This article originally appeared on Inc.com on April 27, 2017. Read original article here.
Customer expectations, and customer behavior, are changing faster than ever. Here are five customer trends that will have a powerful effect on most businesses now or in the very near future.
There aren’t, I’m going to argue, such thing as “customers” in the plural. At any rate, the concept of “customers” in the plural, in the aggregate, isn’t anywhere near as useful a concept for business success as is the singular customer, the one right in front of you, the one on the phone, the one who is tweeting at you or engaging with you on Facebook Messenger.
(That Will Help with the Rest of Your Customers Too)
All of your customers–in every single age bracket–have changed their expectations for how your business should treat them, due to the advent of digital and socially connected technologies. Although these digitally-driven changes are so widespread, they are most pronounced in the youngest major customer group: the large, digitally native generation, born 1980-2000 (give or take a few years).
Millennial customers (the largest generation in both U.S. and world history, even larger than the baby boom at its height) have expectations that have been shaped by the generation’s lifetime immersion in the fast-evolving worlds of online commerce, search engines and on-the-go connectivity. For millennials, mobile phones have always been available. The Internet has always been on. These are customers who’ve rarely waited for letters to arrive by mail, who may have never waited in line at the bank, who’ve seldom had their musical choices limited to the radio or what can fit on a mass-marketed. Millennials have grown up at a time when it’s possible to align their shopping with their values—the chance to choose humane, green, fair trade, organic, employee owned and so forth, or not.