Customer Experience News & Trends

3 proven ways to connect with younger customers

If you struggle to connect with younger, tech-savvy customers, here’s help.

Admit it: Dealing with younger generations can be intimidating. They will tell their friends and anyone on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and Pinterest if they don’t like the experience they had with you.

Popular, but with its challenges

As popular as social media is with younger customers, some companies still struggle make it a strong part of their customer experience because they don’t have the resources (i.e., manpower) to do it.

But some unlikely companies have recently made changes and found ways to connect with millennials, researchers at Harvard Business Review found.

Here’s who they, what they’ve done and how you can follow their lead:

1. Build trust, start the conversation

Surveys show that millennials don’t trust financial services companies. That, coupled with being in a regulated industry and selling something millennials would rather not buy, makes it even more difficult for MassMutual to connect with younger customers.

But the life insurance and financial services company figured out a way to get millennials interested. MassMutual knew through surveys that younger people didn’t trust their industry. It was so bad that many preferred going to the dentist over listening to a banker!

So MassMutual dropped any kind of sales pitch and tried to have conversations with millennials via brick-and-mortar centers dubbed the Society of Grownups. Its mission: Society of Grownups is a sort of master’s program for adulthood. A place to learn how to deal with adult responsibility without losing your soul or sense of adventure along the way.

It has a coffee bar, meeting rooms and classes on how to buy a home, investing, career choices, travel and wine. And the conversations work both ways: MassMutual provides valuable information to curious millennials while learning a lot more about how that group thinks.

What you can do: Avoid the hard sell as much as possible. Offer younger generations opportunities to get to know your organization — via community events, relevant classes, sponsorships, etc. — and they can make educated decisions on doing business with you.

2. Break the mold

See one hotel that’s part of a chain and you’ve seen them all. While that may be true for good reasons — hotels want to maintain a level of quality that customers can expect from place to place. But it might seem a bit dull to hip millennials.

That’s why Marriott put a twist in its restaurant and bar offerings. The aim was to make them local hot spots, and do it much quicker than they’d traditionally rolled out past changes. Instead of one to two years, these changes took about six months.

To attract millennials, Marriott executives visited places the younger generation frequents — from hip bars to local eateries.

Then, based on what it discovered from that research, Marriott invited local food and beverage stars to apply to take over underutilized spaces in the hotels to create new — and unique — dining and relaxing atmospheres.

What you can do: Watch millennials in action — where they like to meet, what they like to do. Take steps to recreate those kind of experiences in yours.

3. Give them exactly what they want

Younger generations care about technology more than anyone could’ve ever imagined. They want access to it everywhere, all the time. That’s the root of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide approach to connecting with millennials.

It recently launched smartphone-enabled room entry, which allows customers to skip check-in and start experiencing their room even quicker. They also offered a robotic butler, which allows customers to request via their smartphone items they’ve forgotten or need.

What you can do: Survey and host focus groups to find technology tools your customers will want/use. Find ways to incorporate that into as many touch points in the customer experience as possible.

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Take a couple minutes today and simply look out onto the production floor of your contact center. Chances are pretty great that you are seeing a diverse group of people that span across several generations.  Read more!

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