Millennials: Why Customer Service Will Never Be The Same - InformationWeek

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7/1/2015
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David Wagner
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Millennials: Why Customer Service Will Never Be The Same

While a recent study focuses on how consumers interact with brands, the results also hold lessons for IT in how to tailor internal tech support services to best meet the expectations of a multigenerational workforce.
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(Image: Flavia Brandy via Flickr)

(Image: Flavia Brandy via Flickr)

Millennials -- and to a lesser extent, older generations -- are changing how they want to interact with customer service, according to a recent study. While the study focuses on how consumers interact with brands, the results also hold lessons for IT in how to tailor internal tech support services to best meet the expectations of a multigenerational workforce.

An online survey of more than 2,000 US consumers conducted by Desk.com, a customer service platform offered by Salesforce, showed a preference to avoid customer service phone calls and engage in other communication methods, including texting, online chat, and social media.

Tech-savvy millennials, in particular, want to interact with customer service reps much the way they interact with their friends -- online and via text chat instead of phone calls. Generation Xers and baby boomers also prefer to avoid the traditional customer service call center.

The definition of which age groups make up these generations differs from study to study. For the purposes of this report, millennials are those aged 18-35; gen Xers are aged 36-55; and boomers are aged 56-65.

Millennials have high expectations for customer service communications overall, particuarly when it comes to how quickly a brand responds to their needs. This is driven partially by an understanding of what technology enables (instant communication and instant gratification) and by perceived failings in existing systems.

Check out the results of the survey and share with us in the comments section below whether you think your organization is meeting the customer service needs of its millennial customers or employees.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
7/3/2015 | 12:06:29 AM
Re: Does it Cut Both Ways?
@David, this explains the recent "Very responsive to messages" icon that Facebook rolled out. To gain the icon, an admin would have to respond to 90% of the messages that a page receives with-in a median response time of 5 minutes.

I am still waiting to see a band page with the icon enabled. However, it is interesting to see Facebook's attempt to change the role of customer service reps from a product expert to an industry expert because, customers are sooner or later going to start to ask extremely deep questions.
ChrisH673
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ChrisH673,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/2/2015 | 2:40:49 PM
Millennials: Why Customer Service Will Never Be the Same
I have had a hearing loss almost my entire life.  If I can do business with one company over the internet and via e-mail/chat and I cannot with another company.  The internet/e-mail /chat company will always get my business.  I have what some people would consider a high stress production IT position, but the most stressful thing I have to do is talk to someone on the phone or attend a conference call.  Most calls to me end up with, sorry I simply cannot follow what you are talking about, please send me an e-mail.  Oddly enough, when speaking with me face to face in the office, unless you saw the ear molds in my ears, you may know even notice I have a hearing loss. 

Companies that do not offer an e-mail option to contact customer service, quickly lose my future business if I need to contact them. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2015 | 11:28:39 AM
Re: Does it Cut Both Ways?
@danielcawrey- I have used the "an agent will call you back" stuff before and I'm always disappointed. Sometimes I never get a call. Sometimes the call i smuch later than they said it would be. Depending on your need, waiting for the call is just as bad as waiting on hold. I think we can do a better job of managing the process, but I don't think there is incentive to do so. I think every enterprise realizes now that having slightly better customer service isn't an advantage. You either have to be world class or you can stink like everyone else.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2015 | 12:12:26 AM
Re: Does it Cut Both Ways?
@Dave it could be how you see it... or luck of the draw... but Dr.'s very strange creatures... :)
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2015 | 2:49:49 PM
Re: Does it Cut Both Ways?
Just make the tools customer serivce uses easier. 

For example: How about a web tool that lets me describe my problem. Then, an agent calls me when he or she is available?

Makes a lot more sense. We have the technology. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/1/2015 | 1:29:36 PM
Re: Does it Cut Both Ways?
@jastroff- Interesting. i have a different feeling about medicine. I feel like doctors want to spend more time talking to me than I feel like talking to them. Maybe I'm lucky. Or maybe i'm just impatient. :)
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2015 | 1:24:12 PM
Does it Cut Both Ways?
Shorter wait times for the doctor -- for sure, in the last x years, much less of a wait than in the 80s ir 90s.

Better customer service? Maybe at check-in. But it's the age of 15-minute medicine; hence the doctor isn't usually late at all, but running right on time, mostly.
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