Thought Leadership

The New Cool in Customer Service

TL;DRMillennials don’t have the same expectations for customer service as older generations, and direct selling companies need to take notice.

A few weeks back I wrote a two-part series on attracting Millennials to your direct selling opportunity. I pointed out that getting these young entrepreneurs excited about your company would require fulfilling two key motivations: flexibility and technology. Of course, onboarding Millennials as independent distributors is only the first battle. Once you’ve got them, you need to keep them—and that will take top-tier customer service that appeals to Millennials’ unique preferences and behaviors.

Keeping Millennial distributors requires top-tier customer service. #directselling Click To Tweet

Just over a year ago, Salesforce and Desk.com released the results of their study, “Crossing the Generational Divide: Providing Customer Service for Today’s Consumers,” which explored how Millennials’ expectations for customer service differ from those of other generations. From more than 2000 individual responses, four key, actionable findings emerged:

Millennials Prefer to Find Their Own Solutions

Millennials really don’t like contacting customer service, particularly over the phone. Here are some things respondents say they would rather do than reach out to a human representative for help: have their teeth cleaned (34%); go shopping on Christmas Eve (32%); visit the DMV (26%). Instead, many Millennials will use their digital literacy to find answers on their own, searching FAQs and other online resources to resolve their issues before contacting a company’s customer service department.

mugatu hates the phone

Basically how Millennials look on the phone at all times.

Direct Selling Takeaway?
Make it easy for Millennials to solve their problems independently. Providing an easy-to-navigate resource library in your application or website won’t just make your young distributors happy; it’ll take pressure off of your customer service department and reduce wait times for those who need support the most.

If They Can’t Help Themselves, Millennials Will Use Social Media

When Millennials can’t find answers to problems on their own, they’ll seek help through the platforms they’re most comfortable with: social media. According to the study, four in five Millennials will use social media for customer service, preferring that method over phone, email, or live chat.

Direct Selling Takeaway?
Be active on social media, and be prepared to respond to distributor support requests promptly (see below). The report states that Facebook is the most popular channel for customer services questions, followed by Twitter. Have processes in place to provide customer service on both.

Millennials prefer to find their own customer service solutions. #directselling Click To Tweet

Millennials Expect Near-Immediate Support

Millennials don’t like waiting on customer service; they want answers and solutions as soon as possible. Salesforce and Desk.com report that roughly a quarter of Millennials expect to get a response within 10 minutes of reaching out for customer service via social media; nearly a third expect the same speed for text-based queries.

Direct Selling Takeaway?
It’s not just about the quality of your support; it’s also the speed at which you provide it. Monitor your social media channels to ensure that questions are answered quickly. (Facebook even ranks Business Pages’ speeds of response.) Provide distributors with a means of getting support quickly, whether it’s by reducing call wait times or embedding live chat support into your website or application.

Millennials Won’t Tolerate Poor Customer Service

Poor customer service is a sure way to drive Millennials away from your company. Salesforce and Desk.com report that nearly a quarter of Millennials would boycott a company after a single bad experience. Other age groups aren’t any more forgiving: across generations, more than three quarters would stop doing business with a company after three bad experiences.

Direct Selling Takeaway?
Take customer service very seriously. In the age of social media, a single disgruntled distributor can wreak havoc on your brand reputation. When there’s an issue, make sure that it gets fixed—or, if it can’t be, at least find a way to make it right with your distributors.

What else can you do to upgrade your company’s customer service processes? Get more recommendations from Hyperwallet’s direct selling experts in our free guide—Harnessing the Digital Revolution: 9 Questions for Direct Selling Companies in the New Economy.

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