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New research reveals skills required for Customer Experience (Cx) employees of the future

  • The research conducted by Skillnet Ireland’s Learning Network, ICBE Advanced Productivity Skillnet with the Department of Work and Employment Studies at the Kemmy Business School in the Univeristy of Limerick, found that Cx employees are undergoing a significant transformation in their work because of new technology

  • The report also identifies that while many skills are not new, it is the level and frequency to which they need to be applied that has changed, as such it is - ‘skill dexterity’ – which needs to be developed in Cx employees of the future

  • The study, funded by Skillnet Ireland, looked at the impact digital transformation will have on Customer Experience (Cx) employees 

New research published today [Tuesday, June 18th] has found that the role of Customer Experience (Cx) employees in Ireland is undergoing significant transformation because of advancements in new technology.

The research from ICBE Advanced Productivity Skillnet and the Department of Work and Employment Studies in the Kemmy Business School at University of Limerick was conducted with 32 business leaders and 58 Cx employees across two large multinational organisations, in the financial services sector and the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector. 

It identified how digital transformation has impacted the skill set required of Cx employees of the future. Dexterity is defined as a sharpness of mind, or skill, in thinking creatively, and understanding and expressing information/ideas, quickly and easily, moving swiftly and smoothly between tasks. The report recommends that Human Resource Management in organisations need to work with the organisation’s leaders to continue to develop new approaches to designing jobs, develop real-time learning opportunities and create positive work environments where Cx employees can thrive and apply dexterity to their skills.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Minister of State for Trade, Employment and Business, Pat Breen T.D. highlighted the importance of the report’s findings:

"Innovation and digitisation are key to Ireland's continued economic success. This study is extremely valuable in identifying the key skills needed to equip Cx workers for the evolving and new roles that digitisation brings. An openness to upskilling and lifelong learning will help companies and employees to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that the digital world offers. It is vital, therefore, that companies avail of upskilling programmes, such as those offered by Skillnet Ireland, to ensure they future-proof their business and their workforce.”

Skillnet Ireland, the national agency responsible for the promotion and development of workforce learning funded the study. Speaking at the launch, Skillnet Ireland Executive Director, Tracey Donnery said:

“Globally, the Cx industry is undergoing a major evolution as a result of advances in technology; particularly automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning. These new technological disruptions are impacting the way that the Cx activities traditionally operate.”

Donnery added, “This timely study considers how digitisation is shaping new organisational skills, roles and careers in a Cx context and the need for new leadership skillsets in developing future Cx professionals. It builds insights into the breadth and depth of the impact of digital transformation on Cx employees across different industry sectors and businesses in Ireland.

This study and its findings will support Ireland’s strong record as a leading location for Cx related activities.”

The research, led by ICBE Advanced Productivity Skillnet in partnership with the Department of Work and Employment Studies at the Kemmy Business School in the University of Limerick, involved 32 in-depth leader interviews and 11 focus groups with 58 Cx employees.

“This study highlights the post-digital transformation of Ireland’s Cx professional,” said Prof. Eamonn Murphy Managing Director, Irish Centre for Business Excellence (ICBE).

“Unlike the call centre agents of previous years, these Cx employees are highly skilled knowledge-workers with a significant depth and breadth of service skill that can be transferred across business domains and industry sectors. The emergence of a clear Cx skill set is a breakthrough for our members and offers them a pathway to transition workers from roles vulnerable to digital transformation to the highly-skilled knowledge-based roles required post automation,” he added.

Dr. Sarah Kieran, Principal Investigator and Lecturer in Human Resources Management at University of Limerick adds: 

“this research concludes that, with the continued development of innovative leadership and workplace practices, there is strong potential to position Ireland’s Cx professional at the forefront of our digitally transformed, customer solutions offering.”

The findings of this report will now be shared with relevant stakeholders including participating enterprises, the Department of Education and Skills, industry bodies and employer groups.

To read the report in full please click here: www.skillnetireland.ie/advancedproductivity-june-2019. For more information, visit www.skillnetireland.ie.

ENDS

Tracey Donnery, Executive Director, Skillnet Ireland is available for interview.

Dr. Sarah Kieran, Principle Investigator and Lecturer of Human Resources Management at University of Limerick is available for interview.

High resolution images are also available by request.

To arrange please contact: Pearse Corcoran pearse@carrcommunications.ie

Tel: 083 320 6594 or 01 772 8900

NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

About Skillnet Ireland

Skillnet Ireland is the national agency responsible for the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning in Ireland. Skillnet Ireland funds over 50 industry representative groups, supporting over 15,000 companies and 50,000 trainees annually.

Skillnet Ireland operates under a joint investment model, part-funded by participating businesses in one of our 60+ learning networks. Each network, funded by Skillnet Ireland, is a cluster of companies from the same sector or geographical location. This approach has received international recognition as a model of best practice from the OECD and ILO, amongst others. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.

About ICBE Advanced Productivity Skillnet

The ICBE Advanced Productivity Network, formerly Innovation Lean Six Sigma, was established over 12 years ago and is promoted by the Irish Centre for Business Excellence. The Network was tasked with identifying national and international best practice and through targeted interventions enabled network members to become Internationally recognised centres of excellence. Focusing initially on Lean, Six Sigma and Shingo the network has expanded to include key technologies and methodologies from automation to data analytics including additive manufacturing.

Comprising of over 200 cross sectoral members, the network has delivered over 34,000 training days, with 5,500 individuals across 700 companies, 144 best practice visits and assisted with the achievement of over 11 Shingo Awards.

With a focus on People, Processes and Technology the network has expanded its learning networks from assisting larger organisations to actively embracing SMEs and indigenous companies.

About Kemmy Business School at University of Limerick

The Kemmy Business School (KBS), University of Limerick (UL), was established over 30 years ago and is one of the largest business schools in Ireland. It is the academic home to over 3,000 students and over 100 faculty and staff and offers a wide range of business and management education programmes, both on campus and at external locations throughout Ireland.

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