Millennial Minute: What Will Customer Service Look Like in 2020?

September 5, 2017

Millennial Minute: Millennials and Customer Service

Millennials like me make up the largest, most diverse generation in the world. Our already impressive purchasing power (upward of $1 trillion annually) is affecting nearly every aspect of the consumer and B2B markets, particularly as it relates to service. Understanding what we expect in our customer service experiences is key to keeping us engaged with your brand. 

Provide Self-Service Options

You’ve heard of people being born with silver spoons in their mouths. Well, this cohort was raised with digital devices in its hands. Pervasive technology access has shaped our perception of how the world should ideally work. And when it comes to getting our questions answered and problems resolved, we millennials often prefer that companies hand us the reins. Think of it this way: Buyers can now research their options without relying on companies to spoon-feed them information. So why shouldn’t consumers expect a similar level of self-sufficiency once they are actual customers?

If your human interactions with customers don’t add value, find a way to shift those to online and self-service options. Follow the lead of companies that have already introduced self-service tools in response to self-reliant millennials. Netflix’s online Help Center offers customers the option to search a knowledge base, access frequently asked questions, and easily find relevant information by category. If these self-service options fall short, customers can easily resort to live chat or a phone call via FaceTime.

Enable Richer, More Convenient Social Interactions

Ironically – in some eyes – while millennials appear to be absorbed in our devices, we take pleasure in social interactions. We seem to have struck a balance by making social media a part of our daily lives and routines.

We’ve all heard the stories of a poor brand interaction going viral on social media. But by the same token, millennials appreciate the companies that make themselves available on these channels. It’s no wonder more brands are responding quickly, and at all hours, to consumers who prefer to interact via social media.

Some brands have become even more innovative when it comes to social interactions with customers. Consider the Amazon Mayday button on Kindle tablets and Fire Phones. One press of the button from your device and you’re connected with a tech advisor who can walk you through features either by drawing on your screen, explaining how to handle a task, or doing it for you – all remotely, via a live screen, day or night. Another example is using your smartphone to get a video appraisal from Esurance. Not only can you get an estimate in real time, you can potentially get paid on the spot.

Make Customer Service Relevant and Personal

As much as we value self-sufficiency, millennials appreciate being made to feel special. In response, more companies are serving up personalized content, offers, and products.

It’s well known that leading brands like Amazon and Netflix have integrated personalization into just about every aspect of their businesses, from marketing to customer service. A lesser known example is how T-Mobile personalizes customer service. It uses customers’ real names and includes agents’ pictures and names in customer-service-related Tweet replies. It also uses custom profiles in Direct Messages so these private conversations are more personal. Other brands, such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera, create convenience for mobile-first consumers by offering on-the-go ordering via their apps.

This is just the start. Companies will continue to redefine customer service to delight the millennial generation. Marketing is no different. If you want to understand this cohort even better, register for our upcoming webinar, Inside the Millennial Marketer’s Mind, where we will take a deep dive into the millennial mindset and what it means for marketers.