The impact that millennials are having on work environments across sectors continues to be a leading topic for contact center leaders. In our five-part series on hot topics that are impacting contact centers, we have asked industry leaders for their thoughts on employee engagement, IoT-enabled service strategies and AI in the center. In this fourth post, we tapped inContact’s Chris Bauserman to share his insights on why millennials are generating so much attention, how their influence will impact your contact center, what you can do to prepare your center, staff and company, and what to expect in the next year or two.
WHY ARE MILLENNIALS A HOT TOPIC RIGHT NOW:
With millennials as consumers and as the largest generation in today’s workforce, contact center leaders are taking heed of their preferences and needs to ensure that they can deliver service experiences—and a work environment—that this generation is expecting.
HOW IT’S AFFECTING CONTACT CENTERS:
First, brand loyalty is not an absolute with millennials (ages 18-30 years). Different studies have mixed findings on brand loyalty with this group. However, consider that while Gen X was the last generation to grow up in an analog world and experience the leap to digital as adults, millennials are the first digital natives. Millennials’ perceptions of interacting with brands and customer service are shaped by this upbringing. These consumers have instant access to unlimited offers and endless choice through their phone, they are active on social media and they are highly influenced by customer reviews. In our recent inContact Customer Experience Survey, 8 out of 10 millennial respondents said they are likely or very likely to switch to another company after a bad customer service experience.
WHAT ACTIONS CC LEADERS NEED TO TAKE NOW:
To most effectively ensure a positive contact center interaction with millennials, the first step is to understand where they’re most comfortable. As digital natives, millennials are comfortable interacting in all customer service channels. When initiating conversation, millennials favor chat and web over email. However, in the reverse, 67% prefer companies reach out via email. Therefore, contact centers need to ensure their operations and technology allow for seamless transition between channels. Regardless of channel, millennials value personalized, expedient service, with 53% citing personalization as a top priority for customer service. Once a connection has been made, if contact centers don’t get it right the first time they will be punished for it. Ultimately, millennials want to feel that their concerns are not just being recorded, but heard by a human being through authentic conversations.
Something else to consider is that millennials shouldn’t just be viewed through the lens of your customer base—they’re also employees. Millennials in the workplace expect their tools to mirror their consumer experiences, with an intuitive interface that allows for a seamless transition between chat, voice and web. At inContact, we believe that great customer experiences can best be delivered by agents with an equally great employee experience—both how they are treated and with the technology they rely on to support their interactions with customers. A modern user interface for contact center agents should seamlessly integrate channels and customer data in an easy to use desktop. As one of the first generations raised online, their entire relationship with technology has been shaped by their decades-long role as a consumer, so millennial contact center agents look for technology built with this in mind.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE NEXT 12-24 MONTHS:
As we look toward 2018 and digital transformation efforts continue to influence the way contact centers operate, we can’t lose sight of the basics—convenience, personalization and getting it right the first time. Artificial intelligence, chatbots and predictive analytics have great promise, but millennials, and for that matter all generations, will not care unless the new technology gives them faster, better service. Millennial agents hold the key to providing great service from the human point of view. They need the best tools and the best information to provide that service. New contact center technology should free them from highly repetitive, mundane and time-consuming tasks that can and will be automated. While tapped into new tech trends, millennials are more traditional than you might think.