August 22, 2018 by Siobhan Climer
Generation Z is here. And they go by many names: iGeneration, Centennials, Post-millennials, and the Homeland Generation. And there are just as many definitions. The generation’s starting date varies from 1993 to 2006, depending on who you ask. They’re defined by a world after September 11th, the turn of the millennium, or an increased birth rate. For all the differences, every definition has one shared trait; Gen Z are digital natives. They never knew a world without technology.
While retention rates for millennials dip (the average rate is just a little over 2 years for workers aged 20-34), Gen Z workers are stepping up to the plate. How does the immersive knowledge of technology impact the relationship between Gen Z and the contact center?
Stereotyped? Click ‘Delete’
In a recent article on millennials in the workforce, we pointed to a number of generational stereotypes that create obstacles to truly understanding the incoming workforce. And just like their older counterparts, Gen Z is often generalized to be a lazy, snapchat-addicted, easily offended, and trigger-needy group of young people unwilling to put in the work. The truth is members of Gen Z are just like everyone else; they want to do meaningful work, support themselves and their families, and work hard to make the world a better place.
Understanding how Gen Z and the contact center interact is about understanding how technology can create efficiencies for both contact center agents of any age and the customers they serve. Working to make an environment that attracts and retains Gen Z workers will not only increase retention rates and employee satisfaction, but it will also benefit your bottom line, as calls are resolved more quickly and to the greater satisfaction of your customers.
Gen Z And The Contact Center: Social Media
Maybe you think you’re hip by utilizing a Facebook page for your business and contact center, but the truth is, Facebook is for old people. Younger members of the Millennial and Gen Z groups are leaving Facebook, choosing instead to use Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Google Hangouts.
Not only do these changes mean your Gen Z employees have different behaviors, but the customers reaching out to your contact center are looking for information in different places, too. The fact is, 25% of the U.S. population is part of Gen Z and have approximately $44 billion in purchasing power already.
Contact center leaders and IT managers tasked with delivering strategy to the call center need to consider how these new methods of communication impact those using contact center services. Creating a digital customer experience model in today’s age isn’t as straightforward as implementing a simple IVR – something many call centers still lack – but entails engaging with your audience where they are in the ways they want.
That’s what omnichannel is all about. Using multiple channels strategically and in an integrated way, providing extraordinary customer service, and showing your customers you understand and care. Gen Z isn’t forcing these changes. They’re teaching you how to implement them.
Considering a contact center shift? Get our free eBook Customers Drive, You Navigate: Your Contact Center Roadmap to Customer Care Success to find out more about what you can do to plan for a contact center transformation.
Workforce Management With Gen Z
Contact centers that utilize workforce management systems are in position to benefit from the agile mindset of this upstart generation. When it comes to Gen Z and the contact center, the fundamental driving factors are personalization, efficiency, transparency, and technology.
A recent study showed that in contrast to other cohorts, Gen Z prefers personalization over privacy, especially as it relates to a predictive internet. (It’s important to note privacy does not equal security; Gen Z is aware and concerned about protection for ID theft, malware, fraud, etc.) A tailored experience that meets their needs is of the utmost importance.
This also means they prefer to give a personalized experience, and that’s good news for contact centers. Gen Z employees will go above and beyond to personalize their customers’ experiences, since it is something they value themselves. The opportunity here is that by hiring and supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of Gen Z employees, your contact center stands to benefit in its relationship with customers.
Efficiency And The Age Of Convenience
No one likes waiting; Gen Z even less so. Growing up with convenience at their fingertips, every additional second it takes for a webpage to load, every additional minute on hold, and every additional step in a process increases their frustration. It’s not because they’re lazy or impatient. It’s because they know there must be a better way.
This is visible in every industry: grocery delivery services like Soylent, taxi-like services like Uber and Lyft, product and subscription services like Amazon, appointment scheduling portals like MyTime and SimplyBook, automation ordering services like the new kiosks at McDonald’s. Convenience is key. As Contact Center Solutions Architect Kleid Gjataj says, we’re in the “Age of Convenience.”
When it comes to Gen Z and the contact center, this means that the processes in place for both agents and customers should be as intuitive and efficient as possible. Something that might seem “good enough” to older generations, won’t be to Gen Z. They will find ways to innovate and improve your contact center procedures, but only if you let them.
Gone are the days of hierarchical management structures. Millennials and Gen Z are working constantly to shift power structures towards productivity and results. As such, trust and transparency are essential to building strong employee-manager relationships. By engaging your employees in the operational capacity of your contact center, you give them the insight and the data to make real-time improvements. A quarterly report on metrics isn’t sufficient. Provide your team continuous opportunity to test themselves and drive improvements to satisfy their competitive spirits and better your contact center metrics.
In addition, employees want to be proud of where they work. Transparency is directly related to authenticity, and this goes beyond employee-manager relationships to the business-community relationship. A contact center that is invested in the community, that takes a stance on issues affecting those communities, and that seeks to improve the lives of those around them will have immense loyalty in its employees and customers.
We started out talking about how the relationship between Gen Z and the contact center is predicated on their digital native experience. Those experiences are driving the adoption of personalized dashboards and collaboration tools across the contact center industry. Not only does implementing strategic technologies into the contact center help entice and engage your Gen Z (and other cohort) employees, it also entices and engages your customers. Perform a contact center assessment to determine how you can increase efficiencies, adopt new technologies, and prepare for the next state in an ever-evolving industry.
To find out how to perform a contact center roadmap assessment, check out our eBook and read more here. And if you don’t have time for the full eBook right now, check out our brief brochure on the contact center roadmap.
Contact us today to prepare your contact center for the next generation.
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.