Lauren Reid, Head of Direct Service, MLC Life Insurance
We are constantly being told that thanks to technological advancements, customer demands and expectations are increasing. As a life insurer that supports 1.5 million Australians and their families, this is a trend that cannot be ignored if we are to be sustainable as a business in the future.
However, while it is right to adapt to changing customer expectations, are we doing enough to acknowledge changing employee demands, specifically within contact centers?
The presence of the millennial workforce is increasing within contact centers and they, just like our customers, have different expectations and preferred ways of working. They prefer working in groups, as opposed to on their own, and prefer collaboration over competition. I know this to be true as I myself am from the millennial generation.
contact centers typically have very traditional operating models. These provide little flexibility and diversity within their roles especially if we’re talking about phone channels only.
Our workplace model now provides for our staff to continue to focus on handling inbound customer demands, while also enabling them to work on other projects and customer work
Unsurprisingly, this traditional environment is less appealing to the millennial workforce.
As a business, this leaves us with two options:
1. Assume we can change their perception of the workplace (which is unlikely, over the long-term);
2. Choose instead to adapt our workplace to meet the needs of the emerging millennial workforce.
For our MLC Life Insurance Operations teams, we’ve started to redesign the workplace and work to best respond to both customer and employee needs. We saw an opportunity to break away from traditional operating silos. Our workplace model now provides for our staff to continue to focus on handling inbound customer demands, while also enabling them to work on other projects and customer work.
A recent example of this is our decision to pilot cross-skilling between the contact center and Administration teams. It has enabled us to create a more flexible workforce as we have multiple employees who can pivot to immediate customer demand as required. By multiskilling the workforce it’s enabled people to feel more fulfilled within their role as it add diversity to their work and significantly increases their skills and capabilities. It has also allowed us to start planning for the future skills required in a modern contact center.
The growth of millennials in contact centers shows no sign of slowing down. Those businesses that best get to grips with the change, and adapt their operational models to reflect it, are more likely to retain employee talent and have higher levels of engagement, which in turn will deliver strong customer outcomes.