While all consumer demographics have increased expectations for multichannel customer service, it’s the world’s newest and biggest generation of customers that are creating a seismic rumbling in “I want it my way, I want it now” support.
Millennial customers, commonly defined as the consumer collective born between 1980 and the early 2000s, currently represent in upwards of $1.3 trillion in consumer spending, or 21% of total spending, says Christine Barton, partner at the Boston Consulting Group in a recent Barrons article.
From music to gaming, to hospitality, retail and real estate, Millennials are wielding their purchasing power and quickly changing the rules of engagement for service and support. Millennials extensively research and follow brands online before and after purchases, making up their own minds about quality, value and customer care, rather than being told what they should think via creatively-crafted messaging.
According to a Sitel study, when Millennial customers have a problem with a product, 71% of 16 to 24-year-olds and 65% of 25 to 34-year-olds search for a solution online first. If they don’t get a solution, they’re not shy about sharing their request and expectations for support. Seventeen percent (17%) of customers age 16 – 34 said companies could most drastically improve customer experience by “responding quickly when I ask a question on Twitter” (Sitel Study), and 42% of 18 to 34-year-olds expect customer support on social media within 12 hours of a complaint or comment (Nielsen).
Son of a Baby Boomer
Millennials are also sometimes known as Echo Boomers because of the generation’s size relative to the Baby Boomer generation and also because many are the children of Baby Boomers. And while these two generations may have their differences, they’re coming together on customer service expectations.
When Boomers and other generations see how fast Millennials are receiving service, especially via social and mobile, it’s hard for other generations to “act their age” and remain content with traditional channels and wait times. Really, everyone’s a Millennial customer these days, says Micah Solomon in the recent Forbes article, Why Boomer Customers Act Like They’re Millennials.
“What Millennials want from a customer experience is becoming less and less distinct from what customers as a whole want from businesses, not because the youngsters are changing their expectations, but because their elders are, and fast: Millennial thinking (thinking which is digitally centered, crowd-based, mass-media-ignoring, and that redefines the meaning of “expert”) is trickling up to affect the entire marketplace,” notes Solomon.
Customer Service for the Ages
New Parature Whitepaper Details 8
Megatrends Evolving Customer Service
Parature’s new whitepaper, Customer Service: The Next Generation, details Millennial customer service expectations and seven (7) additional megatrends evolving customer service and the customer experience. The whitepaper features a wealth of new statistics and key insights from Forrester and Gartner analysts on best practices and the trends that demand every brand’s immediate attention.