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I’m in my mid-30s, I am considered to be at the cusp of being a millennial, born in 1983. My group of friends ranges from the late 20s to late 30s. I’ve noticed something in the way friends who are in their late 20s communicate with me. It does drive me a bit insane. They would share with me a post from their Instagram newsfeed to my Instagram direct message inbox whilst maintaining a conversation about that post in the insta-inbox. Meanwhile, they would be having a second separate conversation on Whatsapp with me about our plans for the weekend. I would literally be talking to one person across two (2) applications, and if that is not crazy enough, sometimes it spans 3 channels where a whole third conversation would be happening on Facebook Messenger.

Being a person who works in Customer Experience (CX), this made me curious. I started to ask my ‘late-twenties’ friends who themselves have friends in their early 20s, why we can’t have a single conversation at the same time. Their reasoning was quite simple, well, on WhatsApp we are talking about plans for the weekend, and on Instagram, we are talking about a specific post, they do not want to mix up the “threads”.

This got me thinking about how this will affect the Customer Experience strategy for organizations, how both millennials and Generation Z (your future customers), are good at multi-tasking, having the ability to have two-three conversation threads with the same person simultaneously. This also goes in line with research that shows that Gen Z & millennials prefer texting over phone calls. This makes sense, as with texting you can have multiple conversations at the same time, whereas with a phone call you need to be focused on just one.

“In 2015, the OMD UK’s Future of Britain research project found that ‘people change the device they are using at home 21 times an hour on average’. Customers move across mobile, laptop, TV, or in-store without thinking about it. They start and finish the journey how and where they want to because they can, thanks to technology.” source e consultancy 

So the question is how should your organizations adapt its CX to your customers’ habits. The answer is simple. 

Design your customer journey to allow “hand-offs”, or cross-channel communication, also known as multi-modal. 

I’m personally guilty of cross-channel communications, I use Amazon regularly, and as with any delivery service, you’d expect a delay. Most of the times when I contact Amazon, I typically start via web-chat on my laptop, which is initially handled by a chatbot, more often than not the chatbot doesn’t resolve my issues, so I ask to speak to a live agent via phone. The sad thing, up until recently, in this day and age, when this happens with Amazon, I do have to end up repeating my order ID, repeating the same information that the chatbot had.

At IST we work with the two leading Gartner Customer Experience/Contact Center providers Cisco & Genesys, which both support Cross-Channel/Multi-Modal communications. We are advocates of when designing your customer experience, break down the silos, ensure an agent can see the full customer interactions history along with the context of the call. Only then would you be truly offering exceptional customer experience.

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