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Many a think-piece has been written about millennials. Who are they? What motivates them? Why are their jeans so tight? We seem to be getting a better idea of who they are as people, but understanding who they are as customers is a little bit more difficult. Their expectations for customer service are completely different than those of the generation that came before them. It’s up to us as contact center professionals to adjust our tactics to be able to accommodate these demands, as keeping or losing their business is crucial to survival.

To understand what we have to do to meet their needs, we first must understand what they want in a memorable customer experience. While there may be a long list of characteristics Gen Y would love for contact centers to have, two stand out the most, and, if implemented, could transform customer engagement forever for the better. Millennials want to do things on their own, and if they need help they want it instantly.

For Gen Y, the idea of talking to a customer service representative sends shivers down the spine. They would much prefer to find answers to their problems themselves. People are browsing the internet more and more for solutions instead of contacting companies directly. Currently, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, and other popular online communities for answers. That is something that companies should not tolerate. When you have a problem with your car, you don’t go ask everyone at your local shopping mall for advice do you? Of course not! You go to the dealership, as they are the experts on your car. Unfortunately, a scenario very similar to this one plays out every day for most companies who do not have adequate self-service options. To make sure that companies gain and retain millennial customers, they must build comprehensive self-service options. That can take the form of organized FAQ sections as well as smart IVR backed by natural language understanding and machine learning that allows customers to have real conversations with these intelligent machines.

But these self-service options aren’t the be all end all; they must be accompanied by instant access to experienced agents through any channel when needed. No matter how thorough you might think your new self-service options are, they will inevitably not be enough for some cases. Therefore, companies need to build the infrastructure to accommodate text-based, web chat-based, and video chat-based customer service options. Phone capabilities should already be in place, but they will be the least popular form of contact for millennials when they need assistance. SMS and chat are the quickest and most direct forms of interaction between customer and company, which is why so many of the younger generation desire them. If phone calls are necessary, the ability to have a face-to-face interaction will make the call that much more personal for the customer and more likely to have them feeling satisfied with the interaction overall.

People, not just millennials, want to feel like they matter to their favorite brands, which is why developing and executing a customer engagement plan involving extensive self-service options and instant connectivity to assistance is so important. If they don’t feel valued, your customers will go find someone else to do business with. With the right technology, and the right people, you can create an environment for your customers to thrive.

It’s time to get your contact centers ready for the next generation. Get started today.


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