Millennials are the future! You’ve likely heard the phrase countless times and for good reason: if businesses learn to treat millennials well now, they can protect that relationship for years to come. Here's what you need to know about millennials and customer service.
With recent counts hovering around 77 million, millennials make up about one-fourth of the US population and are a rapidly growing segment of the American economy1. Combined, they wield around $2.45 trillion in annual buying power2, which makes them a valuable market and an important customer base for any business. With their substantial importance now and eventual economic dominance, it’s crucial that businesses learn to meet their needs and preferences as much as possible. However, knowing what they want isn’t always easy -- they are very different from Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Knowing these differences is an effective competitive edge.
The key difference when interacting with millennials is primarily in how they expect to be treated and via which channels.
Millennials are extremely self-reliant, with almost 40% of them first checking a company’s FAQ page when they have a question3. If they can’t find an answer there or their needs go unmet, four out of five millennials choose to use social media for customer service instead of through web, phone, or online chat channels4. In fact, when contacting a company, most millennials use Facebook almost twice as often as the second-most used social media, Twitter4. An important side note: nearly 25% of millennials expect to get a response on social media within 10 minutes, which can be a difficult demand to meet for many businesses4. Failing to meet expectations like these can result in unhappy millennial customers and could hurt your business.
So what steps can you take to mitigate potential issues and cater to your millennial customers?
First things first: don’t make them call customer service. Make sure they can find answers on your website as easily as possible. Consider a self-service solution to help them help themselves, so they don’t need to reach out to you with problems or issues in the first place!
To drive this point home, here are a few things millennials would rather do than call a support line and sit on hold:
- 34% would rather have their teeth cleaned4
- 32% would rather go shopping on Christmas Eve4
- 26% would rather go to the DMV4
Second: Bend over backwards for your millennial customers! It’s common practice to be accommodating and helpful with any customer, but 22% of millennials say that one bad experience is enough for them to leave a brand for good5. Just a heads up that this can also include boycotting a service, with nearly a quarter of all millennials saying they would be willing to boycott a company after just one bad experience4! Yikes. And with the rapid growth of e-commerce businesses, it’s not difficult for them to leave you and shop with competition. In many ways, your relationship with them now is tied to the future success of your business: once they find a company and product they like, 80% of Millennials will keep going back6.
Whatever your approach to customer support, understand that millennials expect to be able to find what they need themselves. If they can’t, they don’t want to spend time waiting around for you to answer them (they’d rather go to the dentist, remember?), so get back to them quickly! They’re expected to eclipse Baby Boomers in spending power by 2018, at $3.39 trillion annually7, and will make up even more of your customer base.
Since 64% of millennials feel greater brand loyalty than their Baby Boomer or Generation X parents 8, they’re more likely to stick around if you give them the support they crave! Millennials are the future and they will remember everything you do for them now.
To learn how you can help your millennial customers help themselves, take a peek at our website self-service eBook “How to help your customers help themselves.”
Written by Evan Oeflein
(1) 2014, Millennial Consumer Report, Nielson
(2) 2014, Millennials Drive Social Commerce, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
(3) 2015, State of Service Report, Salesforce Research
(4) 2015, Customer Survey: Results & Analysis, Desk.com
(5) 2015, Millennials Research Study, Aspect
(6) 2010, 8095 Exchange: Millennial Whitepaper, Edelman Digital
(7) 2010, Gen-Y Financial Services Survey, Oracle
(8) 2014, Millennial Brand Loyalty, Adroit Digital