Do Millennials Value Customer Service or Automation?

Jon Fesmire |

The answer to this question depends on what part of your business you’re talking about. For certain functions, millennials in general prefer automation, and for others, customer service.

Let’s get into the details, starting with a little history.

From Baby Boomers to Millennials

In the last forty years or so, there’s been a shift in how businesses like self storage need to handle customer service. Baby boomers are used to making calls or going to a place of business for help. It’s all very personal. Gen-Xers tend to look online for information before they make a call or go to a business for help.

Then, we come to millennials. While baby boomers grew up before home computers, and Gen-Xers obtained home computers while growing up, played video games in arcades, and saw the shift from a pre-Internet to an Internet world, millennials have had computerized technology at their fingertips their entire lives.

Also, while baby boomers and Gen-Xers use social media, they were already adults in their thirties and older when it became widespread. Millennials have grown up with it as well. So, while millennials will also search online for answers, their first go-to solution is to ask on social media. In fact, four out of five millennials would rather use social media customer service than even the web or online chat. Many of them can’t stand making a call to a customer service department.

Customer Service vs. Automation

Should you add kiosks to your facility?

More so than any generation before, millennials are tech-savvy and often prefer to communicate via messages rather than voice or in person. Also, they love automation and believe it will help the economy and improve productivity. To attract more millennial customers, you might consider adding kiosks or promoting online rentals.

Quick Response Times

Let’s get back to customer service. As we’ve noted, millennials are unlike any generation before in that they prefer to seek customer service through social media.

Also, when it comes to seeking customer service, they expect short response times. About 25% expect a response within ten minutes of contacting a company’s customer service department on social media.

Currently Facebook is the go-to site for millennials seeking answers to customer service questions. Second is Twitter, with about half as many using that platform for the same purpose.

How to Adapt

First, don’t remove any of the ways customers contact you. Baby boomers and Gen-Xers will still call you, email you, and go to your website for assistance and information.

Second, create a Facebook page and a Twitter account for your facility. Look at the Facebook pages of other self storage facilities for some ideas. When you have news about your facility, post links to full articles on your Facebook page and to Twitter. You may want to start a blog on your company website and share these posts to social media. Be sure to link to your social media pages on your website.

As mentioned, millennials expect quick response times, so check the Twitter and Facebook pages every hour or so, and respond to customers who send you messages.

By keeping the old ways of signing on new tenants and providing them with customer service, and adding some automation and social media to your business model, you can keep customers of each generation happy.