcome Generation Z, those born after the millennium, who will be managed by the very Generation Y's that Gen X/Baby Boomers are struggling to comprehend.
Our language gives it all away; just as my late grandmother spoke of electric lights (she grew up in the Western Isles where there wasn't widespread use of electricity till late 60's/early 70’s); we talk about 'becoming digital' to a generation whose experience of digital is like breathing in fresh air.
Last week ended dramatically for me with a leg fracture, confining me to life as a homeworker for a while. My experience with the health service was a good example of technology supporting human effort; my orthopaedic consultant was able to read my scans remotely and give instant feedback; my GP was able to access blood results real-time and reassure me without a delay. To be honest I didn't notice the technology but I was delighted (well as much as I can be with a fracture!) with the amazing care from professionals who weren't restricted by out-of-date kit, and thus able to let their true caring selves shine confidently through.
I'm sure there are lessons to be learned in our customer service world, the most important of these is that most of us don't want to wrestle with complexity, and that keeping promises will never go out of fashion.
Obsessing with digital transformation with an out-of-date view on service is a dangerous pastime, as we risk losing sight of the customer and focussing on disproportionate voices instead.
Whilst change is a constant, most experts agree that technology has forced the pace of change to be greater now than at any time in our history. This challenges us all with a race against time to truly transform legacy operations to those seamless services demanded by customers, who are sampling a new world from organisations who "get it".
This week we proudly launched our programme for CCA Convention 2015; a feat in itself given the complex myriad of essential topics we now cover in order to continue to lead debate in our sector. It is quite simply jam packed with examples of brave organisations putting their heads above the parapet and telling their story, warts and all.
My week ends with another, hopefully less dramatic, event - a birthday; not a big '0' but nevertheless offering the chance to reflect a little.
Twenty years ago Convention was all about where to site a call centre, which recruiter to use, and which ACD to use. In retrospect, simple issues. Back then it seemed complex and it probably was. Today's agenda is multi-dimensional and enterprise-wide, reflecting maturity but also a huge expansion of choice and variables; ultimately to join customer and organisation together in (hopefully) perfect harmony.
At the end of the day we aren't really becoming digital - just learning how to operate seamlessly in a digital world.
Not the words Her Majesty would use I am sure, but 'keep it simple stupid' seems wise advice in a complex world.