We’ve all seen an angry customer Tweet. That molotov cocktail of 140 characters, thrown at a brand by a disappointed customer. It lands on the brand’s Twitter feed, as just one Tweet, and quickly explodes into a series of conversations between customers and non-customers alike.
Welcome to the new age of customer service. Millennials (born from the early 80s through the 90s) and the iGeneration (born in the very late 20th or early 21st centuries) will increasingly be the ones engaging with and evaluating your support team—and they’ll be far more technologically adept than previous generations. As these tech-savvy generations becoming a larger consumer group, social venting will only increase. And that’s not the only change coming. Customer support as we know it will have to adapt in multiple ways to meet the expectations of today’s and tomorrow’s users. Is your support structure prepared?
When planning for Millennial and iGeneration customers, here are a few things your support team should keep in mind to ensure that any interaction is a smooth experience.
1. “Just Google it”—aka offer self-service
Chances are, younger customers have already looked for a solution online, and have read accounts from others who have dealt with the same problem. If they’re calling you, it’s very likely the solutions they’ve encountered didn’t work for them. In a study on Millennials and their customer service expectations, self-service is imperative—Millennials showed the highest preference for wanting to resolve an issue on their own.
This tendency to self-serve first means your support strategy should include easy-to-find support information on your website, including troubleshooting steps, FAQs, live chat, community forums, and even videos.
2. Make a great first impression
People want to know who they are conversing with in customer service interactions. Empower your agents to start the conversation by introducing themselves whether they’re answering the phone, chat, social media, or another messaging app. Polite hellos and personal interactions never go out of style—and are still important to Millennials, even if the overall exchange is less formal.
3. Make it easy
Millennials have grown up with technology solutions at their fingertips. When something goes wrong, they expect quick resolutions. Or at the very least a fast way to find help. The contact information for your help desk should be easy to find, in a number of places—prominently displayed on your website and any company social media accounts. The more avenues you have for contact, the better but only if you keep those avenues maintained. Never create a social media account if you don’t plan to update it and check it regularly.
Moreover, younger generations will expect to contact support through multiple channels. And while phone support has its place, research shows that more and more people prefer live chat. In addition to other text or popular messaging apps, live chat allows for easy, quick conversations that tend to get to the point fairly quickly and free your phone agents to take longer calls, when necessary.
4. Make it real
Remember that anyone calling you for help—especially younger generations—have probably already tried another avenue or some level of troubleshooting. That’s why ensuring that they don’t need to repeat information they may have shared on another channel of support is important. Even if your customer is not tech-savvy, they’ll feel better if by the time the reach a human, you treat them like a human too. All customers want to feel like they’re being listened to, not just being run through some scripted empathy.
5. Feedback is big
People of all ages like to give their opinions, and to know that they’re valued, so let them share. Offer your customers the opportunity to give feedback on their experience by sending a customer satisfaction survey at the end of the interaction. Even if it was a bad experience, their criticisms may well help you improve future interactions. And don’t limit feedback to your customers—get your agents involved, and let them give their feedback on what could be improved.
It’s all about the user experience
Over the past year, Millennials, more than any other generation, have moved away from at least one company because of bad customer service. What you don’t want is for one poor experience to go viral—especially considering that as much as 59 percent of Millennials will share bad experiences online.
It’s inevitable that you’ll get customers who just can’t be pleased, but it’s up to business owners and customer service trainers to make sure they have customer service agents that will provide the best—and easiest—help desk experience possible.