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Customer Engagement: Why Millennials Know Best

Millennials — yeah, those young, entitled and easily offended people you see on their phones 24/7 who use different acronyms every quarter (I think this one is GOAT; “Greatest Of All Time”) and still live with their parents. Did that encompass everything? Jokes aside, I think businesses have many things to learn from millennials today since, for example, they have overtaken the baby boomer generation in the US already and spend more online than any other generation. One thing that is clear is how an understanding of millennials shows us that businesses need chatbots. So please, sit back and enter the rabbit hole of all things millennial.

Instant Gratification

Nearly every millennial today can be loosely described as having ADHD — we need things now and we get annoyed if we don’t. That might sound privileged or impatient, alas, this is the way we grew up. We never had to send letters that would take weeks or months to come back (see, I don’t even know how long it is), we never had the fun of hunting for a taxi, and a map!? What’s that thing? This means we are fiends for instant gratification. For this reason, it’s not surprising that messaging apps recently overtook social networking — messaging gets you instant responses, which, fun fact; increases dopamine levels in your brain.

Now, if a millennial wants to contact a business, they won’t be using email or phone. Email takes way too long and most of us have call anxiety from only ever using phones for texting. What millennials would love to do is what they do every day — message. This leads us to chatbots. Imagine a chatbot — able to answer any questions we might have instantaneously, respond with suitable recommendations that we can buy straight away, and is where I’m already spending most of my time (on a messaging app). Does that sound like heaven to me or am I asking for too much again?

Make Them Feel Special

Another thing millennials love is to be different. When we were kids, every one of us was told we were special and that we could achieve anything. From participation trophies to the encouragement of diversity, the idea to be different and therefore non-traditional was pounded into our heads. This means, when something new like technology comes by, millennials are only too happy to jump in first. Nearly 60% of millennials have used chatbots according to a study made by eMarketer and 71% are interested in trying out chatbots from major brands according to a study made by Retale. This is huge for any business that wants to attract this major cohort. To have a bot now is cool, and millennials will love companies for this when they stand out from others through having a personalised bot.

What Millennials Are Used To

A survey conducted by MobileMarketer found that millennials most prefer a chatbot over a human when they’re checking order status or doing product research. That stat might feel unsettling to other generations but the truth is, millennials have worked with technology all their lives, so it’s not surprising. I don’t remember a day when a computer wasn’t around in nearly every school and home, and on top of this, social media has occupied half of my life. Call me ageist, but millennials tend to be more tech-savvy and are likelier to make a purchase via their smartphone compared with more mature users. Technology has worked in a bottom-up age triangle in popularity recently. One example is when younger generations went on Facebook first, and then later generations came on (so our parents could watch what we were doing!) Predictions are that chatbots will be what apps were like back in 2008 and I would agree with that — people are attracted to new and useful technologies. With chatbots ticking boxes like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and customer engagement, it’s inevitable that they will become pervasive.

Whilst I have spoken about the effect on millennials, the same will become true for all generations, ala Facebook. Businesses should get in now, while it’s early, so they can have valuable first-mover advantages and gain the trust of early adopters. Ambit is a New Zealand-based company with a class-leading conversational artificial intelligence (chatbots) platform; for businesses to engage with millennials and all customers.

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