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The Millennial customer experience: how companies must adapt to the consumers of tomorrow 

The Millennial customer experience: how companies must adapt to the consumers of tomorrow 
Hervé Leroux
Hervé Leroux Chief Marketing Officer

Millennials are the consumers of tomorrow. Their consumption behavior has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. How can companies improve the customer experience of millenials even further to capture and retain this influential group of consumers?

April 6, 2023 3 min of reading

Originating in the United States, millenials are the name given to the generation of individuals who have grown up with the new millennium. A large group of tech-savvy consumers, they have a considerable influence on brands that must constantly question themselves on how to best meet their needs and values.  

Three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is interesting to look at this particular demographic. To what extent has it contributed to today’s changing consumer habits, and how should companies adapt the customer experience of those who represent the consumers of tomorrow?  

Millennials — an influent generation of consumers 

The term “Millennials” or “Generation Y” refers to people born between 1980 and 1994 who became adults in the new millennium.  

In France, they are a large group of the population, outnumbering the Baby Boomers. By 2020, millennials will represent about 30% of the population. Globally, they represent a huge potential for businesses as they will account for more than 40% of the world’s working age population by 2030 as well as the highest earners in terms of net income.  

Millennials are also the first generation of digital natives, who saw the birth of the internet and many new technologies. 

This is a hyper-connected and mobile-first generation. In 2020, 97% of millennials were already equipped with a smartphone. 63% of global millennials used it for more than 2 hours a day (compared to an average of 31% for the French) for uses related to leisure, to watch movies, to buy online or to take photos/videos, or to use social media (as opposed to traditional channels such as radio or television). In addition to smartphones, the Internet has also become the essential tool to perform all these actions on a daily basis.  

If millennials represent enormous potential consumers for brands, for them the customer experience plays a key role. In terms of customer engagement, millennials are the least brand-engaged generation of all, as only a quarter of them are fully loyal to brands from an emotional and psychological point of view. Moreover, 73% of them say they are likely to switch to a competing brand after just one bad experience. Companies must therefore redouble their efforts to meet and even anticipate the expectations of these demanding customers.  

Generation Y is hyper-connected but requires customer service that is authentic, efficient, fast, reliable and based on the latest technologies.  

Changes in the consumption habits of millennials since 2020  

The COVID-19 crisis has brought about major disruptions at the global level. In terms of consumption, it has forced consumers and businesses to adopt new habits based on digital channels. The lockdowns have brought about new needs and priorities, focusing daily life on the home and digital experiences.  

For millennials, who are already used to new technologies, this has resulted in an acceleration and reinforcement of online consumption, especially for food shopping and the use of streaming platforms. More impacted by the lack of social interaction, they have also significantly increased their use of social media platforms. Three years after the start of the pandemic, a large proportion of millennials have rethought their purchasing behavior and certain habits have changed for good, such as click and collect, the use of contactless payments and purchases made via social media. 

Companies had to quickly adapt their strategies to this new reality. In fact, according to Euromonitor International, the key to companies surviving and prospering in this new environment is to increase engagement with millennials, including ensuring that digital experiences remain at the core of their business. 

Millennials’ new expectations in terms of customer experience 

The place of digital channels is omnipresent for the millennial consumer, who also values time as an essential element of the customer experience. According to the previously mentioned Zendesk study, when millennials contact a customer service department, 80% of them want an immediate response. CCaaS platforms offer tools to meet these needs. 

To answer their questions quickly, self-service options are the ideal solution because these allow customers to find an answer to their problem on their own. In fact, 77% of buyers said they prefer to do their own research (checking review sites, searching on Google, etc.) rather than contact a sales representative.  

The use of chatbots or virtual assistants is effective both in speeding up response times and in providing 24-hour availability. These solutions are perfectly adapted to the young generations for whom the use of these new technologies is easy and comfortable. Moreover, the same study shows that the COVID-19 crisis has encouraged the use of artificial intelligence (AI), with 39% of millennial customers feeling comfortable interacting with a chatbot and 62% of them preferring to interact with a virtual assistant rather than a human agent.  

For companies, in addition to saving time, using chatbots to satisfy Generation Y is a way to control operating costs while facilitating the work of contact center advisors. They allow them to spend more time on other more complex tasks or on other types of customers to offer a more qualitative customer experience.  

Communication channels adapted to millennials’ habits improve the customer experience 

If millennials place a high value on personalization in the customer experience, their engagement will only increase. In this sense, the choice of relevant communication channels in the customer experience is crucial to adapt to these demanding and hyper-connected consumers.  

Instant messaging (such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger), which is an integral part of millennials’ habits, is an innovative communication channel that is ideal for companies in the retail sector. In addition to the advantages they provide in terms of speed and fluidity of interactions, they facilitate and optimize the work of agents. They allow the management of multiple simultaneous and asynchronous conversations, which reduces waiting time for the resolution of requests. Thanks to spontaneous and personalized exchanges, they allow companies to build a close relationship with their customers, promoting brand loyalty. 

Social media also plays an important role in communicating with millennials, who also use them on a daily basis. Their use has particularly developed during the COVID-19 pandemic and the containment periods with a net increase in millennials’ engagement on these platforms. For brands, positioning themselves on social media allows them to develop their notoriety and to create a community of customers with which they can interact. Using social media as a communication channel is efficient in improving loyalty and also consolidating the brand image. 

Born at a key moment in history, millennials are looking for a balance between authenticity and quick progress. That’s why companies must prioritize omnichannel in customer relations. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this need. And as we know, every crisis brings opportunities. Do you want to develop strategies to capture and retain millennial customers?  

Hervé Leroux
Chief Marketing Officer

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