Working and communicating with almost anyone can have its challenges in the contact center. As a millennial with the responsibility of supervising a group of twenty or so millennials from the same decade, the challenge increases tremendously.
My journey to being a better supervisor for millennials showed me there is one common theme millennials appreciate: honesty. If you communicate with authenticity and transparency with millennials, you are almost sure to receive the same in return. This has been a large part of my success at Education at Work, a non-profit contact center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where we help millennials learn customer service skills and graduate with less debt.
Understanding what drives and motivates millennials provides a fonder consideration of their goals. Learning about my agents and their endeavors are huge factors that dictate how well my weekly one-on-one sessions go. Working together and communicating effectively not only improves performance, but also helps us meet and deliver our client’s goals.
Here are ways contact center supervisors can create thoughtful and empowering dialogue with millennial agents:
Personalize communication to meet millennials where they are.
Be relatable. This cannot be stressed enough. Millennial agents desire to feel comfortable in order to communicate with their superiors. Set the tone for feedback by truly getting to know your agents and being a “hoarder” of relevant details. When you remember aspects of your agents’ lives or goals, it helps show you support their endeavors and have gratitude for their presence. Remembering details also create a sense of accountability for you and agents to refer to when setting new goals or evaluating performance.
Take the “scary” out of supervisor.
Contact centers are notoriously known to have tense environments and supervisor styles equivalent to Mr. Scrooge. When interacting with millennials, understand the overly authoritative figure will demotivate them from performing their best. Take the scary out of supervisor and be an advocate and advisor to bring millennial agents towards their best work. Assess agents’ strengths and consistently find ways to celebrate their victories – no matter if they are small improvements or major metric scores. Create dialogue that helps agents move toward professional development by focusing only not only on the present state of their performance, but also concentrating on future successes.
Use scores and metrics to motivate instead of intimidate.
Agents’ scores and metrics are huge drivers and indicators of how well a contact center is flourishing.Ensure that millennial agents see the bigger picture when it comes to scores – it will help them understand the pains of verification, following a script, and showing empathy. Help agents create personal goals based off of metrics to help personalize their work experience and set the framework for goal-setting. In addition, candidly offer client feedback to help garner improvements and display team accomplishments.