Millennials are trending! The 75.3 million or so population of millennials communicate way differently than the Baby Boomer generation before them. While your mom loves to talk on the phone and dish about her back and knee pain, millennials aren’t huge fans of phones (SMH), but do love texting. When your dad did a backflip the first time he figured out how to ‘Like’ a post on Facebook, millennials were raised on social media. To capture the buying power of this group, businesses are realizing they need to flip the script on how they engage with millennials. For customer service, that means helping customers doesn’t always start with ‘Thank you for calling. How can I help you?’
While the basic tenets of good customer service remain the same across generations, the way millennials communicate is what’s really changing the customer service game. Preferred channels of service aren’t just telephones. They’re phones, and texts, and chats, and Twitter, and Facebook – pretty much just about every channel your small business is probably not engaging in right now.
So how can businesses that have developed their customer service strategies around Baby Boomers change gears to hook up with millennials? How can you achieve customer retention while millennializing your customer service? We’ve put together 7 tips your company can start putting into play today!
Use of Social Media: As social media continues to evolve, millennials are evolving with it, which means you have to, too. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are all free apps that millennials love, and that businesses can use to keep in touch with their customer base. 55% of people aged 18-34 stated that they have used social media to praise a brand on it’s customer service. Similarly, 50% of people in the same age range stated that they would also refer to social media to complain about a bad customer service experience. Oh no! If you’re not using at least some form of social media to engage with your customers, you’re dropping the ball.
How your company can use social media to engage with millennials: Just being accessible on social media is a great customer service strategy. Millennials are always on their phones – so you have to be there too.
Unify Your Communications: Millennias have been exposed to the internet from infancy. That means data is always delivered in real time and on-demand. You need to have the right tools and technologies for seamless integration and a smooth flow of information across multiple channels. A millennial may expect to carry out a transaction online and call your contact center agent to verify when the shipping can be expected. Also, messaging and communication need to be consistent. Your website, your email marketing, and your contact center agents all need to speak the same language. Advertising a special when your answering service rep has no idea what the caller is talking about – that’s a super ‘No No’.
How your company can maintain consistent customer service with millennials: To really kill it, you need to be everywhere at once!
The Human Touch: Despite their comfort with self-service, millennials still prefer the human touch when it comes to complex inquiries. They also want human interaction to be available on every channel – primarily to offer contextual and personalized service. So, out goes your static FAQ page and in comes web chat from an agent who knows which page you are browsing! Be sure that your agent is knowledgeable, can communicate well and is empowered to make decisions. 32% of millennials stated that working with a representative who does not have the ability or knowledge to resolve their issue is the most frustrating aspect of their customer service experience, and 63% have stopped doing business with companies due to a poor customer service experience. Millennials prefer an informal, honest, solution-oriented approach. Human agents must be available for them to contact at their convenience, and not because other service channels are sub-optimal.
The best way to provide 24/7 live support for millennials: Live support rocks! Make sure you’re offering it.
Convenience: Millennials take it for granted that your business will have a website, an app, and a contact center, not to mention a physical store front – all of which they will use depending on convenience. So you can no longer shy away from multiple service channels. They also prefer proactive engagement – reminders on bills to be paid, flights to be caught etc., rather than responsive engagement, like outreach on a payment after the due date has passed. It is important that you first obtain permission to call, text or email them, personalize the message, keep it accurate and relevant, and offer something actionable.
How to make your customer service channels convenient for millennials: You need to adopt texting into your customer service strategy.
Speed of Service: This one is universal, but especially relevant for millennials who are great at multitasking. Their service expectations are influenced by the instant gratification that they are used to from online experiences. No one likes to be kept on hold – especially so, the millennials – who are likely to abandon the queue faster than the Boomers. One way to overcome this is to offer self-service options such as an IVR or app-based service delivery.
How to speed up your customer service channels for millennials: Create an internal SLA for responding to customers.
Use of Self-Service Channels: 78% of millennials agreed that they have a more favorable view of brands that offer a mobile-responsive customer support portal. Ideally, easy and straightforward transactions such as balance inquiry and password reset can be self-service while complex interactions are best left to a live agent. Also, it is important to provide confirmation of a successful transaction. Otherwise, millennials are likely to call back to verify if the transaction did actually go through – defeating the entire purpose of having self-service in the first place. This would be considered poor service.
The best way to provide self-service customer service options for millennials: Help your customers help themselves.
Quality of Service Delivery & Service Recovery: Consumer activism is high among millennials. They take action as a response to perceived service quality, whether it is good or bad. They talk about their service experience online in social media and in chat forums, are quick to recommend a good service provider to friends and family, and equally quick to warn them about a bad one. In fact, their tolerance for bad service is lower than other generations, and therefore companies need to work on improving quality of service delivery and speed of service recovery in the event of an unsatisfactory incident. In other words, if something goes awry, apologize and take corrective action straightaway.
How to improve the quality of your service for millennials: Make sure you’re taking feedback at every opportunity.
While generations differ in how they interact with the businesses they patronize, their expectations are essentially the same – they want good customer care, and they want their problems to be resolved in as little time as possible.