POSTED : April 29, 2015
BY : Concentrix Catalyst

Companies have a new generation to contend with – and their requirements for doing business with you are unlike any that have preceded them. In a recent article for Loyalty 360, Concentrix Catalyt’s Clay Walton-House discussed the new paradigm of ease, simplicity, and speed that now defines customer engagement. And it is this generation – Millennials – that has led the way in demanding an easier, simpler, faster customer experience.

In a recent study by Aspect Software and The Center for Generational Kinetics, “The Aspect Consumer Experience Index: Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations,” consumer attitudes were analyzed across generations. Regardless of age, it is clear that consumer expectations have changed – we expect more out of the companies with whom we transact, especially when it comes to customer service. And while there are some universal truths across generations – like the desire to be recognized and appreciated – there are very distinct differences in HOW consumers want to engage.

According to the study, over 69% of those surveyed, across generations, said they are most loyal to companies who show that they “know them” when they contact customer service. We provide lots of data about ourselves to lots of companies every day – and it behooves companies in every industry to use that data to recognize their consumers. In an age where technology can sometimes leave us feeling disconnected, personalization is the key to building a new kind of relationship.

Now here’s where the “how” comes in to play. Millennials are arguably the first generation to grow up in a world that is saturated with technology. They came of age with the internet and mobile phones – and for those at the latter end of the Millennial spectrum, it was touchscreens, mobile commerce, and social media. The consequence is a generation who has little patience for standing in line, waiting on hold, or transacting face-to-face. If you want to win the hearts, minds, and – well – money of this generation, you’d better make it easy, simple and fast.

The tenets are (relatively) simple. A few fast facts and takeaways from the survey:

  • In the last year, Millennials (more often than any other generation) stopped doing business with at least one company due to poor customer service. Takeaway? Customer service can have a tremendous impact on customer lifetime value (CLV). Make the experience easy, simple, and fast. Know your customer – and use what you know to personalize their experience.
  • 47% of Millennials surveyed said they regularly use their smartphone to pay for things – three times the rate of Baby Boomers. Takeaway? Be present on mobile or you will lose this generation completely.
  • 36% of Millennials would contact a company more frequently if they could text them. Takeaway? Reimagine your customer service experience and go where your customer is present. Text, social media, web forms – all emerging and efficient tools, yet underutilized by most companies.

This brings us back to Clay’s article. He outlines the three consumer trends that have evolved and become the universal truths of consumer interaction: people are strapped for time, their expectations are high, and digital platforms have changed the landscape. When you compare these truths with the fast facts and takeaways from Aspect’s survey, a clear pattern begins to form – and it looks a lot like Millennials.

The Aspect survey is quick to point out that to be successful, you must cater to all generations with whom you do business – not an easy prospect. If you’re going to prioritize your efforts, we’d recommend placing your bets on the 80 million Millennials out there and the future revenue potential that comes with them. At the end of the day, it’s all about the quality of the interaction meeting the needs of your target consumer. And companies like Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber who embrace ease, simplicity, and speed across the consumer journey will be sure to emerge as winners.

To learn more about Customer Experience and how Catalyst can help, check out our white paper, “The Loyalty-Customer Experience Connection.”

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