Millennials are expected to occupy 50% of the US workforce by the year 2020, just three years from now. Their purchasing power of $200B will make a significant part of the US economy. We interviewed this group to learn more on their social and consumer behavior and produced the 2017 Millennial Mobile Consumer Report.

This year’s report found that Millennials are messaging more than ever. While they want their social behavior to translate to their consumer experience, Millennials are finding that companies are not delivering on their expectations, causing them frustration and forcing them to change brands to avoid outdated customer service tactics and experiences.

The report shows the instant society with real-time interactions has already begun, and it’s time for companies to catch up.

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to find that Millennials are frequently texting throughout the day, with more than 15% of respondents stating they are sending a hundred text messages or more. Now let’s compare that to phone calls. When asked about the number of times a millennial dials and/or receives a phone call, a large number of respondents, 35%, said that they make less than two calls per day. Answers show that messaging remains the most popular form of communication for millennials, 100 times over.

The millenial consumer averages 50 messages sent and received per day (3)

But some may wonder, “Well that may be how they feel in their personal lives, but that doesn’t mean that is the way in which they’d like to interact with a brand as a consumer….” However, our survey shows this actually seems to be the case. Millennial consumers seem to expect instant communication with their brands, and don’t want to change their behavior from their personal life to their consumer one.

Just as the average Millennial expects to be able to communicate instantly in their personal life, they expect to be able to reach the business of their choice at any time of the day, and get answers as soon as they request them. 72% of Millennial consumers expect a company to get back to them with answers to their questions within an hour, with 30% saying they expect those answers instantaneously. If companies can’t live up to those expectations, our research shows that there will be a price to pay.

When just 6% of this group prefer phone calls as a channel, waiting on hold to engage with a brand is not an acceptable experience for Millennials. When ranking unpleasant activities, 1 in 4 respondents listed calling customer service as their top 3 most unpleasant things to do – in a list that included paying bills, going to the dentist, and studying for an exam. Nearly half of respondents even stated they have switched companies after waiting on hold with customer service for too long. To give you an idea what this translates to in lost revenue, Forbes estimated that US companies lost $61 billion due to poor customer service in 2016.

45% of Millennials have switched companies after waiting on hold too long with customer service (4)

Automated messaging seems like a welcome solution to their instant gratification needs. 67% of millennial consumers have messaged with a business before. Of those that have used the automated communication, 88% would do it again after their previous experiences. From this data, it looks like Millennial consumers are ready and expecting self-service through automated instant messaging.

67% (3)

This seems true for multiple use cases. When asked which areas they would prefer to message a company rather than calling them, respondents answered that they would prefer messaging when a company to ask for directions and hours, to renew a subscription or order a refill, to check the status of an order, to check pricing, and to schedule an appointment.

Our survey shows that millennial consumers expressly feel that their engagement wants are not met by the brands they are currently doing business with. When asked which industries could benefit from more customer engagement through instant messaging, nearly every sector fell significantly short of their expectations.

percentage of Millennials who believe each industry should use more instant messaging for customer engagement (3)

As you can see from the gap that exists between what millennial consumers expect to what brands are able to deliver in terms of engagement, there is a huge opportunity  for businesses to quickly adopt messaging based interactions for their marketing, customer service, and sales needs in order to cater to this fast growing demographic

Our report showcases an opportunity for companies to reach their millennial customers where they’re at and what they want, not to mention the  24/7 access to serve them.

This translates to deploying automated mobile messaging based solution to serve customers without the costs of human agents or expending high touch, and with the added convenience of anytime, anywhere access to service. This is perhaps the most compelling case for this new category that some call chat bots or others refer to as “conversational interface”.

Capitalizing on this market’s needs could mean big for business as we all know that Millennials account for $200 billion in buying power. If companies can close the gap in engaging those consumers expecting instant interactions, we will have found the perfect application for this new instant message solution full of hype.