May 9, 2017
Everyone seems to be talking about millennial customers these days. With their tech savviness and demand for speed and intuitive ease, this generation born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s is already shaking up sales, marketing and customer service. But the discussion about who millennials are and how companies can cater to them makes it clear that not everyone is seeing the full picture.
Millennials make up the largest living generation, both in the US and abroad, so acquiring and keeping them as customers can mean the difference between success and failure. Millennial behavior isn’t a trend, it’s the new reality. Knowing what millennials want and understanding why they want it should guide every interaction between customers and brands, starting with customer service.
Millennials demand a different type of customer service that calls for new platforms and new behaviors. Brands need the right infrastructure to offer customer service across a variety of digital channels; they need powerful CRM to know enough about their millennial customers to offer personalized service; and they need to ensure that customer service agents use CRM data to work efficiently.
Here’s a closer look at what millennials want and how catering to them with a combination of software and soft skills can boost business.
1) Millennials want customer service on digital channels
The average 18-to-21-year-old uses 3.7 social networks. That means millennials want the speed and ease that only digital customer service can provide. They don't want to waste time waiting on the phone, or re-entering personal information repeatedly, they want digital service with a human touch. To deliver, agents need instant access to a variety of digital channels, and customer data at their fingertips to offer service that’s results-driven at the speed of social media.
But since digital customer service has blurred the border between sales, marketing and customer service, millennial behavior should affect these departments too. For example, live chat is an invaluable asset, since it's personalized and proactive. It's tailored to what the customer is looking at and can guide them through key points in the purchasing process.
What it means for business: Agents need software that routs customer queries from multiple digital channels into an efficient interface that also offers proactive capabilities such as live chat.
2) Millennials are loyal to brands they relate to
Making millennials feel connected to your brand is a vital part of establishing and maintaining a high level of customer experience. That feeling of connection to a brand is a key factor in loyalty, and 25% of millennials say brand loyalty drives purchasing decisions.
Millennials relate to people, not corporate monoliths. Simply “serving” customers and making them feel “satisfied’ is no longer enough. Millennials want to feel that their brands share their values and personality. So along with having a presence across digital channels, it’s important to humanize digital interactions. Agents need data to tell them more about their customers, and they need the freedom to connect with those customers in real ways.
What it means for business: Maintain a proactive presence on social media, and join the conversation with posts and responses that feel human.
3) Millennials expect personalization
Having the right software in place can give brands a big head-start toward serving millennials the way they want to be served. But as we’ve seen, there’s also an element of practice on the agent’s part. In order to deliver personalized service, agents have to speak to millennials in their language.
More than any other generation before them, millennials expect a personal tone during brand interactions. In fact, 70% of 18-24 year olds state that brands which fail to personalize their marketing will lose them as customers. All those “LOLs” and “IMHOs” might seem frivolous but they’re not; they’re the language of millennials online, and brands should learn to read the emotions behind the acronyms.
Using the first name of agent and customer is a practical start, but good service and customer experience go far beyond that. It’s important to give agents the data they need to understand the customer better, and the freedom to react to the customer’s language, shifting tone and diction to better suit the mood and personality of the person they’re communicating with.
What it means for business: Hire better customer service agents and encourage them to talk to customers like real people.
4) Millennials share their experiences
Giving millennials the service they expect can reaps big rewards, not only because there are so many of them, but also because of the way they use the internet. More than older generations, millennials tend to share their experiences via social media. That means they’ll spread the word, whether you’re making them happy or not. That’s how customer service stories go viral.
The very millennial desire to share experiences has led some critics to call them self-centered. Cooler-headed analysts insist it’s really about healthy self-expression. Either way, delivering great customer experience to millennials is certain to pay off.
What it means for business: If you use digital channels to blend sales, marketing and customer service into an outstanding customer experience, you’ll keep the millennial customers you have and gain new ones through word of mouth.
How to serve millennials
Delivering the customer experience that millennials expect comes down to software and soft skills. Brand Embassy gives you more data about your millennial customers so you can deliver the digital customer service they want. We also offer professional business services so your team has the tools and the training they need to serve customers of all ages.
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