Millennial spending power surpassed $10 trillion globally in 2015 and only continues to grow as more Millennials enter adulthood, join the workforce and become parents. They are becoming the largest demographic in the marketplace, and while a lot has been written and said about the difference in attitudes, needs and expectations of this consumer segment, it's just as important to understand these differences and apply them. When it comes to customer service, this means that businesses need to ensure that the customer experience is up to par with the different behaviors and expectations of Millennials in order to win and retain their business.
Here are 5 insights into Millennials and how to translate those insights into great customer service.
1. Millennials are self-reliant
Millennials grew up with technology and the Internet. For as long as they can remember, everything has always been at their fingertips, so they are used to finding the information they are looking for on their own. Thus, it's important for companies to have tools and resources in place to cater to this behavior and expectation. This could mean anything from an FAQ page, a troubleshooting guide or a community forum to a how-to article or walk-through video, which gives your consumers a way to figure out the solution to their problem or answer to their question on their own.
In a similar fashion, self-service is an important tool to consider as well. While self-reliant, tech-savvy Millennials appreciate the ability to service themselves, it doesn't take away the need for human-assisted service as Millennials prefer interacting with someone for more complex issues and questions. Therefore, it is important to have both methods available and integrated in order to provide the best possible experience for your largely Millennial customer base.
2. Millennials are device diverse
Millennials don't stick to a specific device. From laptops to tablets to smartphones and smart devices, there are a number of devices, and within those a number of platforms, through which to reach consumers today. In fact, Millennials switch between "laptops, smartphones, and TV on an average of 27 times per hour." Just as Millennials are consuming content across a number of different channels, they are also looking for support across platforms as well - henceforth, omnichannel customer service is a growing area of focus. Everything from social media customer support, email support, and voice support to mobile support, chat support and in-app support (plus much more) are important areas to consider.
3. Millennials want it now
Not only did Millennials grow up with the ability to find almost any information at their fingertips, they also grew up with a number of devices and technologies through which to access all this information instantly. Many of the services they are accustomed to provide instant gratification (like Amazon Prime Now or next day grocery delivery services) and that's what Millennials have come to expect. According to a study by Desk.com, 25% of Millennials expect to get a response within ten minutes of reaching out for customer service via social media, and more than 30 percent expect the same speed of response when posting a query via text. To make matters even more complicated, Millennials are not afraid to ditch a company and go with a competitor. Thus, to keep Millennials happy, businesses have to provide quick and instant customer service, or they may just move on.
4. Millennials are conversationalists
Millennials strongly believe in having conversations and are vastly informal. With Millennials, scripted customer service responses will no longer do. Millennials talk in 140 character tweets, short and quick texts and online Facebook posts. To communicate effectively with them, businesses have to understand how to speak their language, and do so in an authentic manner.
5. Millennials value relationships and recommendations
Just as Millennials are more informal in the way they communicate, they are also increasingly informal in their relationships with businesses. Millennials engage with brands in a much more extensive way than previous generations, much more personally and emotionally than ever before. Millennials care where products were made, they care what goes into their products and they care about the team behind it. They like to be proactively guided and seek out information and recommendations from others. Thus, businesses should create helpful content and advice, as well as have positive consumer feedback and reviews readily available. If done right, businesses may even be able to help guide Millennials through their consumer journey. While Millennials don't like to be told what to do, they appreciate proactive and helpful guidance, as long as it's authentic.
While Millennials aren't the only consumer segment businesses need to focus on, they are a growing market that is becoming increasingly visible and vocal. Millennials not only have their own opinions and preferences, their attitudes also impact other consumer segments, like their Baby Boomer parents. Therefore, in order for a business to provide excellent customer service overall, they can't ignore the habits and expectations of the Millennial consumer base.