9 Things You Need to Know to Give Millennials Great Customer Service
Millennials hate talking on the phone but want a relationship with the companies they buy from. There's a lot to know about them.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Over the last several years, the buzz has been incessant surrounding millennials, the age group born between 1980 and 2000. There's a pretty good reason why there's been a lot of talk regarding millennials. They outnumber baby boomers.
Besides being the largest demographic in the marketplace, millennials have a different view regarding customer service that is completely changing the way brands interact, engage, and address inquiries.
If you're a marketer and haven't taken the time to understand your millennial customers, here is the main ways that I have been implementing customer service at my company.
1. Millennials are self reliant
Because millennials grew up with the internet at their fingertips, they're fairly accustomed to discovering the information that they need on their own. In fact, according to the report The Real Self-Service Economy, via Parature, "40 percent of approximately 3,000 consumers in a global survey said they prefer self-service to human contact for their future contact with companies; 70 percent expect a company website to include a self-service application."
Your company website should include a FAQ page, a troubleshooting guide, community forum where customers can ask or answer questions, or any sort of walk through - either an article or video - where customers can discover the answer to their problem. I do this with our blog, this allows them to get everything they need. Not only does this allow our millennial customers to locate and resolve their questions or concerns own on their own, it's a cost-effective method since you can cut back on customer reps.
2. Millennials want it now.
Millennials not only grew up with a wealth of information at their fingertips, they also grew up with smartphones and access to responses in real-time. Studies have discovered that "71 percent of online shoppers claim that the most important thing a brand can do is to value the customer's time." Additionally, "25 percent of millennials expect to get a response within ten minutes of reaching out for customer service via social media, and more than 30 percent expect the same speed of response when posting a query via text messaging."
In short, if you want to keep millennials happy, you have to respond their queries as fast as possible or they'll move on.
Related: 5 Ways Millennials Are Like No Generation Before Them
3. Millennials are on multiple channels and devices.
Millennials switch between "laptops, smartphones, and TV on an average of 27 times per hour." That means that you have to market and connect with them on multiple devices. Making sure that your website has a responsive design is a good start so that millennials can access your website on any device that they're currently using.
Furthermore, millennials expect brands to be on multiple social channels, with Facebook being the preferred social site. However, consumers expect brands to be on more than three places at once.
4. Millennials are not fans of calling a rep.
Millennials are not big fans of calling a customer service representative. In fact, "34 percent of them would rather have their teeth cleaned" and "26 percent would rather go to the DMV."
Millennials want to choose how they're going to communicate with brands, which includes SMS and social. The days of face-to-face communication are over. So make sure that you have other ways to keep in touch with millennials instead of just the phone. Only around 1 percent of the calls that we get to our company are from the millennial generation.
5. Millennials demand authenticity.
The days of having a scripted customer service response are over. Millennials expect brands to be authentic and have a more informal attitude when it comes to customer service. Jay Coldren from EDITION hotels, states that "The millennials want to converse in their own language, according to their own rules. They speak in tweets, texts and Facebook posts. If you want to reach them, you have to speak in their native tongue. And you have to be completely authentic."
6. Millennials value relationships and recommendations.
Despite not wanting to speak with customer service reps on the phone, millennials "engage with brands far more extensively, personally, and emotionally—and in entirely different ways—than have other generations."
Millennials want to know the faces behind your brand (which is why you should have an "about us" page), where your product was manufactured, and they want to engage with real team members on social media.
Millennials expect valuable content to make their lives better and seek out information and recommendations from those closest to them. So create content that they'll want to share and showcase positive consumer feedback and reviews.
Related: Stop Calling 20- and 30-Something's 'Entitled'
7. Millennials are educated and open to new experiences.
Perhaps because technology has made the world more attainable and smaller, millennials are expected to become the most educated generation of all-time. Additionally, millennials have had more experience with different cultures and world views. They want to make a difference.
How does this apply to customer service?
Millennials aren't easily duped and want to take advantage of the adventures that brands can provide. For example, millennials see traveling for work as a perk and not a burden. So, if you're a hotel, you can use real-time data to keep them updated on weather forecasts, when their room is ready, to offer deals with restaurants or shops that are close to the hotel, but you better have a way for them to "connect." (Bless you, Starbucks! Now, a Millennial got that.) Brands also should support a cause that millennials support and encourage them to join the cause as well.
8. Millennials don't like being stereotyped.
Even though millennials have a number of shared beliefs, habits, and values, they are not homogenous. According to the Boston Consulting Group, there are six different types of Millennials.
- Hip-ennial - cautious, charitable, and heavy social media user.
- Millennial Mom - wealthy, family-orientated, and digital savvy.
- Anti-Millennial - locally minded and conservative.
- Gadget Guru - successful, free spirited, and wired.
- Clean and Green Millennial - cause driven, healthy, and enjoys content.
- Old School Millennial - cautious, charitable, and not as wired.
Understanding which segment of millennials are in your target audience will help you provide them with the content and customer service that they require. For example, if you're audience is mainly Old School Millennials, then you need to offer customer service solutions that aren't just online.
9. Millennials aren't afraid to leave a company.
Millennials have no qualms about leaving a company. In fact, more than half of millennials do so every year. Specifically, one quarter of millennials will leave a company after one bad experience. By the third bad experience, an astounding 82 percent of millennials will stop using a company.
If you don't provide top-notch customer service, and enhance and change the customer experience, millennials will put loyalty aside and move on to the competition.
Related: Are Marketers Overhyping Millennials' Role in the Future Economy?