The UK National Contact Centre Conference was a huge success with over 400 attendees. In its 11th Year, this year’s theme was Horizons: Talent and Technology. The conference covered a wide range of topics from maintaining the wellbeing of frontline colleagues to building resilience, and from hybrid working to how AI is changing the contact centre landscape.

Protecting and Enabling the Frontline

One of the most discussed sessions of the day was from our very own Research Director, Stephen Yap. He talked us through the ‘Contact Centre Colleague Wellbeing Study’, which looked at the importance of maintaining the wellbeing of frontline colleagues in the current challenging business and social environment. It was alarming to learn that employee burnout contributed to a global cost of over £256 billion in lost turnover and productivity. When looking at the research carried out, it was no surprise that 23% of frontline colleagues have difficulty sleeping due to work-related stress. There were many contact centre leaders who took away the value and importance of ensuring their frontline colleagues are as effective as possible, thereby increasing resilience and reducing the impact of stress and other issues affecting frontline colleagues.

Generative AI

There were so many highlights from the conference and one of the most interesting was a panel discussion hosted by headline sponsors Unify, about next generation customer experience. The panel of technical experts considered the impact that Generative AI could have on support functions, frontline colleagues, and customer interactions. The panel also discussed mapping the short-term practical considerations, through to plotting a path for the long-term. It was a holistic and pragmatic view of generative AI and the contact centre.

Three Principles for Hybrid Working

Another important area of focus was hybrid working, with Novuna sharing their Three Principles for Hybrid Working. As the contact centre that won ‘Most Effective Approach to Hybrid Working’, Novuna had much to say on the topic, with technology, health, safety, and wellbeing, socialising and training and development forming the foundations of their approach. They discussed how they went from a fluid hybrid working model in 2021 to a more structured hybrid approach of one day a week in the office. Due to the changes they have made to the culture, they now have many frontline colleagues attending more than one day a week in the office. I’m sure everyone’s notebook was filled with ideas to take away and implement in their own contact centres.

Contact Centre Standards Framework

The CCMA also launched its “Standards Framework” at the event, which is designed to provide a pathway to operational excellence. Kate Law, Membership & Learning Director, CCMA, talked through the benefits of the Standards Framework and how contact centres can now become Accredited, supporting industry leaders to continue raising the standards in our industry.

Adapting to Changes: A Masterclass from Hastings Direct

Another success story was shared by Hastings Direct. Their performance management team successfully navigated the company through GIPP by reacting quickly to all changes in behaviour, whilst delivering the highest answer rates in four years. By implementing a lot of change in 2022 to their operational functions based on supporting each other through the process. It has positively increased customer perception and enabled their operational teams to continue providing high standards to customers. The judges at the UK National Contact Centre Awards described their support team as ‘genuinely the best presentation I have seen and heard’ due to the team always looking to the future to enhance both the customer and employee journey.

The Most Effective New Employee Experience

An interesting talk on talent was from Dwr Cymru Welsh Water about creating a refreshed new employee experience. New starter attrition dropped by 50% when they refreshed their new employee experience. This won them Gold for Best New Employee Experience at the UK National Contact Centre Awards 2023. Nichola Walden, Customer Hub Manager, shared the changes made throughout the entire candidate journey, starting from attracting candidates, the recruitment process, and fostering confidence and skill development during onboarding with classroom training. Her presentation was rich with insights and practical ideas for the attendees

Harmonising Talent and Technology

The conference also saw a panel debate about harmonising talent and technology. With AI playing such a key role in the future of customer contact, the panel discussed the impact it could have on those working in the contact centre, and how to create an environment that plays to the strengths of both people and technology.

Building a Successful Culture

There were also some inspiring success stories at the conference. For example, the secret to Nespresso’s award-winning culture. Attendees got to know what makes Nespresso’s approach so special: from the coffee in a dog-friendly office to just how seriously they take colleague wellbeing and recognition. OVO Energy was also a fine example of how an authentic approach to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging can create a true cultural change that works by embedding colleagues in the OVO values, and all colleagues taking pledge on what they will do to make it the best place to work for everyone. Attendees heard the strategy behind their approach, together with plenty of ideas for a contact centre where everyone belongs.

Crash Course in AI

And to top all that off, our keynote speaker Spencer Kelly, the TV presenter, gave an inspiring crash course on AI and how it works. He discussed the limits of its abilities and how it can work with humans in the workplace. He gave insights into what the future may look like. It’s unreal! (pardon the pun).

Until Next Year!

The UK National Contact Centre Conference overall was an enlightening experience for attendees, offering opportunities to learn new ideas that can be leveraged into real business value. The CCMA continues to build on the value it brings to its members, as seen at this year’s conference.

We can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for next year!

Headline Partner

Supporting Partners