Many contact centers, particularly those that have been operating for years, thought they understood customers. They’ve built an infrastructure that has worked for them for a long time, and today, they may not understand why it’s no longer working.
For starters, customers are changing…particularly their expectations. Used to getting instant gratification online, these same customers expect immediate turnaround in their customer support queries. Secondly, the proliferation of mobile devices means that customers’ needs are changing rapidly when it comes to applications.
But there’s another factor at play, and that is the rise of the young consumer, or one of the so-called “millennial” generation. The generation born between about 1980 and 2000 is larger than even the Baby Boomer generation, and this group is just starting to become consumers to be reckoned with. As they age and get professional jobs, they will become even more influential.
“Understanding this generation will be essential if you want your company to grow and prosper,” according to a recent blog post by hosted contact center solutions provider Five9 (News - Alert). “The same customer service tactics that you would use on Baby Boomers may not work on Millennials, which is a concern among customer service professionals. In order to better understand the needs and desires of Millennials, corporations have to take the time to truly understand this new generation and what they expect from companies they do business with.”
For starters, what millennial consumers want is a robust mobile experience – this will require that companies offer customer support, either live or self-service, via mobile app. Traditional interactive voice response (IVR) solutions will be considered old-fashioned and time wasting to younger consumers, who will prefer an experience that offers a visual IVR-type menu on their smartphones, allowing them to choose their options.
Younger consumers also want as many channels to choose from as possible so they can customize their customer support experiences, and they expect these channels to be integrated so they can start in one channel and move to another with no loss of experience (having to repeat identifying information and the nature of their query).
Speed is one of the most critical elements of the millennial customer experience, however. They are very much an instant gratification generation, and expect the same from their customer support experiences.
“Having grown up in the Internet age, Millennials are used to getting results instantly,” according to Five9. “With an Internet connection, you can get approved for a mortgage, buy movie tickets, and download the latest book in a matter of minutes. Your customer service solution needs to be fast and efficient if you are going to keep Millennials happy.”
For companies with a large or growing number of younger consumers, now is the time to put these capabilities into place. Thanks to hosted contact center solutions, companies can achieve all these things in an economic and streamlined way without adding extra expenses to the call center’s budget.