Are You Ready for The Millennial Invasion?

As the largest generation in US history, Millennials are expected to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017. If you want to reel in the Millennial (and their money), providing the customer service they demand is essential.

Millennials are the largest generation in US history, and they are forecasted to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017.3

Evolving customer service to meet the expectations of Millennials could determine whether or not a company succeeds or fails in the future. According to job growth statistics, companies understand the importance of social media and the impact it can have on customer satisfaction. However, in the near future, it’s going to take more than a well-managed social media profile to impress the 92 million 18-34 year olds that are spending more than $1.3 trillion every year.4 For example, only 19% of Millennials want to call customer service, so being able to contact a company via a digital channel could determine how satisfied a Millennial is with a company’s customer service.5 Social media is a great place to start, but it’s going to take more to keep Millennials happy.

Millennials are the biggest generation in US history, and they are forecasted to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017

Social Media: still the best way to connect with Millennials

Companies should be monitoring social media channels for feedback on their company, their product, and their competitors. With a solid social listening strategy, the opportunities to “wow” Millennials with great customer service are endless. 75% of Millennial’s have social media profiles and 55% visit those sites every day.6 As consumers, Millennials use social media to feel connected to companies they do business with – but they have high expectations. When a consumer provides feedback on social media, they expect a speedy response – within 60 minutes.7 Don’t take that statistic lightly, because it can make or break a relationship with a consumer. 71% of consumers receiving a quick brand response on social media are more likely to recommend your brand to others and 88% of consumers are less likely to buy from a company that leaves a social media complaint unanswered.8 It’s clear social media can have a huge impact on your brand’s reputation, so continually improving your social media presence should still be at the forefront of any customer service strategy.

71% of consumers receiving a quick brand response on social media are more likely to recommend your brand to others

3 Fry, Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation, Apr. 2016

4 Fry, Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation, Apr. 2016,/p>

5 Nuance.com, The Millennialization of Customer Service, May 2015

6 Townsend, Are You Using Social Media to Share or Shout, July 2014

7 Moran, Your Customers Complain About You On Social Media!, Sept. 2014

8 ReviewPush, 90% of Customers Say That Online Reviews Influenced a Recent Purchase Decision, Apr. 2013

Millennials need options

Though they value the relationships they have with companies, Millennials want to be self-sufficient when it comes to customer service. Provided access to the information, they are more than willing to solve their own problems without direct help from a company. Almost half (41%) of Millennials check a company’s FAQ page before reaching out to customer service.9Furthermore, 70% of millennials expect self-service from a company they do business with. For example, self-serve bill pay, ability to reset passwords, track a package, log a complaint and troubleshoot should be available online.10 With the future in mind, investing in these digital channels is a win-win for companies. Not only do they create a better customer experience, the also eliminate minor customer issues from dominating customer service channels.

70% of millennials expect self-service from a company they do business with

“When a Millennial does need to contact customer service, 40% want digital customer service channels.11 If a Millennial can’t solve the issue via a FAQ page or a self-service option, they prefer to use live chat,which satisfies the on-demand, quick and convenient aspects of customer service Millennials expect. If live chat isn’t available, Millennials want to contact customer service via other digital channels – most likely social media or email.

An under-utilized, but highly desired channel of customer service is texting. A recent survey showed that 58% of Millennials would prefer texting over other channels of customer service, but only 38% of companies offer service via text. Text is also rated the highest rated contact method for customer satisfaction over phone and social media.12 While the logistics of adding text as a customer service channel can seem intimidating, exchanges between customers and companies don’t necessarily need to be complex. They can range from a simple informational update (checking account balance, delivery status, etc.) to more personalized, one-on-one exchanges between agent and customer. With recent technological advances in customer service platforms, text is predicted to be offered by 61% of all contact centers by the end of 2016.

Text is predicted to be offered by 61% of all contact centers by the end of 2016

9 WebAssets, Crossing The Generational Divide: Providing Customers Service for Today’s Consumers

10 Frumkin, 5 Ways Millennials Are Re-defining the Customer Experience, Apr. 2015

11 Nuance.com, The Millennialization of Customer Service, May 2015

12 Peccolo, 45 Texting Statistics That Prove Businesses Need to Take SMS Seriously, Sept 2015

Start Evolving Now

In order to impress the Millennials, companies need to be ahead of their competitors in terms of customer service. Three things will separate companies that evolve and adjust to the changing needs of Millennials from those that don’t:

1. Know Your Customer. With unlimited access to online reviews, social media conversations and call data, there should be plenty of data to uncover customer service weaknesses. The data should also include any intel found on competitor websites and social media platforms.

2. Explore Solutions.

For example:

a. The majority of inbound calls to a call-center are related to simple account issues. In this case, text or online self-service options would be a valuable addition to customer service options.

b. Complaints on social media aren’t being addressed within a reasonable amount of time. Adding alternative communication channels like texting or live chat would provide quicker customer service options and increase customer satisfaction.

3. Commit to Change. The changes can be quick, or drawn out over a longer period of time. What matters most is that a company begins adapting their customer service to meet the needs of the Millennial consumer – more self-service, efficiency, and more convenience.

In a recent study, 90% of participants stated that positive reviews influenced their buying decision

Hard Work Pays Off

As the largest and most outspoken generation, Millennials have unmatched influence on your customers – both old and new. In a recent study, 90% of participants stated that positive reviews influenced their buying decision, so going above and beyond to impress the Millennial consumer can have a huge impact on the success of your company.13 If you’re unwilling to make the changes necessary to provide the customer service desired by Millennials, you can expect your competitors to benefit. Millennial customers are unforgiving of poor customer service, and 2 out of 3 say they have canceled a service or ended a relationship with a company due to a bad customer service experience.14

2 out of 3 say they have cancelled a service or ended a relationship with a company due to a bad customer service experience

Despite being high maintenance, Millennials are well worth the effort. Studies show that more than half of Millennials describe themselves as “extremely loyal to their favorite brands.”15 Considering Millennials are expected to have more spending power than any other generation by 2017, can companies really afford not to provide the customer service Millennials demand? With a little bit of digging, a little bit of data, and a committed investment in the right technology, companies can make small changes to their customer service strategy which will have a big impact on future business.

More than half of millennials describe themselves as extremely loyal to their favorite brands

13 ReviewPush, 90% of Customers Say That Online Reviews Influenced a Recent Purchase Decision, Apr. 2013

14 Nuance.com, The Millennialization of Customer Service, May 2015

15 inc.com, Study: Millennials Are the Most Brand-Loyal Generation, May 2016