What You Don’t Know About Millennials Will Hurt Your Bottom-line

This research that I just completed is about how to use customer experience to turn Millennials into brand advocates. Why does it matter? They are different than other generations that have come before then. If you are in the Boomer Generation and are running a contact center there are some changes on the horizon that are key to know about and start preparing for now.

Let’s look at some of the stats. There are >2 billion people in the world. Two billion are active on social media and 1 in 3 consumers prefer social to phones for service. Who’s leading the way? Those that were born into the world with nearly a device in their hand, well almost. And while this post is about customer service, we can’t really separate marketing, customer service and other disciplines. We’ll see why in a minute.

Millennials are the largest, most diverse, educated & influential shoppers on the planet. They are positioned to be the wealthiest generation to date and have influence over their Baby Boomer parent’s choices & will inherent their money / real estate. In fact, by 2018 in US, projected income = $3.4 Trillion/year & surpassing Baby Boomer income.

They are different than The Boomer Generation in that social networks & technology are their LIVES! Here’s some stats:

  • 75% created a profile on a social networking site
  • 55% visit those sites once/day
  • 60% connect to the Internet wirelessly when they are away from work or home
  • 88% text each other
  • 74% new technology makes their life easier
  • 50% use it to be closer to their friends
  • 65% are disconnected one hour or less a day

And millennials take online action all the time!

  • 70% recommend their favorite brands to family & friends
  • 47% write about good online experiences
  • 40% have criticized a brand on a social network
  • 70% would create a video and post it online or write a review about their experience with a company

This post is about customer service, but the initial engagement of Millennials is typically through efforts that tend to fall into marketing – though can also be done in customer service. You want to asknormal-customer-text yourself are you really ready for the Millennials generation? Do you understand how different theunder-20-customer-texty are?






So if you are wondering where to start here’s some tips:

Map Your Generational Customer Journeys. This is Maya. She is 22 and social is her life. She may do some research using google and find your website. They she may decide to buy something from  Facebook ad, then one the she’s using the product and finds it not up to her standards, she complains on twitter and then leaves critical feed back you your website.


Learn Why Millennials Trust Your Company Enough to Buy from Them

While 55% said “price” was most important reason, however, price is the least important in building their trust

  • 30% cared more about product quality & quick service
  • 20% cared more about the range of products offered
  • Brand switching is common (least loyal of all generations)

Learn How Do Millennials Decide To Buy From You

A company’s reputation can matter as much as the performance of its products

  • 34% bought from a brand because of the social or political values of the company
  • 89% intentionally visit showroom to see product; then price compare & buy online at best price
  • 90% tell their family & friends NOT to purchase the company’s products when they lose trust or respect for a brand

Engage Millennials Around Life Events

  • They care about things that affect their life
  • Graduating, getting married, buying a house, having children, getting a job, getting divorce, dating…
  • That’s the type of content they are looking for from you – help them with their life events and they will reward you with their loyalty

But Know As You Engage Millennials, Don’t Separate Marketing and Customer Service!

Millennials don’t see the company from separate silos. They see the company as one large department and they expect that you know them and that you treat them the same in all channels, on all devices and from all interaction aspects – from marketing, to service to…. If a Millennial has a problem with a company, instead of calling customer service… 

  • They text 5 friends & share frustration on Facebook
  • Friends share the story with peer groups
  • Result: Friends comment on the incident & share their own stories of disappointment
  • A single event can spread like wildfire
  • When seeking customer service <1% will call customer!

Empower WORD-OF-MOUTH Millennial From All Departments and Share Data About Customers Across All Departments

Know what Marketing said to the customer about a product and service. Know what the brand promise was and make sure the product lives up to it. And that customer service knows what that promised was so they can help transform a bad situation into a good one. Millennials want to trust your brand.

  • Millennials are looking for great products and brands to share with their friends
  • Focus on making an excellent product
  • If you do, then your marketing efforts can be authentic
  • As a result, WOM marketing will be done by Millennials.

So here’s some take aways and look forward to a new report with much more details soon! I am speaking at OpenWorld on Tuesday Sept 20 at 11 AM in Moscone West. Come say hi! I want to hear your stories!


@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst

Constellation Research Covering All Customer Facing Applications to Create Great Customer Experiences!


*Sources: Pew Research,  Javelin Strategy & Research Study  &  IRI study



Social CEM: Moving Beyond Customer Loyalty to Customer Advocacy And Customer Experience (Part 2)

Leveraging Global Trends to Engage Today’s Consumers
According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report (Figure 3) which surveyed more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries found that:
» 92% of consumers say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from
friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
» 70% of global consumers surveyed online indicate they trust messages from online consumer reviews, an increase of 15% in four years.

While many companies are spending millions of dollars in traditional advertising, data like this suggests that perhaps money might be better spent developing social customer experience initiatives. Figure 3. Consumers trust recommendations from people they know more than TV, newspaper or radio ads.

tvTargeting the Millennial Generation
While global trend research points to the need for the management of customer experience and advocacy, companies need to especially focus on the Millennial Generation. This next generation consumer is a unique and large target segment, consisting of consumers that are 13 to 29 years of age, who have adopted social media into their daily lives more rapidly than any other target market. This group is particularly important as history has shown that early adopter behavior typically points the way to mass market adoption of new technologies. While over 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old, the purchasing power of the Millennial group is estimated to be $170 billion per year. According to comScore3, in the U.S. there are:
» ~79M Millennials (born between 1981 and 2000)
» ~48M Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1980)
» ~79M Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)

In Edelman’s study of Millennials, “The 8095 Exchange: Millennials, Their Actionsbrands
Surrounding Brands, and the Dynamics of Reverberation,” they found a direct link
between the immersive, symbiotic relationship Millennials have with social networking
channels and the likelihood to define their personal brand and reputation by aligning
themselves with brands they favor.

According to the study, 86% of Millennials are willing to share information about their brand preferences online, this means creating customer experience programs is of the utmost importance for companies.
Brands must understand and use the demographic, psychographic and online
interaction preferences of Millennials if they want to learn how to engage this next
wave of the largest mainstream market segment.

For instance, when engaging or surveying Millennials, standard consumer survey approaches may not garner the
response expected. Tech-savvy consumers often are fatigued by wordy, lengthy
demographic surveys and the old style of interrogation. Instead companies need to
consider engaging in a dialogue with not only Millennials, but all consumers.
In fact, consumer surveys should not be generic but rather they should capture
the unique customer experience with the brand. For example, a company who is
very focused on the customer experience would actually post completed survey
questions/feedback in the back room of the retail store or a restaurant. With that
information of what the customer experience should look like, staff members can
use it as their guide to focus their customer interaction behaviors.

An insightful survey should capture the customer’s emotional experiences with the brand, moving
beyond traditional questions that tend to interrogate customers. For example, in a
food service context, a generic question like “Was your drink hot (or cold)?” is an
impersonal way to ask a question. A new way to phrase it would be: “The drink was
prepared perfectly for me.”

We’re not done yet…make sure you check back for part 3!

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
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Webinar: Multi-Channel MultiGenerational Customer Service- Gen X, Y, Millennials, Boomer, Silent Generation -Customer Experience

If you are in a business serving broad consumer markets, your customers are likely to span multiple generations – Gen X, Gen Y, millennials, boomers, silent generation and so on. A one-size-fits-all approach to customer engagement won’t work across these customer segments. Worse yet, you might miss large chunks of your market by not having a multi-generational customer engagement strategy.

It’s well-known that there are significant generational differences in lifestyles, service expectations, attitudes and technology use. For instance, while many of today’s toddlers use iPads, seniors often prefer basic, easy-to-use, cell phones.  92% of adults in the 18-29 age group use social versus 38% in the 65+ age group. Younger, social networking users expect faster service and prefer NOT to use the phone. If your whole operation is based on calls, you are not prepared for this next generation of customers. And to complicate matters, regardless of age group, many customers have also gone multichannel.

How can you plan for a multi-generational consumer engagement strategy?

How do you design and deliver generation-tailored customer journeys so you can outperform your competition?

I did a webinar on the topic of Multi-Channel MultiGenerational Customer Service with Don Muchow, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for eGain  eGain, a leading provider of customer engagement software. Click on the graphic to listen to the webinar:egain AMA webinar dr natalie customer service

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