According to recent research by CALLCARE, (1) almost one in three millennials do not use their mobile phones to make a call more than twice a week.
Following this, Gemma Harding, Head of Corporate Services at virtual receptionist providers CALLCARE (2) gives her top tips and speaks to a working millennial on how businesses can train young staff to better their relationship with the phone.
Given that this age bracket are said to be tethered to their mobiles – nearly half check their phone in the middle of the night (3)– speaking over the phone still remains a weak spot.
As telecommunications are a vital aspect of most workplaces, it is clear that businesses need to be engaging their younger staff a little better and understand why millennials find it so difficult, and how it can be remedied.
Let’s start with the good news
Now, far from adding to the tide of criticism often targeted at the millennial group, there is plenty that goes in their favour. Recently, for example, it was revealed that entrepreneurs aged 18-24 found more success by prioritising purpose over profit. (4)
This means that they are active in their communities and work hard for the economy. As a result, their turnover is 141% higher than businesses run by older generations.
So, why do millennials feel this way about phone calls?
Social media has a lot to answer for.
Wider research (5) certainly correlates with this statement. With students clocking the most mobile hours to Facebook and Spotify, it’s clear that more could be done to better acclimatise young people to telecommunications.
Because, while there may be other apps, there are jobs and whole industries that solely depend on using the phone.
This goes for numerous other businesses too, across countless industries and sectors. Emails can only go so far. There is a need for young people to be adding phone skills to their repertoire, and fortunately, it only takes a few simple steps…
How can I help millennials improve their phone skills?
1. It all begins with training
Employers need to be laying down some guidelines for all employees, not just those of a certain age bracket. Guidance, as to call handling processes and portraying professionalism over the phone, is vital, whether you are talking to clients or colleagues.
Remember, you’re representing your company!
2. Be accommodating and offer alternatives
Younger employees will be used to alternative methods of communication, and will likely find messaging a lot easier. Emails, too. Be accommodating and you should find them responsive, happy to work with and grateful for your co-operation.
3. Consistency is key
It pays to be persistent, too. It’s often said that a habit takes around 60 days to set in, which is a relatively short time. With this in mind, we advise you to implement some universal greetings across the board, and maybe a few phrases for employees to have at hand.
It doesn’t need to be scripted, and it can still sound human.
Admittedly, a script can sometimes help. It mirrors real-life interaction with a more structured approach.
Finally, to get some real-life millennial comment, we spoke to Verena Franco; a 19-year old Junior Account Executive working in PR and digital marketing. Verena has some valuable insight into the millennial’s relationship with phone calls.
According to Verena, it’s not so clear-cut:
“Personally, I use my mobile phone for social media and texting or WhatsApp, and I’d say most of my friends around my age would say the same – I think this is also one of the reasons why home landlines are becoming extinct. I also prefer talking on the phone with people I know well, such as my parents and close friends.
“I am currently studying digital marketing where I am encouraged to reach out to influencers on social media. However, working in PR means that calls are also necessary. To be honest, this is something I initially struggled with but got the hang of.
“Although speaking on the phone may be more personal and helps you get a feel of the kind of the person you are speaking to, I have found that most people prefer to be contacted via email so this is the main means that I use to communicate with at work.”
To conclude, these training techniques not only help to boost millennial confidence with phone calls, they improve customer service across the board in ways businesses should expect.