In the past several years a new generation of consumers has shaped, and the market is watching the new kind of consumer behavior millennials demonstrate. Born between 1980 and 2000, they now outnumber baby boomers and present a different kind of audience for retailers. Their take on customer engagement, brand awareness and interaction is different from that of other generations. Your customer service should be aware of the ways to build relationship with these young consumers.
Today this generation of ambitious and technology-savvy young professionals is a major influence on the market and the way businesses interact with their customers. In year 2017 and onward, millennials will be spending over $200 billion dollars annually, making them the defining customer group in the global eCommerce market.
But apart from their reliance on technology, what does make this generation so special and peculiar? And why do they anticipate changes to the concept of customer service as we know it?
Multiple devices & Channels
This generation was being raised with mobile devices at their fingertips. Internet having been around before many of them were born, they rely on their own knowledge of the web and can find the information they need in the matter minutes if not seconds. 87% of them have their smartphones on them at all times, day and night. 47% of millennials say they use their smartphone to pay for services and goods online. In fact, you could say that millennials are rather tech dependent.
They constantly switch between devices including laptops, smartphones, and TV. And unless your website has responsive design, chances are that your millennial customers are frustrated with bad functionality of your website on the different devices they are using. Furthermore, the need to start their shopping from scratch once they move from one device to another is another issue that can lead to losing your millennial customers. This according to Get Personal study by Adobe, which found that nearly 80% of consumers and 90% of millennials switch devices while engaged in an activity; two-thirds (66%) of device owners find it frustrating when content is not synchronized across devices. Therefore businesses should work toward delivering such seamless experiences across digital devices through consistently identifying users that move from one digital experience to another.
On top of this, millennials use multiple social media, and while Facebook is the favorite among this group of customers, they expect you to be present in other social networks as well. Curiously, more women than men in this generation want this multichannel access to customer service.
Being the most educated generation due to access to technology and information, millennials are the crowd most aware of cultures around the globe and enjoy adventure and discovery. It is probably this multicultural mindset that drives them to experience new things even while shopping or receiving services.
They enjoy experimental shopping environment to make it more than goods-for-money deal. Hospitality industry does not leg behind either: even top New York hotels feel the need to adjust to fit the expectations of the new generation of customers. “We see millennial travelers more as explorers than tourists,” said Brian McGuinness, global brand leader, Starwood’s Specialty Select Brands. “Our Aloft hotels are specifically designed with them in mind.”
When eating out, millennials desire exotic and memorable experiences. Hence the popularity of all the dining and restaurant applications suggesting unusual tastes and the right ambience.
One of the most important aspects of a good customer service, according to this generation, is time. They expect answers from customer service within ten minutes from the moment they send an enquiry. They want expedient delivery and would rather try new company than risk a delay in delivery from the company that has already failed before.
Over the past few years over 50% of millennials – more than in any other generation – moved from one company to another based on their experience with customer service. According to surveys, 25% stop using a company after the first negative experience, 82% will do so after the third one. Think how many million dollars these companies lost in revenues.
With mobile devices being available to this generation of customers early on in their lives, these young people expect real-time access to information and multiple providers available to choose from. In short, if you want to keep this customer, make sure you are able to respond and provide fast. And do so consistently.
Independence & Self-Sufficiency
Millennials demonstrate a considerable shift in customer behavior toward self-service. It goes so far as to make them feel as if a telephone conversation with customer service representative is an invasion of their personal space. Millennials would rather communicate with service or goods providers via SMS or a social network. 36% of millennials would contact customer service more often if they could text them.
At the same time, over 70% of customers prefer to find solutions to their issues on their own and browse the Internet rather than contact customer service representatives. Whether it is an FAQ page, a forum, a video tutorial, a troubleshooting guide – the written or recorded content is a far more certain way to satisfy your millennial customer.
The good news is that it is also a cost-effective solution for businesses, as they are able to cut back on customer service expenses.
Reliability & Intuitiveness
Being raised with the Internet available everywhere and smartphones within 10 feet at all times, millennials want applications and websites to work 100% of the time. They adopt new technologies quickly and are used to user-friendly interfaces, all thanks to the great minds behind Apple, Google, and Amazon putting intuitiveness in the focus of their product. A lot of businesses, especially in finance do not put that much effort into creating convenient user experience, and millennials definitely dislike this approach: over 21% are ready to switch to a different financial institution if it is able to provide better digital experience.
Authenticity & Informal Attitude
If you think millennials leave companies because loyalty is not their forte, you are not exactly right. They base their loyalty on consistently good service, personal experiences and convictions. In fact, millennials stay more loyal to brands than older generations do. 36% of millennials believe that brands help express their values and their personality.
While in the eyes of older generations millennials are often perceived as self-involved, technology-dependent bunch, it is also true that they have stronger sense of social justice, greater criticism towards facts and information. They like when a brand builds a community that shares the same ideas and values and like to engage with other members of the community. They are also more likely to buy from companies that have a verifiable claim to giving back to the community: be it donating to a specific cause, volunteering with company employees, selling organic goods or going green to bring less harm to the environment. If such themes are included in your content, this will help build trust with your customers.