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What Does a Good Relationship Cost With a Millennial? Are Retailers Willing to Pay?

Thomas Miller
By Thomas Miller on Oct 7, 2016 7:39:03 PM

The time came last month when my big toe started poking through the top of my Nike Flyknits signaling I needed some new running shoes, but the thing is, shopping is tough nowadays – do I choose Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour?  Do I purchase in-store or online? Can I find these cheaper on eBay or some knock-off website? The list goes on, and while I continued to ask myself these types of questions, I thought for a second “Wow, retailers must hate how I shop” and they should. I’m a Millennial, we now represent the largest market for retailers, and to earn our repeated business you’re going to have to pay for it.

You'll Win us with Amazing AND Consistent Experiences

Back in 2014, Gartner analyst Jake Sorofman reported how customer experience will be the new battleground in 2016. 89% of companies expected to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience then, so it comes as no surprise that we’ve seen huge budgets allocated under the ‘Customer Experience’ umbrella this year. However, what exactly does customer experience mean for a Millennial?

Well, Nike got the first shot in my hunt for new shoes, and therefore the first shot at my customer experience. To start, I went to the Nike Running Store by me, picked out the model I wanted, and even tried them on, however, they didn’t have the color I wanted. Next up was Nike’s website. I’m a bit of a sneakerhead, and Nike’s website is awesome, so before I knew it I was customizing the shoes I wanted, and for a much higher cost as a result of the amazing experience Nike created on their website. That was until I clicked checkout and that page was down. Instead of my getting my new shoes as expected, my next experience with Nike was going to have to be with their customer service department. However, I am like every other Millennial in the fact that I will avoid calling customer service at all costs, and I never have (nor ever will) use snail-mail to contact a brand.

There's Consequences For Not Delivering

So how did I contact Nike? Twitter.

2016 research from Dimension Data found my generation prefers social media for customer service, and I am no exception. I fired off a Tweet asking @NikeSupport for help, and when I checked back a couple hours later to find no response, I felt like Nike didn’t have time to help complete my purchase, so I abandoned my cart. Did they eventually answer? Yes, but it was not in a timely manner to help.

Was I being a bit drastic here? No. Jay Baer found in his Convince & Convert research that 42% of all U.S. consumers expect companies to respond to their social media customer service requests within 60 minutes. And abandoned shopping carts are not the only consequences of ignoring posts on social media:

Source: The 2016 Definitive Guide to Social, Mobile Customer Service 

Are You Willing To Pay For My Customer Lifetime Value?

Tech is expensive, and by 2017, 50% of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations. With Millennials bouncing from in-store, to online, to social media – pretty much everywhere – companies will need to spend big to deliver amazing and consistent experiences across these different mediums, or risk losing out to the competition.

After Nike’s fail, I ended up getting new Adidas’ Boost running shoes and can see myself buying them for the indefinite future. Like I said before I am both a Millennial and a sneakerhead, so I imagine I will be purchasing many more shoes in my lifetime and now have a preference toward Adidas. At roughly $200 a pair, did Nike only have a late response to a potential customer, or did they just lose upwards of $10,000 of customer loyalty?

What’s the actual cost of a good relationship with a Millennial? I’ll let you decide.

Topics: Customer Service, Retail, Customer Experience

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