- A day in the life of a Millennial
- Millennial consumer attributes
- Key preferences to consider in Millennial generation customer service:
- The Millennial opportunity for businesses
- Strategies to provide best-in-class Millennial generation customer service:
- 5 Enabling technologies to reach Millennials
A day in the life of a Millennial
Ashley rolls over, checks her Fitbit Ionic to see the quality of REM sleep she experienced last night, and reaches for her iPhone to scan her messaging apps and social networks. She tweets about her sleep quality and messages her roommate that her share of the rent has been paid with Venmo. On her way out, she checks with Alexa whether her shoes have been shipped by Amazon, grabs her ear buds, sets her smart home security system, and rides her electric scooter to her WeWork shared office space, stopping briefly at the local convenience store to pick up her morning coffee.
Sounds exhausting? Not for Ashley. She’s a Millennial.
Millennial consumer attributes
Millennials, the notoriously digital-savvy generation born between 1980 and 2000, are a force to be reckoned with. Numbering about two billion, they carry strong influence, both in sociocultural and economic ways. According to Accenture, Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest consumer demographic, expected to account for 30% of retail sales — that’s $1.4 trillion in spending — in the United States by 2020. The key to reaching this powerful demographic is by understanding that technology is central to their being. This penchant for technology has shaped their consumer behavior and preferences, and brands must tailor their customer service strategies to suit Millennials’ attributes.
Key preferences to consider in Millennial generation customer service:
Text me, I don’t like to talk: Millennials prefer to communicate over text messaging and rarely make phone calls. Whether SMS, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, Millennials favor communications that are mobile and instant, enabling them to respond immediately and while on the go.
Make it quick, I’m in a rush: Growing up in the age of the Internet, Millennials are not known for their patience. They demand highly convenient and fast service. According to a survey by Desk.com, 25% of millennials expect to get a response within 10 minutes after reaching out for customer service via social media.
I love my smartphone: A full 92% of American Millennials own a smartphone. But they don’t stop there. On average, Millennials own 7.7 connected devices and use 3.3 each day and often engage in “tech multi-tasking,” such as setting a date via messaging app while while watching Netflix and tweeting about it.
Let’s be friends: Millennials are highly invested in their social networks, choosing to share their lives with friends and strangers on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. According to a report by Pew Research Center, 85% of Millennials say they use social media. They also value brand engagement over social networks as well. Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report states that 47% of Millennials have used social media to complain about a brand’s service.
Show me, don’t tell me: Millennials prefer visual communications over all other forms of media. According to a Techsmith survey, Millennials are twice as likely to choose visual communication methods, such as screenshots, screencasts, or videos, compared with Baby Boomers. More than 60% of Millennials say they understand information faster when it’s communicated visually.
I’ll help myself, thanks: Called the Do-It-Yourself Generation, Millennials love self-service. Having grown up with the Information Superhighway, they will attempt to solve issues on their own via google, youtube or other online resource before contacting a company representative for assistance. Research shows 69% of Millennials say they “feel good” about both themselves and the company when they can solve a problem on their own.
I’m unique, treat me that way: Millennials demand personalization and are willing to pay the price. Compared with other demographics, Millennials are more likely to share their personal data with brands, and in exchange, they want to be treated as individuals, with no tolerance for messaging that is not relevant to themselves and their lives.
The Millennial opportunity for businesses
Millennials and their unique preferences – supported by extensive research – are driving a change in the business environment in general and customer service, in particular.
Savvy businesses have taken notice and are adapting their approach to best capitalize on the Millennial generation’s wants and needs.
Strategies to provide best-in-class Millennial generation customer service:
Reach them through their smartphones: With mobile so central to Millennials’ lifestyles, your website, emails, landing pages, and all other digital content must be mobile first. Consider a native app with special features to improve engagement, customer stickiness, and overall service.
Go visual: Whenever possible, always offer visual information as a primary option – images, videos, or other visual engagement opportunities. Millennials love augmented reality and virtual reality, and there are an increasing number of practical business solutions for these immersive technologies. Investigate how they can work for you.
Adopt an omni-channel approach: To enhance customer satisfaction, more and more companies are providing a seamless omni-channel customer experience by delivering an integrated and frictionless transition between multiple touchpoints—including the web, voice, chat, messaging, video, email, and of course, social media.
Support the DIY culture: Focus on consumer enablement and empowerment through self-service. Create a cohesive community where Millennials can connect and assist each other. Utilize robust self-service tools such as FAQs, AI-powered knowledge bases and virtual technicians to help them find answers by themselves quickly.
Focus on messaging apps: If messaging is your customers’ favorite method of communication, you should excel at it. Dedicate trained customer service personnel – ideally other Millennials – to monitor all social channels and respond quickly to questions wherever they are asked.
Use AI-based virtual assistants – Millennials are very open to communication with virtual entities – chatbots – including voice-based assistants and visual virtual technician. According to a Retale poll, 86% of Millennials said that brands should use chatbots to promote products and services. These AI- based entities address Millennials’ need for speed by offering 24/7 customer service, rapidly engaging customers and responding to their queries as soon as they are received.
Pay attention. With big data and advanced analytics readily available, companies can provide Millennials with the acknowledgement they demand. Responsibly use information gleaned from previous purchases, social media interactions and other behaviors to target customers with a personalized experience. . Customer data can be used to provide accurate product information at the right time for marketing, sales or support, or to route customers to the agents who can best address their needs.
5 Enabling technologies to reach Millennials
To capitalize on these opportunities to better engage with Millennials, businesses are transforming their customer service systems and operations, turning to new digital cloud solutions that are smarter, faster, and more integrated. Here are some examples of cutting-edge technologies that will help you achieve success with this powerful demographic:
1. Cloud-based, omni-channel CRM solutions
By moving your CRM systems to the cloud, and integrating it with all your customer engagement channels, you will achieve an omni-channel Millennial generation customer service experience. There are a wide range of solutions on the market that offer agents an integrated dashboard that puts access to customer data at their fingertips, such as Salesforce, Zoho, and Zendesk. Solutions that work alongside legacy systems are also available, such as Bumpyard.
2. Visual engagement
The human propensity for visual images – or the power of visualization – has been proven to improve efficiency of communications and improve customer satisfaction. At the point of sale, product visuals drive conversions. In customer service, viewing the required actions or instructions improves resolution. Add the heightened effect of live video or augmented reality and brands have a winning strategy for Millennial engagement. heck out the video engagement solutions offered by TechSee and WalkMe.
3. Self-service platforms
Self-service starts with a well-managed knowledge base that can understand the user’s query and present the right solution. Most top-tier cloud CRM solutions include a self-service engine to manage the knowledge base and help customers solve problems on their own. Some specialty solutions include Knowledge Owl and Happy Fox.
4. AI-powered virtual agents
These deep learning-based bots are responsible for understanding your customer and providing them with the right answer in a conversational manner. Chatbots have been hyped up for the last two years, and while they are certainly not perfect, they constantly improve as their powering technologies continue to evolve Other types of bots are also emerging, such as audio-based personal assistants and innovative virtual agents with visual capabilities. Check out Liveperson and Bold360’s conversational AI bots and Techsee’s visual bots.
Know your customer. Collect a wide range of data points as well as third-party research, to develop personalization strategies that will enhance customer relationships and drive loyalty over time. This includes highly personalized content, offers and recommendations that are highly relevant and add significant value. Examples of solutions that facilitate personalization are Lithium, Sitecore and Adobe Experience Cloud.
Millennials, with the massive opportunity they represent to businesses, are reshaping customer service and setting the tone for GenX and Baby Boomers to follow. Companies are taking note of the generation’s unique preferences and habits, and are increasingly tailoring their customer service strategies to better target and engage this powerful demographic.
To win this tech savvy crowd, innovative technologies are essential. Cloud-based CRMs, self-service portals, AI-powered virtual agents, visual engagement and personalization tools have emerged to help companies maintain a competitive advantage when it comes to Millennial generation customer service.