It's not a secret that millennials are having a major impact on business operations in every industry. Companies are increasingly coming to realize that they need to adopt new strategies and tools in order to accommodate this demographic, as failure to do so will quickly put these firms at a competitive disadvantage.
Unified communications is playing a key role in this capacity. Not only are UC tools critical for empowering millennial employees – they are also essential in the realm of customer service.
Here are three reasons why businesses are embracing UC in the contact center in order to cater to millennial consumers.
"Millennials assume that most businesses will share their pro-technology views."
1. Millennials love technology
Millennials are the first generation to have lived most if not all their lives with access to the Internet. Consequently, they are more familiar with and fond of high-tech communication solutions than their older counterparts. They don't see video conferencing, instant messaging or SMS as unorthodox communication options – rather, these are viewed widely as standard options. For many millennials, this attitude extends beyond their personal lives and into the world of business. As Forbes contributor Micah Solomon explained, one of the results of these experiences is that millennials assume that most businesses will share their pro-technology views.
"Millennials' expectations as customers have been shaped by the generation's lifetime immersion in the fast-evolving worlds of online commerce, search engines and on-the-go connectivity," he wrote.
Customer Support Software contributor Tracey Schelmetic echoed this point, noting that younger consumers have a great deal of experience with a range of channels. Consequently, millennials do not want to limit themselves when dealing with companies.
A high-quality UC platform is the best way for a company to accommodate these customer service preferences. Such a solution will empower the organization's customer service representatives to engage with clients via their channel(s) of choice, rather than forcing them into selecting either voice or email. Even if voice and email remain the most widely used mediums, the simple fact that there are more options available will greatly improve the customer experience, particularly for tech-loving millennials.
2. Millennials appreciate efficiency
A related yet distinct factor is millennials' appreciation for efficiency. Naturally, everyone desires efficiency in general, but millennials' are widely viewed as less patient than older demographics. This can have a big impact on their understanding of what qualifies as timely customer service, as Solomon pointed out.
"Millennials' expectations as customers have been shaped by the generation's lifetime immersion in the fast-evolving worlds of online commerce, search engines and on-the-go connectivity," he explained.
Without such experiences, millennials tend to have a lower tolerance for wait times and other delays when seeking customer support.
UC caters to this mindset by allowing the customer and the service agent to choose the most appropriate, effective channel for any given problem or issue. Additionally, a high-end UC system allows users to switch from one channel to another without disrupting the conversation, making it easy to course correct if a suboptimal medium was chosen initially. This flexibility and diversity will drive down resolution times across the board, improving not just the customer experience but also worker productivity.
"Millennial spending will reach $200 billion annually by 2017."
3. Millennials' impact is growing
Last, but hardly least, is the simple fact that millennials' impact is growing rapidly. According to Solomon, millennials are on pace to become the single biggest, most important consumer demographic within a matter of years. He cited research that predicted millennial spending will reach $200 billion annually by 2017. Over their lifetimes as customers, millennials are expected to spend approximately $10 trillion.
Furthermore, millennials tend to be much more regular and frequent users of social media than older consumers. This means that whenever a millennial has a negative customer service experience, he or she is very likely to maximize the number of people who hear about this incident, damaging the company's reputation in the process. Every interaction a company has with a millennial can be seen as high stakes.
Considering their growing influence and market share, millennials represent a tremendous opportunity for virtually every business. To take advantage, firms need to take steps to attract and satisfy these consumers, and high-quality UC in the contact center can go a long way toward achieving this goal.