Businesses today in nearly every industry are dealing with the changing expectations of millennials and other on-trend customers who are looking for a new style of customer experience and customer service.
For today, let’s see what lessons we can draw from an industry, automotive retail (car dealerships), that may not come to mind when you think of businesses with a model that appeals to a millennial mindset. In fact, the default at some old-school car dealerships can be exactly what millennials hate: slow, afraid of digital, nontransparent, and often patriarchal/condescending in how the dealership interacts with customers.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Let’s look closely at what millennials and other customers sharing their mindset are looking for in the customer experience and customer service, and how a car dealership can scratch these itches. And if a car dealership can do that, so can your business, in whatever industry you operate.
Millennial customers (born 1980ish-2000ish) are the largest generation in U.S. and world history. They, and others who are quickly adapting a millennial mindset (including, more frequently than you’d think, their parents, who are the second-largest generation, the Baby Boomers), share some clearly identifiable expectations that I consult closely in my work as a customer experience consultant and customer service designer.
Five Millennial Preference / Customer Experience Trends:
Customer Experience Trend #1–Peer to Peer Customer Service Style: A preference for being served in a way that makes the customer feel that those serving and those being served are equals, rather than an older style of service that was sometimes servile and sometimes condescending.
Customer Experience Trend #2–Digital Parity: Customers expect an experience that is as streamlined and hassle-free/friction-free. Regardless of the arena in which your business operates, they want you to be as easy to use as what they’ve experienced online. Channel shouldn’t matter: the info available online should be available in the store, and vice versa, and all channels with which you interact with the customer should be streamlined and integrated.
Customer Experience Trend #3–Authenticity: Today’s customers are on a quest for what is genuine, authentic, what feels like “the genuine article.” They’re put off by all that seems false, plastic, scripted and so forth.
Customer Experience Trend #4–Transparency: A preference for businesses to be open and forthright in explanations, pricing, quality standards, vendor relations, and so forth.
Customer Experience Trend #5–Adventure and Experience: A feeling that most commercial interactions are improved if there is an element of adventure, excitement, a true “experience” within the customer experience.