Do you Know the Best Ways to Engage Multi-Generational Customers?

Millennials,  Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomer. How do these customer groups interact with organizations in today’s technology-driven markets? Are these descriptions accurate? Some attributes are specific to each group, but many cross all generations depending on the level of technical ability they possess, but more importantly the technology channels they prefer to use, as well as the manner in which they process the information they seek.

As customer experience strategies are developed and implemented across all industries, organizations must fully understand all aspects of how customers prefer to interact. There is a critical need to fully understand social technology – it’s not just social media. All channels should be considered “social” and in today’s markets, need to be tightly integrated to ensure every customer interaction is transparent across teams for unified visibility.

Customers are accessing information from all angles and in all channels. Today,  businesses need to be nimble and agile enough to meet these needs as the customer preferences change. It shouldn’t matter if you’re a baby boomer or a millennial, the interaction and the resulting experience should feel the same for each. Organizations must also know where their customers are, as well as their preferred channels for interacting. For instance:

  • Gen Y and Millennials:  younger customers prefer to use text messaging or SMS and social media for connecting and interacting. They want the “instant connection” that can be made through these channels.
  • Gen X  and younger Baby Boomers: including the “Apple” crowd have preferences that cross the spectrum of all communication channels. An interaction could easily start via mobile app/online, move to a chat interaction, and finally a call. Contact center agents should be trained across all channels to ensure the experience flows easily for these customers.
  • The Baby Boomer and older customers: prefer a face to face interaction or a phone call, they may utilize email, and some may use some social channels. This group can be a bit more difficult to engage due to the wide range of preferences displayed and utilized.

While customers seek out and process communications and information differently, successful businesses must fully understand and implement strategies that address these differing preferences. Organizations that deploy social programs need to be fully aware that customers who access these social channels expect a response within at least 10 minutes. If not, the experience begins to deteriorate. Being fully aware and respectful of a customer’s time is a critical piece of their experience and interaction.

Designing and using all communication channels, including social technology, in the right manner for your organization creates loyalty and builds a strong customer base. This  in turn creates, a diverse group of brand advocates that will actively and readily promote your business.

Building a real relationship with your customers takes time. And in today’s tech savvy and multi-generational world, businesses must adapt quickly to meet the communication needs and wants of their customers. Be in tune with your customers. Know their communication preferences. Build credibility, trust and loyalty.

And you know, stop by, call me, tweet me,  or Google+ me.


Lea Durbin

Lea Durbin

I joined Interactive Intelligence in December 2011. In my current role of customer experience program specialist, I oversee and manage the Interactive Intelligence quality program, customer loss assessment program, as well as the global ambassador program. Prior to joining Interactive Intelligence, I held a variety of roles in industries such as higher education, pharmaceutical, and healthcare. I gained experience in process improvement, developing and implementing corporate standards and best practices in cross functional global environments, leading internal global teams in branding and marketing efforts, as well as administration. I hold a dual associates degree in business administration and visual communications from American Intercontinental University. I am an active member in the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), Customer Reference Professionals Organization (CRP), International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), and the National Notary Association. I am heavily involved with the Interactive Intelligence Foundation as the committee chair for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana. I also serve on the development board and speakers bureau for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, which resulted in Congressional recognition in 2013. I am passionate about bringing the personal connection to the customer experience and am continuously looking for ways to enhance, improve and strengthen our relationships with our customers.