Who is the largest group of consumers in the United States?
It’s not the Baby Boomers anymore. Millennial consumers have now eclipsed their parents as the largest consumer cohort in the country. With over 76 million members, Millennial consumers have serious clout when it comes to influencing consumer expectations and the way businesses respond.
Recent surveys indicate that up to 74% of Millennials believe they can influence the purchasing decisions of other members of their generation and their parents’ generation. And it’s no secret that consumers in this demographic are quick to tell their social media followers about a good or bad customer service experience. 7 out of 10 surveyed Millennials believe that it’s their responsibility to share their customer service and support experiences, regardless of whether the experience was good or bad. Statistics show that these consumers follow-through on these sentiments.
64% of Millennial consumers will rate products or services online, vs. 46% of other generational cohorts. But most businesses are ignoring the power of the Millennial consumer. Only 25% of this generation feels engaged with the companies they purchase from, giving them the lowest customer engagement score of any surveyed generation.
Companies need to capture the loyalty of Millennial customers, but this demographic has high expectations for how they want companies to treat them. Plus, their likes and dislikes are vastly different than older consumers’ expectations. First, we’ll explore how loyalty from this generation differs from their older peers, and we’ll cover the 5 clever ways to win the loyalty of younger consumers.
What does Millennial customer loyalty look like?
Millennials have come of age in a post-industrial working environment. They are grappling with inflated costs in every aspect of their lives. While some sectors of the population have seen their wages keep pace with and even exceed inflation, most people have not. Now that Millennials make up a sizable portion of the working population, they have to face tough choices when it comes to buying what they want versus what they need. In many cases, splurging for Millennials means stretching their budgets with rewards, discounts, and coupons.
Younger consumers will question price and quality with higher scrutiny than older consumers. To some companies, it might look like Millennials only care about price points and not the brand quality. That doesn’t mean that loyalty has gotten lost in generational translation. Brands have to raise their own bar.
Today, brands face higher levels of scrutiny from younger consumers, and they have fewer chances to capture Millennial loyalty and dollars. While it’s true that younger consumers don’t splurge as much as their parents, they want and expect more from brands. The biggest thing that Millennials want from companies is superior customer service, that’s available and streamlined across multiple channels. When brands are unable to deliver, Millennial’s won’t reward them with their loyalty. And, they will tell their friends about it.
Economic challenges compel Millennials to be much more discerning and picky about where they spend their money. According to surveys, these consumers give brands one to three chances to get it right. After that, they typically don’t come back to a brand regardless of what the company promises. Price and quality need to be just right, but more than that, the way the brand treats the customer is the most critical metric for capturing Millennial consumer loyalty.
1. Millennials expect comprehensive self-help sections on company websites.
These consumers are technologically savvy. They’ve spear-headed the DIY movement and appreciate having access to self-help tutorials and instructions. Millennial consumers expect companies to have robust and comprehensive tutorial sections on their websites. These can start with a general FAQ section, but need to include more comprehensive, complicated answers to common troubleshooting issues. Web articles, videos, and eBook instruction manuals are all helpful for making Millennials happy.
2. Millennials want streamlined customer services across multiple channels.
Millennials will usually take to the self-help section on a company’s website as the first solution to a problem when they can’t find the answer there, and they want access to multiple customer service channels that are streamlined. 68% of surveyed young consumers want an integrated, seamless experience across a business’s service channels. So, they’ll want to be able to start their query via live chat, social media, mobile, email or a phone call without having to re-explain their issue multiple times. It’s crucial that companies have all of the progress regarding the query across these numerous channels for quick and streamlined service that will make the Millennial consumer happy.
3. Millennials want quick and accessible customer service and support.
This generation has grown up watching technology evolve at a rapid pace. Along with that, they expect real-time responses and continuous access to relevant information. 71% of surveyed Millennials report that the most important thing a company can do to win their loyalty is to respect their time. Broken down by channel, Millennials want brands to answer their questions on social media and text within ten minutes or less. To meet these expectations, brands need to have a mix of 24-hour customer service channels for their front-line agents.
4. Millennial consumers want conversations with real-live, knowledgeable and pleasant service agents and support staff.
This is one of the most educated generations in history. They don’t appreciate, nor are they fooled, by insincere customer support. In addition, this generation believes in using AI to enhance the service experience, not to use AI to take over human interaction completely. Young consumers want to engage with brands directly in genuine and transparent ways. Brands simply can’t exist across multiple service channels, and they must interact with young consumers promptly and meaningfully.
5. Millennials want convenient access to customer support agents.
These consumers want the right information to come through the proper channels at the correct time. Brands can enhance ease and convenience to live interactions with CX technologies. Video support chat is also gaining popularity with Millennial consumers. If your products require assembly, video support is an excellent way to make it convenient and easy for Millennials to get the answers they need when assembling products.
If you want to capture and retain Millennial loyalty, you need to integrate fast and seamless support solutions to keep pace with young consumers expectations. Your Millennial customers live in a fast-paced, digital world that is continuously changing and bringing more convenience to their lives. Old, sterile and cynical approaches to AI enhanced customers service won’t endear this generation to your brand. Millennials expect the following channels from companies in the digital age:
- Live Chat
- Mobile apps
- Seamless transfer of information
- Texting and Facebook messenger
- Voice agents and video technology
- The ability to reach a live agent via phone quickly
Winning the hearts and minds of Millennial consumers may seem overwhelming, but innovations are hitting the market all the time to help brands in their quest for Millennial loyalty.
CX technologies and cloud-based customer service models can bring Millennials the streamlined, fast customer support and service that they expect from the brands they do business with. Our company offers numerous, innovative ways to use technology to enhance the customer experience and help brands like yours increase your customer loyalty.