Customer service is still about giving consumers what they want. But today’s business landscape is focused on millennial customers, particularly when it comes to delivering the best B2B and B2C experiences. According to Open Access BPO, millennials or Gen Y are 80 billion in the US. This makes them the largest consumer market. Their purchasing power is much stronger than the Baby Boomers, as consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow predicts that American 20-somethings will have spent $200 billion annually this year alone.
The Biggest Market Share
If your product or service is sold to a significant number of millennials, your brand is assured strong market stability. Millennial customers are loyal and predicted to spend a collective $10 trillion within their lifetime. Contrary to popular belief, the “me, me, me generation” (as described by TIME magazine) has grown up and continues to have immediate access to all kinds of information online. These digital and social natives make better-informed decisions based on what they see and read, while also crowdsourcing or getting recommendations from their social media networks.
Technology is embedded in every part of a millennial customer’s life—from how they search for products, the kind of products they’re looking for, information needed to make the final purchase, to making the purchase online as well. They can also easily learn and adapt new technologies, with 50% of millennials planning to buy Internet of Things devices for their home. Important lifestyle aspects such as health and work are also managed by smart phone apps.
What can companies do to improve their products and services for millennial customers? Here’s what any business needs to keep in mind when catering to the preferences and needs of the dominant generation.
Cross-Channel Customer Experience
When it comes to customer service, all businesses need to level up in how they attend to millennial customers. Consistency is key in offering them a cross-channel experience in any level of the organization. If the services aren’t consistent across the channels, then the millennial consumer can immediately report it online and cause damage to the company’s reputation. It should be noted that 89% of consumers stop doing business after a poor customer experience, according to RightNow Technologies’ 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report.
Millennials also no longer rely on advertising. They are aware of the lack of authenticity in each ad. They prefer the recommendation from a friend or family member, especially over what’s recommended in advertising. When it comes to media, millennials consume what is mostly user-generated for nearly 18 hours a day, over what is offered by brands. Forty-two percent of consumers are also reported to try business with a company that has a positive recommendation from a friend or family member, according to the 2014 Global Customer Service Barometer of American Express.
Room for Change in Customer Service
Apart from network recommendations, millennial customers also consider the views of consumer generated content. They also factor in their overall experience with the business and its general treatment to all customers. As indicated previously, they can check for such experiences through social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels. They expect real-time customer care to address these issues, thus increasing the pressure for accountability and immediate action.
They also expect a proper and authentic explanation for what had occurred and they will follow the brand’s page or the damaged consumer for updates. Thus, customer service has to focus on being personable and transparent about the company’s abilities to provide the right solution.
Complaints aren’t the only matters customer service has to address. An authentic, personalized and conversational tone is also required in directly dealing with customers, regardless of the channel. At the same time, millennials prefer to be addressed in their own language and according to the media channel they opted for. They view the brand as more than just a purchase, but as a partner or as an integral part of their lifestyle. Thus, the experience must also be tailored and relevant to the millennial customer. According to a 2014 EKN Millennial Study, they’re willing to pay 41% more for a quality customer experience that includes personalized engagement in all the different points.
Apart from complaints, a 2014 global study indicated 70% of millennials expect self-service to resolve their reported problem or question. They would end up solving the problem themselves rather than waiting and relying on another service. This emphasizes how call centers and other customer service channels need to immediately fix the problem brought up by millennial customers.
The Importance of Customer Collaboration
Contribution is another aspect most Millennials seek. They want to be part of different decision making processes, especially if it affects their community. Customer service should also provide means for personalized feedback generation. This not only satisfies the authentic touch millennial customers need, but also provide your business the information necessary to improve customer service.
The feedback form can communicate a sense of partnership or collaboration with the customer. Forbes reports in 10 New Findings About The Millennial Consumer that 42% of millennials seek involvement in improving a company’s products and services. They want involvement in each service or product’s creation, which is the perfect opportunity for customer service channels to attain brand loyalty and strengthen their communication methods. Forbes also emphasizes that 60% of millennials are loyal to the brands they usually purchase. A large volume of millennial consumers assures steady sales and profit.
The Relevance of Outsourcing
Customer service can be a challenge for both big and small companies. Outsourcing is an effective solution for any business, as you leave improving that aspect in the hands of experts. Qualified customer service outsourcing companies like Infinit Contact have years of experience in customer service methods such as inbound and outbound call center services and social media customer service. By relying on a business such as Infinit Contact, your own brand can focus on developing services and products that appeal to the demands of the millennial customer. You also assure your customers quality service and expertise when it comes to handling what Millennials want and need.