The Voice of the Millennial Customer: Is Your Brand Listening?

Millennials have the distinction of being the first generation to have been born and raised in our modern digital world. They not only rely on social media and apps for leisure and convenience, but they are essentially trendsetters who play a pivotal role in brand success. Restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut and McDonald’s have shifted toward fresher ingredients and more varied and personalized menu items based on their research with the millennial crowd, while online retailer Amazon is catering to the millennial demand for faster service with expedited delivery for Prime members and even features that allow quick purchase and delivery of regular household items with the press of a button. More than ever, marketing to this younger generation (generally defined as those between the ages of 18 and 35), delivering great customer service, and offering a seamless customer experience rely heavily on listening to the voice of the millennial consumer. Here are three compelling reasons why their opinions count more than ever and play a critical role in driving brand success.

They dominate social media.

Forbes has cited that 33% of millennials consult blogs before making a purchase, preferring to check the opinions of peers on social media. Another 62% reported that they wish to engage with companies on social media.What does this mean for brands? Companies need to take Facebook posts and tweets seriously, not only equipping agents with the right brand information and skills to deliver real-time customer service but further investing in social listening tools to better analyze customer needs and wants. What millennials are saying about the brands they engage with can have a tremendous impact on brand success and customer loyalty. Companies need to engage with these millennials using an omnichannel strategy—using social media channels in addition to traditional support channels—while prioritizing mobile optimization. Nielsen reports that over 85% of millennials own smartphones, and they are often looking for quick, thorough information on the go. Brands need to be sure to define themselves clearly and consistently across all channels so that millennials not only get a great customer experience but feel that they have a choice as to their channel of preference. The more consistent and appealing a brand appears, the more loyal this generation is—as often evidenced by the enthusiastic support and endorsement they’ll give on social media and the critiques they’ll likewise make when they’re unsatisfied. Social media has the power to project a positive brand image while empowering companies to engage their younger customers.

They like to play a role in shaping their favorite brands.

Forbes also indicated that 42% of millennials surveyed showed interest in being involved with the creation of products. Brands therefore need to reach out to millennials for their opinions on social media and give them opportunities to make their feedback count. Chains such as Starbucks have done just that—asking their customers to vote on fan favorites on their signature Frappuccino drinks with the promise of offering the winning drink at a discounted price. Focus groups and other market research are a must with millennials, as numerous brands have tailored their products and services to the preferences of the younger generation with success. For example, Nestle removed artificial flavors from its candies to stay current with healthy trends while Verizon has garnered success in offering cheaper data plans to younger consumers. Accenture has predicted that by 2020, the millennial generation will annually spend $1.4 trillion in the U.S. alone, proving that younger consumers need to be heard.

They prefer brands with an authentic voice of their own.

Millennials are on top of the latest trends and don’t appreciate false modesty or mere imitation. They want an authentic brand voice that not only appeals to their tastes but shows genuine care for customers, savvy marketing, and excellent products. Colgate, for example, created a fast whitening toothpaste to appeal to younger consumers but took their marketing approach a step further by featuring You Tube beauty stars in their marketing campaign. Such an approach makes brands relatable and likeable, and when excellent products and services back up clever marketing and are delivered with great customer service and appreciation on social media, younger consumers become steadfast brand advocates.The millennial generation may be the most vocal one yet, but when brands combine clever marketing, excellent products, and great customer service through an omnichannel approach, this generation can fuel their success. Learn about Vocalcom contact center solutions for excellent social customer service to engage millennial customers .

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