As the millennial age group grows to become the largest generation both domestically and internationally, it is more important than ever for businesses to implement customer service practices that cater to this unique demographic. The first step is understanding what makes the millennial customer tick.
Arguably the most defining trait of millennials is their natural affinity to modern technology. Millennials have grown up with close and personal access to digital devices that combine communication, education, entertainment and shopping into one package. They are intimately familiar with smartphones, and the internet has been a constant presence both at home and at school. Because of this natural technological adaptation, millennial customers expect a customer service experience that mirrors the same digital ease they've become accustomed to. For businesses, this requires a consistent focus on simplifying and expediting the user experience, while being careful not to neglect the human aspect of customer service. While many millennial customers prefer a hands-off, self-service approach, it's still important to provide a staff of helpful and enthusiastic representatives ready to assist when a customer needs it.
The Social Customer
Whether companies like it or not, the customer experience is now a social experience, too, both online and offline. Offline, millennials are more likely than previous generations to shop, eat and travel with groups, according to Boston Consulting Group. Online, millennial customers are quick to share their purchasing experiences across social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Online review boards such as Yelp and TripAdvisor put a company's best and worst customer service practices on full blast. Companies should ramp up their social media management teams to be able to handle disputes, answer customer questions and respond to grievances in real time; the world is watching.
Millennials care about a lot more than a company's products or services. They tend to be more attracted to companies that share or support their values and philosophies, too: more than half of millennials make a real effort to buy products and services from businesses that support causes they care about, according to a study from Barkley, an independent advertising agency. Research from Boston Consulting Group shows millennial customers are also twice as likely than non-millennials to care whether the food they consume is organic. The juxtaposition of typically low funds with premium tastes is both interesting and complex, and remains a major force behind millennial customers' behaviors.
Catering to the millennial generation presents a unique set of challenges for many businesses. Millennial customers crave a quick, user-friendly experience with just the right amount of human interaction. To reach this target group, it's important to design a customer service experience that combines digital ease with human support, along with a positive set of core values.
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