Customer Experience News & Trends

Millennials to Baby Boomers: Customers all want the same thing

Conventional thinking tells us that Millennials want one kind of experience, and Baby Boomers expect something else. New research turns convention on its side.

Twenty-year-olds and 70-year-olds — and every generation in between — share more customer service pet peeves and wish lists than ever, according to a recent study by Nuance Communications Inc.

You might think that the “always connected” Millennial generation would be content with self-service and expect to take care of business anonymously online. But Millennials, Boomers, and Generation Xers agree that their top pet peeve with customer service is not being able to get through to a real person when they need help.

There’s very little — if any — reason to serve grandma any differently than her college-age granddaughter.

“As technology has continued to weave its way into all facets of consumers’ lives, expectations have in turn grown when it comes to quick, easy, efficient, and always-on service,” said Robert Weideman, Nuance executive VP and general manager.

The good news is customers across the board don’t necessarily need to get through to a real person. Nearly 90% of customers of all ages have used an automated self-service system to complete some kind of transaction — from a purchase, to paying a bill, to scheduling an appointment. As long as those online and automated channels are efficient to use and easy to navigate, customers will use them and not try to contact customer service reps, the study found.

Increase self-service use

So how can you get customers to effectively use your self-service channels so they don’t have to get frustrated trying to get through to a rep? Here are four proven ways:

  • Get proactive. Nearly 90% of customers in the Nuance study said they welcome and want messages from companies they know and trust. So the more you let people know about self-service channels, and perhaps more importantly, how to navigate those channels, the more likely it is they’ll use them effectively. Introduce them to online billing options, help pages, company blogs and other online, interactive tools through snail mail bills, e-newsletters, on every web site page and regularly on social media.
  • Think and click like customers. You can probably navigate your company’s website with your eyes closed. If customers don’t have that kind of ease, they’ll call. So regularly go into your site and pretend you are a first-time visitor — or ask a colleague or friend who doesn’t visit your site. The fewer clicks and redirections to other pages that are generated, the better. If you or your testers have to click through more than five pages to get what you need, work with your Web and Marketing teams to make information more accessible.
  • Keep it updated. Nothing turns off customers like outdated information that, when used, causes a mistake. Hard rule: If you you’re going to offer any kind of self-service — interactive voice response, FAQs, online databases, customer-to-customer chat rooms — they must have the most current information. Someone or a team needs to browse self-service tools every day to make sure the most current, correct information is on them. Also, make sure all channels have the same, updated information.
  • Keep it seamless. Even with great self-service, customers will still want or need to contact a person within your company for complex or confusing issues. Every great self-service interaction will be erased if the person who helps customers doesn’t know about them. Make sure your system allows you to know and track how customers interact with your company via your self-service channels — and that the information is easily available to front-line employees.

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