Keeping Up With Digital Natives: Modernizing Customer Support for Millennials

A lot of ink has been spilled on the topic of Millennials—the generation born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s. Are they really different from the generations that precede them?

When it comes to their customer service expectations, at least, the answer is yes.

For one thing, Millennials typically take to digital channels when they need support. Fifty-two percent of 18-to-34-year-olds have used social media for customer service, versus 31 percent of consumers overall.

In addition, contact-center software provider Aspect says, Millennials are twice as likely (PDF) as Baby Boomers to use messaging apps for customer service.

What drives Millennials to digital support platforms? Their expectation of urgency (PDF) is one big factor. Forty percent of 18-to-34-year-olds will switch contact channels if their support question isn’t answered within an hour—compared to just 20 percent of Boomers.

Also, digital media allows Millennials to solicit input from others like them—an important consideration, because they truly value authenticity when they engage with brands.

Recognizing that Millennials are wired differently, what can you do to better engage them?

Market, sell, and provide support on multiple channels

Globally, the average young person spends 23 hours each week on their phone.

Communication and entertainment are the primary use cases for smartphones, but Millennial consumers also rely on their phones to interact with brands. When Millennials conduct product research, look to make a purchase, or seek support, their phone is an integral part of the process.

That means you need to not only be present on platforms that are mobile-friendly but ensure your support experience is as streamlined as possible. Ask, for example, how visible you are on search engine results pages: support-focused inSided communities often see more than 80% of their traffic come from search engines. When a Millennial needs support, they’ll start with a web search—and you want to be there.

Be authentic and transparent

Today’s young people are all too familiar with conventional advertising: The average child sees more than 25,000 ads every year, nonprofit Common Sense Media says. Among Millennial consumers, you need to be authentic to stand out.

In practice, this means soliciting customers’ opinions and really listening to what they have to say. Nearly half of Millennials want to help companies develop products and services. That’s a massively powerful resource to tap into—but it requires you to open conversations, listen to what’s being said, and commit to using consumer feedback.

Leverage UGC when possible

User-generated content (UGC) has multiple benefits. It’s great for SEO, because it’s written in the style that people use when conducting searches. It provides the authenticity that today’s consumers demand. And it increases trust among prospects by showing them real people’s opinions.

How can you take advantage of UGC in your customer support organization? By tapping into the wisdom of the crowd, you can offer better answers to common support questions. Creating a knowledge base of UGC will keep traffic flowing to your site in the future, as well. Millennials typically turn to the web when they have support questions, and the more UGC you have, the greater the odds they’ll find the answers they need.




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Ben Foster

Content Marketer at inSided. Having worked in B2B tech in San Francisco and Boston, Ben's now happy to be in New York City. He'll never root for the Yankees, though. Connect on LinkedIn

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