By Ella Jennings – Marketing and Content Executive at GCI
You may recall that recently, my colleague Daniel Bruce wrote an excellent blog entitled “Skype for Business: A Millennial’s Take”, discussing the importance of instantaneous communication in the workplace for his generation. He has grown up in a world where social media and instant messaging has always existed, and sometimes talking to him makes me feel old! But it also makes me think about how technology has come on leaps and bounds in my lifetime.
While various sources explain that Baby Boomers finish and Generation X begins in the “early 1980s”, no one seems to be able to agree on quite when that is. This means that at 33, I’m one of a handful that actually straddles these two demographics. While many Millennials have never known life before Instant Messaging and social media, and numerous Baby Boomers have yet to still fully embrace all that technology can do for them, my friends and I were the ones who were coming of age during the technological revolutions of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. We were the original early adopters and embody characteristics of both demographics; that small, middle, “C” point on your Venn diagram. For the purpose of this blog, let’s call us Generation X+.
Gen X+ are putting less value on material possessions, preferring to spend money on experiences. Indeed, consultancy firm Harris Group reports that, since 1987, the share of consumer spending on live experiences and events increased 70%. Given that we are dubbed a “work hard, play hard” generation this comes as no surprise, but it’s also imperative to remember how important “big ticket” items are too. If you’re in your early-to-mid thirties, doubtless you’re at the point where you are thinking about settling down, advancing in your career, buying a house, maybe having children – if you haven’t already. And while we are making “grown-up” decisions that would delight our Baby Boomer parents, the technology that delights our Millennial counterparts and our desire for a great experience is something that plays a significant part in that decision making. Regardless of if we rent or own our home, the common denominator when it comes to moving for Gen X+ is the need to have everything done seamlessly, driven by our time-poor lifestyles. Whether it’s switching service providers or just changing our addresses with our existing ones, the expectation is that it can be done quickly and easily – no matter whether we choose to contact the company via telephone, email, social media, instant chat or a combination.
Gen X+ is less brand loyal than our predecessors, though perhaps not to the extent seen in Millennials. We care about value for money and great customer service, with an over-arching emphasis on a great overall customer experience. Web page not optimised for mobile devices? You’ve just lost a sale. Transferring a phone call between several different departments, only to tell your Gen X+ customer that they need to write in? Forget about a sale; you’ve just lost a customer. Like our parents we do prefer to be brand loyal but, like our younger colleagues, we want “everything now”. Whether your Gen X+ customer needs to resolve their issue quickly because they are due in a meeting or because they have a crying baby on their hands, your business needs a contact centre with a joined-up approach so that their account is quickly accessed by the right employee. Some businesses are even employing biometrics in order to provide a rich experience, such as fingerprint scanning to log in to mobile apps or Artificial Intelligence using voice recognition to direct a telephone call to the correct department without any human intervention. If the latest smartphones have iris recognition, a business that doesn’t have an intelligent approach to technological adoption and a seamless customer experience has no chance of survival in today’s mobile-first world.
Although I work for a technology company and am therefore pretty tech-savvy, what our Parent Company GCI is doing shows where the industry is headed. Our Head of Propositions, Karl Roberts, has worked with Voice Communication and Customer Experience technologies for 25 years, has digitally transformed the largest Cloud Contact CX platforms in Government, and designed Europe’s first passive biometrics banking service. It’s safe to say he’s an expert, and has been working with the use of AI to improve the customer experience before my Millennial colleague Daniel was even born! In an interview with Karl earlier this year, he explains that “we know that if customers don’t resolve issues they get tetchy and might take to Twitter, for instance, to criticise a brand.” He goes on to stress that “we must understand our customers”, and it’s clear that as consumers get more demanding and advances in technology only continue to gain momentum, so companies need to adapt. The need for businesses to come on board with a unified approach in their contact centres in order to enhance the customer experience may be more limited to Generation X+ for now but, depending on your target market, we may be your primary buyers and adopters. And before long, Millennials will be the new Gen X+…just less understanding when encountering a less-than-stellar customer experience.
To find out more about how you can adopt a unified contact centre approach that will enrich your customer experience and empower your business, watch a demonstration video of the Enghouse Interactive Communications Centre, or call us on 0844 443 4433.
Ella Jennings is a Marketing and Content Executive at GCI
Ella has a varied background incorporating all aspects of the Marketing Mix, but has a real passion for engaging and precise written communications. She regularly works with Account Managers and Technical Specialists from across all of GCI’s five capability pillars and enjoys all forms of writing, from fun Social Media posts to Case Studies with a highly-technical focus.