The millennial customer

The Millennial generation is the largest in history; bigger than Gen X and even than Baby Boomers. Now reaching their prime working and spending years, their impact is definitely going to be big, too.

Focused on tech, globalization, and disruption, millennials may feel and act differently than their parents and grandparents but they still have to purchase things. However. their relationship with money and brands is another thing, because they can now interact with the latter.

Most people agree that millennials are those born from the early 80s to the early 2000s.

Internet purchases: Millennials and money

They have been slower to marry and move out on their own; the same attitude is seen towards any kind of purchase: millennials embrace the “sharing economy.”

Millennials look for quality but low prices are equally or even more important to them.

Being the “first generation of digital natives” (even though Gen Xers already played video games and/or had cellphones, they didn’t have that “my phone is an extension of my arm” relationship with them), for them, instant access to price comparison and product reviews is absolutely normal. That’s why retail brands have had to adjust to them and their needs.

They can stay true to a brand but not just because of the promise of quality: low prices are key, and a mix of both, the jackpot. Millennials also appreciate brands with a strong social media presence. This is understandable because social media is the first place they go to when they need to communicate with the brand (for complaints, compliments, anything).

Social media customer service

They want it and they want it now. Both a product and your answer. According to research, more than 22% expect a response within 10 minutes of reaching out to a brand via social media. Furthermore, 52% will leave an online purchase process if they can’t find a quick answer.

Chatbots: a good solution for quick and effective customer service.

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a critical role in this play: nearly 3 out of 4 millennials prefer to solve their own customer service issues. That means that they’d rather surf the web, search forums, FAQ pages… instead of talking to a rep. Both big brands and small companies should take this into account when designing their website and planning their strategy.

Millennials and brand loyalty

As I was saying, brand loyalty isn’t that strong anymore; it’s not an unbreakable bond between brand and customer. Millennials have so much to choose from that they don’t feel they have to stick with a brand forever.

According to the stats, it takes three poor experiences to end the relationship; just one for some of them.

They’re also the most vocal generation: more than half of them will share that bad experience and that’s something that can truly hurt a brand’s reputation. A wrong response or no response at all can be the final nail in the coffin.

A wrong response to a customer -or no response at all- can be the final nail in the coffin.

Strategy for handling millennial clients

While not every millennial is the same, the generation does have some preferences and behaviors we can identify to improve brand-customer/potential client relationship. Here are some tips:

  • Go mobile
    Oh yes, millennials and their cellphones. You’re probably not a millennial and are reading this from one (perhaps even in bed). Mobile optimization, need we say more?
  • Be social
    Be there. Everywhere. You can focus on a few social networks but just don’t let your profiles die and more importantly, if you get questions or comments from customers, answer as quickly and as politely as possible.
  • Make it quick
    Short and sweet: A quick response to a question will make you earn points but handling criticism well will be even better.
  • Appeal to feelings
    Millennials like to thing that they’re buying “experiences”, not products. Try to make them feel like they’re close to you and your brand when you address them via social media, for example (don’t talk to them like a CEO; be human!). Being nice, casual, funny, and respectful are things that make a brand stand out on social networks.
  • Go global
    Learn from worldwide companies and brands so you can expand your audience and target the right potential customers, both nationally and internationally. Follow the latest trends and apply them to your brand if you think that’s the correct strategy, and going global, don’t forget to localize.
  • Be visual
    Visual content is king. Images? Great. Video? Even better. Millennials prefer to consume photos, videos, and infographics. And they love memes and emoticons! But don’t forget that it all depends on which brand we’re talking about. Try to be cool but stay true to your brand and remember that you’re trying to sell something.
  • Don’t forget to sell
    Millennials hate marketing per se; they’re turned off by it. Advertising to them doesn’t have to seem like advertising at all. But how do you do that? Giving useful tips in different ways on different channels, and showing the best your brand has to offer but without looking like a desperate salesperson. Show product features letting them know why they’re great and why they need them, and keep ’em coming back for more.