Gen Y and Customer Expectations
Move over Boomers and Gen Xers, Gen Y is about to transform the workplace inside and out.
Within 10 years Gen Y will represent the majority of our workforce and they are completely different from any other. As the work centric rebels of the baby boom generation move into retirement and the individualistic flexible Gen X move into middle age, the tech savvy, team-work oriented Generation Y (aka Millennials) will be moving into their peak earning years in huge numbers.
Millennials are success driven, goal oriented, determined, self-confident, techno-dependent, interdependent and optimistic. All are excellent qualities but as customers it makes them very demanding: they expect it now; they like it short and simple because they are always multi-tasking: they are bored quickly; they are driven by convenience; and they always want feedback.
Gen Y have high expectations because in the world they grew up in, technology has always delivered more for less, often free, and you can have access anytime, anywhere.
They expect to be able to socially interact all day, even at work. They are used to having their say, “like right now”, and having someone listen.
So how do we serve these customers when many of the people managing or running contact center operations are not Millennials?
- Customize and personalize: Millennials do their research, seeking out information relevant to them. They consider it both easy and sensible so we need to make it easy to find.
- Be accessible and fast: Millennials live their lives online in a 24/7 world and expect companies to do the same. Closed at night and on weekends won’t cut it anymore.
- Make it shareable: Millennials share what they like. They live through social media.
- Extend the experience: Millennials have fewer dollars to spend than previous generations so they negotiate everything. They are more apt to pay a little at a time so you need to offer incentives to keep them coming back. Their starting point for price is free. They will pay for service, but you have to earn it.
- Make it visual: They’ve watched YouTube turn ordinary people into stars so often it’s now expected. You need to use video to make the connection between the Millennial consumer and your brand or product.
Looking inward, Gen Y scares their Boomer and Gen X managers because they interact and work so differently. But they are a powerful force if you embrace them.
Partnering with Google Apps for Business we found Millennials expect their connected life to come with them to work. They want to work how they live. Google Apps for Business talks about 4 new design principles which are transforming businesses and are critical to attracting both Gen Y customers and workers:
- Any-Team: teaming up with people around the world inside and outside the company to get the job done.
- Any-Time: a project works across time zones, not just 9 to 5 in the home office.
- Any-Place: work is done anywhere.
- Any-Device: to make it all come together, you need to be able to work with any device you find comfortable
The inside of your business needs to match external realities of how people consume and share information. And if you’re not aligning your business around the ways Millennials operate, you’re going to lose that market.
In our TELUS International call centers, we’ve created our own internal social network called T-Life. This network encourages agents to work how they also live. They share ideas and interact across the organization as part of a community. When they feel part of a group, everyone tends to work better.
For many companies, Generation Y is a game-changing force for better or worse. Continuing to use the old molds to try to understand them, work with them, sell to them and serve them, will no longer do.