Changing Demographics Customer Service to Millennials
Today, customer service is facing a new challenge is has never taken on: Millennials. We here about Millennials everywhere we go, and it seems everyone has an opinion about them. Teens, and adults in their 20s and 30s are what is considered the Millennial Generation, also referred to as Millennials. This generation has been called things like lazy, narcissistic, and coddled. But Millennials have also been defined in positive ways too though. “They are generally regarded as being more open-minded, and more supportive of gay rights and equal rights for minorities. Other positives adjectives to describe them include confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living. All opinions aside, these aspects are molding a new generation of customer service. Millennials have expectations for customer service that generations before ours never expected from service providers. For companies to keep Millennials from taking business elsewhere, they must be in tune with what Millennials want from service providers; like fast service or self-service items and making the customer experience feel personalized to each customer. The Millennial mentality is transforming the customer expectation as we know it. There is a prerogative to excellent quality of goods, products, and services, which creates an incredible amount of brand loyalty. This demographic is obsessive, driven, and extremely well versed in technology. By no means is this a bad thing; in fact, every customer deserves the highest quality of service, regardless of age group or demographic. That’s why we believe Millennials are the perfect demographic cohort for building a customer relations strategy. Simply put, if you can please them, you can please anyone.
When it comes to fast, self-paced service, nobody has demanded it more than Millennials. If we run into an issue with our products, we will scour the internet to try to solve it on our own. Research shows 69% of millennials say they “feel good about both themselves and the company when they can solve a problem solo. We like being able to take care of things without having to depend on the company to fix it for us. Speed is also a huge factor for Millennials when we shop. We don’t want to have to wait in lines and or for others blunders to hold us up. We see this in just about any grocery store we shop in these days when we go to check out and must choose between, self-checkout or to go to a cashier. We also like to do things on our own because it allows less of a chance in service breakdown. When we experience a breakdown in service and are unhappy we are not afraid to let the company know about it and expect a quick response though. Even though only about 8% of Millennials will call a company’s customer service line, it’s still a general expectation that a company communicate with us about the problem no matter how we choose to reach out. “25% of millennials expect to get a response within 10 minutes after reaching out for customer service via social media. Millennials grew up in a time where the internet was almost always at the tip of our fingers and believe quick service shouldn’t be difficult to attain with the internet being as vast as it is. If you think about, speed has affected every aspect of our shopping experience today. Not only do we have self-checkout at grocery stores, but we also have a lot more stores that allow for online shopping now and we see advertisements for quicker faster shipping from different carriers. When you go to some restaurants now days they have kiosks at the tables that allow the customer to order their food from the kiosk rather than wait on their server. There are all kinds of new things companies have come up with to better cater to this generation.
Millennials are known for our expectations of fast customer service, but we also would prefer if you could just text us hat reply. Millennials have grown accustomed to always having a cell phone close by. Messaging apps have become something almost every Millennial has downloaded on their phone and uses daily, so why wouldn’t companies take advantage of this form of communication with their customers. “Research shows 20% of millennials currently don’t receive any text messages from businesses at all. Some companies have jumped on the bandwagon by sending service updates to customers via text, such as AT&T. It makes it convenient for customers to stay up to date with the company and opens a gateway of communication with the company that didn’t exist before. Convenience is just as important to Millennials as it is to any other generation. We all want our lives made a little easier when possible. Using chat bubbles and text messages can make it easier for a customer to contact a company and gives the company a chance to make the customer feel heard and important. “Millennials are willing to wait 5 minutes longer than Gen Xers and Boomers when reaching out to customer service on the phone, but that doesn’t mean we enjoy waiting on hold on the phone when we could be doing other things while waiting for a message to come through. Getting a fast response through text also makes a customer feel important and feel like their problem is being tended and cared for rather than being made to feel like the company doesn’t care about the problem and therefore will just let the customer sit on hold. “Because Millennials consume information quickly, offering multiple communication channels will allow you to maximize the availability of customer service resources. Besides the typical call-in support, offer online live chat, social media, and mobile friendly channels. Not only would the Millennials appreciate more options to contact companies through, but the company also gets the added benefit of being able to reach out to more customers at a time, therefore cutting down wait times for all customers. Millennials have made it clear that in a world that never stops moving, our time is special, and we don’t intend on wasting it on customer service that doesn’t cater to our specifications. They want to be able to make purchases, use social media, chat with friends, do online research and pay for products. The convenience of the mobile device is paramount to this group. Companies will be left with the option; either get on our level or we will find someone else who can.
To appeal to Millennials, companies need to deliver a near perfect customer-centric experience. Whether in-store or online, we seek customer service providers who know our likes and dislikes and make recommendations personalized to our needs, more so, instead of your average pitched salesmen with a business professional outfit, and a hard ball attitude, Millennials prefer someone who comes across as more casual. We prefer a more casual environment, but they also prefer someone who understands the situation presented to them instead of just pitching some sales motto. Millennials want someone who understand the problem presented in front of them, and who can formulate their own unique and tailored response based on what they think the customers needs are. It is very important to spend some time with the customer getting to know them. Being personable and relatable keeps Millennials from feeling uncomfortable, so getting on their level and being down to earth with them is very important. Compared to other generations, Millennials are more prepared to share our personal information with companies to obtain better service and a more personalized experience. We expect companies to amaze us with their understanding of our needs anytime we reach out. Millennials usually will just get annoyed when they hear monotonous, scripted responses from customer service providers that aren’t sure how to help us if it’s not on their list. Instantly addressing our questions requires educated, proficient providers. Providers need to be trained to know the details of the products, policies, and company standards to proficiently handle any customer’s requests. Keeping customers feeling special is a huge part of what Millennials look for when they do take they time to physically go into a store. “For the past few years, Nordstrom has been investing heavily in data-driven, personalized customer experiences. For example, the retailer tracks popular items pinned on social network Pinterest, which is then displayed in-stores and labeled as “top-pinned items with a logo. Making customers feel like their opinions and likes are noticed makes us feel good and important to the company. By integrating social media reactions into the customers experience at the store, the company can work to guarantee that products are tailored to what customers want. This way customers don’t walk into stores feeling it hard to find styles that they like since the company only works of what the company assumes the customers wants. In short, Millennials are making companies work harder to get our attention and by doing so, making the companies work harder to make all customers feel special, important and kept happy.
Millennials also connect differently than other demographics. Communication to us does not have extraneous details, it’s clear and brief, but expressive. This is where making the relationship with the customer comes into a new light. Learning to be yourself, and to relate with the customer on a deeper, emotional level is important. Millennials are known for craving emotional connections, so learning how to be down to earth and relatable so that someone can make that comfortable, emotional connection. It is very important to learn how to make these connections without sacrificing professionalism. Since Millennials were raised with a lot less formalities than previous generations and a lot less of the proper mannerisms; it is hard to find a balance between providing the relaxed relationship we need, while remaining professional with us. This is where it is important for companies to train employees to be themselves, while being thorough. They don’t need to be afraid to let their personality shine through, and let the customer see them as a relatable person, instead of some sales robot that is an obsolete mantra of the past. They must make sure that whatever the means of communication is that they are making Millennials feel like they are being talked to by an actual person and that they are hearing us and remaining in tune with what they have to say. Companies need to make sure and provide plenty of assurance, and clarity when answering questions to make sure we know that they are hearing and understanding us. If companies don’t make Millennials feel reassured and understood, you’ve basically already lost them. Additionally, modest questions about someone’s, interests or family can otherwise express a special notice in the customer when asked at a suitable moment to not waste a lot of time when a customer just wants their issue taken care of. The thing Millennials get out of this is that it makes us feel like more than just a customer, but someone the company cares about as a person and not just a number, while still giving us a quick and reasonable solution. Working with Millennials has drastically, and entirely evolved the customer service experience. It has changed the dynamic to an entirely customer centralized experience. This new way of caring for customers has developed entirely new techniques for solving problems and caring with customer that are overall more effective than previous methods, and creates brand loyalty, and a customer base that wants to return. As we have made these changes we have drastically improved. Ways of the fact were way too dollar centralized, and too little concern was given to the customer. As less focus was put towards the money, and more towards the customer, more money flowed in because we learned how to better care for the customer, which more consistently brings them back.
Cell phones and technology are also a fundamental part of Millennials lives, but this generation also likes traditional shopping experiences. Millennials are such an interesting demographic to adapt to. Since we were born right in the time span of simple times to a world run by technology. This makes and interesting target group, Millennials shop, but we also like to do things such as go out to eat or see a movie when it’s in theaters, we spend a lot of their time on line. This was seen “over the holidays when they spent an average of $220 on these activities more than Generation X or Baby Boomers. They spend a lot of time on line surrounded by technology but hold on to a lot of older traditions through nostalgia. Social media interactions from customers to brands is important to Millennials. We use social media in our day-to-day lives, constantly posting pictures of what we are doing and where we are at, including our purchases. This gives companies instant access to what Millennials are into by seeing our experiences with others in our generation. To inspire consumers to shop, companies have had to be original. “A number of fitness brands realize the importance of experience, including popular athleisure brand Lululemon, which offers complimentary in-store fitness classes. Stores are evolving into entertainment spots for millennials who share similar interests allowing them to spend time together, while also enabling consumers to engage with the brand. Millennials don’t go places any more to just shop, to gain their attention everything must be more than just what it is. So, creating spaces to be a store, or a front while being a place to hang out as well greatly increase its allure, and draws younger, interested customers. Millennials don’t go to social media only to share experience, but to be a part of everyone’s lives as well. Companies are using this evolving movement, getting the consumer-centric content to generate word-of-mouth publicizing.
Millennials hold on the market is more than that of the generations before them. Companies will have to work to meet Millennials demands as we effect trends and change what is considered normal shopping traditions. We use technology as a huge part of our time purchasing from companies and continue to assume that the world around us will continue to adjust to us quickly. Millennials don’t think about how our habits have changed customer service dynamics, we just live life and let the companies and brands around us learn from us and be reborn into a new generation of experiences. Millennials just entered this phase in life and are just getting started on the customer service reformation that was needed long ago. In the long run, future generations will get an experience where they are put first and allowed to expect top-notch service everywhere they go, and older generations will get a breath of fresh air when shopping and communicating with companies.