The Customer Experience Matters. Does Age Play a Part?

Our fourth post in Brent Holland‘s series, “Generational Hiring for the Optimal Customer Experience”, discusses research examining whether generational groups produce a different customer experience.

Do generational differences affect perceptions of the customer experience?

In the last post, I shared research indicating that more mature workers are likely to turnover less often than younger workers.  That’s only half the equation, however.  An equally important issue concerns whether generational groups produce an equivalent customer experience.  Employees who do not turnover and produce a poor quality customer experience may be more costly to a company than employees who turnover quickly.  This phenomenon — where poor performers do not leave a company — is something we call “The Dark Side of Retention” and many call centers are plagued by this very issue.

Much like the perception that more mature workers are stable and less likely to turnover, a similar belief seems to apply to job performance.  Many call center leaders believe that a more mature employee will stay longer and produce a better customer experience.  In our current research, we define as the quality of customer experience via the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores.

The results of our research were somewhat surprising.  For example, we found that:

    * There are no statistically significant differences between CSAT scores across generational groups.  This finding held true regardless of tenure,  and
    * Though not statistically significant, there are trends that suggest Gen Y may be able to produce better CSAT scores in more technical jobs.

These results suggest the belief that mature workers produce a better customer experience is a myth.  It is important that call center that not fall victim to the belief that mature workers will drive better performance on average – they will stay longer, but they may not necessarily produce a better customer experience, particularly in more technical jobs.

The results also reinforce the point that it is critical for call centers to review its jobs and conduct good empirical research before settling on a pre-hire assessment process.  Using the empirical data from your company to inform the pre-hire process is the most effective way to improve the quality of hire, minimize legal exposure, and produce the desired customer experience.

The final blog in this series will focus on recruiting and sourcing different generational groups.

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