Customer Service Expectations from the Mouth of a Millennial

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As a millennial, I can safely and honestly say the way most companies handle customer service does not line up with how we (millennials) prefer to communicate and solve problems. This isn’t good news for business as we’re a growing segment and our behaviors and expectations are proving to impact other generations. In fact, my generation, the 80 million young people (millennials) who have overtaken Boomers as the largest demographic in the marketplace, will soon overtake them in purchasing power as well.1As Christopher Hunsberger, EVP Global Products and Innovation at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts puts it, “The behaviors and expectations of the millennial group…tend to shape the thinking of the rest of us.”2

Why is customer service not cutting it for millennials?

We love speed

Perhaps the most common complaint that I hear from my peers is that, in large part, the customer service process takes too long to unfold. As a group of fast-paced, driven individuals, my generation likes to get in and out of situations quickly, allowing us to move on to the next task. Twenty-five percent of millennials expect to get a response within 10 minutes of reaching out to customer service via social media, and more than 30 percent expect the same speed of response when posting a query via text messaging.3 Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case. Dealing with a customer service representative ends up taking a large chunk of our time which drives us crazy. That is, if we can even talk to a real person.

We are social media monsters

As a result of growing up during a time of massive technological advancement, and the shift to a digital world, millennials are extremely comfortable using social media to communicate. In fact, social media is the top channel for those under the age of 25.4 Still, very few companies offer customers the ability to interact with them on a social media channel which tells us that companies either don’t understand our needs, or don’t place a priority on them.

We hate talking on the phone, especially to robots

When millennials were faced with the choice to talk to a customer service rep or do something else, 34 percent of them would rather have their teeth cleaned and 26 percent would rather go to the DMV.3 While social media is our top preference, and phone is our last resort, there are other channels we like to use as well. We like having the ability to choose which channel is most convenient at a given moment, depending on where we are at, what we are doing, and frankly what we feel like at the time. Channels such as chat, video, text and email are all attractive, allowing us to conquer our customer service journey in whichever way we see fit.

Hold on, there’s hope!

Here are three steps to achieve millennial-friendly customer service:

  1. Provide quick and easy service: We don’t want to have to plan our day around a customer service inquiry.
  2. Support social media as a channel: We want to speak to you on the same channels we communicate with each other such as Twitter and Facebook.
  3. Offer choice in how we communicate with you: We want to be able to choose any channel, anytime, anywhere.

So, as you can see, from the eyes of a millennial, customer service has a long way to go. And while it may seem crazy to think companies should have to cater to the expectations of our generation, it’s important to remember that we, whether right or wrong, are quickly becoming an important segment of consumers and our ideas are shaping the expectations of those around us. The good news is that several tools are available that can improve customer service and satisfy even the most demanding millennial customer, including PureCloud Engage.

If this blog piques your interest or you just want to learn more about my generation and how to meet our expectations, check out the eBook, Keeping Pace with a Modern Generation.




1 Forbes, “Millennials Don’t Want More Customer Service — They Want Different Customer Service” 2015
2 Salesforce, “5 Ways Millennials are Re-defining the Customer Experience,” 2015
3 Entrepreneur, “9 Things You Need to Know to Give Millennials Great Customer Service,” 2015
4 Dimension Data, “2016 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report,” 2016

Ryan Alley

Ryan Alley

Ryan Alley the product and content marketing intern at Interactive Intelligence. Alley is focused on cloud and emerging technology. He is currently a student at UCLA and will be graduating in the spring of 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.