If one generation in particular is changing the definition of customer engagement, it’s the millennials. This young consumer population, generally considered anyone born after 1980, is intimately connected with our modern digital world. Having been born after the onset of the Internet and during the rise of mobile devices and social media, millennials are arguably the most technically savvy customers today. Nielsen cited that 85% of millennials own smartphones, while a survey conducted by marketing firm Blackhawk Engagement Solutions found that millennial customers are expected to spend $200 billion annually by next year. What does all this mean for businesses? Millennial customers are essentially among the greatest influencers in customer engagement at this time, redefining the relationship between brands and customers through their reliance on technology, demand for authenticity, and desire for service on the go. Here are five ways millennials are changing customer engagement as we know it.
Conversational approach to customer engagement.
It’s no secret that millennials love their smartphones, notably for social media and messaging. Brands have taken note and are appealing to millennial customers, as the recent surge in conversational commerce shows. While social media platforms were most recently the most conversational of channels between brands and customers, messaging is making these interactions even more personalized with the promise of ongoing assistance and dialogue. Millennial customers have caused an evolution in the way communication occurs, making customer engagement far more natural, personalized, and in-depth.
Marketing is more interactive and fun.
Millennial customers are passionate about what they buy. For them, making a purchase means supporting the ideology and practices behind a brand, as if the brand reflects their own personal values. For this reason, brands that make an effort to be more interactive and entertaining win over millennial customers. Popular social media channels like Snapchat have been used recently by different brands to run amusing contests, give customers a deeper look at the brand, and make interesting marketing offers. From fashion brands like Asos to drink brands like Gatorade, Snapchat has proven to be a truly millennial-friendly platform. And don’t underestimate the power of other social channels, as Facebook, Twitter, and other channels are as popular as ever for customer engagement. Brands as varied as beauty retailer Dove and American TV channel Comedy Central have turned to emoji marketing campaigns for greatly successful millennial customer engagement.
Need for speed and automation paves the way for new technologies.
Millennials are famously on the go and always connected on their smartphones. This translates into a need for faster and more reliable service, as they often like to search for products, ask questions, and make purchases with a click of a button. This demand has helped pave the way for the current trend of using chat bots within apps. In addition to human agents, chat bots assist customers with everything from product searches to recommendations and making purchases. Many brands have specifically turned to conversational commerce with the hope of engaging millennial customers. Adidas specifically appointed “squads” in various cities to test the potential of WhatsApp for its market, sending customers sports event content, exclusive invitations to brand events, and invitations to connect directly with brand ambassadors.
Product research is more advanced and personalized.
When it comes to product research before purchase, it tends to happen on multiple channels. Many customers research online (desktop or mobile) before making purchases in-store, while others may switch from mobile to desktop at purchasing time. In every situation, customers spend a lot of time looking for information in different places and don’t always benefit from an easy checkout process. Conversational commerce is changing that, as brands on messaging apps and chat are making it easier for customers to search products with the help of live agents, chat bots, and intelligent assistants. Millennials especially love the personalized nature of recommendations, as such one-on-one interactions give them great customer experiences designed specifically for them.
Greater accountability expected from brands.
Customers want timely and efficient service, but it’s fair to say that millennial customers demand this more than others. As they are quick to advocate for the brands they love, they are equally committed to sharing their opinions when service is inadequate (especially on social media). Millennials therefore insist upon greater accountability from brands, which leads to better customer experiences for all. Social media channels such as Facebook have even taken measures to reward brands for timeliness by displaying badges showing their response times.
Millennial customers are helping define the future of customer engagement with their preference for quick and easy communication, mobility, and personalized service. As a global leader in cloud-based contact center software solutions for customer service and sales, Vocalcom chose to integrate Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WeChat, Viber, Kik, and conversational SMS into its cloud contact center platform to evolve into a premium conversational commerce platform for true customer satisfaction. Learn more about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for delivering the best of customer experiences.
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