By Ben Page, Director of Sales and Customer Experience Strategist
From schools to corporations, you can find people buried in their smartphones. The ability to work, shop, check finances and share your every thought on a mobile device is now standard.
Many blame technology for widening the generational gap, but that same technology also brings people together by creating an all new generation: the self-service generation. This generation is motivated by independence and efficiency, and it spans all age groups.
That means businesses must rethink their policies to reach these consumers. Here are a few keys to remember when building customer experiences (CX) for the self-service generation.
It’s no longer just millennials driving this trend.
Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are becoming more adept at using smartphones and devices to self-serve. According to a recent study by Charles Schwab, which surveyed 1,800 affluent consumers across four generations, 54 percent preferred using technology to find answers and solve problems.
The results were similar across all generations, particularly between millennials and Gen Xers. People desire self-service across all industries and generations.
However, as consumers become more proficient at self-help, many organizations exhibit a lack of context and capability.
People desire self-service across all industries and generations.
Many companies now offer phone, SMS, webchat and in-app services to serve customers on their “channel of choice.”
That’s an important step toward increasing customer happiness and loyalty, but what happens when they traverse channels? Do they get the same experience in each? Can an agent pick up the interaction where the caller left off?
Rarely do we finish an interaction in the same channel we started in.
Leaders are more concerned about meeting expectations but are kept awake at night by the experiences created in each channel. Therefore, an omni-channel approach is starting to become the norm across all industries.
The obvious solution to some is to buy a bunch of technology, hoping to accommodate most demands customers make. But that’s not a comprehensive solution.
Getting a text message when my order ships or my flight is delayed is great, but what happens if I respond? What happens if I am surfing around in my mobile app to re-book a flight but can’t find the best option?
According to the Schwab study, 66 percent of respondents preferred human touch when designing a financial portfolio. Broken up by age, about 40 percent of millennials and Gen Xers preferred a computer algorithm versus 30 percent of boomers and 24 percent of older respondents.
Advanced technology is the first step in serving each of these people effectively. For example, a comprehensive IVR solution can provide step-by-step guidance and feed data into your proactive notifications strategy. That further personalizes the interaction and makes self-service even easier.
But there are some questions an automated assistant can’t answer, so having a unified technology environment connected to your contact center is a crucial piece of CX strategy — even for the self-service generation.
And that level of service must be available regardless of where the conversation began.
Everyone deserves the same experience, no matter what channel they choose.
With wide-ranging ages, differing preferences and fluid channels, supplying the same experience in every channel and leveraging data is imperative.
While many customers may be looking for a self-service option, they are taking different journeys to get there. Companies need to spend time understanding each customer’s journey and seek input from both consumers and employees.
Lastly, find a communication partner like West who can provide unified service across channels and ensure your strategy is functional, accessible and creates an emotional connection that keeps customers coming back.
Brands that connect interactions, predict behavior and deliver a perpetually better experience will be strategically positioned to evolve with customers, no matter where they are in their customer journey.
More tools to connect with the self-service generation
With strategic use of communication technology and the right consultation, your infrastructure can move from disconnected pieces to a prescriptive, problem-solving machine. Download our comprehensive CX Lifecycle Management Maturity Model to learn more about your organization’s CX maturity.
The self-service generation has created our world’s emphasis on new technologies. Now those consumers are looking to the same technologies to connect with your business. Reach them where they are, and your relationships will last for generations to come.
Ben has more than 10 years’ experience in both finance and sales. Before joining West in 2009, he studied aerospace engineering, civil engineering and business management at Iowa State University, University of Nebraska at Omaha and Nebraska Wesleyan University. Today, Ben builds strong relationships with Fortune 100 companies to drive strategic planning, solution development and relationship management initiatives to help them create exceptional experiences for their customers.