Looking Ahead: Five Contact Center Trends to Know and Use in 2019 (Part 5)

By Michelle Burrows | February 11, 2019

If you’re a contact center leader, there’s a lot about Millennials and Generation Z worth understanding. In fact, these younger generations just may be your contact center’s BFFs. That’s because, as the fastest-growing demographic of consumers and agents, their influence on your success is enormous.

Tapping into these generational shifts is one of five trends highlighted in our e-book, Contact Center Trends You Need to Know 2019. Let’s talk about how to do that to benefit your contact center this year and beyond.

Satisfying a New Generation of Customers

A new generation of customers

While overreaching stereotypes can miss the mark, the indisputable fact that Millennials and Generation Z are the first generations of digital natives can’t be ignored. They are accustomed to being tethered to smart phones, multi-tasking on the web and across apps. They are tech self-reliant and prefer to control their destinies digitally.

As a result, when it comes to customer service—in contrast to Gen X and Baby Boomers before them—their first inclination is not to make a telephone call. In fact, according to Crossing the Generational Divide: Providing Customer Service for Today’s Consumers, 32 percent of Millennials are so averse to calling contact centers that they say they’d rather go shopping on Christmas Eve.

The best customer experience strategy, especially if your customer base is multi-generational, is a range of self-service options as part of an omnichannel offering. This includes email, texting, online chat, bots and web-based FAQs and forums. Voice recognition and AI-powered self-service for password re-set and credit card transactions also are smart choices for heavy mobile users like Millennials and Generation Z.

But it would be a mistake to eliminate human touch completely. Millennials and Generation Z expect a fast, personalized and secure customer experience when they feel it is necessary to move to the phone. That means no extended hold time or frustrating interactions repeating themselves to agents struggling to resolve their issues.

In fact, Mark Matthews, vice president of research development and industry analysis at the National Retail Federation, warns businesses that Generation Z in particular expects frictionless experiences that align with their expectations for immediacy and convenience.

Engaging a New Generation of Agents

Millennial Contact Center Agents

Many of these same generational consumer preferences and inclinations can be applied to Millennial and Generation Z agents. Considering their preferences and applying them thoughtfully will create a work environment focused on helping them thrive. For best results with on-boarding, you may want to leverage on-demand, self-learning that is highly interactive, mobile-responsive and self-paced.

It’s also important to bridge the agent generational divide within your contact center workforce. Millennials and Generation Z want to feel like they’re making an impact, so contact center tools that empower them and reporting that helps them gauge and improve performance will promote engagement.

Understanding the needs and motivations of the younger generations increasingly having the biggest impact on your contact center is an important first step to success. But then, identifying and implementing ways to create customer experiences that drive loyalty and a work environment that increases employee engagement is what it takes to fully tap into the benefits of today’s generational shift.

Want to Learn about More Trends? Get the Trends E-book 

To download the complete e-book, Contact Center Trends You Need to Know 2019, click here.  You can also read my perspective on each trend in a series of blog posts:

 

 

 

 


Michelle Burrows is Chief Marketing Officer at Serenova, where she leads the company’s global marketing strategy, brand development, communications and demand generation.  Prior to joining Serenova, Michelle was Vice President of Marketing and Analytics at Comcast Business, leading the customer loyalty contact center.  Prior to Comcast, she served as Vice President of Demand Marketing for inContact (NICE inContact) and held key leadership positions at Rally Software (CA Technologies), Verint Systems, and Genesys Conferencing (West Corporation).