How Contact Centers Survive a Multichannel, Multigenerational World

Posted by Rodney Kuhn

11/26/15 1:30 PM

Communication_icons.jpgIn today’s omni-channel world, consumers expect service on their own terms, whenever they want it and from whichever channels they choose. Social media and multichannel communication, in tandem with multigenerational customers, are raising the bar for businesses and their contact centers.

Companies can no longer afford to treat every customer exactly the same way—or they may find themselves with disgruntled customers who take their business elsewhere. Customer service dispensed as a one-size-fits-all solution is doomed for failure when it comes to interacting with multiple generations across modern day communication channels. Instead, as a contact center manager, you need to ensure that your agents are fully prepared to meet these challenges. Here’s how:  

1)   Teach agents how to interact with customers of various ages: Excellent customer service means something different to each generation, so it’s important for agents to understand the mindsets and expectations among the diverse groups. For example:

  • Younger customers, like millennials and Gen Y, prefer to use text messaging and social media for connecting and interacting. They prefer the instant connection these channels offer.
  • Gen X and younger baby boomers prefer a gamut of communication channels. An interaction could begin online, move to chat and finish off with a call.
  • Baby boomers and older customers favor a face-to-face interaction or a phone call, but may still reach out via email and various social channels, like Facebook and Twitter.

2)    Properly train agents across all channels of communication: Agents must to be able to implement strategies that address each of the preferences named above to ensure a seamless and exceptional experience for all customers. This requires extensive agent training, which takes time—something many managers are lacking in today’s high-performing contact centers. Instead, businesses should deploy contact center software that includes a built-in automated coaching system to provide agents with customized training when they need it most. For example, recordings of evaluated customer interactions can be automatically sent to agents for coaching or stored in your training library for future use. Also, when implementing social platforms, agents need to constantly man the channels and be prepared to respond immediately. If not, customer expectations will be dashed, leading to frustration and an overall negative user experience.

Training your agents to differentiate among the preferences and expectations of customers of various ages, and to effectively support each generation’s mindset in regard to customer service, will enhance the customer experience across all channels, at all times.

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