The impact of the Millennial Generation on customer service
The rise of Millennial Generation - also known as Generation Y – is having a far reaching effect on how companies deliver customer service. If your company has not already started adapting to the requirements of this group, you might be in danger of being left behind.
Born between the '80s to the 2000s the Millennials are characterized by a collection of core values and beliefs that sets them apart from previous generations in their role as consumers. They believe they have a right to demand quality products and services at reasonable prices and are perfectly justified in going elsewhere if not totally satisfied. They are highly tech and internet savvy, which has given them the means to complain or praise your product or service to the world (via social media, forums, online reviews etc). And they value the (mostly online) recommendations of friends and family when contemplating purchases or dealing with companies.
So are Millennials turning the traditional consumer/company relationship on the head? Instead of the business leading the customer and dictating how they interact, it now seems the other way round, with the Millennials in control. This means it is vital to understand them and include their views in how you plan customer interaction. After all, an average Millennial brought up on Netflix and other on-demand services will have a very different take on how (for example) local authorities need to deliver service, compared to their parents or, even those that are actually heading up customer service functions.
Generation Y’s requirements are changing customer service in four key ways:
1. They expect a joined up multi-channel service Because they are so au fait with technology, Millennials are very comfortable using a variety of devices and channels. From mobile internet, text and social networks, to email on a laptop or calling the contact centre, they expect to be able to get in touch companies via their channel of choice, whenever they want. And they assume they can switch channels during a transaction and the company will be able to continue their dialogue without disruption or them having to repeat information. Those companies who still operate customer service in a silo-ed way without integration between channels will struggle to service the needs of this generation of customers.
2. They want more Their core values mean that members of Generation Y are more demanding than previous generations. They will only have loyalty to those that deliver what they want. And they will be continually looking for more from the companies they deal with. Generation Y uses technology and will seek out as much information as they can find new ways to save money and get a good deal, such as using price comparison sites. This means that as a business, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels if you want to retain their custom - you should always be thinking about how you can go further in order to satisfy their needs.
3. They don’t want to wait Another strand to the Millennials’ demanding nature is their lack of patience. If they have a customer service query or question, they want answers fast. And they expect to see action taken quickly on their concerns. If they don’t get what they want, they will share their experiences quickly across social media, online forums and review sites.
4. They are impacting on other generations The Millennials’ culture of being more demanding tends to spread to their parents and older friends and acquaintances. For example, if a parent has had a bad experience their Millennial offspring might push them to leave a poor review or complain on social networks - and even help them do this. So even if your company’s key demographic isn’t Millennials, they are still likely to be impacting your overall market.
Businesses need to devote time and resources to understanding what makes Millennials tick. They should understand Generation Y values and beliefs and prepare to break down silos within their organisations in order to ensure that they are delivering the required level of service for this increasingly influential demographic.