Millennials have been under the microscope for years. From their buying habits to their breakfast preferences, every little characteristic gets scrutinized. Why are we so fixated on this generation? For one, Millennials are the largest consumer demographic in the world, with an estimated $200 billion in annual buying power. On top of that, they now make up the majority of the workforce.
No matter which way you look at it, this generation is driving business. In this post, we discuss 4 ways their preferences are shaping customer service in particular.
1. Millennials want service wherever they are, so support channels are expanding.
Millennials were the first generation to grow up around computers and smartphones. Technology was integrated into their lives early, which drastically altered the way they prefer to communicate. For one, they hate making phone calls. If they had to say goodbye to texting or calling, 75% of Millennials would choose calling. Their outlook has affected other generations too. For example, 78% of consumers in general say they wish businesses offered customer service via text.
Companies have responded by diversifying their service channels. Nowadays, live chat is about as common as phone support. You can contact a company over Twitter or Facebook to get help. And other options, like video chat, in-app support and self-service channels, are becoming increasingly popular.
2. Millennials don’t want to wait, so they help themselves.
Instant gratification is a way of life for younger generations, Millennials included. When they ask questions, they want answers immediately, not in three business days. In fact, 25% of Millennials expect a response within 10 minutes when they contact a company over social media. But that’s not always a realistic expectation when you’re dealing with complex questions and understaffed support teams.
In response, customer service has begun shifting toward a self-service focus that empowers customers to find answers themselves. According to research by Aspect, the shift is well-received: 69% of Millennials report feeling good about themselves and the company after solving problems on their own, through a knowledge base, customer forum or just standard troubleshooting.
3. Millennials crave personalization, so support is getting friendlier.
Millennials may lean toward self-service, but they still care about the quality of their support experience when they do talk to a human. One study found that 76% of customers see service quality as a direct reflection of how much a company values them. And in general, customers largely prefer seamless, personalized service that speaks to their individual needs.
Support teams can make small adjustments to their support practices to show they care about their customers. Little tweaks, like including a friendly greeting that addresses the customer by name, can go a long way. A personable approach not only humanizes a company, but it sets the tone for the interaction.
4. Millennials trust reviews, so every service interaction can impact sales.
According to Adweek, a whopping 93% of Millennials use blogs and reviews before making purchases, and 77% trust the reviews they read on company websites. That means one customer’s negative experience can easily deter others if they decide to share it. Plus, social customer service guarantees more exposure. When a companies helps a customer over Twitter, those interactions are publicly visible. Anyone can judge them on the quality of their service with little to no context.
All together, this means customer service teams need to handle customer interactions more carefully than ever before. It’s not just about making customers happy—it’s about maintaining a brand reputation. That’s why customer service teams take customer feedback so seriously. Unhappy customers tend to share their feelings with others. A poor customer satisfaction rating can easily escalate to a scathing review in no time.
Customer service has changed radically over the last decade or so. Ten years ago, you probably would have laughed if someone told you to tweet at a company for support. But today, Twitter is considered a primary customer service channel. It’s seen a 250% increase in service interactions over the last two years alone.
Trends like social service will continue to accelerate as Millennials dominate the workforce and consumer markets. In order to keep up, companies have to refresh old-school practices and adapt to a more Millennial-minded approach. That means delivering a convenient, personalized support experience and empowering customers to solve problems on their own whenever possible. Long story short: get on their level and you’ll get their business.
For more on this topic, download NewVoiceMedia's whitepaper, Disruptive customer care: how to do it every day.
This article was orgionally posted on the GetFeedback blog, and is republished here with permission.