They're here! Are you ready?
It's time to finally put down the phone and look at different platforms to keep millennials engaged, says Ebrahim Dinat, COO of Ocular Technologies.
It's because of circumstance. Millennial customers are more fastidious when it comes to customer service than previous generations - and at the same time they are also fiercely loyal. They have grown up with a plethora of tools and a variety of communication channels around them, and they know how to utilise them to cheer or complain- and, most certainly, never be complacent. Disruption is in their blood and, on top of this, they are the largest generation since the baby boomers - making them today's biggest consumer base.
Knowing their behaviour is therefore paramount when serving this vast group, and their spending ability should continuously be top of mind for any customer facing business.
"The millennial generation's growth spurt coincided with the phenomenal acceleration of digital technology, but they also came of age surrounded by the effects the global financial crisis during the first decade of the new millennium," notes Ebrahim Dinat, COO of South African customer experience solutions provider, Ocular Technologies. "They thus got an equal dose of good and bad, and it is perhaps this yin and yang, which gives them a heightened awareness of the power of technology and a super consciousness of service and quality. Millennials demand a good return on their investment."
It has already become apparent that millennials are changing how businesses perform customer service.
"It is too late to exclaim that the millennials are coming. They are already here," continues Dinat. "Your customer service thus needs to be ready and in tune to service much, much higher customer expectations than before. This relates to personalisation - that one-on-one interaction. Also excellent and fast feedback - make a mistake or lacklustre in your answer and you're history. Remember too to up your self-service game as millennials are Internet savvy and can find most answers online, making the phone very much yesterday's tool. And, notably, it's time to climb out of your shell and get social - it's on social networking platforms where customer service is happening. Think of it as being more than just connected, it's about being hyper-connected."
He points out that, luckily, generations en masse have developed technology that evolves along with millennial behaviour. "Such as having bots answer FAQs, artificial intelligence gleaning invaluable material, and natural language understanding," says Dinat.
"What is boils down to, is a heightened awareness that customer service has changed. Embrace technology - but keep it human," he muses in conclusion. "It's a world of contrasts out there, where you need to finally put down the phone and look at different platforms to keep millennials engaged. It means turning everything you thought you had learnt, knew and what worked in the past, on its head."