As it appeared in the Daily Nation on January 31st 2017
A lot has been said about the millennial employee but not much about the millennial customer has been considered. Born between 1980 and 2000, the millennial customer represents the truly digital customer. Across the globe and particularly in Kenya, these customers have grown up with access to the internet, mobile phone, cable TV, microwave, instant showers, mobile money etc. They have also grown up experience better services than their parents did.
Today, most of the millennial customers are no longer dependent on their parents; they are making their own purchase decisions. They are not only purchasing from retail stores but they are buying insurance, vehicles, property, some are in business and buying from other businesses, others are in procurement and are making purchase decisions in the corporate world, while some are making purchase decisions for their children. The millennials are a customer group that cannot be ignored. The group comprises a sizeable percentage of consumers. The main question is, have companies thought through the needs of the millennial customer?
A little while back, I went shopping for a laptop with my nephew who is in his mid 20’s. As we were looking through what the physical stores were offering, we were instantly making a comparison with multiple online stores. We had real time access to the online stores pricing. Like many millennial customers, we wanted the best deal. This access to abundant information either directly or indirectly enables millennials to get better deals than other customer groups.
By keenly watching the millennials, I have noticed that it is a generation that loves to look through product ratings and reviews. Before making a hotel booking, millennials will always want to find out what other customers have said on TripAdvisor. Before buying a product or dealing with a company, they will first check it up online. Unlike in the past when customers would blindly buy a service or a product, this generation has access to information that enables them make an informed decision.
Having grown up in a digital world, the millennials desire an effortless and seamless end-to-end customer experience. They like to do business with business that are easy to do business with. Large online stores know this too well, these stores are seeking to make the shopping experience more and more effortless. For instance, amazon.com has the Buy now with 1 click icon on its product pages. This is among other features such as ability to place a standing order for groceries is making buying effortless. It is for this same reason that mobile phone transactions have gained prominence because they make the experience painless.
Like many other customers, the millennials like being valued and they also like to be kept informed. They will not stand poor service and they will use social sites to rant. They know their rights and they know it when they deserve better. With millennials’ expectations higher than their parents, smart companies have no option but to improve their overall customer experiences to match these raised expectations.
Finally, I have noticed that millennials are influencing the purchase decisions of those around them. Many are transforming their parents’ shopping experience to match theirs. Parting Question – What is your organization doing to make it easier for millennials to do business with you?
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy