Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
The Millennials, also called ‘Generation Y’ are a different world altogether. While some have called them narcissist, obsessive and selfish, others have called them liberal, open-minded and passionate. For those of us who are not aware, millennials are the group of people born between 1980 and the 2000s. Millennials were born and have grown in times when technology was changing and growing rapidly. Hence, their world-view and ideas are very different from any other previous generation. They are poised to change the global economy and become the largest spending group, making a lot of companies rethink the way they do business.
Here are a few statistics to back the claim I made above. According to Oracle, the annual spending of millennials in the United States by 2018 is expected to be $3.39 trillion dollars, far exceeding that of the boomers. The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation says that by 2025, they will account for 75% of the global workforce. According to a Neilsen Survey, by Q2 of 2014, over 85% of the U.S millennials owned a smart phone, much above the national average of 71%.
Yes, they are a paradoxical bunch but there is little doubt that millennials are changing the face of business, thus transforming customer experience and the way it is perceived. They have a lot of choice and they are willing to spend more on good quality products. In such a scenario, it is only customer experience that is a differentiator, but differentiating oneself for the millennials is not an easy task. Here are a few things all businesses that serve millennials must keep in mind so they could tailor the customer experience accordingly:
They are truly tech savvy
This bunch is the first truly digital generation of the world. Just think of the time when the millennials were growing. They were surrounded by disruptive technology that was changing the face of education, music, communication and almost everything else that they needed. Hence, this bunch is intuitive with technology, embracing it like no other demographic group. According to Delvv Mobile Overload survey, 51% of the millennials can’t go more than three hours without checking their phone!
No wonder the tech superstar companies that leverage technology to the fullest are a hit with this group. Apple, Facebook, Uber, Slack, Amazon and Google – companies that have the best tech products or services are the favourites of this bunch.
They are open to trying new things
Because of the internet, the Gen Y is thoroughly informed about the new trends in the market. Their willingness to use the internet to do research and get information about different products has made them a very informed bunch. This also makes them a group that will move to a better product/service if they are not satisfied. Keeping them satisfied is not easy, and keeping them from trying your competitor’s product is even tougher.
They want quick service
The millennials are used to getting information and answers to their queries in seconds, thanks to their mobile network. This high-speed internet generation does not think patience is a virtue. The multi-tasking, switching-between-gadgets, quick decision-making millennial has little patience for things that slows it down. It wants its brands to not just be responsive but also respond as quickly as possible.
According to Twitter, 60% of the consumers expect brands to respond to their customer service requests in an hour! Also, the research says that after receiving a customer service response, most customers feel positively towards that brand.
They want uniform service across channels
The millennials are aware of technology for the simple reason that they are living it! Obviously, they then expect a seamless experience with a brand across all platforms and channels. This means, the same experience must be delivered irrespective of the customer interaction happening over a computer, laptop, tablet, or phone. Hence, organisations must look at creating an experience that is uniform across all channels and touch points at all times and all places.
But the uniformity doesn’t end there. This bunch also likes a seamless and constant experience across the digital and the real world too!
They have greater expectations than any other generation
As touched upon earlier, the millennials know that they have a wide variety of choices. If their needs are not fulfilled, they are willing to look elsewhere for better options. According to a report from Accenture, 95 percent or more of Millennials say they want their brands to court them actively.
While some businesses complain about a lack of loyalty from this bunch, research has proven that millennials can be extremely loyal if they feel they are being treated well. We told you it was all about customer experience!
They respect organizations with values
The millennials are not without values. According to Bentley University’s Center For Women And Business, 75% of millennials see themselves as authentic and are not willing to compromise their family and personal values. Huffington Post says that 61% of millennials are worried about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to make a difference. Hence, those brands that work for and support social causes are highly favoured by the millennials.
Little wonder that Nike, a brand that has increased transparency about its factory conditions and is making great efforts to improve its energy efficiency, is always on the list of most loved brands by millennials.
They are highly collaborative
This generation is highly collaborative, checking with friends or folks to buy anything under the sun, right from a book to a car. But the collaboration doesn’t end there. Millennials are also keen to collaborate with their brands in bringing about something amazing that can benefit both, the brand and the consumer. They are willing to give feedback more readily to help brands create wonderful products and enhancements. They also appreciate efforts that organisations make to increase customer engagement.
They prefer to be in control
Millennials are self-reliant individuals who’d love products that are intuitive and easy to operate without someone’s support. They like being in control and hence favour self-service options rather than assisted service. This works in favour of DIY SaaS products, and products like WordPress, Slack, and Uber have done a great job at it.
Within the next decade or so, millennials would be leading most of the companies around the world. It would be interesting to see how they bring these traits to develop a completely new customer experience strategy. But till then, the current business leaders should focus on building the right customer experience that delights the millennials. We would love to hear about any other traits of millennials that companies must remember before altering their customer experience strategy? Please leave your feedback in comments below.