8 Secrets to Improving the Customer Experience for Millennials

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Millennial customers, those born between 1980 and 2000, are redefining the way customer service is perceived. They’re outnumbering the baby boomers and reinforcing the age of technology for companies. This generation is the target audience for a large number of businesses, which makes focusing on the millennial customer experience essential.

Millennial customers have incredible spending power that’s affecting retail in every way. Their perceptions on shopping in every form, from grocery shopping to online purchases, are demanding a more educated, unique experience from the retail sector. If retailers wish to keep up, they need to recognize what millennials view as important when it comes to customer service.

1. Connect Technologically

Millennial shoppers were born and raised during the boom of technology, which means they’re bred to lean on technology – and they do. According to a Nielsen study, 86 percent of the millennial generation own a smartphone and use it daily for shopping, email, and more. If you want to connect, you have to be on their level.

2. Make Yourself Available

When a millennial customer wants something, they want it as quickly as possible. If you have customer service hours from eight to five and offer no other way for immediate contact (i.e. social profiles, forums, forms) they’ll become frustrated with your service and look to one of the hundreds of other businesses exactly like yours to fulfill their needs.

3. Provide Self-Reliant Opportunities

This generation likes to do things by themselves, without talking to anyone. A report from The Real Self-Service Economy shows that 40 percent of customers prefer self-service opportunities over human contact, and that 70 percent expect that feature on a website.

4. Showcase Experience

It’s hard to trust everything you read on the web these days, particularly an ecommerce site boasting larger-than-life goods and services. If you’re selling something that seems too good to be true, you better be able to back it up if you want to appease your young adult customers.

5. Speak Their Language

Even though these customers demand an experience where they can take care of themselves without human contact, they still want to feel like you know them well enough to speak their language. This involves personalizing the user experience with things like “recommendations for you” and “Hello [insert customer name].” You often see this service on websites like Netfilx and Amazon that offer full, self-service applications with the perfect amount of personalization.

6. Focus on Speed

When a millennial customer wants something, they won’t wait around for it. A focus on speed can encompass many things, from shipping times to answering customer service calls, but it also focuses largely on site loading time. According to a blog post from Kissmetrics, if a website takes longer than three seconds to load, 79 percent will abandon the site and never return.

7. Stay Socially Present

If you want to speak the language of your millennial customers, stay technologically connected, personalize your interactions, meet their need for speed, and be socially present. Millennials are now engaged on multiple social channels, Facebook and Twitter being the largest applications, but they have profiles on numerous other sites as well. Have profiles on these sites and someone available to greet customers when they seek answers and information.

8. Be Authentic

Scripted customer service responses won’t fly with this group. Authenticity here requires reaching out technologically to speak their language through tweets, texts, Facebook posts, and non-intrusive emails. In addition, person-to-person customer service experiences should be personalized with empathy, compassion, and a real human voice.

After applying each of these tips, remember two things: Millennials don’t like to be stereotyped, and they’re not afraid to leave a company if they have a bad experience. Focus on bringing your company up to date on modern-day trends and deliver personalized services that will encourage consumers to come back for more.  

Larry Alton
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Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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