Millennials vs. everyone else: Debunking the divide

Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, are the biggest generation in history and customer service teams are worried about the impact these 80 million consumers will have on their organizations. Defined by the digital world in which they’ve grown up, Millennials have higher expectations for fast, intuitive experiences and prefer to serve themselves. Their tolerance for bad service is lower – and they aren’t shy about voicing their displeasure when they have a bad experience.
New research shows that Millennial expectations for customer service are now impacting customer demands across all generations.

Despite the growing dominance of Millennials, consumer-facing companies also need to meet the needs of 75 million Baby Boomers and 66 million members of Generation X. Finding the right balance is difficult. For customer service professionals, the question is typically how to serve different generations differently. But perhaps what we should be asking is: Are Millennials really so different from everyone else?

In a survey of 1,000 American consumers, Nuance found that Millennial attitudes are impacting the customer service expectations and preferences of all generations. Last year, our research on top customer service frustrations pointed to a divide among generations when it came to pet peeves, channel preferences and expectations. Today that gap has narrowed significantly.

Customer service has overtaken price and convenience as the greater influence on consumer buying decisions. As Millennial expectations for streamlined experiences becomes the new normal, that emphasis on service is continuing to increase. Eighty-seven percent of consumers report that a company’s customer service has a significant impact on their decision to do business with them.

All generations are using automated self-service solutions, expanding the definition of good service to include how easy it is for them to answer questions and solve problems themselves. As a result, customers have a low tolerance for sub-par experiences – and the business consequences of poor service are greater. In fact, two-thirds of consumers say they have cancelled a service or ended a relationship with a company they do business with because of a bad customer service experience.

With higher expectations and less patience, how can companies deliver what customers want? And, what do customers actually want? Nuance’s research reveals that the “millennialization” of customer service is bringing together demands for convenience and speed from tech-savvy consumers and requests for human-like experiences that build strong customer relationships.

Join us on May 6 to discover what the research reveals about what the generations really want, the customer service pitfalls to avoid and how to attract, retain and motivate consumers to take action at the lowest possible cost. Register here: Risk & Opportunity: The Myth of Generational Preferences.

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Myth of Generational Preferences

The assumption has been that Millennials, Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers each have unique desires for customer service. But, new research shows generational preferences are fast becoming a myth.

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Lynn Ridenour

About Lynn Ridenour

Lynn leads the solutions and channel marketing efforts for the Nuance Enterprise Division. She enjoys engaging with customers, learning about their businesses, listening closely to understand their challenges, and exploring how they are optimizing their customer care experiences. Lynn has spent more than 20 years working at the intersection of marketing and innovation. She’s a veteran of several venture-backed companies in the telecommunications, software, Internet and clean technology industries.