Millennials (18–34 years old) are one of the most impactful groups of consumers globally. This generation is estimated to grow fourfold, to account for 50% of Australia’s population by 2030. In customer service and brand experience, these consumers have high expectations and low tolerance. They are more likely to switch to a competitor brand if their preferred brand provided poor customer service. They are prepared to switch brands should they not be provided with the experience they want, when they want it. With challenger brands attacking market share in the most profitable niches, enterprise is being tested constantly by nimble competitors.

For marketers navigating this changing and competitive landscape, it’s crucial to be aware of how customer service impacts the brand loyalty of younger generations.

Quality, price and good customer service drive loyalty

LivePerson’s latest consumer research found that ‘quality’ is the primary driver of loyalty (46%), followed by ‘price’ (16%) and ‘good customer service’ (15%). However, for those aged 18–34, quality was found to be even more important than for those 55 and older (58% vs 34%). These higher expectations are reflective of a generation that is time-poor and quick to cut ties with a brand.

Silent brand boycotts are common among younger generations
Younger generations can also be non-communicative with their preferred brand, with nearly half not telling brands when they are dissatisfied, simply stopping shopping with them following a poor brand experience.

These ‘silent’ brand boycotts are common, and the concerning thing for brands is that many may not even be aware they are losing customers. It becomes far more difficult for brands to monitor and understand customer behaviour if there is no communication between the two.

As consumer expectations climb, brands are faced with a growing demand to provide quality products and services along with quick and effective customer service.

Overcoming the brand loyalty challenge begins with the customer experience

Poor customer service costs brands thousands of customers a year, with one in five surveyed saying they would switch to a rival brand after a single bad customer service experience.

Younger generations expect brands to do the work for them – meaning that every element of the experience must be seamless and intuitive, from ease of communication to browsing preferences.

Focusing on enhancing customer experience is essential to attracting and retaining younger consumers. Brands have to make it easy and simple for consumers to communicate with them and give feedback, because the ability to provide seamless service at the right time and through their preferred communication channel is essential to solving issues and building relationships. This means giving thought to the customers’ conversational journeys with the brand to create that connection and drive long-term brand loyalty.

Designing a conversational customer journey

Only one in 10 young consumers said they would pick up the phone and call a company they are dissatisfied with.

Brands need to create avenues for direct conversations with their customers through the platforms they are comfortable with and use every day – messaging. Brands have still not made this shift to offer conversational customer experiences that allow for open dialogue.

Designing a conversational customer journey that lets consumers speak with brands in the same way they connect with their friends and family (through messaging apps, SMS and Facebook Messenger) will help enhance the customer experience and drive loyalty.

Brands can work with conversational design teams to create an effective customer journey, from start to finish, with messaging. Layered on top of this, artificial intelligence can serve to increase efficiencies and give customers quick and easy access to the help they need. Providing this accessibility and ease of communication has great potential to increase customer satisfaction and boost brand loyalty.

While millennials may pose a significant challenge for brands, their importance cannot be ignored. The future of consumer relationships is conversational – brands that learn to facilitate the changes demanded by this generation of consumers will be best placed to drive brand loyalty.