When Your Employees Are Millennials and Your Customers Are Boomers
Within the last 10 years, I have found a distinct difference in the way that younger generations interact with their friends and family. With the onslaught of technology, communication skills have shifted. For instance, young people today heavily depend on texting as a way of communicating. And the time spent communicating person-to-person has been drastically reduced.
As a result, this trend has created unique challenges for small business owners who employ millennials. Although there are many well-mannered and service-minded young people in the work force today, it is getting harder and harder to find young employees who are skilled at communicating face-to-face or over the telephone with customers -- particularly customers in the boomer generation.
People want to be treated with respect; they want to feel important. Abraham Maslow, author of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, taught us that. So, the question becomes, how do you get your employees to treat your customers in a way that builds lifelong clients.
A good idea might be to have them stop using the Golden Rule, which states, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ A better approach might be to do what Dr. Tony Alessandra suggests -- that is, to substitute the Golden Rule with the Platinum Rule. The Platinum Rule simply states, ‘Treat others the way they want to be treated.’
While this rule works for every generation, when it comes to serving boomers, truer words were never spoken.
First, it is critical to hire young employees who already know how to interact with boomer customers. Additionally, it's important to teach young employees how to provide the kind of service that boomer generation customers need and want. At the risk of driving away hard-earned customers, you can’t afford to keep millennial employees (or any employees) who don’t understand this basic business concept.