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New Study Shows Companies Must Adapt to New Communication Channels to Reach New Generation of Customers

October 03, 2008

The Economist Intelligence Unit and Genesys (News - Alert) have released a new global survey that indicates most companies are struggling with how to adapt their businesses to serve a new wave of consumers from the Millennial Generation.

This survey examined how consumers born between 1982 and 2001 will impact the customer experience. Researchers asked C-level and senior executives from around the world how they are creating a customer experience to attract and retain Millennials.

It is no surprise that companies need to examine not only what they should offer to this demographic, but how they should offer it. Will contact centers be relevant to these consumers or will they prefer the Web site and self-service channels?

The study found that companies are debating heavily whether to invest more in catering to aging baby boomers versus next-generation consumers. In fact, 42 percent reported that they should tilt toward younger customers, while 39 percent would shift toward baby boomers and generation X. The decision on which way to lean can have a significant impact on the communication channels that the company will place the most focus.

Most companies participating in the study, or 54 percent, have not yet set their strategies or marketing for Millennials even though they overwhelmingly agree that such steps are needed. As many as 75 percent of companies said that Millennials will impact their organizations as consumers in the next three years, indicating the need for evaluation of internal strategies.

Many of these companies have also indicated that they have a sophisticated understanding of what it would take to adapt to the changing market, but are not ready to change their customer engagement model by leveraging social networks, peer marketing, better online support, text messaging and blogging.

The problem with lagging behind in these channels is that these companies could easily miss out on important revenue opportunities. While certain traditional communication methods are enough to meet the basic needs, today’s young consumer is generally not content to simply call the call center agent to ask a question.

This consumer wants real-time information they can access themselves. An important key here, however is that this consumer still wants help to be available if they need it. Considering the growth in this market, companies will find themselves losing ground if they do not leverage technologies that this growing demographic is using to make purchases, view ads, share information, make decisions, etc. 

This report highlights the urgent need for businesses to invest in new modes of customer communication and to tailor their approaches to match customer preferences. If these companies fail to do so, they will miss out on significant opportunities.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by
Stefania Viscusi

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