The oldest Millennials are now hitting their late 30s (gulp… really?). They make up more than 30% of the workforce with a cohort that consists of 75 million people. What does that mean for outsourced contact center employers? In our opinion, it means we better be doing a good job setting up an employment experience that meets the average Millennial’s needs, and we better be shaping our industry to support engagement of this demographic for the short term and the long term. It’s that simple. And that complex.
The generalizations about this generation are rampant. And to be frank, most of those stereotypes miss the mark entirely. (Swap out the over-used, misinformed adjective "entitled," and replace it with "anxious about ever achieving financial security." Hint: It’s not over-spending on avocado toast that is holding them back from home ownership.)
For starters – see above: anxiety is real. A commitment to employee engagement, clear career path opportunities, and a well-articulated value-proposition for the employee will take you a long way as an employer. Focusing solely on what you want in an employee and not looking at the equation from the candidate’s perspective – even for entry-level work – is going to be a mistake. We need to be asking ourselves critical questions. Can you offer work, even at the agent level, that adds to an employee’s résumé? Will your agents get to work for great brands doing work that goes beyond mere transactional support or are you only offering soul-sucking work that a robot could do? (Pro Tip: If you answered yes to the robot question, we have an AI blog you should read.) Is there room to grow for people with differing skills sets? Not everyone is going to advance into a role of managing people – are you drawing your analysts, specialists, HR, and workforce resources from folks who started in production?
Is your company a good corporate citizen? Do your corporate values align with the vision that Millennials in North America tend to have to "make a difference" for their communities, for the environment, for others in need? The idea of contributing to the greater good – and doing meaningful work - is one that drives many major life decisions for the Millennial generation, even the decision about working in a contact center. As employers, how do our corporate commitments to our communities and the environment line up? Is there an avenue, through work, for employees to contribute to nurturing healthy, thriving communities?
We’re arguing against the stereotypes that have plagued the Millennials throughout their young lives, but there is one trait common to pretty much all Millennials in North America: they are true digital natives. They had computers in their kindergarten classrooms and were likely to be the ones teaching their parents to text. They’ve been using YouTube to learn how to do everything from hacking their video games to curling their hair since YouTube was first created. And in many of the schools they attended, coding is the new cursive.
Millennials’ preferences for learning should be reflected in your onboarding and training processes: Millennials are typically tech-savvy, self-learners who appreciate the convenience of on-demand training in any location.
Baby Boomers grew up with a traditional classroom structure where the teacher lectures and the student listens and takes notes. For your average Millennial, a training plan that leans heavily on classroom lectures can lead to boredom which can lead to a lack of engagement. Although the classroom has historically been a good platform for role-playing and hands-on learning, it’s time to assess how these techniques can be enhanced through technology. Not only does the virtual classroom appeal to Millennial contact center agents, but many online learning programs in the contact center can be customized to an individual’s learning style and areas that need the most improvement. These tools are also programmed to be highly interactive, with mobile-responsiveness and self-pacing.
And when it comes to the production floor, a contact center with an elegant omni-channel offering utilizing leading edge tools offers a win-win for both the customers and the agents who support them. A contact center that empowers agents to handle the most complex scenarios within the customer journey while using innovative technology (and growing the employee’s technical skills at the same time) is one that creates a differentiated work experience for the agent.
In the era of the side hustle, control over schedules is often a priority for Millennials in a way it rarely was for their parents or grandparents. When Ward Cleaver was pushing 40, he wasn’t thinking about pulling a second shift in a taxi after he clocked out at the office. Mary Tyler Moore wasn’t responding to Etsy orders on her lunch break at WJM. For Millennials, the primary job they hold is often just one piece of the puzzle. Intuit recently published a study predicting that 40% of the workforce will be engaged as independent contractors by 2020. On the other hand, success in the contract center industry depends on agents being in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. We want our workforce to be flexible when our clients require it, but the rest of the time, we value schedule adherence and predictability above almost all else.
Workforce management technologies have evolved (and are continuing to evolve) to better balance an employee’s desire for flexibility with the employer’s requirement for schedule adherence. Employers of choice in the outsourced world will be those that can find the best balance between what workforce needs to meet service level consistently and what Millennials need to make all the pieces of their complex lives work in sync. Right now, we would file this under "work in progress" in our industry.
As that balance evolves, employees should be supported by tools that meet today’s user experience expectations. After all, if you can tap your Starbucks app twice and have a grande soy chai latte with cinnamon waiting for you when you walk in the café door, agents should have slick tools to help them self-serve on things like picking up extra hours or trading hours away. And if your HR processes are still heavily reliant on filling out hard copy forms, it is time to go shopping for some apps to support your employee experience.
Let’s recap the stereotypes, you know that Millennials are entitled, Generation Xers are cynical and apathetic, and Baby Boomers are set in their ways. Right? … Even if we like to think we know better, the truth is that these generational biases can seep into the workforce almost undetected, impacting the way agents and managers interact.
The first place this breakdown will happen is in communication. Today’s contact center has more channels of communication than ever before, but each channel has its own dedicated generational following. Millennials may be quick to turn to instant messaging and texting, while Gen Xers stick to email and Baby Boomers are more likely to dial the phone to talk. If these preferences are not acknowledged, misunderstandings in expectations and feedback are likely to occur, leading to an even greater tension.
Resolving this issue depends on having a leadership team that is highly aware of workplace diversity and committed to creating a great place to work. Millennials will benefit from robust processes and procedures that streamline communication and foster an open, supportive work environment. Instant messaging is certainly a powerful tool, but they need to be trained on how, why and when other forms of communication should take precedence.
Finally, Millennials value learning and mentorship. They are open to peer-to-peer knowledge sharing at an almost unprecedented level. (Thank you, Xbox Live.) They are open to learning from Baby Boomers and often seek out a mentor. In exchange, they want to be heard and they want their opinions and insights to have impact. As a generation, they know their self-worth and believe they should have a place at the table. (In a funny twist, that Millennial confidence is the supremely annoying trait most mocked by Baby Boomers, right up until the minute they need someone to build an app in an afternoon.)
An intergenerational contact center has rich potential for valuable knowledge transfer, insightful feedback, and ongoing learning opportunities. Fostering this kind of environment will lead to employee engagement across every generation.
Building a strong agent team for your outsourced contact center program requires an intimate understanding of values, learning styles, communication preferences, and overall hard skills. Often, these factors are highly correlated by generation. As we move toward 2020, let’s stop asking what Millennials can do for us and ask instead what we can, and should, be doing to meet their needs today and tomorrow.
How is your outsourced partner managing generational differences in the contact center? And what else should they be telling you about how they manage their agents?
About Amy Bennet:
In her current role as Director, Communications for Blue Ocean, Amy oversees external marketing and sales communications as well as internal communications for the 600-person contact center. In that role, Amy continues to push marketing strategies and activities to new levels, creating attraction and consideration for Blue Ocean in the global contact center market. She plays an integral role in keeping the multi-generational workforce engaged and informed while contributing to the organization’s cool culture.
About Blue Ocean Contact Centers:
We thrive on delivering critical customer service solutions that go beyond transactional interactions. As such, our goal is to enhance lifetime customer value, providing support that is a reflection of your brand promise, even in high-pressure, complex customer service scenarios.
Published: Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Accordia Solution CIS
Accordia Solution is an innovative developer of seamlessly integrated cost-effective omnichannel Contact Center Solutions specifically targeted at the micro, small and medium operations.Our core business model involves the development and marketing of IP Telephony and IP Contact Center Solutions. We also strive to develop customer interaction solutions which include contact center and customer relationship management (CRM) that enhances Customer Experience Of The Future (CEOTF) and optimizes agent productivity.
Our flagship product, the Accordia Customer Interaction Suites (CIS), offers comprehensive functionality by helping your business meet and exceed the level of service in line with...
PH: +603 5569 9816
|3.)||Arise Virtual Solutions|
The Arise Platform
Arise is a pioneer of on-demand customer management business process outsourcing solutions, headquartered in Florida. Through the cloud-based Arise Platform, Fortune 50 and other companies connect to Service Partners who deliver authentic, loyalty-building interactions with their customers. Delivering radical flexibility to meet even extreme contact volume fluctuations, the award-winning Arise Platform is an innovative alternative to the traditional contact center.
Astute Agent gives your agents everything they need to work cases confidently and efficiently. This modern case management CRM is the preferred choice for Consumer Relations and Customer Care teams who support some of the world’s most prestigious brands.
Astute Agent balances agent efficiency with customer experience. Here’s how:
- Automated email responses
Using natural language processing, Astute Agent reads incoming customer emails and automatically supplies a response to agents to review and send.
- Auto-populated case fields
AI capabilities automatically suggest reason codes, product codes, and other case information, saving agents minutes per case.
- Time-saving case feat...
|5.)||Brook Trout Solutions|
CCaaS, SIP Trunking, SD WAN, Interconnectivity
Brook Trout Solutions provides Technology Guide services to help Contact Centers to the best possible solution for their business. This includes:
CCaaS: Talk Desk, Five 9s, Nice, Genesys and more
SIP Trunks: Many Global Providers to lower cost and improve operational efficiency
SD WAN: Connect to customers rapidly with the latest network technology to scale with flexibility.
Our service are at no cost to our customers. We look forward to meeting you!
|6.)||Call Center Studio|
Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.
PH: +1 512-872-7565
|7.)||Call Tracking Metrics|
CallTrackingMetrics is the only contact center solution with marketing attribution software built in. Our powerful UCaaS platform lets you know upfront who is calling in, what campaigns they were referencing, and their previous history with your company. Partnering this data with tools to automate and streamline your team’s workflow frees you up to focus on truly delighting your customers.
Conditionally direct calls, texts, chats and forms based on:
• Actions the customer has taken on your website
• Whether they’ve previously contacted your business
• Which agent they last interacted with
• Custom criteria unique to your business needs
• The location nearest to your customer
|8.)||Cloud Call Center Search|
From AI - WFO and everything in between!
Cloud Call Center Search has spent hundreds of hours evaluating and vetting leading cloud software applications (Omni-Channel, Artificial Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Workforce Management and many others) and their actual use in the trenches with real-world clients. As a result, we understand the strengths and weaknesses of cloud-based call center software solutions. At NO charge, Cloud Call Center Search will match your organization with the cloud software providers that are the best fit to drive positive ROI in your customer experience, sales, and back-office operations.
|9.)||Cloud IT Services GmbH|
Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.
You can see the full list of features here:
Cloud contact software that makes customer contact pain free, so your team aren’t worrying about complex technology and can focus on what they do best. Take control, and design the perfect agent interface with a drag-n-drop visual editor. Combined with AI, leverage data-driven contact strategies to ensure the right agent is contacting your customers at the right time & on the right channel.
Content Guru makes engagement easy. A global leader in cloud communications solutions, we deliver off-the-shelf and bespoke customer engagement and cloud contact centre services, through the multi-award-winning 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗺® platform.
Europe’s largest Customer Engagement and Experience platform, 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗺, brings together intelligent automation, third-party systems integration, and on-demand scalability to enhance all customer communication functions. With true omni-channel engagement capabilities, 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗺 gives organisations the power to create consistent and seamless experiences for customers, inspiring loyalty and powering success.
CSX Cloud provides a full omnichannel cloud-based turn-key customer communications solution as a service based on a monthly subscription with no long term commitments. Our easy to use solution and top-notch customer service makes it an easy choice to get started today.
Edify connects businesses with customers and employees with each other. The company’s Business Communications as a Service (BCaaS) platform, Huddle, is the only one that unites unified communications (UC), contact center (CC) and communications platform (API) functionality in a single software solution that lets users move seamlessly among channels within one conversation. Edify removes all the risk of using its cloud-based platform with five free users forever, global availability, real-time redundancy, usage-based pricing and a 100% SLA uptime guarantee.
Envision Click2Coach WFO/WEM
Data from phone, e-mail, web chat and social media interactions can help quickly identify patterns and trends, optimize operations and transform customer relationships. Envision delivers innovative software solutions, in the cloud or on premise, to optimize and engage your workforce. With our integrated line of Click2Coach products, customers get voice of the customer analysis, graphical dashboards, performance management, desktop analytics, speech analytics, interaction and compliance recording, quality management, workforce management and coaching and eLearning.
For more than 20 years, Envision has been providing award winning solutions to our customers that optimize customer experience...
Call back / virtual hold solution
Fonolo's solution can eliminate hold time from your contact center without changing any business process.
Fonolo's cloud-based call-back solution sits above your infrastructure, giving callers the option to receive a call back instead of waiting on hold.
This results in lower abandon rates, handle times, and costs -- and a superior experience for your customers.
Microsoft Teams Contact Centre
Geomant is enabling organisations to extend the power of Teams even further, to customer interaction with our Buzzeasy Contact Centre. Buzzeasy is a native Teams application that enables Teams users to handle customer interactions effortlessly, across multiple channels including voice, email, webchat and the most popular messaging platforms, such as Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. By adding Contact Centre functionality to Teams, it becomes an all-in-one collaboration and communications platform not only for internal communications, but for customers as well, in an easy and cost-effective way.
PH: 01789 387900
uContact is an All-in-One contact center solution. Our unique one-on-one customer service makes us perfect for small to medium call centers. Rather than relying on multiple applications we will offer you: - Dialers (Inbound & Outbound)
- SMS, Email & Webchat in a Unified Inbox
- A Call Center Designed CRM
- Completely Customizable Reporting
- Voice Broadcasting
- Quality Control
- Live Coaching (Spy, Whisper, Collaborate)
- Many More Features & an Open API.
|18.)||Intelligent Contacts, Inc|
Intelligent Contact Center Suite
The Intelligent Contact Center harnesses the power of machine learning and predictive analytics to substantially increase agent productivity when compared to manually dialing.
Key ROI metrics:
• 4 predictive algorithms cut agent idle time in half and deliver right party contacts with fewer dropped calls
• Answering Machine Detection rates averaging 85-92%
• Unified Communication (calling, voicemail messaging, SMS, email, chat) that reduces operational costs through personalized automation and preferred channel delivery.
• 100% TCPA-compliant auto dialer platform
• Unlimited line capacity and instant scalability
• Call recording and data storage (included)
• No agent s...
PH: 1 800 214-7490
|19.)||Lieber & Associates|
Technology Acquisition Consulting
L&A provides vendor-independent counsel to select, contract for, design, test, and implement cloud and premise-based systems. The firm has experience with all major vendors and many smaller ones. Lieber & Associates' technology consultants are contact center systems specialists with several decades of experience each.
LiveXchange is an online turnkey service designed to equip your corporation with the means to successfully develop and operate your own remote enabled contact center.