Customer Service Impacts Brand Loyalty and ‘Word-Of-Mouse’
It’s understood that good customer service practices impact brand loyalty, word of mouth, and — with tech-savvy Millennial customers — coveted “word of mouse” online ratings shared through social media.
But how do you decide which aspects of customer service to emphasize to satisfy Millennials?
Barkley, in partnership with SMG and The Boston Consulting Group, recently completed a study of more than 5,000 U.S. consumers with an eye toward the habits of the Millennial generation. When studying retail shopping, it was clear that there are certain aspects of customer service that are important to all shoppers, no matter their demographic. These included speed, efficiency and accuracy at checkout, and friendliness, “knowledge-ability” expertise and helpfulness of staff members.
Things get interesting when the customer service desires of Millennials and older generations diverge. The younger generation has an expectation that sales associates will act as trusted advisors, wear a store’s products and offer opinions on purchasing options. This may mean that some retailers have to adjust their training and sales practices to accommodate the wants of younger customers.
It’s interesting to note that Millennial men are actually more interested in their sales associates’ fashionableness and advice than their female counterparts. Both have significantly more interest in these attributes than non-Millennials.
Another important Millennial trait is that they are constantly seeking information — 66 percent of them report a desire for more information on product origin to help them make purchase decisions.
Millennials do not limit themselves to in-person interactions in their desire for brand information. A majority like exploring brands on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and 33 percent report liking a brand more because it has a social media presence. Any retailer who isn’t monitoring their brand terms online and actively responding to both complaints and praise from customers via social media is missing a vital opportunity provide comprehensive customer service.
For in-depth information on the Millennials study, we invite you to attend the Share.Like.Buy. conference September 22-23, 2011 in San Francisco. Get a 15% discount when you use the code RETAILWIRE. Click here to for information and registration…
Discussion Questions: Do your own observations support the report’s findings that Millennials have higher expectations of sales associates? Which retailers have you seen that do a particularly good job with customer service for Millennials?