New research reveals that many employees struggle with ‘soft skills’
80% of people no longer have the necessary soft skills for business life, new research from has revealed. This can prove to be a real issue when it comes to customer service, with many employees struggling with business telephone use.
Chief executive officer of alldayPA Reuben Singh revealed that almost 100% of candidates interviewed by his organisation have all the necessary technical and computer skills, however very few meet the standard expected when it comes to interpersonal skills such as verbal communication, listening and empathy.
Only one in five make the cut
The company has interviewed 1,000 applicants over the past year, and shockingly found that only one in five candidates demonstrated the necessary soft skills.
Singh, said: “We have been in business for over 16 years and in that time, people are getting better at typing, technical skills and reading information, but softer skills have gone into sharp decline.
“We are seeing the first generation that has grown up with automation entering the workplace. They shop online, talk to friends through social media and even play online games in their leisure time – and crucially, as a result, have less experience of verbal communication, and are instead becoming overly reliant on digital communications. This generation isn’t exposed to enough positive examples of good customer service either face-to-face or over the telephone.”
Singh noted that the situation is particularly severe over the telephone, where a higher level of communication is required. In this day and age business calls are most often used only in more complex situations, with the majority of simple customer interactions taking place via email, websites or social media.
70% of customers use the telephone to make a complaint
However, when it comes to making a complaint or resolving a problem, 70% of customers will pick up the phone and dial a contact number. In these situations it is imperative that employees listen effectively, get into the heart of the matter and really empathise with how the customer is feeling.
Singh believes that the real loser in this situation is the customer, and that the issue is going to get worse before it improves.
He said: ““A study by Oxford University suggests that 91% of customer service workers will be replaced by automation in the next 20 years.
“We are in danger of trying to use artificial intelligence when what customers really want is emotional intelligence offered by a real person that can offer both sympathy and support.
“More value needs to be placed on these softer skills, both in education and in business. Failure to do so will see a continued decline in levels of customer satisfaction and worsening customer service.”
When making a call to a business, having to sit listening to the phone ring out or being passed from operator to operator immediately gives a customer a negative first impression.
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