CONTACT CENTRE MANAGEMENT: A SCARCE AND CRITICAL SKILL
Author: Roshni Cornelius – Contact Centre Programme Manager – Omni HR Consulting
Innovation and disruptions are constantly changing the goal post in the Contact Center industry and keeping abreast with the skills needed, becomes a skill on its own. It is therefore important that Education and Training progress and transition as needed in an evolving environment.
Redundancy is not an option!
Skills development has been identified by various bodies and opinion polls as lacking in the current workforce.
Volatility within the industry
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a major contributor to the volatility within the Global Business Sector to the point that the critical skills list of South Africa is under review.
Carol Paton for Business Live (New critical skills list for SA expected in 2020; June 2019) has reported that “among the major changes is that the category of corporate general manager has been excised — an omission that has raised concern among business organizations”. Yet BPESA has identified this to remain a critical skill and has included Contact Center Management in the GBS “Future Skills Framework”.
People who call into a CC will be assisted by AI which evolves and adapts with human interaction and their inquiries. It will pick up trends and patterns of behaviour and will adjust accordingly. However, a consumer still has a need for human interaction at an emotional level. EQ remains a pivotal functional skill of management at any level. Hence the importance of “redefining the skills that set us apart from automation”.
No Industry is Safe from Artificial Intelligence!
AI will encourage efficiency and the optimal use of emerging technology; however, it lacks the empathy required when dealing with customers and the complexities of employee well-being. Trust is a huge contributor to customer experience and satisfaction and although their needs of proficiency and accuracy can be met by AI, the human factor should not be undermined.
Contact Center Management as a qualification
Contact Center Management has been deemed a scarce and critical skill within the contact centre industry. Yet not may training providers offer accredited training for it. Omni is the disruptor within this industry through their forward-thinking approach in the design and development of this program in line with Workforce 2030 Skills. They have ensured that additional complex skills needed in CC’s are developed and higher levels of thinking is initiated through workplace assessment and practice.
This qualification is ideally suited to satisfy the current and future needs of CC’s. Omni has redefined the skills needed for 2030 that will allow Contact Center Professionals to navigate artificial intelligence and still maintain the human factor that is needed to cement trust in the contact centre.
The table below lists the 2030 skills required, matched with the SAQA unit standards of the current National Diploma: Contact Center Management. I do believe that through OMNI’s delivery methods, workplace activities and assessment strategy, they are already gearing leaders in the Contact Center towards the 2030 Workforce
AI is disrupting and will continue to challenge contact centres, much like mobile phones disrupted Kodak in photography and Netflix disrupted Box Office in the way we watch movies. Technology will always be prevalent in any progressive environment. So will complex functioning skills such as cognitive flexibility, creativity, collaborative management, decision making, critical and computational thinking and service orientation (with a focus on trusting relationships).
Despite the fear that Management as a skill might be dropped from the critical skills list as gazetted in 2014, I do believe that Contact Center Management is a progressive skill that will still be needed in the contact centre workforce for years to come.
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