DUBLIN, Ireland - A new report has been released detailing the extent to which 5,000 jobs in the Customer Experience (Cx) sector in Ireland will be affected by technological and generational forces over the coming years.
The document, produced by IDA Ireland, the Customer Contact Management Association (CCMA) and Enterprise Ireland and titled 'Strategy, Vision & Roadmap 2019' sets out a vision for Irish operators in the Cx sector that urges them to remain competitive by focussing on the three models for Cx evolution; technology adoption, people change and services transformation.
The roadmap, developed with industry members of the Customer Contact Management Association and Enterprise Ireland, sets out a course for Ireland's Cx sector amid huge leaps in artificial intelligence and automation in recent years. Increased data centralisation and winning customer trust, as well as natural language processing are also affecting an industry which Ireland has been to the forefront of over the last 30 years.
"Customer experience is a large and important employer in regions throughout Ireland. I welcome the publication of this report and urge the industry to continue to come together to plan for the changes that are already affecting this industry and map out how Ireland can sharpen its edge in this area," the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys said Friday.
Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland added: "Change is the only constant - this is particularly the case in the world of business where companies either innovate, or they get overtaken. This is relevant for the Cx industry in Ireland, where forces of change in the coming years will mean that the industry will evolve rapidly as customer expectations increase."
"IDA Ireland is pleased to publish this study and report in conjunction with our client companies and industry partners. Ireland has been the leading location for the establishment and expansion of Cx activities and we are confident that this strategic vision, development path and suite of IDA supports will serve as a valuable guide to support our clients on their evolutionary journey," said Shanahan on Friday.
Dorothy O'Byrne, Managing Director of CCMA said: "Cx has entered a digital age where organisations are driven to adjust how they interact and engage with their customers. Digital disruption continues to transform the role of customer contact centres, impacting on skills and technology required for employees to perform. It is therefore essential for centres to actively exploit these opportunities, move up the value chain and provide superior customer experience whilst driving business objectives."
For many decades, Ireland has been globally recognised as one of the key Cx capitals of the world. It provides a low-risk, quick start-up, high performance, knowledge economy for companies to deliver better customer and technical services and to provide innovative business and engagement solutions. Ireland is also one of very few countries in the world that can offer a global selection of languages, at native quality. Ireland was an early mover to ride the first wave of customer or contact centre growth in EMEA from the late 1980's – a period that witnessed the establishment of centres by American Airlines, AOL, MBNA, Gateway and Apple at their then manufacturing hub in Cork.
The 90's saw further growth with the addition of brand names like Hertz, Dell, IBM, Oracle, Citibank and Compaq, and by the late 90s there were over 50 international centres in Ireland, complementing the existing indigenous Irish operations from the likes of Telecom Eireann, Esat, etc, employing over 6,000. It was at this time that the industry in Ireland hit critical mass and the CCMA was established to drive innovation and information and idea sharing in the industry, and it is great to see the CCMA continuing to support the industry and drive this innovation 20 years later.
This report looks at the impact of technology on Cx roles with 5,000 jobs likely to be affected in the next five years. This figure is based on the 2017 ContactBabel Study on the impact of automation on the UK Cx market (the most comparable to Ireland) which forecasts that the UK industry will lose 1.8% of roles per annum because of automation. Based on the 56,000 currently employed in Cx in Ireland, this is 5-6,000 roles over a 5-year period.