Meet Jessica, a classic member of the Millennial generation. She lives in San Antonio, the #1 destination for Millennials in the United States (Forbes). You’ll see her every Monday, Wednesday and Friday monitoring her morning run on her FitBit, wrapped in a silicone Tory Burch bracelet. After her run she orders a latte at Starbucks on her mobile app. Jessica’s life is always “on” and she expects brands to intersect with the technology in her life.
Jessica is fictional, but she’s the profile of your customer. A member of Generation Y aka “Millennials,” you may be familiar with some of their characteristics:
- There are 50 million Millennials between the ages of 18 and 29.
- They are the biggest generation in U.S. and world history.
- By 2018 their collective purchasing power will exceed $3.39 trillion.
- They are the most ethnically diverse generation ever.
They Love Their Tech
But what makes this generation truly unique is their use of technology. When asked what makes them feel “distinctive,” twenty-four percent say it’s their use of technology, more than Gen X (12%) or Boomers (17%).
Technology has become nearly a physical appendage. Given the choice of keeping their sense of smell or their laptop or smartphone, nearly half of people in this survey aged 23 – 30 chose the phone. So apparently, Millennials prefer technology to olfactory.
Gen Y is also intensely self-reliant. It’s no wonder then that Aspect found in a recent survey that nearly three out of four millennials prefer to solve their customer service issues on their own. 69% reported feeling good about themselves and the company they’re doing business with when they resolve a problem without talking to a customer service representative.
But They Want People, Too
Warning: Don’t get it twisted- this generation’s affinity for technology is not a rejection of humanity. To the contrary, Millennials desire and expect deep connections with others. They are social, collaborative, value diversity, share experiences and appearances with friends and expect brands to engage with them as peers.
When the situation calls for it, Jessica expects to interact with a person, preferably a peer. Offer that connection and she’ll respond. But when she can use an app or other technology to get what she wants, give Jessica the tech.
Jessica and the rest of her generation is complex and defies generalization. She loves technology. She loves people. She wants connection. She wants engagement. But only on her terms and where and when she wants it.
Win the Convenience Customers
Above all, Jessica wants convenience. For that reason, I refer to Millennials as Convenience Customers. If you’re a customer experience professional you must make it a priority to understand this massive cohort of consumers. Fortunately, the convenience Millennials’ love is enabled by technology that brands can use to delight them. How brands meet Millennials with innovative technology can make the difference in winning their loyalty.
Consider whether your customer experience engages Millennials as they experience the world:
- Do you know them across devices?
- Can you anticipate their needs while shopping or searching for help on your site?
- Can you save them time by offering smart self-service solutions that understand their language?
These Convenience Customers, are remarkable in many ways. To win the business and earn the loyalty of Millennials you must create elegant experiences that meet their expectations. As this generation begins to take more leadership roles in our world, it’s time to get serious about how you deliver customer service to the Convenience Customer.