Fail to Deliver Great Customer Service to Millennials at Your Own Risk

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Constellation Research. "You have to understand who your customer base is, what age brackets are they in, what is their digital proficiency, what channels do they prefer?" Petouhoff says. "You need to be prepared to deliver on those channels. Millennials are about 'What can you do for me or are you not doing it for me?' Millennials are very loyal to companies that are good to them, but they can easily dump a company if they perceive that a company is not loyal to them."

Keep in mind that Millennials are the most digitally connected generation and have grown up texting, posting, tweeting, and chatting online. If that's where they live, that's where your customer service needs to be. "Companies are not reaching out to Millennials in the way Millennials want to have conversations," Brooke notes.

"When it comes down to channel preference for Millennials, our research indicates that it correlates highly to what the user's end goal is," says Greg Pal, vice president of marketing, strategy, and business development in the Enterprise Division at Nuance Communications. "For example, when Millennials are looking for answers to customer service questions, they typically look online first and only then contact customer service if they can't find the answer that way."

Companies should also realize that the customer service environment is becoming increasing complex, according to Richard Dumas, director of product and solution marketing at Five9. "It means being able to listen effectively to the growing volume of conversations on social networks, blogs, mobile apps, and Web sites. It means sorting out all of the spam and other posts that don't require a service response so that agents aren't overloaded. It means arming agents with the tools to respond across multiple channels. And it means giving customer service managers the tools to monitor, measure, and manage customer service based on traditional [key performance indicators]."

Many industry experts agree that the Internet is the most likely place to find Millennial customers. Given that, companies would do well to proactively provide information and make Web searches for specific answers easier. Millennials are also likely to first seek answers from channels such as YouTube and community forums.

Pal believes companies should also focus on consistent follow-through on automated interactions, as 55 percent of Millennials report having experienced issues due to the lack of confirmation on a self-service transaction, according to Nuance research.

"To meet growing expectations for quality service, businesses need to offer a consistent, intuitive experience across the self-service continuum, including the Web, mobile app, and IVR," Pal says. "Missing channels, inconsistent messages, and outdated solutions increase the risk of customer churn, and this is especially true of Millennials."

"It's a fierce marketplace, and companies that don't figure out how to talk to Millennials in the next couple of years [will] start losing market share with them," Brooke says.

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Millennials are more likely to file customer complaints than other generations, even Baby Boomers, according to a report from J.D. Power. The study of more than 600,000 consumers revealed that Millennials have a lower tolerance for customer service issues, errors, and delays than Boomers,tend to value effective issue resolution more than their older counterparts, and tend to reward brands that solve customer service challenges with their loyalty.

Posted April 01, 2016