4 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience For Millennials

How to prepare for the millennial spending boom.

By 2020 millennials - those born between 1980 and 2000 - will take over. Accenture predicts that in the US alone this largest generation in history will be spending $1.4 trillion annually, which is a huge share of the global spend and one you cannot afford to miss out on.

So how can you make sure that you create a great customer experience for the powerful Generation Y?

1. Go digital and be social

Millennials are the first digital generation and they have come to expect digital connectivity everywhere and at any time. So if you digitally lag behind and, for instance, your website isn't fast enough or isn't mobile responsive (according to Nielsen, millennials are the largest group of smartphone owners in the US) millennials will take their custom and their billions elsewhere.

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A huge part of the digital experience is made up by social media. Your social interactions with consumers, or lack thereof, can make or break a customer relationship. If someone shares a complaint on Twitter or Facebook and you respond promptly, providing a solution, you can turn a disgruntled customer into a happy one. Vice versa, if there is no response at all, the negative comment can ripple through the digital landscape at viral speed, alienating dozens and in some cases even thousands of potential customers.

2. Offer on-demand service

There is a reason why on-demand streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu are popular: they provide instant gratification. You have the sudden urge to watch a feel-good rom com? You’re not dependent on what happens to be showing on TV at that time, you don’t even need to go out to the shops to find something that may catch your fancy. All you have to do is log into a streaming service and a host of recommendations tailored to your preferences will be provided.

And this doesn’t just apply to the world of streaming videos, due to increased accessibility millennials have come to expect an on-demand service everywhere. They will not stay on hold on the phone for an hour when they have an issue with their wifi connection or water, instead they’ll shoot off a comment or complaint over email or onto special media and they expect a solution provided to them almost immediately. So having 24/7 customer service and ensuring a speedy response is vital to keeping this generation of customers happy and loyal.

3. Get personal

There has never been as much choice between products and services as there is nowadays, so how do you make sure that a customer chooses you instead of another provider? Of course you need to ensure quality and a competitive price, but for millennials another important aspect is how personal their experience is.

This is where you can apply current buzzword ‘big data’ to its full extent; aggregate all the information you have from a customer – online and offline – in one place to create a personalised experience. Using big data you can tailor the customer journey to make it easy for them to find what they want, for instance through predicting future interests from previous purchases and searches, or even create a particular product or service tailored to their preferences.

4. Move multi-channel to omni-channel

Most traditional retail businesses will have gone down the multi-channel route; offering customers the option between visiting a brick-and-mortar store as well as online platforms. But the real challenge is delivering an omni-channel experience to the customers, and that's one that millennials in particular expect.

Accenture found that 68 per cent of all millennials demand an integrated experience regardless of the channel, so you need to ensure that you create a seamless experience at every touch point. Whether the customer is browsing your website on a desktop computer, engaging with your social media team or walking into a physical store, the experience should offer the same and be instantly recognisable.