By Tim Pickard, SVP of marketing at NewVoiceMedia
The Millennial generation is growing up, they have jobs, pay bills and consume goods and services. And with 80 million Millennial customers in the US predicted to be spending $200 billion annually by 2017, and $10 trillion over their lifetimes as consumers, they are a powerful buying force.
What’s interesting is that with every new generation, comes a new set of customer service expectations. The Millennial generation grew up in a very different world to Generation X and the Baby Boomers.
Their world has always been defined by technology and for as long as they can remember the internet has been a part of their lives. This is also the generation that was first to adopt the smartphone, and the group of people most likely to be glued to the device all day long.
The potential power of the Millennial generation
This tech-savvy generation may be more demanding, but they also offer businesses huge opportunities. They are what Brian Solis calls Generation C or the “connected generation”.
An example of this is when student, Mollie Sterling, shared a picture of a classroom at the Missouri School of Journalism – it showed rows and rows of students sat with Apple laptops.
The picture went viral and in 2008, Apple even used it in a press conference. This unintentional advert for Apple came about because Generation C effectively acts as a human network, which relays information and experiences in real-time.
On the flip side, Millennials have the ability to share things which are detrimental to a brand as well. A particularly famous example is when Ryan Block tried to cancel his Comcast service and the agent pretty much refused to let him. Ryan then posted eight minutes of the agent’s excessive sales pitch on Soundcloud, which has been listened to 5.8 million times.
Millennials are not only soon to be the generation with the biggest wallet, but the biggest influence.Get Millennial customer service right and your message could spread like wildfire. Get it wrong and one unhappy experience could be shared with millions.
What do Millennials want from customer service?
• The ability to solve a problem themselves
What makes Millennials unique is that they have very different ideas when it comes to where “humans” fit into customer service.
If an app or a quick Google search can solve their problem, this is considered much better than having to contact a “real” person.
This doesn’t mean that they don’t want any kind of human customer service. It just means that if it’s the kind of problem they could solve themselves; they want you to have the right self-service options in place to enable them to do so.
• The ability to choose how and when they get in contact
Millennials are accustomed to using multiple channels in everyday life. Gone are the days when the telephone was the only channel associated with customer service communications.Shoppers expect to be able to contact you across multiple channels and for you to be able to track this as one conversation.
Social media is a must – 36.4% of Millennials cite social as their preferred channel – with many more using it as part of a multi-channel experience.
Plus, the always-on smartphone enabled culture has meant that they also expect to be able to choose when to get in touch, with 9-5 opening hours just not cutting it.
• A speedy and convenient service
The smartphone has in many ways sped up our internal clocks. Because mobile devices can instantly connect you to anyone and any information you need, it’s increased how quickly we expect a brand to reply or deliver a service.
This is particularly true for Millennials, who either weren’t born before the “always-connected” culture began, or were too young to notice.
• They expect your technology to work flawlessly
There was a time when people were just impressed that technology worked some of the time, because it was amazing enough that it existed.
Whereas, the Millennial generation are used to digital devices that can do just about anything.
As a result, they are very unforgiving of businesses with clunky customer service technology, which doesn’t deliver. If you have a customer service app, they expect it to be easy to use and if they get in touch with a contact centre, they don’t expect technological problems.
• Personalised customer experience
According to an Orange Silicon Valley Report, 89% of customers say that having to repeat information is their top frustration about customer service.
This is because Millennials expect your team to remember who they are, when they last got in touch and why they last got in touch.
They expect each interaction to be personalised to them, so having to repeat information to a new agent is the ultimate sign of a failed personalised service.
Millennials expect on-demand, multi-channel, reliable and personalised customer service, which is speedy enough for them to feel like a brand values their time.
They may seem like a generation with high expectations, but get customer service right for Millennials and the rewards are huge.