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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

How to turn millennials into loyal customers

When it comes to e-commerce, speedy and efficient service is now regarded as a basic requirement to keep customers engaged

Millennials will not put up with anything less than speedy service. Atta Kenare / AFP
Millennials will not put up with anything less than speedy service. Atta Kenare / AFP

As a millennial myself, if there’s something I love to do, it would be to try different brands and products.

We are excited about new ventures, and always want to test anything that’s hip and new. We’re infamous for our short attention spans and quick drift into boredom.

Restaurants in the UAE are a great textbook example. Whenever a new concept comes out, you will see millennial customers rushing to try it, spread the word about it, and sooner rather than later you may see that they have moved on to something else.

The sad truth is that we’re easily bored, and could quickly move onto the next thing especially if a business lacks quality, ethics, and has poor customer service. When we reach out to businesses online enquiring about products, we expect fast responses and fast deliveries.

According to the Catalyst Organisation, millennials will comprise three quarters of the global workforce by 2025, which means that they will most likely be your main business clients. With that in mind, how can you turn them into loyal customers? Here are three ways:

Be digital: If you sell your products through your physical stores that’s great, but don’t underestimate online. Your millennial customers will expect it to be online whether through your website or through your social media platforms.

Check out the latest on website designs, and opt for a modern layout. An old one could easily turn them away and send the wrong message. That also means that they expect you to be on the “relevant” social media platforms that’s applicable to your target audience’s and they expect you to be active.

Provide quality and ethical products and services: Millennials are obsessed with quality. Before purchasing a product, they would look at reviews about it online, see what people say about it on social media, go on YouTube, and would most probably read your website’s “About” section.

Regardless of how you package your products, if they don’t deliver on quality, millennials will shame you on social media, or you won’t ever hear from them again. Social media platforms have also made it so much easier and convenient for customers to raise their concerns.

If you communicate your business’ purpose, and show how much you care about maintaining an ethical work environment, help better the lives of your employees or simply give back to a support a local cause, it would give you extra points.

Focus on your quality, and show them how your product justifies its price.

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Read more:

How to tell if your new business is on the path to success or failure

Six ways to encourage clients to refer your business

Why your business should invest in video content

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A fast customer response is key: The thing about millennials is that they are so used to fast, instant information. When we want to know about something, we will google it, and we will find everything that we need to know about it super fast. Companies have spoiled us with fast delivery, and exchange/refund policies.

The same applies to customer service. If you are present on the internet, then millennials will either expect a 24/7 customer service, as many e-commerce business offer, or at least a very fast turnaround. If they post a question on social media, they will expect an answer soon. If you took a couple of days to answer, they may easily move on to the next business.

A friend of mine showed me a beautiful abaya on an Instagram retailer that she absolutely loved. She posted a comment underneath the photo enquiring about the price. She received a response pretty fast, but they asked her to contact them via the private “direct message” option and that they would answer her there. She didn’t bother. And that’s how I realised as well how spoiled millennials are. My friend was so frustrated. She said that they could have answered her inquiry via the “direct message” option, instead of asking her to write it again and address it there. To her, that was poor customer service.

Surprisingly, it was not the first time I hear such a comment. A lot of my friends are frustrated at Instagram retailers who don’t post the products’ prices when they upload a photo of it. They find it to be such a hassle to add the business number to their Whatsapp messenger list and inquire about it there.

They want fast information, a fast response, and of course, ultimately, a fast delivery.

As much as my friends might love a beautiful abaya or a clothing design on an Instagram retailer’s page, they wouldn’t want to wait for a month or two to receive it as many designers do. That is why many have turned to e-commerce retailers where they can buy ready-to-wear items instead of waiting for them to be custom made, a market gap that many abaya designers are yet to close.

The bottom line is that you need to satisfy them, and that’s the only way they will keep coming back to you and be loyal.