Meeting Millennial Customer Expectations

Published on: February 05, 2016
Author: Neil Cox

In 2015 the US Census Bureau reported that Millennials outnumbered Baby Boomers for the first time, meaning they now make up a quarter of the population. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 83.1 million Millennials (born 1982-2000)
  • 66 million Generation X (born 1965-1982)
  • 75.4 million Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)

We’re currently at a tipping point, as more and more Millennials join the workforce, increase their spending power and become parents. A lot has been written about the different aspirations, attitudes and needs of Millennials, but in essence they are tech-savvy, expect good service/products, are unafraid to complain or give feedback and have no qualms about switching supplier if they don’t get what they want. Millennial attitudes also impact other groups, for example encouraging Generation Xers and Baby Boomers to also complain more if they don’t get what they require.

This means that organizations need to ensure that the customer experience meets the needs and expectations of Millennials if they want to win and retain their business. Here are five areas for focus on:

1. Keep improving service levels
Millennials continually expect more – and that includes the service and experience they receive. What is seen as market leading today, will be average in six months’ time, meaning that organizations have to constantly evolve, improve and update the experience they provide. This requires a new mindset in many companies as they realize that achieving customer service success is a journey, rather than a box that can be ticked.

2. Value their time
Consumers generally don’t want to waste time waiting for a response or spend hours searching for information. This is especially true of Millennials, who want fast, accurate answers to their queries and are unforgiving if they don’t receive what they require. For example, 64% of consumers want a response to their tweets within 60 minutes, yet Eptica research found that the average time to reply by leading retailers was 1 day and 7 hours.

3. Provide the right channels – and join them up
Millennials don’t necessarily have specific channel preferences. While they are at home online and on social media, they pick the channel that best meets their current needs. So they may call,email, start a chat or contact you through social media. What they do demand is that you offer their channels of choice, and join them up so that they can switch between them at will during the course of the interaction. They don’t want to have to repeat themselves or start again if they swap channel.

4. Focus on listening
Providing and sharing feedback is one of the key traits of the Millennial generation. They want their views to be acted on (fast!), so make sure that you are giving them the opportunity to air their feedback, and that you respond to their concerns, on their channel of choice. Within the contact center team the same applies – you are likely to have a high proportion of Millennials working in customer service, so structure your policies and processes accordingly.

5. Embrace technology
Much more of the Millennial buying process occurs independently, without directly contacting your company. For example, a Millennial consumer purchasing a car may carry out the vast majority of research online, on your website, via social media and other sites before actually getting in touch or walking into a dealership. So ensure that they have access to the information they need, and can find the answers to their questions through self-service systems that are easy to use, consistent and continually updated.

Make sure your approach is mobile-centric, given the growing amount of time Millennials spend on smartphones and tablets. Finally, look at how technology can increase engagement – will embracing innovations such as the Internet of Things or virtual reality help reach Millennials?

While Millennials are not the only group that brands need to engage with, they are becoming increasingly visible and vocal. Therefore, organizations have to make sure that their customer experience is able to meet their needs if they want to win and retain their custom moving forward.

Tags: Baby boomer, Chat, Customer engagement, Customer experience, Customer Service, Eptica, Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z, Millennial, multichannel, self-service, Social media, United States Census Bureau
Categories: Best Practice

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