Here’s what your business needs to know about cross-generation communication

Parents know what it’s like to lose track of their kids when it comes to communication. Children grow into a space influenced by the voices, technology and experiences around them; the only way to keep up with them is to keep listening and investigating what interests them. This principle applies to business, too. Businesses need to update their methods of communication when it comes to speaking to customers or risk losing them to a generational divide.

Know your audience

Different generations respond differently to media and other stimuli. Unlocking these communication channels aids businesses in ensuring the correct message is shared and in the correct media. Baby Boomers prefer to use the phone to speak to an individual, but Generation Y, (the Millennials) would rather communicate with your business via social media.

Businesses have different requirements when it comes to dealing with their customers: a sales environment is different to a debt collection environment, but the need for efficiency and customer retention is the same. In a business’s contact centre, an omni-channel form of communication is the most attractive option. This allows for seamless communication across different media channels, so a customer can use social media, email, text or phone to achieve what they want to achieve via the contact and this also allows the business to provide the same levels of customer service across all channels.

This communication is not just about the message being shared: digital channels shouldn’t just be supported by businesses – measurement and integration with other more traditional support channels (e.g. email and phone) provides a single customer view. At every touchpoint, a customer experiences a consistent brand rather just a channel within a brand. This is an essential part of formulating trust, the foundation of the brand-customer relationship. This form of brand-communication speaks to Gen X and Y.

Leverage communication preferences

Response rates on traditional customer surveys are typically very low – making it difficult to regularly gather customer feedback and use this information to drive business improvement. However, the Gen Y preference for digital channels overcomes some of these challenges: it is not only easier for marketing departments to administer surveys but the results are more immediate, and consumers are more likely to respond on channels they prefer.

In fact, there are many multi-channel customer feedback options currently available to businesses – from post-call (after a contact centre customer service call, for example) to in-store QR codes to web, email, USSD and mobile. For younger generations jaded by the one-sided communication of traditional media, it’s all about engagement, and the conversation only really begins when it’s a two-way street.

“Listening” to your customer by making use of feedback tools helps a business adapt to the needs of the customer and ensures that you have an informed customer experience strategy that aids in creating a solid brand and a trusted customer relationship.

Like the parent-child relationship, the customer-business relationship may take time to develop, but it’s the business’s responsibility to learn how to listen and respond to a customer’s needs.

Image: xflickrx via Flickr.



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