Mind your language
Research released this week from Exeter University claims that the humble cod develops 'regional accents' to help them understand fellow cod, and continue to mate when in new waters away from home territory. Sound fishy?
Underwater microphones recorded the 'chatter' (tummy rumbles and thumping noises) in Newcastle, Glasgow and the Southwest seas, confirming this theory (read the full story here).
Research about language was also released on dry land; a critical report (click here) highlighting the lack of clarity in banking communication was released this week.
Bank of England analyst Jonathan Fullwood warned that 'banking gobbledygook' threatened to create a divide between banks and their customers. Analysis showed that we need a much higher average reading age to make sense of important day to day information, than to understand Jane Austin novels.
The longest sentence he found in a banking communication was 77 words, hardly an example of clear communication. Of course, where confusion reigns explanation is demanded, probably resulting in significant calls from worried recipients to find out what's what. Explaining the inexplicable in any sector requires empathy and experience, not to mention a burden on stretched resources.
Communication is a complicated business as we lead more fragmented lives in a digital social mobile age; our intentions do not always reflect our behaviours and so organisations need to capture as much real time analysis as they can.
Success depends on more than words and language, it's about tone, empathy and delivery regardless of whether it's a text, tweet or call. It's easy to slip up and even cause offence, the skill is to learn, log and recover in an authentic way to rebuild trust, which has been so badly eroded in recent times.
Ironically, Ofcom managed to ruffle a few feathers when it launched its guide to offensive words on TV and radio - it deemed Jock less offensive than Taff, and Ginger merely fun - the offended in each camp swiftly took to twitter to express their feelings.
The announcement from RBS regarding its introduction of virtual chatbots in customer service signals a new era in communications. Powered by IBM Watson, the service aims to rapidly resolve common enquiries. Our future is likely to be a seamless blend of progressive artificial intelligence assisting highly skilled, empathetic human professionals to steer customers through complexity, with less effort.
All of this calls for a much more mature approach to joined up thinking - there's little point in an efficient and technically enabled front line when there's a less responsive rest of organisation; this merely magnifies the problems and speeds up brand damage.
Back to the clever fish; the words of Professor Simpson who led the research have a resonance with our world. 'There is a vast ecosystem on our doorstep which we barely understand - but all rely on. It's time to get out there and listen'.
Customer Service - A new era in a digital social mobile world is what CCA Convention is all about - if you haven't booked do so soon.