The real force behind new technology growth isn’t on Wall Street. It’s not even with the Silicon Valley VCs. In actuality, it is the bottom line millennial dollar that guides the production of a dominant chunk of tech devices and various related online services.
Defined as having been born in the 1980s or 1990s and also known as Generation Y, millennials grew up in a culture of internet and mobile, demanding constant online access, owning multiple connected gadgets, and are likely to choose to spend time with friends online instead of in person.
Millennials, not renowned for their rigid attention spans, switch between laptops, smartphones, tablets, and TV more than 27 times an hour (Pew Research) , and the vast majority use two or more devices simultaneously while watching TV. In terms of numbers, the millennial population in the US alone is close to 80 million (Pew Research), and given the fact that the majority consider technology to be an actual part of their identity, are clearly a consumer force to be reckoned with.
In tandem with their expectations of constant connectability, top-tier mobile gadgetry, and corporate social responsibility from the brands they support, millennials also expect that interfacing with brand representatives when there’s an issue will meet a certain standard. To a self-admitted narcissistic generation accustomed to relying on social media for product advice and instant-everything, waiting for lengthy periods to talk on the phone with a vaguely irritated and monotonic phone rep simply does not cut it.
It can be challenging for companies to adapt to the rapidly evolving needs of a huge new consumer base – especially when they are as nuanced and subtle as customer service expectations. Here are some tips we’ve compiled that can help any enterprise plan its customer care strategy with Gen Y millennials in mind.
Keeping tabs on consumers these days is much more complicated than back in the days when a household had one static home phone number through which any family member could be reached. Today, mobile numbers, email addresses, and social media handles are prone to changes at any time. In much the same way that web browsers can store passwords, preferences, searches, and browsing histories of a given user, today’s consumers expect to be identified and their case histories recognized by customer care agents without having to deliver a lengthy history of every previous encounter.
Integrating the right CRM platform with the ability to display all prior interactions – phone, email, and social – into a centralized folder will enable your specialists to be up to date with the customer, even when their contact information has been changed. This integration can also be valuable in the automated routing of incoming customer correspondence to the appropriate agent.
Kill the Script
Social media communication can be characterized by its shorthand, informality, and spontaneity – and is embedded with a strong cultural distaste for authenticity, especially from corporations. Millennials don’t want to fill in we’ll-get-back-to-you website forms, they don’t want to jump through hoops to reach a company rep, and they definitely don’t want to deal with formulaic scripts and robotic agents.
Using your various platforms to communicate with customers in a genuinely human, conversational, and humorous fashion will not only fit right in with the framework they are accustomed to, but will also help in situations requiring de-escalation and endear your enterprise to them as a result. In the way that social ‘killed the script’ of media and communication forms that had existed for decades or centuries, killing your own traditional customer care script in favor of genuine communication will bring you squarely into the current social-based customer assistance climate.
Speak their Language
@o2 jheeze so u man speak slang and dat r u a girl what ends u from. And naa ii didn’t what router
— Genos (@Tunde24_7) October 9, 2012
Examples abound of witty social media conversations between customers and brand reps, many of which the greater internet community has turned into legend. In one case, a UK telecom service rep mirrored back the urban slang used by a Twitter customer in response to a technical issue. Hilarity ensued, the issue was resolved, and the company enjoyed viral acknowledgment of its hipness.
This is a particularly novel example, but as a rule, the spirit of rep-customer dialogue should be one of casual conversation with a helpful stranger, rather than jargon-heavy monologue. A down-to-earth tone combined with efficient and effective assistance will go a long way in how your brand’s humanness and accessibility are perceived.
Choose Mature Channels
The online communication avenues favored by millennials tend to evolve rapidly, both in the added capabilities offered by established platforms as well as popular new upstarts. Ensure that you are not only positioned to respond to customer issues on all platforms, but also to get involved proactively if your enterprise is called out in public by an irate user.
As a start, incorporate your customer care portals into Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM, and make sure to stay on the cutting edge of where your customers are – and where they’re reaching out from. You can never lose by being available for excellent, efficient customer care on too many platforms, and spreading your net wide by readying your representatives on every conceivable channel can ensure that you’re there for them – and gain a reputation as a savvy, forward-thinking organization.
When a customer messages your company page on Facebook, the last thing they want is for you to reply with a CS email or phone number and make them take those additional steps. The various platforms are making it easier than ever to engage privately – for example Twitter has removed the character limit from its direct messaging feature, gearing it specifically for private consumer and brand conversations.
As the trend toward social customer engagement continues, enterprises need to make sure they are hearing and speedily resolving customer issues within channel.
Gen Y. is driving business to change their ways and put the customer first. They have discovered the power and their voice through platforms such as Social Media. While many label this generation as selfish or entitled, we owe Millennials a tremendous amount of gratitude for helping to reshape customer service by raising the bar of expectation.