According to the population projections from the US Census Bureau, millennials are expected to surpass baby boomers in 2019. Millennials whom we define as age groups between 20 and 36 were numbered at 71 million in 2016, cutting it close with the baby boomer population at 74 million. The story is even more pronounced elsewhere with more than 60% of the population being millennials in Asian countries. Millennials are on track to being the biggest consumer segment worldwide.
Why does this matter for customer service? Millennials, as compared to previous generations, are far more comfortable with technology and they are “addicted” to messaging. Based on research done by Gallup, more than two third of the millennial population have admitted to texting at least once every day. Millennials are not just reshaping the economy with the proliferation of Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Bird, etc. but are also changing how established companies, big and small, think of customer service while catering to this demographic. Messaging is to millennials what phone calls are for baby boomers. Millennials are not going to wait around on IVR (Interactive Voice Response) to get an answer when they are used to getting responses in seconds from their cohorts once they post on social media. We have a gathered a few tips on how enterprises can transform their customer experience to cater effectively to this demographic.
1) Meet the millennials where they are
According to Statista, the top three most used messaging apps are as follows:
- WhatsApp with 1.5B monthly active users.
- Facebook Messenger with 1.3B monthly active users.
- WeChat with 1B monthly active users.
WhatsApp overall remains numero uno when it comes to choice of messaging for most of the world. In regions like EMEA, Latin America and Asia WhatsApp is the de facto messaging application. Recognizing this trend WhatsApp recently launched WhatsApp for Business API that allows enterprises to connect with their customers on WhatsApp. (Sparkcentral is an early access launch partner.) Use cases for this API span from simple outbound notification to customer service and support.
Facebook Messenger continues to be the preferred choice in North America and WeChat is popular in China and other Asian countries. In North America, SMS is also a channel that is leveraged a lot along with Facebook Messenger. Over 6 billion texts are sent in America every month (not counting app-app messaging). Our customers in North America, like Overstock and Zappos, recognizing this trend have opened up both Facebook Messenger and SMS channels for their customers to communicate with them instantly, while in Europe organizations like KBC Bank and citizenM are enabling WhatsApp to allow their customers to skip the IVR line and talk to them directly.
Our recommendation would be to look closely at where your millennial demographic resides and then choose a channel that would be a great fit for them. Sparkcentral supports most popular messaging channels WhatsApp, Facebook and SMS on its platform and will continue to provide more channels for businesses to connect with their customer as the demand for these channels grows.
2) Provide avenues for self-service and learning
Millennials expect from enterprises that they should:
- Provide quick turnaround times.
- Allow them to self-service.
- Provide them opportunities to keep learning.
All of the points mentioned above reflect the independent streak that millennials exhibit. Research shows that 69% of the millennials feel good about both themselves and the company when they solve a problem on their own. Neatly documented and easily discoverable FAQ sections go a long way and so does the presence of chatbots to help millennials self-serve themselves. A survey by marketing research firm Survata shows that millennials who use chatbots perceive the brand in a positive sense. This demonstrates the fact that millennials are super comfortable with messaging technology so throw whatever you can at them they will adapt well as long as it addresses their pain point and provides instant gratification. Also: consider that messaging channels allow your agents to provide self-service pointers as “leave-behinds” in the form of YouTube videos or FAQ URLs.
For enterprises, with well-structured chatbots and FAQs, it means that the number of calls that come in is greatly reduced and the ones that do end up coming in are the ones that genuinely need a human to help out thereby allowing agents to focus their energy on communication that needs a deeper human connection.
3) Strive to create a personalized omnichannel experience
As the number of devices and channels have grown over the years so have the expectations from millennials that their experience is consistent between all of these platforms/devices. Millennial customers who rated top omnichannel experiences wanted the experience to be personalized to what an enterprise knows about them. They also want their customer experience to be consistent as they moved across channels.
In a contact center world where customers are spoilt for choices between voice, messaging, chatbots, emails, and others it is very important for companies to ensure that these touchpoints are integrated with each other. Information must not fall between the cracks. The Sparkcentral platform provides the ability to write back conversation information into the CRM system of choice so no data is lost. Enterprises can harness the data to create a consistent omnichannel experience.
Transformations are tough and things do not change overnight but enterprises who ignore the trends ending up paying dearly for it in the long run. Sparkcentral has been helping enterprises like Emirates, Western Union, and Netflix successfully make these transitions. If you are actively thinking about these trends and want to learn more about Sparkcentral please feel free to message us.