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Debunking the Myth of the Disengaged Millennial: Gen Yers Want Personal Touch from Brands—and Brands Need to Rethink Stereotypes

millennial-sqNew research suggests that brands have a distorted perception of Millennials as tech-savvy smartphone addicts who would rather text, tweet or post than talk to people over the phone or face-to-face. The findings of a new survey from Mattersight Corporation of over 1,000 Millennials offer a surprising alternative to that stereotype. According to the study, Millennials actually prefer direct, human interactions over digital options in most instances, and want chemistry, understanding and respect out of their interactions with brands.

“Despite growing up in the digital age, Millennials haven’t abandoned person-to-person contact,” said Mattersight CEO Kelly Conway, in a press release. “Contrary to popular belief, we found that most Millennials prefer to communicate in-person and over the phone because it allows them to have the most meaningful conversations.”

The survey results suggest that employers, brands and society will be challenged to rethink generational stereotypes in order to meet Millennial demands for efficient, meaningful and non-digital communications.

Even at work, 85 percent of Millennials surveyed said that they prefer to meet and communicate in-person with coworkers. The second most preferred method of communication at work is a near tie between email and talking on the phone, which indicates Millennials’ equal desires for efficiency and social interaction. Over half of the Millennials surveyed said that outside of work they prefer to communicate in person, and that an important characteristic of a quality conversation is having chemistry—which is hard to cultivate through digital and online means only.

The new generation of customers and service
Though millennials are strongly associated with social media and sometimes even called the “Facebook generation,” Mattersight found that only one percent of Millennials prefer to contact a brand on social media for customer service purposes. The majority of those surveyed prefer to call a customer service line and talk to a human being, but are deterred from doing so because they have had so many frustrating experiences in the past. Supporting survey findings include:

  • 85 percent of Millennials report having been disappointed by a company’s service and support in the past year.
  • When asked to describe a recent negative experience, one respondent said, “They didn’t offer an option to call and talk to someone. It was Web only, and my problem wasn’t featured among troubleshooting options.”

“Just like in the workplace, millennials want to be able to communicate with a company person-to-person in order to quickly solve problems,” said Conway. “Unfortunately, companies generally aren’t providing the call center experience that Millennials are seeking, forcing them to abandon phone options for less preferred ways to connect with brands, or even disengage completely.”

Mattersight’s survey results show that Millennials crave emotional connections from their communications. Whether at work or in a social setting, with friends or with brands, Millennials prefer direct human interactions that are based on respect—and their expectations are rising every day.

Read the complete report here.

Key survey findings:

  • While 67 percent of brands believe social media-based service is growing in importance, only one percent of Millennials want to contact a company via social media for service issues
  • More than half of Millennials prefer to call a company for customer service, yet 85 percent report experiencing a negative person-to-person service interaction in the past year

Source: MarketWired; edited by Richard Carufel

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