That’s why Comdata Spain is pioneering a specialized, flexible, hyper-personalized and empathetic generational care solution to help brands cross the generation gaps. Pedro Rodríguez Swanson, Chief Commercial Officer at Comdata Spain, introduces our unique “Comdata Generations” project.
WHY TARGET THE SILVER GENERATION
Think about this. In your day-to-day life, would you interact with an 80-year-old in the same way you approach an 18-year-old? Almost certainly not. So, why would you do the same in your customer management processes and contact centers? In most sectors and for most brands, it would be crazy.
Interacting with different generations is not just a question of which products or services you try to sell, it’s about how you talk to people, who talks to them, and whether your processes reflect their needs and preferences. The pandemic highlighted this. At a time when consumers were interacting with many brands by digital channels only, it became clear that older and other vulnerable consumers (even affluent ones) were suffering a range of problems from social isolation to anxiety about how to deal with providers of essential products and services. Brands that address these generational issues have major opportunities to drive loyalty, retention and value in a fast-growing segment.
In Spain, where the population aged 67 and over is predicted to account for over a quarter (25.8%) of the total Spanish population by 2040, Comdata España and Latam saw the issues facing older consumers and reacted quickly. Our response was the Comdata Generations Silver initiative, helping brands to serve elderly generations better, and thereby differentiate themselves and create value.
BRANDS MAY ALSO FACE NEW LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
As it turned out, Comdata Generations was perfectly timed. In addition to addressing a social need, it anticipated a major regulatory development. Perhaps recognizing the electoral power of the silver generation, the Spanish government has proposed a controversial ‘Customer Service Law’ that will oblige companies to meet a wide range of obligations when its customers call a Spanish number, including:
- answering all customer interactions within 3 minutes 24/7
- always providing personalized service from a human operator if the customer requests it
- resolving all customer claims within 15 days max
- prioritizing silver / senior generation interactions over other customer interactions.
If implemented in its current form, the law will apply to all companies (regardless of size) providing ‘basic services’ such as water, energy, passenger transportation, postal services, telecom and internet services, and financial services. It will also apply to any company with over 250 employees, regardless of sector.
The product and service offerings made possible by Comdata Generations will help brands comply with this law, as well as addressing the needs and challenges of vulnerable groups. Furthermore, the project has significance and value far beyond Spain. This is because not only do older generations face similar social and digital problems everywhere, but we also expect similar measures to be considered in other countries with ageing populations, especially in Europe and the US.
COMDATA GENERATIONS SILVER: ADDRESSING THE SOCIAL PERSPECTIVE
To address the problems of elderly consumers through Comdata Generations Silver, we have adapted our operating model and services to the everyday needs of this key audience. This has involved three inter-related elements.
The first is the social perspective. In order to offer the silver generation the type of customer experience they actually want, we have worked closely with nonprofit senior associations. We consulted them on the gaps (including digital gaps) that older consumers face, the problems they experience in their daily interactions with banks or utility providers, how they would like to be served, and what would improve their lives.
Using the understanding gained from this collaboration, our operations and HR teams in Spain have worked intensively on our processes, recruitment, agent profiles and training to cater better for a senior audience. For example, we now have:
- senior-friendly recruitment and training models carefully tailored to the identified needs of older consumers
- a pool of skilled agents fully trained to relate empathetically with this generation and other vulnerable consumers too, such as those with speech or hearing difficulties
- carefully selected volunteers working on social inclusion projects, such as telephone follow-up for the socially-isolated and digital training for seniors.
With Comdata Generations Silver rolled out, these steps will be followed by further initiatives to adapt our services to the needs of each generation group, looking at vulnerable groups first.
BUSINESS AND LABOR PERSPECTIVES
The two other inter-related elements that underpin Comdata Generations are the business perspective and the labor perspective. Again, both are critical in helping brands to successfully hyper-personalize their products and services to the needs of the silver generation, and both have significance far beyond Spain.
The business perspective: From early on in the Comdata Generations project, we collaborated with our clients, rethinking our processes to create a friendly environment and service for older consumers and other vulnerable groups. A good illustration of the need to think differently is average handling times (AHTs): since it is clear from our discussions with nonprofits that older people don’t want to be rushed, are AHTs really the best metric when providing customer management to this generation? To support our clients to drive loyalty, retention and revenues, we are working creatively with them to develop objectives, metrics and KPIs better suited to the silver generation.
The labor perspective: We also want to leverage senior talent – important when it’s the workforce that is ageing and not just consumers. Many of us at Comdata already know from our own experience that silver-generation workers can be a rich source of skills, capabilities and ideas; now we’re exploring more formalized approaches to the recruitment, training and management of silver-generation talent.
HYPER-PERSONALIZATION FOR DIFFERENT GENERATIONS
Once we started developing the Comdata Generations project and addressing the needs of elderly, vulnerable and socially isolated consumers, we quickly thought, why stop there? We saw that applying this hyper-personalization approach to other groups and generations would be the natural follow-on to Comdata Generations Silver.
This, then, is where we go next, looking at how we help brands to get smarter about their interactions with different generations. This means building on areas where we already excel, such as:
- using AI and data driven analytics to identify and correlate trends, buying behaviors, needs, likes and dislikes in order to share these insights with clients and also build them into our processes, training profiles, objectives and KPIs
- applying augmented technology so agents can resolve issues more quickly and in a more personalized manner
- helping our clients to optimize their end-to-end customer interactions and processes, putting customers and different generations at the center, and providing synergies between self-service and omnichannel contact center interactions.
This will be transformational for brands, helping them design customer-centric journeys that will prevent increase of service, reduce repeated interactions, mitigate the cost of compliance with any new customer services legislation, and increase customer value across multiple generations of consumers.
SHAPING THE FUTURE
Ultimately, Comdata Generations is based on our deep understanding of consumers and of what’s coming down the line in the future. It’s a certainty that most sectors and brands will have to hyper-personalize their services and products, and offer better resolution timeframes for every generation.
Comdata Generations offers exactly that, beginning with the silver generation with its growing numbers, growing incomes and its specific digital, CX and social challenges. For any brand that wants to differentiate its CX from the crowd, this could be your golden ticket for the future – starting in Spain, but certainly not confined to there.
We’d be delighted to tell you more about Comdata Generations, and help you improve the CX for your silver generation customers. Contact us to find out more and discuss your own needs.