Millennials Prefer Conversations Over Digital Communication

With perception-breaking findings, a new survey concludes that this generation prefers phone or face-to-face talk over texts, tweets, and chat.

A new survey of millennials debunks the popular perception that they are tech-savvy smartphone addicts who would rather text, tweet, or post than talk to people. Telephone voice analysis solution provider Mattersight Corporation surveyed more than 1,000 millennials and found that this generation generally prefers direct, human interactions over digital options and wants chemistry, understanding, and respect out of those interactions.

“Despite growing up in the digital age, millennials haven’t abandoned person-to-person contact,” said Mattersight CEO Kelly Conway. “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.

Millennials Communication Findings

  • While 67 percent of brands believe social media-based service is growing in importance, only 1 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
  • 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 Next Generation of Customers and Service

Though millennials are strongly associated with social media — sometimes even called the “Facebook generation” — Mattersight’s report, “The Millennial Surprise,” contends that only 1 percent of millennials prefer to contact a brand on social media for customer service purposes.

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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.”

This post was originally published in Customer Experience Report

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