As the fastest-growing consumer demographic, Millennials are poised to make a major impact on the American economy. By 2020, the spending of Millennials— those aged from roughly 18-to-mid-30s— will rise to 1.4 trillion annually. Years before this generation’s full influence will be felt, however, millennial preferences have already changed how contact centers think about customer experience. Read on to learn the 9 things that millennials are expecting from the organizations they buy from and interact with, and how you can adjust your contact center to exceed their customer experience expectations.
Mobile & Online First
Globally, 55% of all customer service interactions now start online, and that numbers jumps to 65% for millennials. In addition, 36% of millennials start customer service situations on a mobile device rather than a desktop computer compared to 21% for consumers over the age of 55. This means that your contact information needs to be displayed clearly online (probably as part of your website header) as well as responsive so that it displays clearly on mobile devices as well.
Millennials interact continuously with their mobile devices because it provides them access to just about everything they need including email, SMS, Social Media, banking, shopping, etc. Because of this, Millennials expect the companies and organizations they interact with to be always-on as well, and will find any means necessary to make that happen (like turning to Twitter if it is after-hours for their contact center). Even if your contact center has specific hours, make sure you have a back-up plan for how to handle customer service issues through the night.
68% of Millennials have higher expectations for customer service today than just a year ago. As far as what they’re looking for when they do engage with customer service representatives, 78% of Millennials want the agent to already know their contact and product information, as well as service history. While older consumers may be used to waiting on the phone while their information is retrieved, millennials expect quicker interactions with limited lag time.
Phone Yes, Talking No
Millennials are extremely comfortable with texting, online chat, and social media and in many cases, they’re more likely to use these modes of communication rather than placing a call to customer service. 41% of Millennials say they would be “truly satisfied” if they could use text messaging or SMS to connect with companies and organizations where they do business. If you haven’t already, explore adding live chat, SMS, and social media customer services channels for your contact center.
Proactive Rather than Reactive Customer Service
Most Millennial consumers prefer to handle customer service issues on their own, and they’re not alone. Over 65% of all Americans say that they feel better about themselves and a company when they can solve a problem without speaking to customer service. One of the best ways to ensure customers can help themselves when necessary is providing a proactive customer service experience. This strategy anticipates consumer questions and concerns in advance, and can take many forms such as an extensive FAQ section on a client’s website. Things like outbound calls and email reminders are other avenues to consider.
Decades ago, customers only had a couple options for contacting a company: phone or mail. With Millennials now fully immersed in digital experiences and using multiple devices throughout the day, they’re familiar with utilizing various channels— from websites to social media, apps to phone calls— to interact and engage with the world. Organizations on the forefront of customer service have adopted multichannel customer experiences in which agents are able to interact with customers via the media of their choice, and move seamlessly across them without any information lost in the process.
Millennials don’t respond well to stiff, scripted customer service. Instead, they prefer informal, conversational assistance that feels authentic; more like a friend helping a friend instead of just another business transaction. For Millennials, this type of personable approach to customer service can help build trust in your brand among a demographic that is generally distrustful.
No matter what channels your agents are using to communicate with Millennial consumers, they should work fast. But, if you have a queue building up, leveraging a system like automatic call-backs can help ease your customers, and agents, during a rush.
One Bad Experience Can Lose You a Customer Forever
As much as Millennials are redefining customer service through digital experiences, they also have a streak of old-fashioned sentimentality as well. Over 50% of Millennials said they are “extremely loyal” or “quite loyal” to their favorite brands. Of course, brands have to win these young consumers over first and that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Nearly 25% of Millennials would boycott a company after just one bad experience. Every single interaction is important and could mean the difference between a lifelong customer or a lost customer.
Evolving your contact center to meet and exceed Millennial expectations will give you an edge over the next 5-10 years. And, it’s important to get started now, because Generation Z is right around the corner.