When it comes to customer expectations, it is no surprise that with all the latest tech-leaning us towards instant gratification that millennials have higher expectations for customer experience. This is mostly due to instant gratification with mobile and email notifications from brands.
A recent report from Adobe surveyed 1,500 U.S. adults regarding preferences and expectations for digital experiences in the retail, travel & hospitality, media & entertainment, and financial services industries and found that expectations for customer experience are much higher coming from the millennial age group than ever before.
Taylor Schreiner, Director, Adobe Digital Insights said, “You can see this expectation that technology will provide great experiences in some of their survey responses. For instance, about half of people under 35 would rather engage with a computer than a human when interacting with a brand. Older groups much more clearly want to talk to real people and expect interactions with people to give them better experiences.”
Customers expect to have instant communication when interacting with a brand such as mobile text messages for coupons or email receipts right to their inbox after purchase. Now with Amazon 2‑day shipping and notifications any time that the package is shipped or delivered, there is a sense of needing to always be in communication with brands. Therefore many brands have developed apps so that they can be as accessible as possible. We can now check our bank accounts, our interactions, our mail, and so much more all by the click of our smartphones.
Chatbots are now very popular amongst brands because it allows them to interact in real time for issues and questions. Millennials tend to be more self-efficient than older generations and want to figure out things for themselves and therefore this gives them the opportunity to do this quickly and efficiently. Even food chains, like Starbucks, have jumped on board the self-serving bandwagon by allowing customers to order ahead of time and pick up for faster and more accurate ordering.
This comes into play with more than just good customer experience though, this is also important when it comes to poor customer experiences. The study shows that nine in 10 people ages 18 to 34 said they will take an action after having a bad online customer experience, such as telling friends, stopping purchasing from the company, and posting reviews on a review site or social media.
“One thing that is clear in our data is that people under 35 feel they have a stronger voice in any relationship with a brand. For instance, while they are less likely than older consumers to actually complain to a company after a bad online experience, they twice as likely to write an online review or post to social media about the experience. They see those online channels as empowering them to respond when they have had a bad experience,” said Schreiner
Consumers want to be heard and they expect a response. Among those who posted on social media about their experience, two in three heard back from the company. Brands should keep this in mind and can try and rectify bad experiences, not just to retain that person as a customer, but to show others that the company listened to the negative feedback and made a change. It can show transparency and make it so others are willing to give them another chance.
Travel is also a major one when it comes to customer expectations. According to the survey, four in 10 said they expect to receive a text message from an airline if their flights were delayed. Customers expect to be able to check in online for flights, hotels, car services and other travel related items before they arrive at their destination. There are even hotel apps now that let you pick your room temperature and make special requests before even arriving. This customer experience is personalized and convenient. Convenience is key when it comes to travel expectations and people do not like to wait for information, they expect to know what is happening the moment it is occurring. This could also be attributed to social media where news spreads quicker and is always at our fingertips.
“When it comes to their travel experiences, consumers want to be surprised and delighted,” Schreiner told CMO.com. “Anything that can save them time and effort, and make their stay more pleasant, is going to be key, as are personalized and customizable services that enhance the travel experience.”
Seeing as the trend has no signs of slowing down, it will be interesting to see what expectations are held from Generation Z when they reach the age of today’s millennials. There could be some major shifts in how brands interact with their customers in the future.