Happy Friday! ‘This week in CX’ brings you the latest roundup of industry news.

This week, we’re looking at research into AI’s role in mental health, global economy shifts and why the majority of employees are not satisfied with their career choices.

Key News

  • The UK has extended its lead as Europe’s most attractive destination for financial services investment, according to EY’s latest survey. The UK secured 108 projects in 2023, a 42% increase from 2022, and now accounts for a third of all European financial services foreign direct investments (FDI) projects. London remains the leading European city, attracting 81 projects, more than double that of second-placed Paris (31 projects).
  • Social media experts are advising brands to embrace the “dupe” subculture, reports The Guardian, as gen Z consumers increasingly favour affordable imitations of luxury products. Unlike previous generations who discreetly shopped for knockoffs, today’s youth openly normalise buying dupes, even if they can afford genuine designer items.
  • The global economy is witnessing a significant productivity boost in sectors heavily exposed to artificial intelligence (AI), according to a PwC report covering 15 countries. These sectors are experiencing nearly five times faster productivity growth compared to less exposed sectors, raising hopes that AI could help lift the global economy out of its prolonged low-growth period.

Commentary news: Helping consumers avoid online scams

UK Finance has warned that fake Olympics and Taylor Swift tickets two of the biggest online scams consumers are likely to encounter this year.

“An important part of this should be also further consumer education on how to stay vigilant against increasing fraud. With £1.17 billion stolen through unauthorised and authorised payments last year, fraudsters’ tactics are becoming more sophisticated. Not only is this impacting consumers, but is damaging brand reputation and business cashflow. Businesses must be aware of the risks to their operating model.

“As third-party intermediaries, platforms require more robust fraud protection than traditional e-commerce as their two-sided ecosystems increase the fraud surface area. Fraud can happen from both the seller, selling fake items, as well as the buyer, who may use fraudulent details to purchase items. Furthermore, we’re seeing some fraudsters leverage AI technology to automate their operations and create fake identities, documents, and checkout pages, among other things, in a faster and hard-to-detect way.”  

“Businesses need to adopt solutions that allow for detailed behavioural analysis — tools that provide in-depth data by generating user profiles and examining user behaviour patterns to spot anomalies and suspicious activity faster. This approach is particularly successful in preventing account takeovers and payment fraud.

“For concerts or pinnacle events like the Olympics, consumers will work hard to save money and fraudsters will exploit this. Consumers should be cautious when clicking links and check the legitimacy of businesses, keep an eye out for emails that offer discounts that seem too good to be true, and remember, to consider using a trusted payments provider to ensure further protection from fraudulent attempts.”

Ariel Shoham, VP of Product at Mangopay

How AI is Transforming Mental Health and Productivity

Calabrio, the workforce performance company, released its State of the Contact Centre 2023: Activating the Agent of the Future report, which highlights the essential role AI (artificial intelligence) is set to play in improving the mental health and wellbeing of contact centre agent.

The AI Revolution: A Larger, Happier Contact Centre Workforce

In Calabrio’s annual analysis of the contact centre market, the company surveyed 400 contact centre managers across 10 countries, four age groups and six industries. While there is much debate in the market about the impact AI will have on the call centre industry, this report’s findings are clear: instead of reducing the overall agent pool, as some agents fear, 70% of managers believe AI will increase the number of agents over the coming decade. The research indicates that wide-scale implementation of AI technology in contact centres stands to make this expanded pool of agents more engaged, less stressed and significantly more productive.

Optimising Agent Performance With AI 

The report also provides an interesting update on the state of remote work. Where 73% of managers were happy with remote productivity levels in 2020, that number has dropped to 49% today. According to the report, the answer isn’t to eliminate remote work but to provide employees with the tools they need to feel engaged with that work. The respondents ranked AI features that will help accomplish this goal, including:

  • Augmenting agent and manager productivity (25%)
  • Optimising forecasting and scheduling (20%)
  • Measuring and understanding contact centre productivity (20%)
  • AI-driven chatbot services to customers (20%)

Each of these features, in distinct but interlocking ways, stands to positively impact the overall mental health of call centre agents.

In an AI-Powered World, Critical Thinking and Adaptability Are the New Must-Have Skills 

Because AI can easily handle simpler customer inquiries, human agents will soon spend most of their time on the complex issues that AI cannot handle. Not surprisingly, 60% of respondents highlighted critical thinking and adaptability as the top skills agents will need going forward as they will increasingly need to think on their own feet.  

Far from compounding the stress of the job, these developments—per the report—are likely to make agents more engaged, especially as AI-facilitated training tools become more widespread. With the increased scheduling flexibility enabled by AI, agents can more efficiently juggle life and work, and managers can expect a larger, happier, and more engaged, and productive agent workforce in the months and years to come.

46% of Employees Are Satisfied with Their Career Development  

A September 2023 Gartner survey of 3,500 employees revealed that when organizations close the gap on employee career growth expectations it can have up to a 45% positive impact on employees feeling supported in their career growth, compared to only a maximum impact of up to 8% when organizations simply try to meet employees’ expectations for growth.

Gartner identified three specific actions that companies can take to close the employee career growth expectations gap:

  1. Identify what employees value in and out of work.
  2. Help employees navigate all possible options for growth.
  3. Transparently communicate what is feasible for the organization to deliver and manage against potential consequences.

Incorporate Employees’ Personal and Professional Values

The September 2023 Gartner employee survey highlighted the gap in what employees expect versus what organisations can deliver: 55% of employees expected to be promoted within two years, but only 40% were promoted. Leading organisations are ensuring that employees’ personal values are part of their performance and career conversations in order to gain more precision around their career trajectories. Understanding what employees value at work, and what they value personally enables organisations to match individuals with meaningful work that they care about and meaningful growth opportunities.

Enable Employees to Navigate Options for Growth

Progressive organizations are prioritising making career growth opportunities more clear and actionable. This includes collecting information in one place and filtering the information – skills and experiences that employees need for various roles – to enable employees to easily grasp the skills and experiences they need to acquire to move in their desired direction.

Clearly Communicate What the Organisation Can Deliver

Employers must transparently communicate with employees to provide clarity on growth opportunities, while also taking action against potential consequences. Organisations can build employee trust by being clear on typical career trajectories, which also empowers employees to make informed choices. When employees trust their manager and the organisation – and they have a clear understanding of their organisation’s career progression – there is up to a 26% increase in them feeling supported.

Ultimately, when employees feel supported by their organization to grow their careers, their likelihood of being a high performer increases by up to 39 percentage points, their willingness to stay at the organization increases by up to 19 percentage points, and their engagement increases by up to 61 percentage points.

Thanks for tuning into CXM’s weekly roundup of industry news. Check back next Friday for the latest updates of the week!

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