Study: To win over millennials, increase your digital presence

Want to entice twenty-something consumers? Don’t wait by the phone. Younger audiences are choosing to interact with brand managers via myriad online channels. Here’s how to adapt.

When interacting with brand managers online, millennials are paving the way for an abundance of consumers to move toward digital.

To drive brand loyalty, brand managers must strive for consistency in their customer outreach and response—and must do it across multiple channels.

Gone are the days of perfecting a single engagement approach, even online.

Brand managers who have found success online must continue to adapt to the various channels through which consumers are choosing to interact.

Data from The Northridge Group say younger consumers aren’t using three or four different channels to interact online simply because they like a healthy dose of variety. Instead, it has to do with a lack of patience.

Here are a few highlights from the study, and how brand managers can cultivate these younger consumers easily and expeditiously.

Time is always of the essence

“When it comes to interacting with customer service departments, today’s time-starved consumers want [something] easy,” says Pam Plyler, executive practice lead for customer experience at The Northridge Group.

Despite that, most study respondents (55 percent) reported regularly using two or more communication channels to contact a company or brand before an issue was resolved.

Though many millennials have a strong presence on various online and social media channels, they value “first contact resolution.” Even if they choose a primary channel to interact with a brand manager, 40 percent reported having to make contact two or more times before being satisfied with the result.

More from Plyer on the importance of swift and efficient timing:

The unfortunate reality is that as consumers attempt to make contact with brands, it is anything but easy. Their experiences are often highly fragmented, inconsistent, labor intensive and lacking personalization. Putting an effective omni-channel strategy in place with an emphasis on the digital experience allows companies to respond seamlessly to customers—building service, sales, reputation and brand loyalty while also reducing costs.

Millennials and their impatience

Put on the social media equivalent of racing shoes if you seek to increase your brand loyalty among millennials.

Although only 19 percent of Baby Boomers said they often try an alternative communication channel within 60 minutes if their issue is not adequately addressed, 40 percent of millennials said they shift to another channel in that same amount of time.

Most consumers have a low tolerance for dialing multiple contacts, transfers, long hold times, slow responses and multi-step issue resolution. According to the study, tolerance for delays diminishes dramatically among younger consumers.

WHITEPAPER: How to communicate with a millennial workforce.

Want to win those impatient youngsters over? Start chatting.

From the study:

Online chat is gaining in popularity as a fast and efficient way of reaching brands. Almost one in five consumers (18 percent) turn to online chat as an alternative to telephone for fast resolution of customer service issues. Not surprisingly, millennials are most likely to use this channel with 27 percent suggesting they get the fastest customer service via online chat.

What ‘going digital’ actually means

Brand loyalty goes hand in hand with customer engagement.

The harder a consumer works to connect with a brand online, the more painful it is—and the more costly it is for the organization in both expense and brand loyalty.

To increase customer loyalty, brand managers must have a multi-faceted digital presence.

Consumers gravitate toward online chatting, social media, text messaging and self-service web apps and mobile apps, because often they’re already logged on.

Although some consumers think phone calls are the most effective way to reach organizations, data suggest most customers prefer going online.

To achieve success across digital channels, combine your resources. Teach your social media managers how to respond to customer inquiries in real time. Offer your customer service team a how-to guide to social media. The more people you have working on various digital channels, the more brand loyalty you’ll create.

From Therese Fauerbach, a Northbridge Group co-founder:

The companies that get digital right will win. Companies that focus on usability and ease of resolution within and across their digital channels will have a real competitive advantage.

What do you think is the key to a successful digital engagement strategy, PR Daily readers? Please share it with us in the comments section.

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Topics: PR

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