Unbelievably for many, we are just over a year away from millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) becoming the generation with the greatest spending power, as forecasted by the World Data Lab. This reign is expected to last well past 2040. As a business owner, it’s time you ask yourself “am I ready to cater to the millennial consumer?”
Yes, millennials have been contributing to the economy for a while now, but once the group takes over the market share for global spending, they will have more power to make or break products, brands, even industries.
If you find this hard to believe, ask the diamond, chain-restaurant, and sports industries, among others, which are currently scrambling to figure out how to market to millennials as they see their sales declining at unprecedented rates.
At the Top of the Podium
By 2020, millennials are expected to take the lead in the generational count for:
- Largest generation in the workplace (since 2016)
- Largest voting group eligible to vote in the electorate
- Fastest-growing entrepreneurial group, as they are starting businesses earlier than Boomers
And as you may imagine, they’re also the most vocal group, with 64% of them feeling like it is their responsibility to let others know how their customer experience was with a business. After 2020, millennials will be empowered like never before. The empowered millennial consumer is here.
Customer Service? You’re Out.
With all of this in mind, it is fair to assert that only the companies that keep the millennial expectations in mind when they create their customer experience will survive the long game. To put it in perspective, the concept of customer service is outdated, and the new kid on the block is Digital Customer Experience, something a business can only provide if it has undergone a digital transformation.
It’s 2018, and millennials know it. If your company is not operating in a fully digital landscape where processes (especially the customer-facing ones) are run digitally, you are much more likely to lose the millennial customer base. Processes need to be efficient, fast, and ideally give them an experience that they don’t receive elsewhere. Below is a comparison of three key areas and what they look like after a digital transformation:
Original Customer Service Concept
- Sales: catalogs, cold-calling, multi-level marketing companies, demos, etc. are basically a thing of the past.
- Marketing: direct mail, ads on TV, billboards, newspaper ads, flyers, etc. are no longer effective (and millennials are also looking down on you for killing the environment).
- Service: being reactive will no longer cut it. If you are waiting for the customer to initiate contact, you’ve already lost.
The New Digital Customer Experience
- Sales: social selling is in. You must have social presence, engage with customers and build relationships to create a loyal clientele.
- Marketing: you need to know your customer on a personal level = data-driven marketing strategy. Personalized e-mails, targeted social media ads, influencer deals… and make it authentic!
- Service: a proactive approach to check on how your customer feels about your business/brand is imperative to stand out and grow.
Here’s a helpful checklist of items that you should keep in mind for a digital transformation makeover that has the customer at the center of the strategy:
- Are you using cloud technology?
- Is your customer experience “mobile-first” optimized?
- Do you have an AI-enhanced virtual assistant?
If you answered no to any of these questions, you may not be ready for the empowered millennial consumer. The good news is, you still have time to design, implement, and deploy a strategy that will take care of your digital transformation while securing sustainable and adaptable business growth for the years to come.