Originally published in MyCustomer – 8th August 2019
The business world has evolved considerably over time to meet the demands of new generations keen to make their mark. From the Boomers, to Generation X and latterly the Millennials, technology has played a central role in this transformation. Whether it’s the fax machine, the World Wide Web, email or IM, new technology has reflected the dawning of a new generation.
The business world is now on the cusp of more change. Generation Z (those born after 2001) are now entering the world of employment, and are becoming fully fledged consumers. As expected, this advent of a new generation brings a new set of challenges as to how brands should interact with them.
Text hello to Generation Z
Rather uniquely, Generation Z is the first generation that has been familiar with tech since birth. They don’t remember a time before email, the internet or mobile phones. They have no idea what a payphone is – in fact they rarely use phone. They are digital natives used to using technology to get what they want, when they want it on any device they choose.
With Generation Z now in the workplace and starting to amass some spending power, contact centres will have to start innovating in order to compete for their custom.
Think about it. How often does an 18-year-old use their mobile to make a call? The answer is almost never. Contact centre operators need to adopt this mindset, shifting emphasis from voice to self-service digital channels. They also need to bear in mind that this generation has some seriously high expectations. They expect digital companies to be proactive, offer instant answers and know their entire customer history. So how can contact centres make this happen?
Unlocking the power of advanced technology
When a customer contacts a contact centre with a problem or question relating to their hard-earned money, they want fast answers and easy resolutions to their queries. Chatbots are one such way that businesses can help keep the customer journey flowing smoothly. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of customer relationships with an enterprise will occur without customers interacting with another human.
The contact centre has a lot of potential for the use of AI to help both the customer and the human, and chatbots and other virtual assistants are the most effective way of implementing automated technology into a business’s customer service. The human agents can work alongside their digital counterparts to speed up and more efficiently deal with a customer query as the bot can help resolve some of the more mundane queries that a human agent answers on a regular basis. Changes of address or contact details, for example, are tasks that can be assigned to the bot, without the customer needing to speak to a person. This allows for the human agent to spend more time with another customer on a more complex problem.
Consideration should also be paid to tools like live video support. The proliferation of video calling apps, like FaceTime and Skype, have normalised the experience of seeing the person you are talking to. Retailers, like Amazon, have already embraced the trend, rolling out a video support service into its Kindle devices. Its ‘Mayday’ feature enables customers to get live help on any issue with their tablets and e-readers. In addition, footwear retailer Schuh offers video support as an option on their website. However, customers can opt for text chat if they prefer. All are good ways of connecting with a more digitally savvy customer base.
How tech natives are improving the customer journey
Central to approaching tech natives, is making the customer journey as seamless as possible. The creation of a connected customer journey – where one channel picks up where the other left off – is pivotal to delighting this ever more discerning customer. So, if for example, the contact centre can see on the system that the customer has recently been browsing on your website, and asked a few basic questions of the chatbot, you are in a better position to understand the customer who is reaching out to you and offer a more personalised service.
A way to achieve this with great success is to involve tech natives, as new recruits into your company, in the process and get their take on the customer experience being delivered. Customer experience within organisations is typically driven by CX executives and senior teams of an older generation. Tech natives as a younger generation offer valuable feedback on the customer journey and unique insight which can help to reduce any bumps in service, as well as shape future customer journeys with your brand.
The advent of a new generation brings with it new challenges, but also new opportunities for the contact centre to pursue. This digitally savvy collective offers the opportunity for contact centres to challenge their business as usual, and transform to better engage with customers and offer an enhanced overall experience.
By Valur Svansson