Younger Consumer Generations Introduce New Communication Needs


    Contact Centers Must Adapt To New Generation Expectations

    Today's consumers have different needs from the generations before them. Instead of relying on old phone systems and voice solutions, customers who want to interact with companies require those firms to leverage myriad platforms. If enterprises only have one means of communicating with clients, for example, most people who do not prefer that method will simply take their business elsewhere. This has put a greater pressure on decision-makers to adopt multiple collaborative tools in the contact center at the same time, as doing so will ensure service representatives have the ability to interact with prospective and existing customers through their desired platforms.

    This transformation has largely been brought on by the presence of Generation X and Y clients, who demand the ability to interact with companies on more than just the level of voice. A recent Dimension Data survey of more than 800 participants around the world found that both consumers and contact center employees are growing increasingly dissatisfied with the way communication is upheld in the business world.

    There are generally two major phenomena that contribute to both attrition rates. First, many consumers will simply work with another organization if their first provider doesn't meet their needs. In fact, the report stated that customer satisfaction and contact resolution rates are both down for the fourth year in a row. This has forced companies to adopt newer, unfamiliar solutions in the workplace.

    The second reduction comes from the employee side of the equation, as individuals who are brought into the contact center are often not trained on new communication solutions and various phone system features, Dimension Data reported. As a result, absenteeism among representatives is triple the amount among managers.



    "The pace of technology adoption by end users is driving contact centers to evolve and gather speed, which means the complexity of transactions has increased. Organizations haven't kept pace with technology and are operating outdated systems. There's no doubt that if management does not plan for increased contact center agent competency, and develop skills across multiple channels and disciplines, these organizations will fail," said Andrew McNair, head of global benchmarking at Dimension Data.



    Businesses need to consider updating their phone systems and other collaborative tools if they want to engage and develop relationships with consumers.


    The Multi-channel Movement

    While platforms like VoIP phone systems are still acceptable in the workplace, consumers are not necessarily on the same page. In fact, Dimension Data revealed that voice has dropped to the third choice of engagement for Generation Y consumers, being replaced by instant messaging and other mobile-oriented applications. Generation X individuals are making similar motions, as their desire to use voice over other available tools is losing momentum.

    Progressive companies need to cut off the head of this problem before it becomes too challenging. In many cases, this will require firms to adopt a unified communications system, which allows employees to leverage voice, messaging, video conferencing and a number of other solutions through a single platform, which enables representatives to better meet the needs of clients.



    "Organizations don't need one strategy for the contact center, one for the web, another for mobile, and one for social media. They need a single, unified strategy for customer contact across all channels, for all purposes. If contact center leaders can raise their game, they can be the ones to drive it," McNair asserted.



    A separate Aspect Software study echoed the need for contact centers to either get on board with multi-solution policies or risk falling behind. In a study of roughly 2,500 Americans, Aspect found that nearly two-thirds of respondents said they do not feel like they are being treated like valued customers. This is largely because organizations have unstructured and antiquated processes established in the contact center, as 67 percent of individuals believe that dealing with automated responses that do not help them resolve issues is the top complaint.


    Conversely, more than three-quarters of Americans feel that organizations offering multiple communication channels as a part of their customer service portals are easier to do business with. Additionally, 74 percent of respondents think these organizations provide better service, meaning that it is easier to attract and retain clients, which is a critical process in today's highly competitive and fast-paced environment.

    As younger customers enter the mix of clients in the business world, decision-makers need to consider embracing next-generation solutions and strategies to appeal to their needs. This will often require adopting social media and other sophisticated online solutions that are gaining momentum in the consumer environment. Rather than relying on antiquated processes that may have worked in the past, companies must take a progressive approach to customer service if they want to capitalize on the opportunity to acquire more clients.