CEO Blog



Generation Mute

Anne Marie Forsyth, CEO, CCA
10/11/2017

Research reported earlier this week from Ofcom suggests that the younger generation is falling silent!

A survey by the regulator has found a new ‘generation mute’ where only 15% of 16-24 year olds consider phone calls as the most important method of communication compared with 36% who prefer instant messaging.

An American study found that 80% of millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997, felt more comfortable conversing via text or online. When asking my sons when they last were in touch I often get the response ‘I spoke to him yesterday’; this means a Facebook message or Snapchat not an actual voice conversation. It seems that our very interpretation of the spoken word is actually a blur of visual and text often without any need to engage the traditional vocal chords.

And yet the rapid adoption for Amazon’s Alexa, Siri and other auto attendants indicates that the spoken word hasn't had its day but rather that our need for speed, resolution and control is growing in a complex world where so much can and does go wrong.

According to the Ofcom research young people use text rather than speak to each other even when in the same room. One interpretation of this is the reticence to be interrupted from online activity when there’s a whole exciting world in the screen.

The need for speed and control may be a rationale for the new doctor on demand initiative launched this week by NHS England where those patients who choose, can bypass a face to face consultation in a GP surgery and are guaranteed an appointment within two hours. 

Critics of the scheme worry that it will cause a digital divide with enabled people able to navigate to best use, whilst vulnerable people won’t; an analogy used is retail banks closing because of the success of online and telephone banking. Supporters say it will relieve the pressure of a crumbling system which cannot cope with demand, and provide convenience for groups like mums who don’t want to take young children to surgeries or the infirm or immobile who will benefit from being in the comfort of their homes.

The success of any digital transformation will of course depend on the elements which join the offering together working in harmony, regardless of whether it is an online retail service offering, an Alexa command or a consultation over your smartphone with a doctor.

Great WiFi, strong leadership, listening to customers, reducing silos and other internal barriers to customer satisfaction, and learning from complaints are all critical, and in that sense largely no different from an analogue world. What is different is the pace of change and the speed at which decisions have to be made whilst keeping the show on the road. 

The need to fail fast, learn and move on has never been greater, and we are delighted that so much of this learning is created and shared within what we call the CCA Intelligent Network©, a growing group of individuals who have a passion for leading best practice.

Looking forward to seeing you at CCA Convention in less than a week now if you are heading along. Where on earth has the time gone? Loads to get stuck into and we certainly won’t be mute!