Millennials, sometimes known as ‘Generation Y’, are young adults who reached maturity around the new millennium. Although there is no hard and fast rule, anyone born between 1981 and 2000 is usually considered a millennial.
Members of this generation are the first to have grown up with computers and the internet. They are considered to be ‘digital natives’, comfortable with new technology which can alienate older consumers. Online shopping, social media, and a high research capacity are some of the biggest differentiators in how the millennial generation operates.
Whether approaching millennials as customers or employees, the chief challenge – and opportunity – is generally agreed to be the rapid escalation of technology.
Millennials as consumers
Technology has impacted how millennials make purchases in a number of ways. Their pre-purchase behaviours are driven less by advertising than by referrals, including real-world recommendations and online product reviews.
Reviews are one part of the wider research that millennials frequently undertake; services are compared, as well as pricing across different vendors. Access to so much information has decreased brand loyalty, and millennials are often the hardest customers to keep hold of. However, this also means that millennials are relatively easy to ‘poach’ from competitors.
Additional challenges arise from the customer service demands of millennials, who generally expect easy access to multichannel offerings and fast, reliable social media communication. While expectations vary between regions, research indicates that speed and efficiency are more important to younger consumers than polite, friendly service from customer advisors.
This generation has also spent their lives under a cloud of pressing environmental concerns. As such, millennials are strongly motivated by the green credentials a business can demonstrate.
Millennials as employees
As a group, the millennial generation are more educated and more selective about the work they take. Many young people live with their parents into adulthood, effectively ‘maturing’ later than previous generations; this absence of serious financial obligations goes some way to explaining why millennials are comfortable delaying the start of their careers.
Millennials are less likely to remain with a company into the long-term than previous generations, making it difficult to recruit employees with any longevity. This may be related to the fact that millennials commit to marriage, home-ownership and having children much later in life.
It has also been observed that millennials are more reliant on praise and positive feedback, and managers may need to develop a more ‘hands-on’ approach when retention is an issue. To attract high-performing young people, companies sometimes need to offer a greater degree of flexibility than would previously have been considered.
Millennials benefit from a greater familiarity with computer systems and are ideally positioned to help businesses understand customer’s technological needs. This is especially true in regards to social media and customer service.
In multichannel contact centres, they are often the best candidates for instant messaging, SMS, and social media communications. In a sense, this generation’s social habits train them for these roles. Employees will often connect with one another over social media, which can benefit the group dynamics of the office by encouraging staff to socialise.
More information on improving the Productivity of Gen Z and Millennial Advisors, read this article.