Businesses need to address the customer engagement preferences of the Millennial demographic or risk going out of business, according to a survey of 1,050 Americans conducted by Conversion Research on behalf of Aspect Software and the Center for Generational Kinetics.
More than half (56 percent) of Millennials moved their business from at least one company in the past year due to poor customer service, and nearly a third of consumers would rather clean a toilet than talk to customer service.
"For starters, our research found that half of Millennials value their smartphone more than their computers, significantly more than the Gen Xers and overwhelmingly more than Boomers," Jim Freeze, chief marketing officer of Aspect, told eWEEK. "Millennials marry later so more of them are single and being single means being mobile. Millennials don’t email either and they don’t like to talk on the phone unless someone is making them do so. Because texting is their primary mode of communication between friends, they would prefer to use that modality when they want to or have to talk to customer service."
The survey indicated the customer experience is increasingly defined by service, with 76 percent of all generations viewing customer service as the true test of how much a company values them.
However, consumer preferences are not being addressed, as 73 percent of consumers said that they should have the ability to solve most product and service issues on their own.
Freeze noted that four out of 10 of Millennials said they would be a truly satisfied customer if they could text to do business, and over a third of them would contact a company more frequently if they could do so by text.
"Plain and simple, text is a primary and preferred method of communication for Millennials as they find it easy, succinct and fits into their lifestyle," he said.
In addition, 65 percent of all generations and 69 percent of Millennials say they feel really good about both the company and themselves when they are able to answer a question or solve a problem related to that company on their own.
"Millennials as a whole have a lower level of trust so going into a customer-company relationship, there is more work to be done to not only gain that trust but also keep that trust," Freeze said. "Brands then need to provide consistent and predictable customer experiences that inspire loyalty in order to overcome this trust issue."
He said for Millennials, the experience is more important than individual functions and features of a product or service Companies must adapt as customer service evolves to become the primary vehicle for customer acquisition and retention.