In case you’ve missed it, North America is being overrun by the millennial generation.
Millennials have now surpassed baby boomers in the workforce, with 53.5 million workers as compared to 44.6 million baby boomer workers. It’s not like this happened overnight, although some companies may feel that way. While we’ve known about this seismic shift for some time, there have been a number of organizations that have remained resistant to change and haven’t evolved their policies or practices to reflect this new reality of younger workers and consumers. On the other hand, those companies that readied their operations by adding communication channels such as live chat and social media to tried-and-true contact centers, are able to deliver better customer experiences. What these companies have likely noticed over the years is that more of their customers prefer to connect with them via live chat over any other communication channel. However, simply offering live chat isn’t enough. Offering live help to millennial customers needs to be reflective of their expectations of this communication channel.
Currently, live chat is the preferred communication channel amongst millennials, and it is only expected to become more popular. In a report issued by Software Advice, it was found that 56 percent of millennials prefer live chat as opposed to the phone when communicating with a company, as compared to 27 percent of gen-X and baby boomers. What this conveys is that if your organization isn’t thinking about millennials when it comes to your live help/live chat, then you’re potentially missing out on a growing and influential demographic. Here are some tips to make sure your live chat channel is coordinated with millennial expectations.
- Quick Answers: millennials see the internet as a tool to deliver quick answers, and live chat is no different. The reasons they prefer live chat over other communications channels is its convenience and no hold times. Live chat agents are often engaged in simultaneous conversations, so pay attention to staffing levels so as to not delay the quick response that customers expect with this channel.
- More Complex Queries: millennials are more comfortable than other generations to ask more complex questions over live chat. This is an important shift in usage that companies should be aware of. In the past, most customers used live help to answer more basic/simple questions and turned to phone for more complex or complicated questions, particularly as it relates to financial issues. While this still holds true for gen-X and older, it is not the case for millennials. Additionally, this generation is more comfortable sharing personal details, which opens up the types of conversations that can happen over live chat. This may call for updating training for live chat agents as they may be faced with queries that they are less familiar in answering.
- Keep it Simple: when agents are too wordy or simply cut-and-paste lengthy portions of your website to answer questions, they stand to frustrate this generation. Live chat’s popularity is partly a result of its convenience and simplicity. Training agents in how to succinctly answer questions, even complex ones, in a clear, easy to understand manner is key.
- Casual, Yet Professional: Relying on too many canned scripts can be a major put-off for millennials. They want to feel a connection with whomever they are interacting with, regardless of the communication channel. There is a balance to be struck between casual and professional. They are not mutually exclusive, but here too, training should include how to strike the right tone over this medium.
While millennials aren’t the only users of live chat, they are the most frequent users. The above tips are relevant to all users, no matter which generation they belong to. As people’s lives become increasingly busy and fragmented, those companies that can deliver the types of experiences that customers expect—no matter which communication channel they’re using—will often be rewarded with happier, more loyal customers.