For Generation Y – that’s individuals born between 1980 and 2000 – calling is now only the fourth choice of contact center engagement with a smartphone, after electronic messaging, social media and smartphone apps.
This is one of the findings of new contact center research from Dimension Data, which surveyed 817 organisations covering 11 business sectors in 79 countries across Asia Pacific, Australia, the Middle East & Africa, the Americas and Europe. Since the contact center is assuming greater responsibilities across the wider enterprise, organisations wanting to engage with - and retain - customers in the future need to pay attention to what this important customer segment wants.
Andrew McNair, Dimension Data’s Head of Global Benchmarking, said, “While the Silent Generation (born before 1944) and the Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1960) prefer the phone as their most popular channel of engagement with a contact center, the pace of decline in ‘voice only’ contact centers – now down to 63.1% overall compared with 73.0% 12 months ago - demonstrates the continuing trend to multiskill telephone agents across emerging ‘non-voice’ contact channels.”
He said nearly a third of contact centers had surprisingly not polled customers' channel preferences by age. “The fact that so many organisations are ignoring the age factor suggests that they may be failing to measure or evaluate customer behaviour effectively.”
McNair points out that the only way to truly win the hearts, minds and lasting loyalty of customers is by providing true value. That starts with understanding customers, and aligning the entire organisation with their personal interests.
A significant number of contact center participants also reported making no attempt to gather customer feedback: 66.3% in the case of smartphone applications and 65.3% in the case of web chat.
Adds McNair: “With the majority of customer interactions in the contact center now being handled via a plethora of self-service channels, enterprise leaders need to raise their game and address omnichannel customer journeys rather than isolated phone calls – and even emails. If they don’t, the traditional contact center is in danger of becoming irrelevant.”
Omnichannel environments enable customers to move effortlessly from one channel to another using a range of devices: from mobiles and smartphones to tablets and TV. The channels are connected in such a way that conversations and transactions that are started on one channel can be continued on another. Customers expect to be able to move seamlessly across channels without having to repeat details or duplicate process steps.