Wednesday, July 9, 2014

5 Things to Know About Millennial Customers

I haven’t attended a single conference in the past two years that didn’t include a session on millennials. It seems that this “younger” generation fascinates every CMO, CEO and CXO.

It’s easy to understand why. For starters, millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) now account for one-fourth of the U.S. population.  They are the customers of the future (and the present).  So how can you best engage with this new generation?

I’m an 80s baby so I’d like to think I’m somewhat of an expert on millennials, but you don’t have to take it from me. I watched a fascinating panel from the Interactive Intelligence user conference earlier this month, and it confirmed many of my experiences and beliefs.  The 45-minute panel discussion featured agroup of working 20-somethings and the insight they shared provided a revealing glimpse intothemillennial brain.

Interested in better knowing your younger customers? Here are few takeaways from the panel that will help you better engage with millennial customers.

Millennials Do Their Research

When it comes to shopping, millennials aren’t impulse buyers.  They shop around, comparing prices, selection, and convenience.  This goes for both online and traditional in-store purchases.

One panelist said they like to go see or try on items in store, and then search online for a better deal before they make a purchase.  Another panelist said she prefers to search online for selection and price, and then make the purchase in store.

Millennials Still Love the Phone

It’s a widely stated myth that millennials hate using the phone.  According to the panelists, this is untrue.

Yes, the phones may look different now than they used to.  And no, most millennials don’t have traditional landlines, but they still prefer to use the phone for customer service (chat came in second for the panelists).

Millennials on the panel indicated that they check their phones more than one hundred times per day.  So if your contact center doesn’t already have a mobile support strategy in place, the time to act is now.

Millennials Don’t Like Email

Email is not a preferred channel of communication for the millennial generation.  Most of the panelists said they only check their personal email once per week.

“If you really want to reach me, email’s not the way,” said one panelist.
So how do millennials prefer companies notify them? Via text and tweet were the most popular responses.

Millennials Value Interaction

Millennials crave personalized service.  They want to feel known and valued, and going the extra mile impresses them. Achieving this can is simple; sometimes as simple as responding with a clever tweet.

One panelists told the story of how Purina wished his family dog a happy birthday on Twitter.  That simple gesture created a loyal customer.
Millennials Aren’t All That Different From Your “Other” Customers

Perhaps the most “shocking” revelation from the panel: millennials are a lot like every other generation, especially when it comes to customer service expectations.

Make things easy for your customers, treat them with respect, and offer value.  If you do these things your customers will be loyal no matter their generation.

Erica is the Community Specialist at ICMI. With a background in marketing, public relations, and social media, she brings more than six years of community management experience to ICMI, and is particularly passionate about  the convergence of marketing and customer service. 

Erica graduated Cum Laude from Campbell University in North Carolina.  In her free time she enjoys traveling, watching sports, attending concerts, and drinking coffee.  She’s also a self-professed Twitter addict. Follow her on Twitter

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