Singh recently revealed that while almost 100 per cent of candidates interviewed by his organisation had the technical and computer skills, few passed tests designed to assess softer skills.
Of all of alldayPA’s applicants in the last 12 months, only one in five candidates demonstrated the necessary skills.
He 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.
He suggested that 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 a enough positive examples of good customer service either face-to-face or over the telephone.”
The situation is particularly acute over the telephone, according to Singh, where a higher level of communication skill is required.
Read more on the British skills debate:
- Enough about A-levels, exam board AQA launches Tech-levels to combat skills gaps
- Skills shortages revealed in private equity-backed firms
- Future of work: Skills and job requirements in the 21st century
“Increasingly in business, telephone calls are used in more complex situations,” Singh suggested, “with many simple customer interactions now handled through email or websites.
“For example, 70 per cent of customers choose to use the phone when making a complaint or trying to resolve a problem. In these circumstances, we find an increasing number of applicants aren’t able to listen effectively, get to the heart of the matter or empathise with how the customer is feeling.”
Singh is of the belief that the real loser in this situation is the customer and that the situation is going to get worse before it improves.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Share this story