Millennials have been blamed for killing more industries than you can count – everything from the NFL and buffalo wings to the housing market and diamond industry (fear not, there’s a full list here). But of all the things this generation has been blamed and criticized for – laziness, entitlement, avocado toast – Millennials have changed customer service and customer success for the better. Seemingly overnight, they’ve rewritten the book on what it means to be a modern-day brand and, in turn, what it takes for a brand to serve its customers. They have used their voices to demand that brands treat consumers fairly, openly, and transparently.
Not so into the agenda Millennials are pushing? Best of luck to your brand, because 2018 has already produced a list of dying or near-dead companies that couldn’t (or wouldn’t) cater to the demands of a new generation. For most brands, though, the decision to pivot and adjust their customer support and success strategies has been an easy one. And for many, it’s a decision that has paid off in dividends.
So how has the game changed? Here are three customer success adaptations that the world’s most successful brands are building into their repertoire.
Let the Crowd Do Your Talking
Millennials have made it clear: They aren’t buying the b.s. brands are shouting from the rooftops. What a company says, be it via their website, marketing materials, social media channels, and more, matters less and less. Consumers are instead looking to third-party trusted sources to crowdsource their decisions. In fact, 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and more than half check reviews before making buying decisions.
What does this mean for brands? They should leverage independent platforms to share their reputation in an open manner. This gives the consumer an opportunity to see the ins and outs of the services or products a brand offers in a relevant, authentic way. Brands that utilize customer review tools to proactively collect feedback not only reap the rewards of more credibility, but their CS teams can also gather real-time data and insights to improve their service.
Keep it Open & Transparent
In a world where “fake news” has become a part of the mainstream media, transparency is what millennials want. Transparency is one of the top requests Millennials make from the brands they deal with, and so businesses need to be willing to lay their cards on the table. For CS teams, that means an opportunity to solve customer issues publicly, be it on message boards, social media, and support platforms. There is nothing more transparent than replying to customer issues in real time using real people. Consumers will then be able to witness how strong customer relations is within the company, leading to brand development and growth.
Time is Money…and Trust
A recent study examining customer service and experiences found something surprising: Despite common belief, Millennials are one of the most patient generations and are also much more likely to forgive and forget the misdeeds of brands. Millennials are also more likely to tolerate mistakes, while only 2 percent of those over 55 years of age said the same.
But if brands think for a second that this gives them a free pass with a younger generation, think again. Millennials have opened a door of opportunity; they are willing to give brands a chance to repair their reputation. To do so, however, action needs to be taken in a timely manner, and this is crucial for CS teams to understand. Responding to customers who have had a negative experience in a timely fashion can convert more than 70 percent of unhappy customers into returning customers. And when consumers see brands addressing problems online in a timely manner, research shows they are 15 percent more likely to do business with that brand. Translation: better retention, better loyalty, more revenue.
The Reward to Brands
Millennials are demanding a better quality of service in exchange for their hard-earned money.
This generation may have once again “killed” an industry, but this time they killed one that was outdated and out of touch with today’s consumers. Brands of all sizes should strategize around real-time feedback and solution management. It takes an initial investment of both time and money, but the payoff can be significant.