We’re working on an excellent project just now.  Without revealing the client name – they prepare 16-19 year olds for a career in either the military or civvy street.  They achieve this through a mix of boot camp and classroom training.  91% of their learners go on to get a job straight after.

The thing is: these Millennial learners – and the generation coming up fast behind them – may be only 16 years old now.  In 10 years’ time, they will have jobs, they may have become important customers of yours, they may have started up new companies, and one of them might even end up as your new boss.  Are you and your organisation ready for this?

These people have grown up with the ‘new’ technology – except it’s not new to them.  And strange as it seems to anyone over 30, they don’t primarily use their smartphones for making phone calls.  Shock, horror …  They get their news from the internet, they communicate via social media, IM, text and app’s, and if anything goes wrong, would they call a contact centre for help?  Some youngsters I asked recently snickered quietly to themselves when I put this question to them.  One or two looked pityingly at me.  “No – we’d get help on-line”.

Our clients are the first organisation we’ve worked with who recognise the dynamics of this target audience, and are setting up an omni-channel contact centre from Day One.  Inbound and outbound voice, webchat, SMS (manual and automated), email, and various social media, all linked up to SalesForce.  So many centres we’ve visited in the past three years are still behind the curve on multi-channel – let alone omni.

We were invited to their Awards Ceremony last week and it was very moving listening to some of the youngsters speaking about what the training had done for them – particularly the ability to stand up and speak to a gathering of 400+ local dignitaries, military top brass – and of course, proud parents.

I’m not sure about the state of affairs we’re bequeathing to these young people; I do have faith in their collective ability to fix the things we’ve broken.  Will there still be a place for us first-generation call centre folks in their brave new world?  Yes – but only if we’re using their preferred channels of communication.