Millennials' Influence on Contact Centers of the Future

Millennials… generally thought to be those born in the 80’s or 90’s. Also referred to as Generation Y or those of the short attention span always wasting time on that TwitBookerGramInstaFace thing and taking super cute selfies.

The fact is, the Millennials already have a strong presence in the workforce and are filling in for the Baby Boomers astride their riding lawnmowers rolling into the sunset of retirement. As it turns out, these young whippersnappers have some worthwhile skills and valuable attributes, even if they bring them to the office by skateboards and seem to have a moral opposition to collared shirts and khakis.

Millennials tend to excel at multi-tasking (thanks to that short attention span), work well in team environments, are highly communicative with supervisors and are very at ease with technology. They are well-suited for the “bursty work” of a contact center environment, but are inherently averse to traditional corporate structures. Many contact centers are recognizing the need to understand the growing numbers of Millennials in the workforce, and build on their strengths.

According to a 2014 WFO market report by DMG Consulting:

  • Organizations are looking to “rightshore” their service organizations, instead of offshoring. – This means hiring more national employees which, in turn, means more of the Millennial generation.
  • The entrance of Millennials into the workforce is driving overdue changes in how people are managed, including innovations in workforce management solutions.
  • Enterprises are finally starting to build multi-channel contact centers that handle calls, emails, and SMS; social media is expected to be added in the next 3 to 5 years. Within 5 to 8 years, the number of social media interactions will equal the number of phone calls – Millennial workforce better suited for newer and rapidly changing technologies.

Common work place values for the Millennial generation include: performance-based shift schedules that are also flexible (work/life balance), work-from-home options, and ample feedback – especially positive reinforcement. A developing trend of displaying real-time leader boards in the workplace provides immediate feedback to employees while also keeping them engaged. One of this year’s hottest trends is “gamification” – turning work into a game. Millennials are a competitive bunch and appreciate regular feedback. Contact centers are utilizing large monitors, or leaderboards, which encourages employees to track themselves and  their peers to see where they are and what they can do to climb the leaderboard. The contact centers of today and tomorrow need software with features to match what your employees value most: their time and their success.

Workforce Optimization (WFO) tools keep contact centers innovative, agile and efficient. These benefits are magnified when WFO is delivered on a cloud platform due to the inherent characteristics of available on-the-fly adjustments.

Another Millennial value, and another benefit of the cloud platform, is the seamless integration of at-home agents. More employees, from all generations, are discovering the personal value of working from home as their employers realize the cost-saving benefits of reduced office square footage and increased productivity related to their employees’ satisfaction level.

As the customer service industry reverses course from outsourcing back to “rightshoring” their operations, the contact centers of the future will need to become more efficient in terms of costs, and more appealing to their potential employees. Cloud solutions provide the customizable features needed to support tomorrow’s customer service industry.