How to Adapt to Millennial Customers
Currently 23 percent of the world’s population is categorized as a millennial. That’s anyone aged 24 to 39.
That group also makes up 43 percent of the workforce and is constantly growing.
As this highly discussed generation continues to come into increased buying power, the priority to cater to them will be important for any business. If you can’t retain millennial customers, your business is likely to fail.
At this year’s 2021 VISION Hi-Tech Training and Expo, Sara Fraser, a consultant at Haas Performance Consulting (and fellow millennial), discussed different ways businesses should adapt to fit this generation’s needs.
Here are a few of the things Fraser believes shops should be doing to maximize millennial business and retention.
To watch to Fraser’s full presentation and the rest of the discussions at the 2021 Virtually VISION Training and Expo, click here.
Convenience is key.
Millennials have been brought up in an era where everything is always easily accessible, Fraser said. With increased technology and shifts in parenting strategies, millennials expect things to be readily available for them. And that isn’t just a millennial exclusive feeling. Gen X and Gen Z have also grown accustomed to easy access and the internet. Businesses need to adapt to that.
Fraser recommends an option to allow customers to book online. Phone anxiety is common among millennials, so the likelihood of calling to make an appointment is low. An online option allows customers to make an appointment and any hour of the day, not just during shop hours.
It also lessens the fear that customers have of sounding stupid, Fraser sad. On the phone, a shop may begin to ask many questions about the car that millennials don’t know. Giving an option to book online and avoid that anxiety is important. It also helps customers keep track of their appointments, as most of the time an email will be sent to the customer right after they make an appointment, which they can look back on as a reminder of the appointment.
This is an option that hasn’t fully been embraced by the auto industry, Fraser said. But she expects it will.
Nowadays there is a subscription for everything, whether it’s for a television service, news sites or a food delivery service. Nearly every service industry has begun to offer some type of subscription.
Millennials have grown up in this boom and are an active participant in it. Fraser sees an opportunity for the auto industry to get involved. It could be a basic monthly or yearly subscription that covers basic necessities — like oil changes, brake pads, air filters and other quick maintenance — or a VIP membership that offers discounts and perks.
If customers have this subscription, they’re more likely to come to the business often for routine maintenance and will likely establish a positive relationship with the business.
Show, don’t tell.
Talking too technical to a customer is intimidating and off putting. Millennials have a general sense of entitlement, Fraser said, that will keep them from asking questions, instead just nodding along and agreeing even if they don’t understand what you’re saying.
To combat this, try to put it in simpler terms. Make sure your invoice reflects that as well. Make sure the customer understands what they’re paying for.
It also would be smart to show the customer visually what’s wrong with the vehicle. Send a picture of what’s wrong and include a picture of what it’s supposed to look like. Visual learning will be much more effective for the millennial generation, Fraser said.
This could be as simple as snapping a picture of their current air filter and then showing them what a new one will look like. Avoiding technical language through visuals is a smart way to go.