I am a millennial. I first logged onto my dad’s AOL account at age 10 and have been connected ever since. The term "millennial" refers to anyone reaching young adulthood in the early 2000s. Some refer to millennials as the “Peter Pan generation” for tendencies that are perceived to delay adulthood, but in fact, millennials are taking on a big stake in today’s economy.
Right now we are in the middle of a big generational shift as the Baby Boomers are conceding an increasing amount of spending power to the millennial generation. In fact, by 2014 millennials will have a combined purchasing power of $2.45 trillion.
Unfortunately, many businesses are failing to connect with this generation because they do not understand how millennials expect to connect with their enterprise. Obviously, I work in the call center space here at Spoken. One day I couldn’t get logged into one of my accounts after multiple attempts and our CEO asked, “Why don’t you call in?” I immediately replied, “why would I call when they have a chat site?” His face told me that wasn’t the best thing to say my first week on the job. Oops!
Customer service for digital natives: multichannel is a must
It is important to remember that this generation was raised on technology, and so they expect instant customer service over a variety of channels. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some ways that millennials want to connect with your contact center:
- Social media: Right now, Facebook is the most popular platform that millennials are using to interact with companies and brands online. In fact, 62% of respondents Like at least one brand on Facebook. As such, it’s important to make sure that your company is available for its customers over a variety of different social channels like Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- SMS: A short messaging service (SMS), otherwise known as text messaging, is one of the most popular ways that millennials communicate. It saves time and facilitates on-the-go customer service. Make sure your contact center agents are open to receiving SMS and are capable of responding to such messages in a timely fashion.
- Email: One of the great parts about communicating with millennials via email is that you can gain valuable metrics as to whether your approach is working. Open rates, response times and forward rates are all viable ways of understanding whether your marketing efforts are hitting home.
- Live chat: Remember that you are trying to market towards a generation that grew up on AOL Instant Messenger and Facebook chat. Include a pop-up box on your website that will allow customers to instantly connect with an agent and chat in real-time without having to leave the screen they are browsing.
Many companies today have customer service representatives available via multiple channels, but most often still require a call at the end of the session to complete a sale or confirm personal information. This shows that the call center space is still valid and important. With advancements in WebRTC, we can clearly see how these channels will merge with the traditional call space and it is really exciting to watch.
So what do you think the next step is for your company to connect with its millennial customers?