Earning the loyalty of millennials is the Holy Grail for modern-day organizations. Millennials want to be in control. They want fast results and instant information, and are less inclined to pick up the phone than generations prior. The world is at their fingertips. Brands have adapted to the on-demand, mobile and connected generation by embracing omni-channel customer service models, specifically focusing on building “self-service” options. “Have a complaint? Need to place a new order? Want to fill out our application? Chat with our virtual assistant online or via our mobile app! Leave us a comment on Facebook, Tweet at us!” With brands in hot pursuit to adapt and emulate Gen Y preferences, many predicted the future of customer service would be purely self-service. But reality is proving far different than these predictions.
Millennials value the human touch. Here are three reasons why self-service will not eclipse traditional service, and why our future includes a well-orchestrated blend of the two.
When things get tough, we pick up the phone. When faced with complex or emotional situations (for example, dealing with health insurance, finances, or medical issues, etc.), millennials bypass self-service bots and website questionnaires to seek out a live human interaction. In fact, according to an Accenture Survey, respondents said that human interaction was preferable to digital solutions when looking to resolve an issue. That’s because millennials, just like everybody else, want the option of transferring their emotional burden to someone who has better knowledge of how to resolve an issue than they do. They want a two-way conversation with someone who provides reassurance, answers, and a path forward.
We crave emotional, authentic connections. Millennials are eager to forge connections and relationships with the brands they love. While interactions on social media or online forums play a big role in creating experiences, this concept rings especially true for human interactions. For a generation who values authenticity, there is nothing more off-putting than a list of automated dial options, followed by a script-reading robot that provides generic answers. Millennials want emotionally intelligent customer service representatives who recognize their time is valuable and if they are not satisfied, they can simply take their business elsewhere.
More money, more service. As millennials become wealthier, they are willing to pay up for good service. In return they want a frictionless path to resolution, and to offload the stress and emotional burden that prevents them from living an enjoyable life. They will pay for personalized customer service as long as they trust that the organization will consistently fulfill their promise and act in their best interest. Meeting millennials’ needs and preferences also presents a critical opportunity for today’s brands, as they have an estimated $200 billion in collective buying power. That buying power is expected to outpace other generations by the end of this year. To capitalize on this opportunity customer services organizations must be more attuned to the needs of customers than ever before.
Self-service plays an important role in engaging the millennial customer base; but the care, empathy and authenticity delivered via good human service is where customers form their true bond with a brand. The human connection will remain critical for modern-day businesses as they strive to earn and grow the business of what is becoming their most important market segment.
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