Spanning those born within a few decades (while there’s little consensus, most reports agree millennials are people born around 1980 to 2000), millennials now make up the largest generation with about 75.4 million members according to the Pew Research Center. They’ve overtaken Baby Boomers which has 74.9 million members.
There are several important traits in this generation. Millennials are known to be headstrong, curious, entitled, and entrepreneurial. While all traits can be seen as bad or good depending on the context, many of the most common traits of millennials can help create an amazing customer service experience.
Below are some of the ways to leverage millennials to lead to better overall customer satisfaction and brand sentiment.
According to Dan Schawbel at Forbes, millennials make up 25 per cent of the current population in America and have about $200 billion annually in purchasing power. This means that millennials have a lot of expectations when it comes to customer service. According to Sharpen Technologies, they expect a quick response to their quandaries (translation: they hate being put on hold), like options for how to contact a business, and want to do things on their own as much as possible.
This is why you’ve seen the increase in online delivery and appointment setting with everything from sushi restaurants to eyebrow waxing. Millennials like getting things done — fast — and it’s frustrating to them to have to wait.
As a result, having millennials as customer service reps, who have the power to solve problems immediately (instead of waiting for approval from a manager), can increase customer satisfaction. Many businesses allow reps to not only have autonomy on the phone, and over email, but on social media, too. Many airlines allow support reps to change reservations or solve issues immediately through Twitter direct messages. According to The Points Guy, Delta Airline’s social media support team has grown from six to 40 employees, all of whom can handle customer requests with reservations and flight information.
Millennials effectively connect with their own generation so effectively because of the way they talk. Our vernacular has slowly shifted to be more casual, especially with people communicating online in acronyms such as LOL and IRL. Emoji and gif use to express sentiment has also grown exponentially. In fact, Contactually reports that a UK study found that 72 per cent of young millennials aged 18 to 25 say that using emojis allows them to more clearly express how they feel.
Proper emoji use is a skill that takes some time to learn, but it comes naturally for most millennials. It is much easier for millennials to pick up on trends in digital communication, making it easier for them to communicate with younger customers — those under age 35.
In addition to communicating easier with their generation, millennials have a natural tendency to go above and beyond to solve a situation, even when it requires thinking outside protocols.
Many experts have called millennials the most creative workforce in history. This is due to the fact that many millennials had to come up with creative solutions for the challenges they faced due to recessions, lack of affordable housing in many markets, and a lagging economy. Combining this need for scrappiness and dependence on technology, millennials often challenge conventional business practices and offer unique solutions to problems. This creativity and ingenuity is why brands such as Spanx, Facebook, and Airbnb were created.
Businesses can harness this creativity in their customer service departments by allowing millennials to brainstorm solutions for customer issues and giving them the bandwidth to propose new workflows and resolutions. Sometimes a new employee can suggest an improvement that improves a company’s reputation with its customers.
Part of allowing millennials to be creative is humoring them when they begin to pry and ask questions. At many workplaces in the past, workers were (or still are) expected to put their heads down, do what’s asked of them, and then leave when they’re done with work for the day.
Millennials have bucked that trend: They frequently make a habit of not only questioning existing business processes, but also asking more from the customer to better learn what’s needed in each situation. Ben Walden of the Dragonfly Foundation for Research & Development sees this as a benefit:
“When millennials ask questions, they actually want to know the answer. They aren’t trying to make a point or question your knowledge. Millennials are the most educated generations of all time … Most of them are perfectionists or pretty close to it. They want to get it right so they ask questions.
“This should make us happy because most people don’t know their limitations and won’t ask for help even when everything is falling apart around them. This should be a reason to want to work with millennials, yet most people see it as a weakness.”
If your millennial customer service reps are asking questions about your processes, chances are high your customers are wondering the same. Take their questions and work together to create an updated, streamlined customer support process. Millennial or not, your customers will appreciate representatives who are technologically savvy, speak to them as though they are sympathetic friends, and have the power to solve problems as quickly as possible. More freedom given to customer service employees means faster problem solving and more company resources spent on growing the business.
Learn more about how to run a successful customer service department with our ebook , “20 Customer Service Best Practices.”