Wake-up Call: Are You Ready for the Mass Millennials Onslaught?
Are you ready for the mass millennials?
Customer experience consultant, author and keynote speaker Micah Solomon explored how to provide customer service and a customer experience that will wow millennials and others who share a digitally-influenced mindset.
First, why this matters: 80 million millennial generation customers (also known as Gen Y) are about to hit service providers with a wallet force larger than that of the baby boom. Born during 1980-2000, these customers don’t remember a world without the Internet, smartphones and Facebook.
Here’s how to please them and keep them coming back.
1. Offload the Transactional − Don’t fritter away employee hours on activities that customers can do better themselves.
Millennials have different ideas of where humans should fit into customer service delivery. If an app or algorithm can deliver what they need, so much the better. Which is one reason most millennials consult their smartphones first, even when they’re in your store and a human – a human paid to assist them – is standing at the ready.
In particular, don’t wear them down by requiring them to contact you for the transactional details I generically refer to as Stupid Stuff™. Don’t force customers to contact you due to your own bad design and lazy implementation. A millennial customer isn’t willing to call you to find out whether and when their order has shipped; they want to proactively receive an automated, instant confirmation in their inbox or on their phone. A millennial will be peeved if they have to call your company’s receptionist to track down your physical (read: GPS friendly) address because only your PO Box is on your website.
This isn’t to say there’s no role for a human-to-human service interaction or contact. (Far from it.) But the interaction should be at the choice of the customer, not because your systems are sloppy or incomplete.
2. Focus on the Experiential.
New service models need to focus on helping customers discover and enjoy experiences, not just on getting them, figuratively or literally, from point A to point B. Take, as an example, business travel. According to Jay Coldren, Marriott VP of Lifestyle Brands (“Lifestyle Brands” are hospitality giant Marriott’s most cutting-edge and experiental hotels around the world): “Generation Y views business travel not as a necessary evil but as a perk and an opportunity to view the world.” Embrace and support this worldview and you win their business.
3. Become a Speed Freak
Millennials are superb multi-taskers who put a premium value on convenience. Millennials’ internal time clocks and customer expectations are shaped by the instant gratification they’ve grown accustomed to from the online/smartphone experience. Speed and efficiency are of the utmost importance − in how quickly you respond to a customer, ship and offer up choices of products or services.
Emulate Amazon.com here. You’d better have a real-time indication of what is and isn’t in stock, ship immediately and, perhaps most of all, have a no-hassle return policy.
4. Values Matter
Millennials engage in what can be termed values-based buying. When millennials do business with a company, they’re more likely than previous generations to care about the social values of that company: its social responsibility, green profile and how ethically it does, or doesn’t, treat its own employees and those of its suppliers. They will reward your company if its behavior mirrors their own ethics and punish your company if it doesn’t.